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News from Prairie Hill

Dear Friends,

September always holds the joys of a new beginning—University of Iowa students return to campus, neighborhood kids head off to school, and Prairie Hill School starts anew. It's a time for new notebooks and fresh ideas. While this year holds concerns of Covid and no mask mandate here in Iowa, those challenges are encouraging innovation and changes. So, take time to look at your world with new eyes and let your creativity flow! And think about joining us here at Prairie Hill. We would love to have you in the neighborhood!

This semester, Francis Gurtz and the kids at Prairie Hill are learning to play the ukelele. They sound good already—just imagine the possibilities!

Upcoming events at Prairie Hill

Information meeting
Wednesday, September 8
6:00-7:30 p.m.

Meet us on Zoom to find out more about cohousing and Prairie Hill in particular. To get the link text Val Bowman at 916-751-9188 or write to us at

Weekend Meet and Greet
Saturday, September 25
10:00-11:30 a.m.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and join us for casual conversation on Zoom. Meet some of the people who live at Prairie Hill. Learn more about why we like it.To get the link text Val Bowman at 916-751-9188 or write to us at

Where's your social comfort zone?

Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or a little bit of both? What kind of social connections are you most comfortable with? Getting to know people through a book group? Working on a committee together? Meeting for coffee? Volunteering in the community? Playing pickleball? Sitting around a dinner table together? Or maybe just waving from the window?

Whatever your social comfort level, you can find your place in cohousing. Here at Prairie Hill, extroverts love that there are people just outside their door. (...Maybe they'd like to go for a walk or a bike ride or go for ice cream...) And introverts love just KNOWING there are people outside their door to engage with if they feel so inclined.

Recently, we've had fun gathering once a week at one of the Prairie Hill "neighborhoods" or home clusters. The photo above was taken at the townhouse gathering. We talk, we sip, we nibble and we go on house tours to see how all our spaces are evolving. Everyone's home is so unique! And it's fascinating to peek out windows and see Prairie Hill from so many different perspectives.
In August, we hosted the First Annual Prairie Hill Tomato Fest, which featured a wide array of great tomato dishes to sample as well as tomato-inspired haiku. Kate Fox choreographed a line dance number to the song “Homegrown Tomatoes." Some of us danced and some enjoyed being part of the audience.
Subhash Jain taught us the basics of pickleball. Unfortunately, we found our makeshift court was not conducive to safe play. After two people left with injuries, we shut down operations. 
"Molly" hanging out at Prairie Hill.

"Molly" talks about her passions

Interview by Nan Fawcett

Molly came whipping across the lower Prairie Hill sidewalk toward my porch on her scooter, trim and colorful as always in her Field of Dreams T-shirt. She is the big sister of Fiona, whom we featured in the last newsletter. And now it’s her turn to shine, though being a shy person (not unusual at Prairie Hill), she’s chosen to be known by the “pen name” of Molly in this newsletter piece. Truly she DOES shine if you’ve ever seen her on the high bars or in a floor exercise gymnastic routine. She is magnificent! And her expertise in gymnastics is what we know most about her. So this was my chance to find out more.

Molly says it is true that gymnastics is her biggest love. She started off on this path when she was 2 years old, at home in Moline, Illinois. When she was 4, she successfully begged her parents to sign her up to work out in a real gym, and one year later she was doing back handsprings. She loved it all. And she remembers that while the other kids were playing around in the foam pit, she was working out on the beams and bars. Now she’s at a very high level indeed and participates in competitions.

I asked Molly what else there is to know about her.  And sure enough, she has a number of interesting skills and passions. She makes clothes for herself. No sewing involved; she ties cloth together to make new outfits. She also invents things. The latest is a pulley made with a metal rod and fabric, which she uses to pull herself up to the high bar. Right now she is taking it easy on her knees, she explains, since she has a temporary case of “jumpers knee.” That came when she did a front flip on a trampoline and landed wrong. But it’s getting better and soon she won’t need to curtail her jumps.

Molly also has a passion for Greek mythology. Her favorite characters are Artemis and Aphrodite. Years ago she checked out a library book about Medusa, and renewed it many times.  It told the story of a beautiful mythical girl who was cursed by Athena. Medusa’s hair turned to snakes, and she was gifted with a strange power: if she looked someone in the eye, they turned to stone. If you want to know more stories from this treasure chest of Greek mythology, go to Molly. She knows much!

Fig and Kit Kat are Molly’s cats. She likes cats a lot because of their calm. As we were winding up our conversation, two dragonflies were dancing above our heads. Some folks say that dragonflies bring good luck, and Molly decided that seeing two at once might bring double good luck. Then she hopped on her scooter and zipped back home.

David Tucker has developed some of the richest soil in Johnson County on a sliver of land at the southeast corner of our site. He's growing some fabulous veggies there. He and Annie Tucker planted this amazing row of sunflowers in honor of Carolyn Stewart Dyer who died last fall. She would have loved it! 
Riverfront Crossings Park, just a mile from Prairie Hill, is perfect for kite flying. Francis is a master at maneuvering this stunt kite through intricate loops and dives. And he's always up for sharing his skills and expertise.
Maybe it's time for YOU to come test the winds and give cohousing a try! Give us a call or meet us on Zoom. We'd love to tell you more.
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Iowa City Cohousing · 140 Prairie Hill Ln · Iowa City, IA 52246-2029 · USA

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