Happy Summer Solstice

Ahh, it’s officially summer again. Just like a new year, the summer solstice always makes me want to write lists of things and projects to do. For some reason, every summer I forget that it’ll be over soon and that the rains will come and so I should do as much as possible now. Here’s my list o’things to do before the days shorten and I lose my momentum.

1. New t-shirt design. How lucky I am that a woman who buys chicken feed from us at the Biofuel Oasis is also a talented artist! We struck up a conversation and came up with a barter: she makes me a logo for Ghost Town Farm, I give her stuff from the farm. Here’s the new design, which will be on t-shirts and for sale soon. Thank you Miriam Stahl, you rock star.


2. Finally build that cob oven. When I posted about the cob oven in January, lo and behold, a talented potter called me up and offered to help build it. We’ve had a couple of consultations, and I’m just building the urbanite (broken concrete) foundation. The end of next week, we’ll be mixing up the cob and making the oven. Thanks to the fire marshall’s visit, I’ve place the oven Very Far Away From the House. If you’re reading Victor–it’s all good.

3. Build an outdoor rabbit area in the backyard. I’ve realized that I had a lot of unused space in the backyard. Namely, a back fence that could have an elevated rabbit run. That way the chickens could sift through the bunny droppings.

4. Have a big tour on July 5. I’m helping with an Outstanding in the Field dinner on July 5, partnering with my soul sister, Nicole LoBue, to bring some urban ag snacks to the table. The event is happening at a winery in Berkeley, but people will be coming by GhosttownFarm for tours. In the interest of stacking functions, I’m going to open up the farm that day to everyone. I’ll be busy in the next weeks making signage and a donation jar. Open Farm day, July 5, 10-2.

5. Buy a new milk goat. I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be buying a doe from Castle Rock Nigerians. I really want a herd of three goats in my backyard, and it looks like that dream in coming true in the next few weeks. And like I told people who took my goat class this weekend, it is a good idea to buy really good breeding stock–something I didn’t do and am now correcting after two years of sub-par goats (cover your eyes, Bebe, I still love you). Thanks Sarah!

6. Go camping/learning about wild food. I realized this spring at the Buckeye Gathering of Primitive Skills, that I don’t get out into nature as much as I should, and I’ve been craving it. So I’m going to make it a point to find camping spots that I can ride my bike/take BART to this summer. Bill and I have always talked about hiking that green belt that runs along the East Bay, and maybe this July it will happen. I met a new cool herbalist, Tellur Fenner, at Buckeye who leads urban herbal walks, so I’m excited to learn more about that. He lives just around the block, and brings classes to my garden and assures me that wild radish is delicious.

Whew, I’m going to stop there. I’m sure more projects will present themselves as the long hot days of summer continue. Happy solstice, now what are your plans?

16 responses to “Happy Summer Solstice

  1. Briones in Contra Costa County has some fabulous hiking areas along with some camping spots. I used to spend every day after work hiking around there. I wish I was closer now.

  2. Wow! Your summer sounds like it’s going to rock! My will just roll toward getting it all together. Wednesday we are taking delivery on our first quarter grass fed, field harvested beef and I am pretty psyched about that. My garden is doing well but since I’m still learning the whole succession planting/year round gardening thing, I won’t do bees and chickens until next late winter.

    Hey I read somewhere that rabbits need to eat their night poop to re-digest it- if they don’t have access to it they can die of malnutrition. Can’t remember where I read it and thought it was pretty gross at the time, but made a mental note to remember it for when I do rabbits (if I do rabbits). Chicken picking through rabbit poop is probably a good idea; just as long as it’s day poop….

  3. That graphic design is totally cool! I’ll have to buy a t-shirt before I head back to Seattle…

  4. Beyond serious dissertation work, I’m planning on setting up a worm composter, getting my hands on a sun oven and learning how to use it, and learning how to can/preserve. There are a few other things I’d like to do, but those are the big ones for now.

  5. love the new design! i have been making lists too. going to build a duck house that is rat/weasel/ferret proof, fix the chicken house and turn it into a goat house-run and amaya really wants to go camping so we’ll do that in the garden overnight just for fun. benji has an ensuite bathroom to build and he is making his own lists for that and i’m going to do a tadelakt finish made from scratch on all the walls and floors of the bathroom. it’s going to be a very busy summer!

  6. I’m so glad your oven project will work out after all. I’m planning one this summer too. I’ve also got a cob cottage that needs roofing, but, ya know…priorities. Pizza before shelter.

  7. I’m trying to figure out how to obtain a stock tank on-the-cheap to set up a rainwater harvest system for my garden…Rain barrels purchased from garden centers seem way too expensive (and often too small to bother with) when you can retrofit any large container .

    Also, hoping to get out hiking/backpacking into some wild country as well. Here’s to hoping you’re able to make time to get out this summer :)

  8. Hi! I’m SO happy to have found your blog. I just listened to your book and loved it. It changed the way I view our suburban home (and probably saved us a ton of hassle).
    I’m curious about your living situation now. It seems like you were talking about moving in the end of your book, but I can’t remember for sure and I got it from the library …
    But really I’m curious about getting a goat or small sheep myself, what are you raising it on? Do you have grass or are you bringing in food?
    I just started making cheese too, how I’d love to have some fresh milk from my own goats to use!

  9. Marnie Jackson

    I am loving your book and going to recommend it to all folks in our cow share group! We live in West Marin albeit not urban like Oakland our 10 families share a Jersey cow and her calf and are having an adventure in milk, cheese,icecream and moss art graffiti. Love more books from you or ones you’d recommend?

  10. I just read your book, which I loved and which inspired and comforted me. We live in an awesome urban neighborhood too, and aspire to farming there. Just helped some refugee friends harvest a wild urban rooster who had been hanging around a little too long.
    plans: make housing for rabbits, discreet, start small,
    dig more garden beds,
    keep up with all the garden we’ve started,
    try to blog more often.
    harvest mullberries from vacant lots around our block,
    breathe.
    thanks!

  11. My plans are to try and move the plants around this weekend so perhaps we’ll have some veggies at some point! That and a lot of baking, prepping for this next week using all our fresh local food!

  12. Oh, the cob oven, can’t wait to see that!! That’s an excellent summer project. We’ve had so much rain here in WA the past months that I’ve decided it’s time to get the greenhouse built so we can grow our food without so much worry over the rains washing it away. Kevin wants to get more chickens and I really want to find a way to have a goat….I’ve got cheesemaking on the brain!

  13. hey guys!
    glad everyone is thinking summer projects, too.
    jen: you’ll need two or more caprine friends (they will die of lonliness if alone) and i do buy hay from my local hay dealer, supplemented with found leaves/branches. i love my goats, it’s very special, but a lot of work.
    marnie: here are some books i love/inspired me: encyclopedia of country living (a how-to book) betty macdonald’s the egg and i (kind of dated, but still pretty funny) and the jump off creek (molly gloss, a novel about a woman homesteader with goats).
    i’ll be posting soon about the cob oven!!

  14. My boyfriend and I stumbled on your book last year… back when it was the two of us, three house cats and a philodendron. Well, THANKS! I’ve been up since six planting corrots and beets on top of mucking and feeding our ten ducks and two (WONDERFUL) goats. I’ve never been happier.
    Have you seen Kiko Denzer’s book on earth ovens? Amazing pics. Good luck!!

  15. I actually planted carrots, though give my pre-coffee status, they could have corrots…

  16. ghosttownfarm

    hey teanna;
    sweet–where do you live?
    yes, i have the kiko book–and it’s what we’re following during the build. i even went to an event where kiko was building an oven. he does a really good job.

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