Sunflowervillager's Blog

Growing into community

Sirius. Huh. Thought I posted this last fall, guess not. June 15, 2010

Filed under: existing communities,Sirius — Saera @ 6:31 am

On Sunday afternoon late this summer, I went toΒ  Sirius, a well-established community in North Amherst. I was only there a short time, but I got to see a few of the buildings. We spent most of the time at the main building, which, in addition to apartments, holds a huge kitchen, a large dining and living space, and the most beautiful community space I have seen yet. The building was built by Sirius members and friends. The walls are white, with the supporting wood beams showing. On the outside of the dining area is a very large greenhouse, which contains the largest rosemary bush I have ever seen, basil, tomatoes, and some other plants with which I am less familiar.

More on this another time.


Sirius Part Two August 20, 2009

Filed under: Sirius — Saera @ 1:52 am

So I left off with the gigantic rosemary bush. After leaving the greenhouse area, we peeked into the kitchen. It was industrial sized and awesome. It had a whole bunch of pots hanging just like I tend to visualize, with huge ovens and stoves and ranges….in short, a modern version of a village/manor scale village. I’d love to cook in a kitchen like that! Anyway, we ventured outside as well. There was a stone bread oven out there! It was obviously homemade, with glass shards and colorful pebbles decorating it. There was a bit of a lawn and some eating space, neither of which cut back the trees too far. Perfect size in my opinion.

Inside, we went into the wings. Because they are private apartments, we didn’t get to see inside any room spaces. But we got to see how it was set up. It kind of made me think of a hobbit hole or something. Which is funny considering the descriptions on Kara’s blog about Hobbiton. Anyway, the construction inside was wood and cozy, with nooks here and there and some built-in bookshelves. The bathrooms are constructed pretty much just how I think a bathroom should be… toilets separated from the sinks and eachother by ceiling to floor doors and multiple toilets in each bathroom… and the toilets were composting! πŸ˜‰

Eventually we took off our shoes, passed through a solid, thick wood door with a little window on it and went upstairs. This is the place where the community gathers to perform, be entertained, dance, and sometimes share various forms of spirituality. They also rent it out to other groups. I don’t remember much of the explanation at the moment, but my host explained the architecture… it is octagonal, with large beams coming around a center…. basically the roof structure has a lot in common with a yurt, except made permanent. The major beams are left visible. The floor work is even more amazing…. inlaid darker wood than the main light wood forms a star in the center with rays coming out… it’s hard to describe adequately, but it’s pretty cool. Especially when you consider that this was done by just a group of people trying to make something for their own sake and benefit… granted, one of them at least is a carpenter.

That was most of it…. I wished we’d had time to go on the guided tour and learn more about the social setup. I look forward to going back. I was delighted and impressed with what I experienced, and I’d like to learn more, and perhaps get involved eventually.


Sirius Part One August 19, 2009

Filed under: existing communities,Sirius — Saera @ 3:43 am

I’m back from Florida now, and determined to continue my resolution to write in the blog every day, even if it’s late at night. I appreciate Kara asking about Sirius. It’s good to have a reminder, because I almost forgot to write about that, and now I don’t have to come up with something else to write tonight. πŸ˜›

I actually didn’t get to explore Sirius very thoroughly, especially on the social aspect. It is further outside Amherst than I thought it would be… not sure by how much, but we went through forested, windy roads to get there. There is actually another, smaller community on the way. I don’t remember the name, but it looked like it probably wasn’t bigger than 10 people, although I suppose it could feasibly house 15. It was like one big house. We stopped briefly to look at it. You can see little bits of Sirius through the trees before you really arrive at it. The person who brought me told me a little about building the road and how the space used to be. He showed me the one conventional farmhouse that was the original dwelling, along with the garage that was converted into a yoga/meditation space. There was also a large shed that apparently serves as multiple types of workshops, including glassblowing I think… Obviously I ought to have written this sooner as memory of details is getting a little fuzzy. We spent most of the time wandering around the current main building. It’s very cool. The central part is a huge octagon, two stories, with long wings on either side. It’s built of wood, mostly untreated on the outside. Despite the greying wood, the place is thoughtfully and precisely built. The steps up to the main entrance are lovely, the upper half of them being large slabs of stone. Just outside, there is a pretty inlay, although I can’t think of what. Just inside the door, there is another, this one of a dove and a globe, made from stone. It’s very beautiful and gives a sense of the whole place’s interest in peace. To the left from there is the office, with a thick wooden door that pleases my sensibilities, and a piece of paper on it with appreciations from people who visited at some point. To the right is another door, I can’t remember to where. We were greeted here by….(drat, I’ll have to look up the name) an upper-middle aged man who has the appearance of someone who has worked hard. He has a quiet dignity. The person who brought me knew him, as my host had once worked closely with Sirius and sometimes still does. I was introduced and informed there would be a tour the next hour of the community. I was excited at this prospect, by my host told me there might not be enough time, as he did have another appointment. Beyond here was a large dining area. We edged around it. There was a bit of a potluck going on. It was lively and happy, talkative but not too noisy. The tables were made from wood, some of them especially nice. On the opposite side of the octagon from the main entrance was a door out to an attached greenhouse. It was two parts, a walkway hugging the building with some chairs and table by them, and the lower part with plants. They were very high raised beds, built into the structure, with walkways making everything accessible. There were lots of basil plants, which was lovely, and a bunch of herbs, plus the most gigantic, extensive rosemary bush I could have imagined. I can’t ever keep a rosemary bush alive, let alone keep it that big!

I’d better save some of this for tomorrow and get to bed. Thanks for reading!