Monthly Archives: May 2010

Mr. Lincoln

For those of you who requested a photo Mr. Lincoln–or for those of you too polite to ask–here he is, my borrowed stud goat.

At first I was a little worried. After meeting Ginger and Bebe, he wandered over to the manger and started eating alfalfa, without a sideways glance. He was really into the alfalfa. I mean, sure a few hours later he drank some of Ginger’s urine but then he went back to the manger for another snack. I told my farmer friend Abeni and she said in an old man voice, “Hmm, I know just the type! He’s like, ‘well now wait a minute, let me get some food here and then I’ll take a nap…'”. We cracked up laughing.

But I wanted action! I needed Mr. L to get going so my goats would be bred before I set off on my book tour. Luckily, just his majestic presence was enough to throw both my ladies into heat. I woke up this morning to Bebe howling and Ginger yelping. Mr. Lincoln did that crazy tongue thing and I knew that soon mounting would commence. I didn’t take photos, you’re going to have to use your imaginations!

Look for kids in the very odd month of November.

Next Farmstand: May 29

Guess what? The paperback version of Farm City is out in stores starting today! The softcover version features an air-brushed photo of me on the backcover. Bill said it looked like I had a face-lift. But so what? The paperback is very affordable at $16, so I’m pretty excited and hope to sell a bunch of copies.

With that in mind, I’ll be popping up at 665 28th street to sell some farm produce like leeks, baby greens, salad mix, and fava beans AND copies of Farm City, both hard and softcover. Feel free to stop by from 10am-2pm on saturday may 29. There won’t be tours, but I might be convinced to bring out a very special guest we have at the farm (ssshhhh….)–his name is Mr. Lincoln. “At your stud service, m’am.” Because Bebe and Gingey still aren’t knocked up, even after a month of vacation in Vacaville. I’m getting desperate.

In other news, there’s a very cool City Slicker Fundraiser that you must attend. I’ll be there, snarfing up all the food! Willow and I might do a little soft shoe for our presentation. I’m pretty sure it’s tax-deductible, too.


Join us Friday June 4th, from 6-10pm
for a night of culture and entertainment.

There will be music, art, a four course fermented feast
with locally crafted fermented drinks and guest speakers Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City, and Willow Rosenthal, founder of City Slicker Farms, plus a CSF Backyard Gardener to speak about their program.

It’s sure to be a great night, so spread the word, tell your friends and come on out!

Tickets are $75 and available HERE. Kids accompanied by parents get in free.

Ferment Change is an annual celebration
of fermented foods and urban agriculture benefiting the work of City Slicker Farms.

Location: St. Paul’s Episcopal School – Parish Hall, 116 Montecito Ave., Oakland

An outdoor reception,
hors d’oeuvres, music and a silent art auction.

A four course dinner of…

· Sprouted Pea Bisque w/ a simple red cabbage kraut and pea shoot garnish. Served with rustic sourdough rolls and Straus butter.

· A Salad of Little City Garden Greens w/ spiced walnuts and chevre; tossed w/ a Fuyu persimmon vinaigrette.

· A main course of Dijon-braised tempeh triangles with peach chutney, slow roasted root vegetables in an herbed Champagne vinaigrette w/a side of steamed greens and pickled sea vegetables.

· Chocolate cake drizzled with a local honey-oat yogurt glaze and TripleSec roasted Swanton strawberries.

Plus a sample of locally fermented krauts and plenty of homebrew, ginger beer, and Kombucha!

8:30-9:30pm: Guest Speakers

Tickets are $75 and available from Brown Paper Tickets HERE.

I Heart the Tooling Lending Library

In the middle of chaos came Shirley. I was washing salad greens for the Pop Up General store and someone knocked on the door. I’m like, “Who that?” from the top of the stairs, and then just another polite knock. So I went downstairs and there she was: the (relatively) new owner of the lot. “Shirley?” I said, and she nodded. Dreading condos, but knowing the real reason why she had come over, I asked how she was doing, and told her to come out into the garden, as I had a gift for her. I dashed upstairs and got a vase and scissors. Her timing really could not have been more perfect. The orange tiger lilies which she asked me to plant for her were in full glorious bloom. I arranged a vase of the flowers for her, and then we talked about the property.

I really needed to mow down all the weeds in the strip next to the sidewalk, Shirley told me. I know, I know, I said, but I don’t have any time. Then she looked confused: “But what about all the time you spent in here, growing stuff?” she laughed. “I mean, I don’t have time for maintenance,” I giggled. You know how there’s this thing that is really bugging you–some chore that you really need to take care of but never get around to it? Cutting grass is like that for me, I avoid it until it’s too late. Then I gave her a copy of Farm City, just so she would know the whole story.

OK, I thought, after she left, now with a fire under my ass to tidy up the place. I better find my machete. But I couldn’t locate it. Then I remembered the Tool Lending Library in Temescal. The history of the library is cool: after the 1991 fire in the Oakland Hills, they wanted to set up a resource center for rebuilding. It didn’t take hold and get fully funded through the library until 2000. Anyway, I ran down there, signed up, rented two hand tools. The next day I could return the hand tools and will have earned the right to rent a power tool. A juicy WeedWacker! These grasses and weeds were huge. The next day, my savior was there, cleaned and ready. It only took me half an hour to wack it back, and then some weeds out in the garden too. What a relief, and thank the ghods for Oakland’s Tool Lending Library! As for condos? Shirley told me not this year.

If you want to find out more about the TLL, click here.  They do have weird hours, so check the website before hustling down there.

Hello Again

Whoa, I think I went through a time warp and lost a couple of weeks. Springtime is a crazy season for any farmer, and I’ve been doing a lot of book-related travel, which has compounded the problem. Ghosttown Farm has gone pretty quiet, too, while I’ve been traveling to New York, and spending a week at primitive skills camp (which was mind-blowing, more on that later…). The rabbits are now at LaBrie Farm in San Lorenzo, which will most likely be a permanent change. The goats are still up north getting stud service, as no one has gone into heat yet. Here are some of Bebe and Ginger’s suitors.

In other farm news, the Muscovy ducklings arrived, and here they are in their duck car.

Problem with the duck car: the windows have to be cracked so it doesn’t get too hot in there, and one night we think a rat got in and killed three of the little guys. So tragic. The rats in the garden have gotten really aggressive ever since I stopped doing food waste composting out there, which was basically their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So I’m guessing they smelled the ducks (and the duck food) and went into the car. I’m pretty bummed about the whole thing. So now the ducklings are over at Abeni’s house until they get big enough to bring back to my place. In the meantime, I’ve taken to setting rat traps and feel a bit Charbonneau when I go out to check my traps.

Besides that, the mad schedule continues! In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following places:

May 11, 12:30

Ecotopia revisited: A conversation with Ernest Callenbach and Novella Carpenter

Join us for an on-stage conversation with Ernest Callenbach, author of the cult-classic, Ecotopia, and Novella Carpenter, an urban farmer and author of Farm City. With its vision of white bicycles, a creek running down Market Street and a female president, Ecotopia (dubbed “the novel that predicted Portland” by New York Times writer Scott Timberg) has gained renewed attention in recent years as urbanists and naturalists alike consider a dizzying array of strategies for living in a resource-constrained world. Where are we now, relative to Callenbach’s vision of the future?
654 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94105-4015

May 12, 6:30pm

CommonWealth Club, The Commonwealth Club is at 595 Market St. in SF, Second Floor

Panel Discussion with:

Jason Mark, Co-manager, Alemany Farm; Editor-in-Chief, Earth Island Journal
Novella Carpenter, Author, Farm City
Christopher Burley, Founder, Hayes Valley Farm
David Gavrich (aka The Goat Whisperer), Founder, City Grazing

Sarah Rich, Writer; Editor; Co-founder, The Foodprint Project; Co-author, Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century – Moderato

May 14, 5:30 PM Olympia Public Library, 313 8th Avenue SE, Oly, WA

May 15, Keynote Speaker, Write in the Woods, Shelton, WA 12:00; Reading and Paperback Release party at Sage Books, Shelton, WA

May 17th, 8 p.m, Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa Street, San Francisco

Porchlight Reading Series: The Last Taboo, Stories about Money

We wish for it, complain about it, lose it, watch it get burned up, and constantly agree it can’t buy us happiness or love. Oh, money! Tonight we will count the ways you taunt us!

Featuring stories from:

Journalist/Farmer Novella Carpenter

Columnist/Blogger Ramona Emerson

Public Health Entrepeneur David Grosof

Comedian/Actor David Moss

S.F. Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond

Broadcast Producer/Professional Dilettante Jenn Suttlemyr

General admission tickets: $12. Buy tickets in advance here. Tickets may also be available at the door.

Ages 21 and up.

May 19, Pop-Up General Store, 5-7pm

Grace Street Catering, 4629 MLK at 47th Street

I will be selling salad mix, braising greens, leeks, and fava beans! Hope to see you

May 20, 6:30-8pm at Revival Bar at 2120 Shattuck, Berkeley

“Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat,” is a new book by author and sustainable food activist, Temra Costa. Join Costa and inspirational, local women in celebration of the book’s release.

May 22, SF’s Free Farm fundraiser @ 999 Eddy Street, San Francisco

3:30 Talk by Novella Carpenter, Author of Farm City

Music Provided by: Lia Rose

Food Donated by: farm:table, Mama’s on Washington Square, Greens, Maggie Mudd, and Bi Rite Market.

A family friendly afternoon at the Free Farm. Join us for food, wine and coffee tasting, Carla’s kid’s corner and more