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


20 responses to “Hello Again

  1. What about getting some hardwire cloth, the kind used to make screen bottom boards and make some time of screen to cover the windows so the rats can’t get in but the heat can escape.

  2. This is very interesting. My local library in Olympia WA has been claiming that you would be here May 15. I wonder now if that’s actually true.

  3. It’s too bad you can’t train a wolf to eat only rats, and not live stock. Predator birds maybe? Tricky area for that I guess.

  4. The rats are my big mental block when it comes to urban farming. I have a blood-chilling phobia of them and besides that, they disgust me. I live in San Francisco, used to live in the Presidio where they and their mites were trying to take over the street where we lived. Now I have had to seriously limit my vegetable pots on my back deck because I found all my cherry tomatoes picked off the vine and stacked in a pile of rat droppings on my neighbor’s back steps. Disgusting! I now grow herbs, blueberries and artichokes and they seem to leave those alone. We set traps on our steps and bug our neighbors to do the same. We have caught 9 in the past few months. YUCK! We have barely any sun in our patch of patio, but I daydream about living off my vegetable garden and chicken coops someday (when we move to a place with a yard). Do I have any hope of making this a reality without having to deal with rats? So sorry about your ducklings… Damn Rats!

  5. one word for rats (ok maybe 3 or 4 or more)–cats!!! (at least feral/field/barn cats–those born to those that have to hunt to live). Every year I have had to deal/trap the rats that nested in our sheds in the winter, but not this year–we have “pallet pile” kittens whose mere presence have kept the rats at bay. No “house kitties” for this job!

  6. ghosttownfarm

    hey guys;
    thanks for the rat tips! sadly, rats are almost always part of the scene in the city (and the country–i’ve seen some big tooth marks in some rural pumpkins). they just love us humans.
    i will be in olympia! i just didn’t want to overload people. will post about that trip sooon….

  7. Sad is when the rats eat your peaches just before they reach perfect ripeness 😦

  8. Rat terrier

  9. Want to borrow my dog? She’s great around livestock and great with killing rodents of any kind.

  10. rats just ate throw my neighbors’ (kenny and maggie) sewer pipes, they can eat threw anything except steel. cats nest with our chickens and keep out the rats that we have near the river.

    those studs look like cute, trendy goat boys! the girls should be in lurve when they get a sniff of those billies!

    have a great time in Olympia and shelto (i cant get that courtney love song out of my head… “when i went to school in Olympia..” gah!

    ps tried to call you but you didnt answer so amaya left you some babble and heavy breathing

  11. Barn owls barn owls barn owls. There was a group devoted to keeping them in Berkeley–haven’t figured out if it’s still active. But man, we gotta get more of these wonderful birds breeding and living among us.

  12. pps sorry about my bad grammar day *through* instead of throw, threw, etc. spoke bad grammar french all day, it rubs off onto my everyday life

    barn owls sound fantastic!!

  13. omg veller, we read ecotopia in 12th grade and i was obsessed with it. i wish i could have come and watched you and ernest in convo!!!

  14. oh see! Nasty rats!!

  15. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, iwspo.net

  16. Rats are nice pets but they are trouble as they are way too smart;) I’m sorry that your ducklings have gotten aten. We are expecting 6 next week. We have meat rabbits and as I type I have a pregnant doe trimming my grass;)

  17. Just finished your book on the plane back to Seattle. Missed you in Shelton by one day! Loved the book! We have lent our land for honeybees and though my husband would never admit it, he’s clearing the land for the chicken coop right now.

    So much loss in your book – it made me sad but stronger somehow. Thank you for all your hard work and willingness to do and live in a place where many wouldn’t.

  18. thecoolkat

    Hi Novella,

    Thanks a million for inspiring me!!!! You’re amazing!


  19. I just had to stop by and say that I loved your book! I bought it off of Amazon the same day I ordered my own Ducks & Geese, I guess I am on my way to becoming a true urban farmer and am glad that I could learn some lessons through your writings. I hope you some day make it to San Diego!

  20. Thanks a million for inspiring me!!!! You’re amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s