It is the end of our third full summer here at Great Oak. The
gardens are still in bloom, bright with cosmos, rose of sharon, black-
eyed susans, zinnias, and hollyhocks. The flowers, at least, seem to
have survived the summer’s heat just fine. Deb S. made the rounds,
gleefully killing the japanese beetles that decided to make meals of
our most prized flowers. A few more households have created
beautiful front yard gardens. The grapevines that Jillian planted at
the south entrance to the common house are doing well - there were
actually grapes growing on it.
A number of families without air conditioning found refuge in the
common house during the hot spell midsummer. Some were lucky enough
to sign out the guest room, while others slept in the sitting room,
kid’s room, media room, and game room. The common house was packed
to the gills on a few of those nights.
Our esteemed Jim G. celebrated his 75th birthday this summer. He
hosted a Friday night potluck in the common house that all were
welcome to attend. His wife Gail, who still won’t let him get a dog,
made a special dessert for the occasion - peach pie with hard sauce.
Meanwhile, one of our youngest neighbors, Sawyer, celebrated his 2nd
birthday this July.
We all were very fortunate to be able to be a part of Malcolm and
Amy’s marriage celebration! After a week of chilly, rainy weather,
the skies cleared, the clouds parted and the sun shone down just in
time for their Saturday event. It was on the common house patios
and in the common house and it was a beautiful, meaningful, and fun
event. Congratulations Mac and Amy!
In other news, a reenergized group of members has restarted the quest
for a hot tub (that works). They are researching prices and
logistics currently and are hoping to soon do some “test runs” at
nearby hot tub retailers.
Great Oak, Touchstone, and Sunward all shared staffing duties for a
non-profit booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fair this year. It seemed to
go well and there was quite a bit of interest generated in Cohousing
via the booth. Big Kudos go to Jay for building the booth himself
and Sarah for all of her research work and organizational skills
making sure that all those cohousers knew where to be and when to be
When Great Oakers weren’t working side by side with Sunwardians this
summer, they were instead launching water balloons at each other.
Sunward’s Special Ops group of highly trained water balloon battalion
showed up (pre-announced) at Great Oak ready for a super-soaker war.
Of course, Great Oak was ready and had manned stations around the
perimeter. Willie, who is always ready with a super soaker, donated
a number of them to the cause and we are told that Epicuria household
and others had stationed defenses on their back decks facing the
wetlands. Needless to say, Great Oak was victorious (wet but
victorious) and they were invited back to the enemy’s grounds for a
well earned summer supper.
The Fourth of July celebration was loud, smoky, and sparkler filled,
as usual. A newer addition to the Great Oak party scene is the Great
Oak Band (which still remains in need of a good name, I believe).
With Tom singing lead, Heather singing backup, Lisa on drums, and
Sarah and Deb A. on guitar, these guys rocked the common house north
patio while Megan led the kids in some modern interpretive dance.
After games, music, and food, folks migrated over to the bon fire
pit, where smores were made, fireworks were lit, and sparklers sparkled.
In our changes section:
Dave and Carol are selling their 3-bedroom unit, details and pictures are on the for sale page.
Our newest members are Jane and her daughter Anya, and Robert and
Lucila and their daughters Rachel and Anna. Jane and Anya are
renting Jenny’s B-unit for a year while they decide whether this
cohousing thing is a good fit for them. Robert and Lucila purchased
the Sorenson’s C unit and have already made themselves fixtures on
the east pod scene. We welcome them all to the Great Oak community!