For any forming cohousing community, finding a building site is a big event. Skagit Cohousing is especially blessed to find land nurtured for the past 30 years by Ann and Bill Testerman. After raising their children (and many animals) on their 4 plus acres, Ann and Bill decided that in their retirement, it was time to downsize and adopt a lifestyle less tied to the land and nearer family. Many couples would consult a realtor, put up a "for sale" sign, look for the highest price purchaser, and be on their way. Bill and Ann do things differently. They looked around them at the new single family homes and large condo developments that had replaced the neighborhood of open spaces over the years and considered how their land might be used in a way that better reflected their values of caring for others and the environment. They heard about cohousing and decided that this model of supportive neighbors and care for the environment fit the vision they had for the future of their much loved Alpenglow Acres. They worked with Skagit Cohousing, the City of Anacortes and financing to make it possible to move forward to the recently signed purchase and sale agreement.
I have walked this property many times in the last months and become increasingly aware of its spirit of peace and nurture. Just out of the car, I see the sign indicating that this is a certified backyard habitat. In early spring, yellow daffodils were everywhere. Ann explained that when the condos next door were in development, quantities of naturalized daffodils were about to be destroyed. Ann transplanted them in beds and around the fruit trees. Two orchards produce apples, pears, plums and cherries in abundance. Raised beds produce vegetables and berries. What a legacy for a cohousing community! Near the garden is a small cabin with a loft. Ann tells of the many hours her daughters spent here playing “Little House on the Prairie”. I can almost hear their joy. On clear days, awesome Mt. Baker is visible in the distance.
We know that this landscape will change dramatically in the next few years in order to make way for a new life as a cohousing community. I believe, though, that our lives in this place will always be influenced by the loving care of the past 30 years. We welcome new members to join us in shaping this new neighborhood.