My husband and I (Mike & Emma) decided to join Treehouse Village and raise our children among neighbours who share the commitment to our core values, including the intention to share resources and joy. We know we are more likely to achieve our goals with the help of this growing village.The Cohousing Colour Challenge is an example of the kind of positive peer pressure we are seeking in action.
While we all are isolating at home, the pandemic hasn’t stopped Treehouse Villagers from strengthening our community. When Cate emailed with the invitation to take on the colour challenge, I was thrilled to see her family’s pink pose, but reluctant to join in. It was only after the “reply alls” filled my inbox from members stepping up to the challenge that I was nudged to play along.
Here are a few snippets from behind the scenes as member households rallied together across multiple time zones to have some fun:
We thought RED would be good for us Parrys as we have a lot of red and it’s a socialist colour. We decided to stage our picture against the red brick back wall of our house, and draped a few red throws, cushions and our Christmas tablecloth over our deck furniture which gave us our backdrop. It was VE Bank Holiday in the UK, remembering 75 years since the end of World War II, so we had our flags at the ready anyway to put up – Canadian and English to mark our heritage. To fill our scene we gathered all the red we could find including: suitcases, a bread bin, a self-painted pottery gnome, the complete works of Shakespeare, a Nintendo Switch case, strawberries in pie dish, watermelon slices, bottles of raspberry vodka, ketchup and passata, lip balm and a much used Typhoo tea tin. We dressed in our finest red, painted our nails (Mandy and Violet only) and went to town with red hair chalk. We made a wobbly red strawberry jelly and then Mark was inspired to find his red chainsaw, which prompted Mandy to put her old school tie around his head, Rambo style. Our dogs Blackberry and Buddy were fed lumps of cheese to keep them in position on their bright red dog cushion while we shouted cheese to take the photo – alas in the final photo you can barely make them out at the bottom, but they were there!
When we heard that ORANGE was still available we had to jump in and do it. It turns out that orange does a good job of representing various stages in our life. The orange recumbent bike and thermarest are from our 16-month bike trip around the world, the orange “MaxTrax” vehicle recovery boards are from our self-designed and built adventure van which is our current preferred method of experiencing nature. In winter, we love to cross country ski. We also discovered a bunch of orange tools, from different manufacturers, purchased for our various home improvement projects.
The Savage Mackenzies chose YELLOW. With Mike at work-from-home and Tilly napping, Rosie and I set out on a scavenger hunt throughout Granny and Grampy’s entire house for all things yellow. First to the toy box to build a yellow Lego tower. With a yellow bag in hand, we searched the kitchen cupboards and junk drawer. We picked up yarns and bins from the craft room. We decided not to include our yellow rubber roots and garden tools (covered in mud) as the photo shoot was taking place inside in the yellow bedroom. Lastly, we searched upstairs for favourite bedtime books and yellow clothing for everyone, including the sweater off my mum’s back. Once Tilly woke from her nap, we changed her into her yellow diaper, arranged all our items in the yellow bedroom, on the yellow bedspread, and captured our first family photo of four. The banana started as a prop, but was consumed during the process.
The Dillon/Stoker-Lavelle household chose GREEN, inspired by a few favourite toys and a retro velvet green rocker that Libby scored at a garage sale four years ago. Sophie and Libby started hunting around the house for green toys and objects and our miscellaneous green pile grew in a corner for three days. On Mother’s Day we hauled the heavy rocker outside along with a frog, a dragon, some homemade playdough, a large houseplant and a smattering of random green items. We experimented with three different backdrops outside until we settled on the lake view with a half-broken see-saw as a prop. We live on a small lake in northern Saskatchewan and there was still ice on the lake at that time, and Dan thought we should try to set up right on the ice. He soon found out that this was not going to happen when he sunk down to his knees in slush!
The McQueen and Stonham households never shy away from a challenge! We eagerly started collecting BLUE items, and picked a sunny day to gather things on the deck. All was going well until Alfie decided he needed to nurse at the very same moment that David realized a shadow was beginning to creep over our beautiful arrangement! A mad panic ensued, but we prevailed… after several failed attempts to get our phone to automatically take a photo at the sound of the word “Cheese!” The neighbours must have thought we were mad!
Let’s do Blue! No, that’s too easy for us. A quick scan around and we hone in on Dylan’s pink GT Racer. How about PINK?!! Now, there’s a challenge! …. Or so we thought. Little did we know how much pink we’d find all over our house! What fun we had digging in draws, cupboards, medicine cabinets, and tickle trunks to find a plethora of pink. The small details had us in stitches just setting it up: pink-eye drops, icing sugar, pink canned salmon, and of course, la piece de resistance: the calamine lotion! We could barely hold ourselves together (especially Dylan, boiling in his winter wear, and Leon, size M11 feet stuffed into my W8 rubber boots).
Is doing a rainbow challenge silly? Yes it is, and that is exactly the point: it is an example of sharing joy. In these uncertain days of the pandemic, I could use more fun and laughter in my life. Being a part of this growing community gives me and my family more opportunities to participate in activities that make me happier, but can be harder to self-start, like taking a family photo in a colour of the rainbow. At Treehouse Village, we are building a community that is committed to fostering happier and healthier lives. You can be part of that.