January 2024 Newsletter

Welcome 2024! 

This is a time for many celebrations.  Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the symbolic death and rebirth of the sun.  It has spiritual significance in many cultures and for many people it is a time of new beginnings.  For all of us it’s a chance to welcome more daylight.  Solstice fell between Hanukkah, Christmas, and several other holidays this year.  And now our calendars mark the new beginning with the new year.

What has been happening with Puyallup Cohousing this fall and this holiday season?  The group is slowly growing, as is the dream of breaking ground on this property and creating this community.  We have some updates about engineering and gardening, as well as notes about what some of our members have been doing.  Thank you for checking us out and giving us this chance to share our news.

Ongoing Events

Our group operates using the principles of Sociocracy.  If Sociocracy is unfamiliar to you, a good website for information is

Our general circle meets every Monday night on Zoom.  If you are interested in getting to know us and sitting in on a weekly meeting, please let us know by sending email to

 We have established a few other circles to facilitate the business of creating and managing this community.  Most circles meet weekly on Zoom. These meetings are by invitation but let us know if you have a particular interest in one of these circles.  Our current circles are:  Membership/Marketing, Sociocracy, Business Plan/Legal/Finance, Farming, Engineering, Social.

Upcoming Events

We have a very special opportunity to attend a Getting it Built workshop with the legendary Chuck Durrett.  He is an architect who has designed many cohousing communities and is also the author of many books about cohousing.  The workshop will take place in Port Townsend on the weekend of Feb 10-11.  This event is co-sponsored with Newt Crossing Community and Song Sparrow Cohousing and is being hosted by the Port Townsend Food Coop.  Registration is required and the cost per person is $325.  Please email us if you are interested and to register (

Learn more about Sociocracy from Diana Leafe Christian, one of the leading authors and authorities on this style of governance.  She will be offering a ten week virtual class starting Jan 28, 2024.  More information can be found on her website:

Engineering study updates (from Mike)

There are studies and more studies that need to be conducted on the land to make sure the site is suitable for use.  We have passed all the tests so far, although there is work to be done.  The studies conducted this year:

  •   Zoning – studies show that we will be able to develop 4 homes per acre, or 43 homes total
  •   Wetlands – the site is near the Puyallup River, but studies show that there are no wetlands that will impact our development.  The building site is well above the 500 year floodplain. 
  •   GeoTech – the soils are excellent for supporting structures
  •   Septic – the soils “perk” acceptably (perking is a good thing)
  •   Water – the local water company has given us a “certificate of water availability”
  •   Traffic – The recommendations from our Traffic Impact Analysis were favorably received by representatives from Pierce County Building Dept.

Updates on the lower field (from Sharon)

December is a paradoxical month for growers. December 1 marks the onset of meteorological winter, the three consecutive calendar months with lowest average temperatures. The 2023 winter solstice on December 21, 7:27 pm marks a moment in time when the Sun stands still at a point where the Earth’s axis reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun. The three weeks between the two dates are the final days of autumn but shortening daylight and frosty night temperatures conspire as if to say, “The garden is dead, baby; get over it.” However, the farm field says otherwise as it transitions to modified hibernation mode.

The sudan grass cover crop succumbed to the first frost and the formerly shoulder-tall stalks are now wilted to knee-high stumps. Similarly, sunflowers and buckwheat are now frostbit skeletal twigs. However, all are still presenting dried seed heads and the field is busy with juncos, sparrows, pine siskins, and robins happy to take advantage of the free buffet. The east field is seeing thumb-sized deer hoof prints attracted by tender branch tips of several red alder trees that toppled during a recent wind/rain event. September/October-sown cover crop seeds are reluctantly showing some green growth above ground, but the real action is happening beneath the surface where root systems are forging new networks, anchoring soil in place, and setting the foundation for spring growth. Abundantly dotting the paths are micro pyramids of vermicompost, indicating a healthy worm population, happy in the mud but happier to migrate into one of the ongoing compost heaps and chow down on shredded leaves, windfall apples, and retired jack-o-lanterns. In defiance of whatever the calendar says, three rows of garlic sprouts are now beginning to creep through mulch.

In the interim, I am rejoicing at all the 2024 seed catalogs in my mailbox and researching such profound topics as: What tomato varieties are drought and crack resistant? Are cottonwood and alder good choices for hugelkulture? (Yes!) What are the optimal growing conditions for evergreen huckleberries? How do I create a hedgerow that supports a food corridor, pollinator habitat, and bird refuge? What does this field want to be?

September Work Meeting (Mike)

We haven’t had many in-person meetings both due to Covid and the fact that several members of our group are from out-of-town.  The end of September was a rare exception where we gathered on the farm for two days of workshops.  The walls of the garage were covered with reference information and we filled up flip-charts with notes and discussion. 

Among other things, we:
        – met with a couple of prospective construction partners,
        – discussed the history of the site and surrounding areas
        – prioritized a list of around 30 things that need doing and identified who will do the doing
        – discussed our approach to hiring professionals
        – identified some key aspects regarding rentals
        – identified some key aspects of affordability
        – reviewed site plans from other cohousing communities
        – and shared some social activities to get to know each other

It was a long weekend and lots of very rewarding work!  We’ll be trying to organize at least a quarterly ‘all hands’ in-person meeting going forward.

Member News

My Adventures this Fall (Odysseus)

This fall, I decided it was time to start paragliding again. There is a place outside of Salt Lake City called Point of the Mountain that is considered one of the best training sites in the world. People come from all over to learn. So that is where I decided to go. I hooked up my trailer and drove over to Utah for two weeks of lessons. I parked the trailer at the top of a mountain with gorgeous views of a lake and snow capped mountains. Flying conditions were best for beginners early in the morning, so I would wake up early, fly for a couple of hours and then come back to the trailer and work remotely the rest of the day. 

One day the wind was blowing at the edge of my abilities.. I got picked way up and then landed hard on my butt. I got dragged across the mountain three times that day and at one point lost my phone in the scrub. Maybe, just maybe I thought I’m not cut out for this sport — it was pretty discouraging. The next day the wind was blowing hard again and my instructor told me to maybe pack up, but I knew I could do it, and I ended up flying for an hour back and forth, back and forth ridge soaring. It was a glorious morning. There is something incredibly empowering about leaping off a cliff and then flying away.  It feels kind of dream like.

I’ve been struggling a bit lately, so I took a ten week online course called Mindful Self Compassion. It is based on the self-compassion work of Kristine Neff and It helped a lot. The course helped me remember to simply be kind and compassionate to myself. This sounds so simple, but sometimes it is so hard to get back to that place. It is especially hard when things are not going so well. But that is when I need it the most. I recommend both the course and the book to everyone.

What do I want to do when I grow up? (Renee)

I periodically ponder this question as I move through life’s seasons.  Early last spring the question focused on where and how I want to live in my next phase?

A lesser footprint and greater communality seemed ideal!

Thus I began reading cohousing books and, as I searched for cohousing groups in this area, I stumbled upon the PCH website.  Once I’d filled out a form and met with a few people in an introductory meeting, I started to attend the PCH general circle meetings whenever I could. My learning curve into this thing called cohousing with its NVC and Sociocracy was steep, actually quite overwhelming.  However, the group is welcoming, enthusiastic, dedicated and gracious toward all who show up on the Zoom screen and helped me to move forward.

At the moment, I’m still trying to catch up on many aspects of cohousing and together we’re still figuring out how to get this particular community off the ground.  Yet, early October I officially joined as an Explorer because I’ve come to believe that this group is working toward beautiful community life and it’s exciting to be part of that process.

What did I do this fall? (Rhonda)

This fall I found myself far from Puyallup, from Washington, and from the US.  I spent six weeks in Spain walking the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied-du-Port to Santiago.  500 miles.  What a unique opportunity to test my strength and determination and to experience what thousands of people over thousands of years have experienced. 

We passed through mountains and vineyards and woods and plateaus.  We saw old towns and modern towns and many many churches.  We spent most nights in bunkbeds in hostels with occasional nights in apartments or hotels.  The people in the towns we passed through were friendly and welcoming, as were the other pilgrims we met. 

The thing I took away from this trip was the sense of people helping each other, bonding together as a community with people I had only just met.  Often I didn’t even know their names, but we were all on this journey together and were looking out for each other.  Maybe a bit like cohousing.

August 2023 Newsletter

 This page is to tell you about what’s happening now.   We are happy to have this opportunity to keep you up to date on our progress and to invite your input as we move closer to establishing this community.

August 2023

There are many hurdles to leap over and many hoops to jump through in any construction project and we are working our way over and through these.  Many engineering studies need to be carried out to determine the feasibility of a project like ours and we’ve completed the first set with the help and advice of our Civil Engineering firm.  We have had two preliminary meetings with Pierce County to share our results and they have given us very positive feedback.  That said: there’s lots more work to come!

We have just approved a membership process that will start October 1, 2023.  You can take a look our process at the bottom of the tab labeled ‘How to join’.  (The membership process is conveniently located just below the form for you to fill in to express interest in our project!)  We will have an opportunity to become members and join the queue for purchasing units as we move closer to construction.

 We are currently working on the site plan – where does everything go on the property?  Now is the time to brainstorm about how our developed property will look. We’re looking at things that will need to be decided in order to forecast our costs and schedule.  Things like: sizes of homes; one or two stories; detached single family or plexes; condos or co-ops; …and LOTS MORE!

 We know the development phase isn’t for everyone.  If this isn’t the right time for you, keep us in mind and check back on this newsletter page from time to time to see how we are progressing. 

For those who are excited about the potential and ready to participate more in the process, please contact us using the contact form under How to Join.