Monday, June 20, 2016

Sunflower works up a sweat for Spring Garden

Sunflower works up a sweat for 
Spring Garden!

It is known that Bobette is our Garden Guru. And there are times when even a guru needs to call in the reinforcements. It is the whole coops shared joy (and responsibility) to bring life to our garden. Preparing the garden for spring planting is a sweaty business, fortunately, we have 8 roommates to share the load.

"Anything worth having is worth working for" - my dad.   Let me tell you, this garden is a gorgeous part of what makes Sunflower magical.

Thank you to all who sweated the way to a gorgeous garden!

This is Sarah. Super cute!
CJ workin it!

Chris looking like a pro.
Dave and Bobbette turning soil to prepare to plant.

And ps...yes I took the pictures, but I also did some work here - just no photos to prove it ;)  ~ Amanda B.

Sunflower welcomes baby Lawson!

Sunflower family welcomes baby Lawson!  

Baby Lawson is now almost a year old so it's about time we get this fun update out on our blog. Sunflower has a beautiful sense of creating family - no matter what our family looks like - it is family to us.  During the 35 years of life experiences, Sunflower has enjoyed the little ones that join us along the way.  It's been quite a few years since little feet ran through our garden, and now we are happy to welcome little baby Lawson.  What an amazing beginning to life, Aunt Beetta (Bobette) is definitely one of his favorites and the bond between them is beautiful to witness - especially seeing his little blue eyes light up in a smile at the sight of her in the house. We all enjoy watching him grow and being part of his baby awe experiences.  Mom (Amanda) and Dad (CJ) seem happier than I've ever seen them as a couple. I've enjoyed seeing how little Lawson has bonded them as a couple as well. 

I am also amazed to see how raising a baby in a coop experience is so much different than raising a baby as a couple alone.  
"It takes a village to raise a child"

Why is it that our society expects couples to go it alone when raising a baby? Today we are often isolated from grandparents,cousins or family and then the parents spend thousands on day care just to get help. It is beautiful for me to see there is another way.  Here, momma Amanda can bring baby Lawson down to the kitchen and know someone will hold him to give her a break or even be available for adult conversation.  The isolation I've seen with my friends outside the coop as they raise their babies is heartbreaking. It doesn't have to be that way.  If you have a little one yourself, even if outside the coop, I hope you have your 'village' surrounding you with support. You do not have to be alone.
I'm also impressed with how Amanda and CJ interact with such respect of everyone in the coop as extended family. They started with asking the house to vote whether they stay once baby was born, of course we all vote yes! The respect and love in the ask was warming to all.  And it's not all just fun, it's got to be hard to clear out the living room to still be available for "community" space or to haul bottles downstairs to the kitchen and get it all back up out of the way with stairs and baby balancing act. But hopefully one of us is around to open a door and make life just a tiny bit easier.

Amanda is an amazing mother, her calm confidence is fantastic to witness. And CJ obviously loves his little mini-me and purposefully values time to be connected in his son's world. I also love how they treat each other with balance, valuing time to take care of each other as well.  

Thank you for this experience CJ and Amanda, thank you for sharing your family with your extended Sunflower family!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunflower Co-Op Boart Meeting Notes Apr 7, 2013

Sunflower Co-op welcomes its new board members for the year of 2013:

Catherine Sewell:
Grant Shipman:
Judi Henderson:

We also held a monthly board meeting. Here are the notes:

Sunflower Coop Board Meeting
April 7, 2013

Present: Catherine Sewell, Bobette Nesbitt, Patty Adams, Bruce Salmon, Peter Dedek, Grant Shipman

Meeting started at 7:40 with several minutes of personal space for each board member.

I. Reading of last meetings minutes. No changes. Minutes were approved by email prior to this meeting.

II. State of the House.\ - Bruce Salmon
A. Ellar is moving out this week.
B. Michelle had another knee surgery – will use Bruce's room temporarily to avoid stairs. Abby was hit by a car while riding her bike. She is recovering.
C. Garden is doing very well.
D. David, from the Eastwind Community is staying at Sunflower temporarily. He has been contributing to the house. He is living in a camper in the driveway. This has presented a question for the housemates to discuss and determine how to charge rent for an extended boarder who is not a member.
E. New chicken died.

III. Foundation Repair Report – Bruce reported that there is an engineer with experience with old buildings, Girard Kinney, that has been consulted for an opinion. He recommended that before the foundation work begins, the drainage system should be restructured and cleaned out. He is willing to act as the Project Manager to represent the house during any foundation work by an outside company. Old bids for foundation repair were located in the house files, scanned and sent to G. Kenny who will review them. Bruce will ask him to submit a bid for Project Manager service. Board members all agreed that this would be valuable if it is determined to be affordable. Grant pointed out that the general rule is to get 3 bids from foundation companies before proceeding. Bobette will ask about the company that the neighbor just used for his foundation repair. Bruce will call the former bidders and have them update their bids.

IV. Filing for Not For Profit status – Bobette spoke with Judy. Judy's husband had a heart attack very recently. This is bookkeeper/CPA busy season. Judy will not be available until after April 15. Bobette will talk with Judy in a few weeks and ask if she is able to help us with the Federal level tax status change. No board action needed at this time.

At the end of the meeting Grant reported that house members refiled with State of Texas as a Non-profit. Sunflower Cooperative Inc. paid $5.00 on 4/4/13 for the refiling fee. Karl Martin continues to be the registered agent. The Secretary of State sent the notice to Karl and he sent it on to Sunflower. Grant will make a copy of this and enter it into the Board notebook.

V. Consulting fees to founding members – Patty gave a history of how the amount of $2500 was determined by the 2012 Board as a fair and appropriate amount of money to pay the founders for the consulting work they have done for Sunflower. They each need to bill Sundflower so that they can then be paid. Patty will notify the founders that Sunflower is ready to receive a bill from each of them for their remuneration. Jim Hoadley will be requested to render a bill also and if he so chooses can donate all or part of his fees back to Sunflower. Bobette will ask the CPA to issue the appropriate 1099's. Bruce will review all prior Board meeting notes.

VI. Future Agenda Items
A. Fund account minimum deposits. - Vacancy reserve fund; Maintanence reserve fund; Taxes & Insurance reserve fund. The board will determine how much money will be set aside as minimum balances for these funds. The CPA/bookkeeper will be asked to designate line items in the financial reports that indicate these reserves even though they may actually reside in the same bank accounts.
B. The Sunflower Grant/Gift Foundation needs to be formed. Patty will ask Vicki Totten to lead the project.

VII. Judy's request – Judy has asked that we move the meeting dates to mid-month to accommodate need for time to close previous months books. All board members determined that for the next 2 meetings; May and June, that we would keep the meeting date as the first Sunday of the month. Although Catherine stated she no longer needs to meet later in the evening, all decided that 730pm was to remain for now as our meeting time. Judy can bring the reports that are available at the time of the meeting. We can consider changing after the June meeting.

VIII. Federal Taxes – Bobette will check to assure that the $1051 tax bill has been paid. Our CPA firm is Carpenter & Langford CPA P.C.

Next Meeting date is set for May 5th at 730pm. Meeting adjourned at 8:52pm.

Synopsis of action items for Board Members:
  • Request updated bids.
  • Request bid from Girard Kinney
  • Read old meeting notes.

  • Notify founders to submit bills.
  • Notify Vicki Totten to begin forming the SF Grant Foundation
  • Provide this board meeting minutes to board members for review before next meeting. Make corrections before next meeting. Bring hard copy of notes to meeting.
  • Contact Judy, if possible, after April 15th to ask for help with Federal Tax status change.
  • If Judy not able to help, call CPA for help with the above.
  • Ask neighbor to give feedback about the company he used for Foundation repair.
  • Make copy of Non-profit State of Texas doc and put it in the board notebook.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Years Update


Sunflower Co-op will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Sunday January 27th. The potluck is at noon and the meeting will be at 1PM. An invitation as well as copies of proposed bylaws, an agenda, ballot, and other useful materials will be mailed out to arrive thirty days before the meeting. All previous residents are invited to attend. We will be having a nice feast and voting on the new by-laws!

New Years Update:

So, the Sunnies have returned from their respective winter breaks and bringing in what will hopefully be a great new year to Sunflower Co-Op. There's been no shortage of energy and abundance in the house, however as we had some wonderful guests Eva and Johnny staying in the Co-op.  

The new Sunnies are making a smooth transition to the community. Grant, Dwight, Ellar and Sarah are bringing their cooking, art making, acrobatic yoga, music, and positive energy and really committing to making Sunflower Co-Op a wonderful community in its newest form.

The Co-op just made a major renovation! The bathroom was entirely redone with new floors, a new shower and a whole new look. We are continuing to contribute value into the house, as well as making it look nice and comfortable for Sunnies. The renovations were done relatively painless throughout the Christmas break when many members were gone, and luckily there weren't too many surprise expenses.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Goodbyes and hellos

Wow! It's been many moons since we posted here, but we have had quite the change in residents.  While Bobette Bruce and Michele refused to move on (methinks we'll die here!), Maya - our bloganista extraordinaire - and her husband Dom left to pursue being Cycling Superheroes across Michigan in August; Emma took herself off to New Orleans to improve the coffee there; Erin left for a new experience in community living here in Austin and Shawn is about to depart for Idaho (he DOES love his spuds).  Our new members are fabulous - active in acro yoga here in Austin and eager, young folks to boot.  We are lucky to have Grant, Abby, Dwight, Ellar and Sarah in our community.

In the intervening months, the chickens finally started laying (the Rhode Island Reds came first and we are eagerly awaiting the other hens' eggs too), and Julio, the rooster, has developed a cranky streak in addition to crowing at all hours of the day and night!

Our winter garden is planted and we will soon harvest radishes.  We have been harvesting basil for about 5 months now with no end in sight, so if you are a fan of pesto come along to brunch some weekend and sample our delicious fare.

We had a Founders' meeting in September which was very successful, and we managed to align all members of the Founders' ilk and the board in deciding to change Sunflower over to being a non profit organisation!  The meeting was terrific, with lots of dynamic discussion and us (relative) newbies learned even more anecdotes and stories from the founders.  What a treat!

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on January 20th so put that on your calendar for now - more details will follow but I WILL tell you that we will be voting on the new by-laws, so every voice is important.  We would love to see you here and fill your belly for you before voting!

More to come soon....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring Update

Oh my, I meant to update more often!

We've had quite a bit going on here at The Sunflower. We were all excited about the special meeting, and quite disappointing to have to set it back. The lawyer needed to make some last minute clarifications with our accountant, and apparently March and April are a bit busy for folks who file taxes. We should have the legal red-lines available very soon and the board is meeting tomorrow to regroup. We'll definitely publish a new time table as soon as one is available.

Chris left to travel, and in his stead is Jeff. We had a Goodbye/Welcoming party during the transition at The Gypsy Lounge and got to see the Underscore Orchestra, That Damned Band, and The Inheritance.

Every new Sunnie introduces change, and Jeff helped convince the house to invest in chickens! So far we have a Rhode Island Red, a Production Red, a Buff Orpington, and an Americana. And, like, 1/8th of a chicken coop, Heaven help me..Here are the older two girls, the reds:

In the meantime, our little home has loved this rainy spring. The garden is coming along beautifully - so much so that we couldn't wait another day for the tomatoes and enjoyed them fried and green thanks to Emma's culinary artistry...

The rain promises to keep falling, and the garden is more beautiful than ever. Stop on by and pick some basil some time, won't you?