Come to a Virtual Open House
to Learn About Shepherd Village

      Are you:
  • Thinking about cohousing?
  • Interested in living in a historic, walkable university town, only an hour west of the Washington, D.C., metro area?
  • Considering a move to one-level, accessible living?
  • Eager for a friendly community where you really get to know your neighbors?
Sign up for our next free Virtual Open House: 
Saturday November 12
10 a.m. to noon, on Zoom

Grab your cup of coffee and join us 
for an insider’s view of Shepherd Village! 
Register here.  
Linda and Scot: Love of Nature,
Care for the Earth

by Carol
Linda and her husband Scot met when they were in college and have lived in intentional communities on and off ever since. They moved to Washington, D.C., shortly after marrying to connect with Sojourners, an urban church community whose ministries include publishing Sojourners magazine. Linda describes those years as “kind of like a transformative bubble for me. People were talking about war, poverty, racism, social justice, nonviolence and feminism.” As an introvert, educated in Catholic schools and somewhat sheltered, Linda had not been exposed to a range of social activism.

She says Sojourners was her first experience of being part of something larger than herself and connecting with other people in meaningful ways. She sees it as a thread of connections throughout her life. 

When their three children were young, Linda and Scot both worked part-time at the magazine and were able to share child rearing. With a bachelor’s degree in art, Linda assisted the art director while Scot worked in circulation. As the children got older, Linda earned a master’s degree in early childhood education and taught in an elementary school. Still, for many at Sojourners, the demands of family were hard to balance with the community’s social activist expectations and the intensity of community life. Linda and Scot and many of those with children left Sojourners to form the Circle Community Church in Maryland, where “our kids had a strong sense of having a whole slew of aunts and uncles,” Linda says.

“When our kids were going off to college, we knew we were ready for something else. We had spent 30 years in the D.C. area and wanted to leave the urban environment. Yet we did not want to buy a house and live in the woods alone,” says Linda. “We had been visiting Rolling Ridge for many years and offered to build a house there and join the small residential community.”

The Rolling Ridge Conservancy owns 1,500 acres along the Shenandoah River and the Appalachian Trail, mostly in West Virginia. The conservancy’s purpose is to protect and nurture the land. “The mindset is to be in active, reciprocal relationship with the forest and wild kin,” Linda adds. With permission from Rolling Ridge and help from many volunteers, Linda and Scot built an eco-friendly home (shown here) with 18-inch straw bale walls covered with clay plaster on the inside and lime plaster on the outside. It has curvilinear shapes, solar heat and water, an indoor composting toilet, and a living roof, green with growing plants. It took three years to do the research and five years to build.

The homes in Shepherd Village also were designed with eco-friendly values and energy-efficient construction. Many homes have rooftop solar panels. Although Linda and Scot still live at Rolling Ridge and rent their Shepherd Village home to another community member, they spend considerable time at Shepherd Village and contribute much to community life. 

A common thread in their work has been a deep and abiding love of nature and care for the earth. Linda helped develop the Shepherd Village Land Stewardship Team, which has now evolved into four sub-groups focused on ecological landscaping, conservation, permaculture and chickens. Ecological landscaping emphasizes native plants that restore the health and wellbeing of the earth while supporting native wildlife, particularly insects and birds. For example, if the berries of native species are not available, birds may eat the berries of invasive species but not get the nutrition they need to sustain them through their long migrations. The conservation team works tirelessly to preserve the woods and trails surrounding the village, and permaculture grows an abundance of healthy food that contributes to common meals. Chickens provide eggs and amusement, as well as manure to replenish the soil, a feature of regenerative agriculture, where animal "waste" provides the nutrients that growing plants need without chemical fertilizers.  
Linda described the hard work that was needed to get Shepherd Village built. The rocky terrain presented some serious challenges, and working with members with different budgets and expectations was not always easy. She notes that many were exhausted by the time the first homes were finished and folks began to move in. Now that the structures are finished, Linda observes that the real priority is continuing to build relationships and interdependence. "Those conversations take a lot of maturity, sensitivity and cutting each other a whole lot of slack. Given the prevailing way things are done in our surrounding culture, it is amazing we have come this far.”
Although Linda and Scot are not yet full-time residents of Shepherd Village, those of us who do live here feel their steadying presence every day.
Building Community, One Potluck at a Time
by Gale

(Adapted from a reflection shared before a recent community potluck.)
As I was in the garden this morning, picking some of the last raspberries of the season, I was reflecting on the change of seasons as we say goodbye to summer and transition into fall. 
Today in our meal, we have okra, beans, raspberries, maybe even a few lingering tomatoes from the garden. And soon we will be eating leeks and sweet potatoes that we will harvest in September and October. Nature is always changing and transitioning, and as a young community we are also continually changing and transitioning.
The theme for this potluck was to come together, share food with friends and neighbors, and build community — which reminds me that everything we do either strengthens community or weakens it. So every meal, every meeting, every work day, every shared task, every interaction has the potential to build community or not, depending on how we approach it and participate in it.
We live in this wonderful place and each time we come together — to work, or meet, or eat — we have the opportunity to make it even better. So let’s remember that as we share food today and also as we go about the weeks ahead of us, as we transition into fall and as we grow as a community.

Habitat for Humanity Home is Completed 
by Village Voice staff

After months of hard work since the groundbreaking a year ago, a new Habitat for Humanity home on Sage Place, a block from Shepherd Village, is finally finished. The home was built on a lot donated last year by SV members Phil and Charlotte, in partnership with SV members Doc and Melanie, who covered permits and other costs. Other members of SV also supported the project, and many offered their labor to assist with construction. (Photo below shows Villagers Billy, Greg and Phil installing floors.) 
“Thanks to all of you who provided your labor, your donations, and your good wishes to this project — all combined to make this happen. We are so very grateful,” said Melanie, Doc, Charlotte and Phil in an email to the Village.
The recipients of the new 1,762-square-foot duplex are Luis and Cora Abrahante, two local ministers, and their three children, Aidonilys, Elias, and Adiya. 
The Abrahantes closed on the home Sept. 26 and planned to move in immediately after closing. “Lots of sweat, hard work and tears of joy have been placed in this project,” they said in an email. “We are ecstatic to be finally joining such a joyous, loving community! Thank you so much. ... We are thankful to have so many memories already that have been made.”
Founded in 1992, Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International and is a 501c3 not-for-profit ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Families who apply for an opportunity to partner with Habitat must meet income guidelines, have a reportable source of income and demonstrate that they are in substandard living conditions.
Habitat homes are built with donated funds and materials, utilizing volunteer labor with professional oversight, and sold to a partner family. According to Habitat’s website, the homes are affordable because they are serviced by a Habitat zero-interest mortgage amortized over 20 years, and there is no profit on each home built.

Art, Food and Friends
by Lindsay

To mark the astronomical beginning of autumn, the Village celebrated the Equinox with an outdoor dinner of stew and crusty homemade bread. Linda led us in a sweet art project on the theme of gratefulness. 
Since the earliest times, the Equinox was a time to give thanks for the harvest and the gifts of the Earth that sustain us through the winter.
Participants each drew or painted something we were grateful for, using watercolors, markers, pencils, stamps, and more, on small squares of paper. The gratitude squares were pinned to a fabric background around a three-dimensional display board. 

Scenes from the Appalachian Heritage Festival

Many Villagers attended Shepherd University’s recent Appalachian Heritage Festival. Some of the highlights included a concert, Celebrating Women's Voices, featuring musicians Lady D, Shepherdstown native Olivia Ellen Lloyd, and The State Birds
The festival also included a lecture and other events with author Barbara Kingsolver, the 2022 Appalachian Heritage writer in residence. 

Celebrating our own Writer in Residence
by Village Voice staff

Writers and poets in the Shepherdstown area were invited last year to submit their original works of literary fiction and poetry to Shepherd University’s annual West Virginia Fiction Competition. SV resident Steve submitted a short fiction coming of age story, titled “The Spirit of Kind Feather,” which he had started a few years ago. “I resurrected it for a creative writing class I took at Shepherd University's Lifelong Learning Program,” Steve says, adding that his teacher, Shepherdstown author Lee Doty, encouraged him to submit it to the contest. 
The story is about a teenage boy who outsmarts hooligans at every turn to save a tribal elder in the mountains.“I was both surprised and pleased when it was selected,” Steve says. 
The story is included in the 2021 Maria Manilla Volume XIV Anthology of Appalachian Writers, now available at the Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown.
Village Voice staff: Leslie, Nan, and Leah
Photos in this edition by Shepherd Village community members
Shepherd Village Cohousing
Shepherd Village Cohousing
Shepherd Village Website
Copyright © 2022 Shepherd Village, All rights reserved.
Shepherd Village Voice   October 2022

Our mailing address is:
50 Shepherd Village Circle
Shepherdstown WV 25443

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.