A developing intentional community in SE Arizona
Alysion Acres was an attempt to develop a small intentional community, or cooperative living arrangement, (perpetually under growth, renovation, and improvement) for 8 to 15 active, secular-minded, creative adults. Currently we are living in Tucson and developing an urban micro farm, Grammy's Urban Micro Farm, consisting of four 1 to 3 bedroom homes providing room for a small cooperative living arrangement involving a more transient community such as Wwoofers.
At 3700' elevation, it is an oasis in the desert with an artesian well and small ponds. Applicants should be considerate, economy and environmentally minded, curious, productive, appreciators of nature, trustworthy, free-thinkers, and free from substance abuse. Our numbers will include, but are not limited to those with interests in activities such as hiking, birding, horseback riding, amateur astronomy, light construction, pets, gardening, reading, and eclectic movie viewing. Doers and lifelong learners, naturalists, conversationalists, conservationists, educators, skeptics, tinkerers, scientists, inventors, healthcare professionals, visionaries, sailors, rationalists, scholars, gardeners, photographers, culinary artists, authors, artists, and the like, who enjoy both solitary and group activities, are invited. Basically we have 18 rural acres next to 57,000 acres of Riparian National Conservation Area and are wanting to share.
We (owners Sue and Eric) are currently in a development/construction phase and so pioneer-types interested in remodeling, design, and building are encouraged to apply. In April, 2011, Eric was hit by a truck, can no longer work as an RN, and we haven't gotten much done on the Alysion Acres project. We had been living in Tucson, lost our house there to foreclosure, and are now living at Alysion Annex, a 4-bedroom house in nearby St. David with a mobile home on the back of the lot. The previous renter of the house did $14K damage to it, so we're working on it. On the plus side we have two empty bedrooms in the house (Sue, RN, is using one as a community treatment/health ED room), and three in the mobile, so let the community begin. We still have more places available on the 18 acres, but for now the focus of development will be at the Annex and we invite others to join the fun at either place. By others we mean those who have not yet had or have already had kids since the property is not child-proof. Mostly semi-retired types like ourselves, but teachable young adults looking to gain experience—those having fewer needs, stronger backs, lower expectations, and more time than money, would fit in as well. Since we need help with work as well as money to pay taxes/utilities and whatnot, some combination of 'rent' and work exchange is possible.
What we have in mind is not some kind of commune—there is no shared income nor sharing of essentials. The idea is we each have and own what we need, but economize by sharing the extras. We think for the most part everyone (individual or couple) needs, or thinks they need, their own bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette. But not everyone needs their own washer/dryer; not everyone needs a full kitchen, and so on. We have a shared laundry room, and a full kitchen, so if you want to bake a cake or make pizza, that will be entirely doable—a full kitchen, with a mixer, blender, cookware, waffle iron, grinder, pressure cooker, slushy maker and so on and on, can be shared—everyone doesn't have to own 57 gadgets that are seldom used. Likewise we will share our personal library of books, CDs, DVDs, and whatnot. If others would like to make their collections temporarily available for others to borrow, then we all benefit. The same idea applies with our tools, equipment, and toys. We'll share a living room that will include our 8-foot movie/TV projector/home entertainment system—nice, not too extravagant when shared, but not everyone needs their own. It just makes sense to share some things even though this is against the dictates of the consumer society that encourages maximum consumption (as opposed to voluntary simplicity for individuals/couples while sharing the nice-but-not-necessary luxuries). Sharing is an option, however, not a requirement. Nothing is compulsory, you can always opt out of community life when you feel like it, but otherwise it's there to enjoy.
Residences on the 18-acre property include private rooms in a five-bedroom, five-bath (now being upgraded—tile, drywall, laminate flooring) connected mobile homes (with plans to expand and stucco the exterior for a Spainish-style look); two RV spaces; one private mobile home (10'x50'); and one private travel trailer (8'x32'). A number of small, off-the-grid dwellings are possible such as a pit-house (like the local Indians lived in), a Thoreau cabin (10'x15'), a windmill house (with a 40' windmill tower on top), and POD micro-houses (small, mobile, self-contained, minimum foot-print dwellings).
Each bedroom has two key-locked private entrances, private bathroom with shower, and a private kitchenette (sink, counter, cabinet, dorm-size refrigerator, and microwave). Apartments are furnished so people can come, try us out, stay a year or just take a one-month sabbatical. All utilities (electricity, natural gas, pure artesian water, septic service, garbage service, Wi-Fi, and satellite television) are included.
Rent varies with the size of accommodations. Use of all community facilities is included, so it is quite an economical living arrangement as well as one meant to be enjoyable and educational as we interact with one another. The Planet needs a break, and we need to do our part in reducing our collective, increasingly heavy footprint.
Shared community facilities include a private nature preserve, full kitchen, library—Wi-Fi, laptop computer, books, CDs (audiobooks and music), DVDs (movies and educational), computer software, and board games, community room (dining table, game tables, projector screen television) laundry facilities (washer, dryer, clothesline, iron, and ironing board) stocked garden shed (rototiller, garden tools, wheel barrows, weed eater, lawn mower, garden hose), large garden area, artesian ponds and stream, fire pit, barbecue area, outdoor recreation areas (volleyball, horseshoe pit, lawn bowling, croquet), cactus garden, 14-acre wildlife area with nature trails, watering hole, bird feeders, bird bath, deer salt licks, horse facilities (stalls, arena, round pen, hay storage area, feed/tack room, and private access to miles and miles of riding trails), bicycles. Farm equipment includes a backhoe, tractor, farm truck, and utility trailers.
We have a blue-water equipped 32-foot sailboat in Mexico, a 23-foot trailerable pocket cruiser, one 13-foot Hobie Wave, a 16-foot Hobie Cat, and two hookah diving rigs with gear. We are willing to share our sailing and diving knowledge with interested parties. We are camping enthusiasts and have a large stock of camping equipment to share.
The property has private gated access to the 57,000 acre San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area for expansive hiking, birding, and horseback riding opportunities. Use of horse facilities is extra. Bring your own horse or lease/partial lease one of our gentle steeds.
Each individual is expected to contribute 3 hours per person per week, or an acceptable equivalent, in constructive improvements or maintenance to the benefit of the community. Work hours and skills can be used as barter among residents (say you don't have a car, you could offer to work hours for someone who does to take you shopping, etc.). Do the work you like: suggestions include keeping community areas free of weeds, ornamental gardening, creation or improvement of wildlife habitat, painting, producing works of art, librarian, light construction, stucco work, grant writing, creating or maintaining recreation areas, cottage industries to raise funds for building materials, donations of building materials or other community used assets, provide transportation to group activities, or your suggestion. Community members will keep their own log and report their contribution at the weekly meeting or whatever works.
Income Potential: Additional hours may be worked, on an as needed basis, and applied towards a reduction in rent. The 3 hours/week are intended to be fun, do-what-you-want "work." If you work for rent reduction, such time may involve doing what needs to be done, not just what you want to do.
St. David has a weekly Farmer’s Market and jam session every Saturday. The Monastery has art shows twice annually and offers vender spaces. Internet websites are up and running where artists may offer their wares.
Property Potential: Future scheduled development includes an enclosed courtyard, ramps and decking, orchard, greenhouse, outdoor bathrooms, swimming pool, bamboo jungle, Thoreau cabin, electric golf cart wildlife trail, butterfly garden, bluebird trail, purple martin houses, bat houses, gaming room (pool table, ping pong, air hockey), meeting room, small gym, and a workshop. All suggestions for improvements will be entertained.
There is also the potential for a three-acre fishing/canoeing pond in the wildlife preserve area if another artesian well is drilled, a health retreat complex, and/or other cottage industries to provide jobs for those wishing to earn an income through work.
A major possibility of interest, a few years into the future, is to have facilities for a retreat center. Small groups meet and stay for a few days or a week to talk, meditate, figure things out, or whatnot. We have recently been to mindful meditation retreats and think such retreats would fit in well. To cover both East and West interests, we plan to build something like a zendo for East and a Temple to Athena for the West. A Temple to Athena may seem whimsical, but we like to have fun. Plato's Academe was built in a grove dedicated to Athena as Goddess of Wisdom. It was a place where thoughtful people could gather and discuss issues. Sounds good to us. Perhaps octagonal in shape with seating in the round inside. On wall opposite the entrance, a fero-cement life-size or larger statue of Athena behind which a spiral staircase leads up to a small astronomical observatory where those so inclinded my worship the telescope. Inside walls should be shelved for books
Activities could include daily events: Volleyball games, horseshoe tournament, croquet, exercise, lawn bowling, bingo, board games, movie night, book discussion group, pot luck, star gazing, horseback rides, campfire marshmallow roast, hikes, bike rides, bird watching, light construction (birdhouse, bat house, feeders, bluebird boxes, purple martin houses), crafts, canine classes (agility, straight lure coursing, obedience, rally, tracking, protection) scrapbooking, and more. Community members are invited to share their hobbies, skills, and interests.
Weekly community meetings will be held to discuss community direction and development ideas, and solve potential problems. Goals will be set and options will be evaluated and voted upon. Can we create a cohesive group with common goals?
So: Eat, Sleep, Play? Live, Laugh, Love? Work, Earn, Retire? Conceive, Create, Convey? Think, Write, Retire? Think right, Inquire?
Monthly scheduled outings to visit local events and attractions such as:
In Tucson: Biosphere, Pima County Fair. Desert Museum, Reid Park Zoo, Butterfly Garden
In Florence: Renaissance Faire
Wings over Willcox; etc.
In Mexico: Sea of Cortez, Bahia de Kino, etc.
Support this site: Visit our Zazzle store featuring ultra hi-res images of artworks, Hubble/ESA/NASA space images, Mandelbrot fractals, maps and more. Images up to 525 megapixels allow for fine printing at the largest sizes. Consider giving a fine print as a gift that could hang on someone's wall for a hundred years or more.