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News from Prairie Hill

Dear Friends,

Exciting things are happening here in our front yard! Early last month, we broke ground for our next building. It's fascinating to watch the daily progress as a steady stream of bulldozers and cranes, dump trucks and cement mixers travel to and from the site.

This building will be home for four households. Could this be YOUR new home? Think about it! Are you ready for the next big step in your life? Are you looking to be part of a welcoming community that is committed to a more sustainable lifestyle?

At Prairie Hill you can plant a garden, raise a family, form deep friendships, and find your home in community. We only have four units left, so now's the time! If you'd like us to send you information on floorplans and pricing, shoot us an email at We would love to show you around—either virtually or in person. Come enjoy the view from the top of our hill and see if this might be a good place for you to come home to.

The excavator is scooping up a treasure trove of rich topsoil taken from other areas of the site. Our contractor, Apex Construction, will return the soil to us once construction is complete.
The hole gets bigger every day!
The outline of the building is beginning to take shape. Come by and see the latest progress.

Video: Prairie Hill featured on City Channel 4

Reporter Jack Brooks did a great job capturing the essence of Prairie Hill in this in-depth report for City Channel 4. Be sure to check it out! You'll quickly see why we love it here!

Link to video

Upcoming events at Prairie Hill

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

6:00-7:30 p.m.

Find out about cohousing. How does it work? Do you have your own kitchen? How is it different from owning a condo? What it's like to have someone else cook dinner for you once a week? Text Val Bowman at 916-751-9188 or write to us at to get a link to this event.

March Meet and Greet

Saturday, March 26
10:00-11:30 a.m.

Come meet some of the people who live at Prairie Hill. Find out what life is like here. To get the link to this Zoom event, send a text to Val Bowman at 916-751-9188 or write to us at

Photo by Seth Cottle.

Dirt! Lessons from the soil around us

By Nan Fawcett

Sometimes I just wish our current civilization could start again, all of us beginning as simple humans with simple lives, living as part of the environment, interacting with life around us, learning from it, depending upon it. We need an experiential tutorial about living on earth. After centuries of separation from our roots, learning from our childhood that we are separate and above the rest of nature, it's a hard mindset to change. It is not my fault or your fault. But we do have to figure out how to change our perceptions of our place in the world. Otherwise we can't survive. It's that simple, unfortunately.

Soil is the cradle of life

Just like we seldom see or even think about the ecosystem we inhabit, we are similarly cut off from the awareness of what's under our feet. Since most of us live in cities and are surrounded with paved landscapes, the appearance of bare land might actually be a bit repellent to us. Yet dirt is where we all come from. It's the cradle of life. And the health of the dirt under our feet is incredibly important. It is the birthplace of everything.

Here at Prairie Hill, a few of us are wanting to find out more about our dirt. From the beginning of our project, we have wanted to be an example of good ecosystem stewardship. We received a grant that helped us plant native low-growing grasses around our buildings: buffalo grass and blue gramma. Native plants have much deeper roots, sucking up the rain, keeping it in the soil instead of allowing it to run off. And short native grasses eventually don't need to be mowed, saving on fuel and air pollution. This effort to plant natives was a great idea, but it's not been so easy to achieve success. It takes a long time for these grasses to get established. Years. And in the meantime, other plants try to take over. So we've had years of hand-weeding our lawns, replanting, and scratching our heads. 

Envisioning a variety of native plants

Just recently we have begun to envision different patches of taller natives, flowering forbs. We've brainstormed about how to get these new seeds to thrive without the use of herbicides. After much research and discussion, we’re poised to start planting once temperatures begin to break. 

Outside my south door are thirteen flats of planted native forb seeds. Many of these will have beautiful flowers if they do well. Currently, they’re covered with straw to protect them from drying out. But they need a couple months of winterizing (stratification) before they will be able to germinate. In a month or two, we might begin to see little sprouts. And by then, we'll have more of an idea of where each variety will do best here at Prairie Hill. We know that these things take time, so we're cultivating patience as well as plants. In a few years, we may have a breathtaking array of native flowers and grasses covering our land here. That is our hope. 

Read the full post on Nan's blog, Green Tribe of Belonging

Tasty Tuesdays are back!

Our Prairie Hill weekly dinners have been on hiatus for far too long! This week we celebrated being back together in person with a Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday extravaganza. JJ Muxen fixed some of the best gumbo this side of the Mississippi. And she baked a King Cake with the traditional plastic baby baked inside! Jeanette Corley got the slice with the baby. So, according to legend, this means Jeanette will have good luck and prosperity in the coming year—and she's now designated to bake next year's cake!

It's the first warm day!

Bright sunshine and warm temperatures lured lots of people outdoors—some to bike, some to take a walk, and a few to peek under the garden mulch to see if there might be an early sign of springtime. We hope you're enjoying the weather wherever you are. Hope to see you soon!

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Iowa City Cohousing · 140 Prairie Hill Ln · Iowa City, IA 52246-2029 · USA

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