Letter Re: Multiple Families on Your Retreat

Hi.

The article on Multiple Families was very good. We, too, live at our retreat. We’ve been working for five years to make this 9000 ft elevation retreat sustainable and may someday write about lessons learned, but for now we just want to respond to Farmer Brown. He was very generous to invite someone in to partner on the ranch, especially since the infrastructure he owns is a very expensive venture– one not shared by the new family. We believe we solved this issue in that we developed a co-op and invited a number of small families from our church to participate. We’ve done this for two years now and have had a chance to watch their work ethic, to see how dedicated they are to accomplishing tasks, and how they work together with or without our guidance. (A few times we were out of town and they had to figure out what to do with themselves, and they made us proud.) Some of them are as poor as church mice, while others just aren’t self-motivated; they need guidance to buy this or that. Still others are working their fingers to the bone trying to establish their own retreat in the city. They all have expertise in various areas necessary to survival. But we haven’t gone that extra step, as Farmer Brown suggested, and written up anything formal or set out specific tasks if/when we should all live together. Some in the group won’t need that and others won’t see what needs doing. But, we think, we do have a handle on whether these specific people will work well in a grid-down situation, after working with them for an extended time.

Thanks for this blog. It is VERY helpful. – S.

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