We have been playing with the idea of a commune. Yes, a commune. No this isn't 1969. Yes, I think it plays in 2009. Well, actually a few years from now, but in the not too distant future I think it isn't going to sound as far fetched as it does right now.
My youngest is talking about doing a commune with friends. Then I read an article in the New York Times that looked at a subdivision that actually encircles a working farm and operates more as a collective. The idea is to raise what you eat, in a sustainable, localized manner. But then I started thinking - why not take this concept a step further and combine other resources - such as cars, trucks, gardening equipment, workout rooms, pools, picnic areas, barns, corrals, pastures, along with a giant organic farm area, orchard, and a hothouse for winter growing?
Each owner would have their own property for their house, so they could sell it if that is what they needed, or chose to do. The community part would be owned by everyone with homeowner "dues", such as we pay our condo association to maintain common grounds. Of course, I see this like-minded group of people also sharing in most of the "grounds" duties, as they would be the type of people that would want, and like, that lifestyle.
In this dream I live near my two children, with the grandchildren's play area in the center of the three houses. Our house is small. If we are living near our children, we only need a small house. Small, green, and conducive to living in long after we would normally be shipped off to a retirement home.
I came from a big German family that actually lived this way in Sacramento. I grew up running over acres of land owned by our family, with my great-grandmother living in her own home, in the middle of several of her children's homes. Gardens were big, canning was communal, children were safe and free to roam. I would go from house to house asking what they were having for dinner before deciding who would have the honor of feeding me that night.
So I am keeping my eye open for land in Oregon and Washington. It's beautiful, often partly wooded, fairly inexpensive, and close to big urban areas. You never know, by the time this dream is even remotely realized, our children may want to live near us. Or maybe someone else will.
What do you think?