Taking the Summer Off

Hey everyone;

Sorry I’ve been gone so long from the blog. To be honest, the blog isn’t a fun thing for me anymore. Not only do I know that the City of Oakland employees regularly read it, there are the haters so I get upset even reading the comments. For these reasons, I think I’ll retire the blog or just post events once I get my CUP. Just to clarify for the last time: I didn’t get busted for having a business, I got in trouble for growing food and raising livestock in a commercially zoned lot. By the rules now, you can grow and keep livestock at your place of residence, but you can’t keep livestock on a lot without a house on it. That’s why I applied for a CUP. Oakland changed the rules so you can grow vegetables legally on a lot now (when I got in trouble it was illegal).

But that’s not why I’m writing (and that’s why I loathe keeping this blog now–having to constantly defend myself; I’m a lover, not a fighter). I’m writing to say something good has come out of this whole thing with the City.

I figured out that I really shouldn’t grow vegetables during the summer.

Because I’ll had to wait for my CUP for a couple months, I didn’t plant any summer crops save for a few tomatoes, beans, and carrots. Bill looked outside and said, “there’s not much growing out there,” and I said, “I need a break.” I realized that I’m exhausted. Plus, the water bill is huge in the summer. Then I suddenly realized the logic: we can grow year-round here in the Bay Area, which is great, but then you don’t ever get a break. How jealous I am of those East Coasters who get to sit on their asses all winter long and read seed catalogs. So here’s the new plan: Summers Off! I’ll get to travel and take camping trips. I’ll just keep the trees alive by periodic deep watering, and cover crop the rest of the beds. But what about the tomatoes? The summer cucumbers? I will gladly support my local farmers at the farmer’s market. I love it when a plan comes together.

Have a great summer, see you in the fall. For those of you hoping to visit, sorry, no tours until I get my CUP.

117 responses to “Taking the Summer Off

  1. I’ll miss you but enjoy the camping!

  2. You’re prolly not going to read this, but I found that when you have a whole lot to grow on, you should dry farm. I grew tomatoes last year 6 feet apart and never watered once, other than a deep watering when I planted them.

  3. MotherLodeBeth

    Novella you have a lot of good friends because of your blog. To bad you cannot make it a private blog so the mean folks etc cant bother you. Open arms welcome you to the Sierras. You have also caused positive change to come to places like San Francisco, and other cities. And your entire ordeal has caused those of us in rural area to literally stop and say a prayer of thanks that we have so much freedom where we live.

  4. I’m happy to read you’ll be getting some time off but I’m soooo sorry to hear you don’t want to blog anymore. I love your blog and literally check it almost every day hoping for a post. I’m sorry for all your recent troubles but I want you to know your blog and book have inspired me. This is the first year I have put in a real vegetable garden, we’ve planted three new fruit trees this spring, and I’m seriously thinking about some chickens. This is partly because of your writings. I’ll still be checking back periodically hoping for a post and eagerly await your next book. Thank you.

  5. Novella,
    I have been following your blog ever since I read your book last winter. I have never commented, only observed until now. I want you to know that despite the negativity that you have experienced, your influence has been very positive in realms that I’m sure you have not even imagined. I, for example, have always been into farming but have been unable to do it 100% until this year. By your influence and knowledge, I have not only a greater knowledge but a wider appreciation for the importance of what I am doing. Thank you for all of that….I am glad that you know your limitations…this is a healthy attribute and will help you grow old with more wisdom than those who don’t know when to back off. So….here’s a whole lotta love and good vibes to you and yours and may you forever stay a LOVER! Peace and happy farming!

  6. Picked up your book this past winter, bought an 1820s farmhouse on an acre in rural Maine and after setting up the compost system and starting the first of two edible heirloom gardens w/ my permaculture farmer friend Dave am researching chickens and bees for next year. Your life and Ashley’s over at Small Measure have inspired me. Wish that person who had complained had taken the time to sit and have a cup of tea with you first. Sad when uneducated decisions lead to such an undertaking. Also annoying those City officials are reading your blog, because I love your blog. Well..maybe you can secretly find another avenue and PLEASE put out another book. Virtual hug sent!

  7. Rhonda Spencer

    Novella, your writing has brought me enjoyment and knowledge. I’m really glad you have a plan for your summer. Thanks for letting us know the blog will be on partial hiatus; I would’ve wondered a bit.

  8. It is so sad that people can make life so miserable for someone like you. I am so sorry for you. I will miss you greatly. You so inspired me. I got in my car and drove around my neighborhood, looking for a lot to plant on, to create a cooperative garden. My neighborhood is so densely built, I only found one that is fenced to protect it.
    I read other blogs and it is amazing how many haters there are in this world, people who are narcissistic and have nothing better to do (like planting their own garden) than to criticize and poke at others.
    I agree with the comment that people could subscribe and only NICE people would be allowed to view and follow your blog.
    I also understand that the haters have taken all the wind out of your sails.
    I want to continue to read your blog, if you so choose to continue.

  9. Glad you’re taking some time off for you, and I second the positive comments above.

    I have two 10 week Pekin ducks and NO ONE around here knows how to ‘harvest’ them so I said to myself “Carol, if Novella can do it, you can do it” I plan on doing the deed next weekend.

    Thanks for your knowledge, energy and honesty!

  10. Novella–I’ll miss you! But I’ll be happy in the thought that your absence means you are enjoying your “summer off.” ;)

  11. I am so sad and sorry that the haters got to you like this. I’ve always thought you were a make lemonade kind a chick, though, so I’m happy that you have come to a plan that will make you feel good about this. Enjoy your time away, you sure as hell deserve it. And know, that because of what I read in your book, I have given up my legitimate source of income and am farming like a maniac! I started a Farm Camp for kids. I have turkeys to harvest and roosters as well. And, when the time comes, I will hold them close, whisper “thank you” in their ears and be grateful. Thank you for all you have done to inspire the rest of us!
    hugs,
    Pam

  12. The interwebs just got a little less awesome :(

  13. I am truly sorry that you’ve been driven out of blog-dom. Stick around, and don’t worry. This too shall pass

  14. I, too, love it when a plan comes together. If you plan on being in South GA this summer, let us know. We’ll have cukes and tomatoes and other sundry veggies aplenty. We’ll even take you to our budding Farmers Market.
    I totally understand your need for a break. Take one. See the great stuff going on out here and then, maybe, come back and write? I’d miss you if you were absent.

  15. Steven Eagle

    Blog or No Blog, You & GTF & Farm City have changed everything for me; Teacher, I have learned. And for that I am thankful!

  16. Novella, I don’t blame you one bit for shutting down the blog for a while. I understand how horrible it feels to have what should be personal activities on your private property opened up to public scrutiny, with really harrowing results. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it just how violated and persecuted it makes you feel. And all over such silliness. The ridiculous vegans want to attack you instead of the factory farms. Lovely.

    You’ve contributed mightily to the urban farming movement, and the community is grateful. However, you don’t owe it to the world to keep your blog going. Take care of yourself, take care of your critters, and take some time off!

  17. Barb in Minnesota

    Hi Novella
    Give yourself a break – you deserve it. Visit your sister, try to relax, and keep in mind all the good things you have done and shared with people. Don’t let the negativos outweigh your fans and friends. Hoping to hear from you in the fall. All the best.
    Barb in Minnesota

  18. Have been reading the blog for 4 years now and have truly enjoyed it. You have inspired me to live my farming dream in the city. Continue doing what makes you happy, and know you have a lot of people ( who you may have never met) that care for you. Thanks again.

  19. Mean people sux.
    Cover crops are good.
    Fallow ground is also good.
    Have fun camping.
    Enjoy traveling! (I hear Amaya has a gift waiting under your pillow)
    As much as I love to read your blog, you don’t owe us readers anything.
    I await your next book/books.
    Enjoy the summer!

  20. Sounds like taking the summer off is a wise idea, as well as stopping this blog. But I will miss your posts.
    Count me as one more person you’ve inspired. On your visit to Kansas City you encouraged me to go ahead and have bees in my backyard. That, combined with all the courage, initiative and humor in your book really helped. I got a hive last Spring, and they’ve made it through their first winter.
    Thanks for all your inspiring writing, including this blog. I’ll keep my eyes out for your next book, whatever it might be.

  21. So disappointing to hear – I wish I had found your blog sooner. I always look forward to your posts (more the farming than the legal/hatey posts).
    I hope you will come back someday, rested and refreshed – You really gave me hope!

    Cinda

  22. Well one good thing that can come of the horrible spring is a summer of rest and (maybe) travel. You’re welcome to come up for a retreat to Seattle to visit the old stomping grounds, see what we’re up to in urban farming (or not), and take a little time to recharge.

  23. I love reading your blog, don’t let those fascist scumbags in the government get you down. Your readers love you. Have you considered a rain gutter collection, or are you doing that already?

  24. I hope the summer break brings you many smiles. I will miss the blog though I understand…..I hope you’ll be back (plz come back)….you truely inspire….wish you luck, fun and joy

  25. Louisa in SF

    Time off is the best. We will miss your blog, but understand that you too need a vacation:) I’m reading your book to my daughter, and we love it! We both have been inspired by the book; as we are now growing an organic garden. Today, we are off to our cousins ranch to bring home some horse s___ – loved that part of your book – hopefully the smell won’t stay in our car too. Keep up the good work!!!!
    Aloha.

  26. First off, loved your book. A mutual friend here in the Seattle area lent me your book and I ate it up! I have about 150 SF of growing space and just got chickens.

    I’ve tried 4 season gardening here and it’s tough without a greenhouse. You can definitely do it there and I hope you enjoy your time off.

    I’ve read your blog back a few years abd feel very sorry for your troubles. I enjoy reading your blog and hope it continues. You inspire so many. Thank you!

  27. I’m sorry for all the negativity you’ve had to experience lately from the city and from hateful comments. You probably have a bit of PTSD, so take a break and chill for a while. Go on a tour of urban farms around the world and get ideas for a new book. Better yet, lie on a beautiful beach and sip some margaritas and get a great tan.

    I’ve been to your farm and was inspired. I wouldn’t have known about your Oakland farm or read your book had it not been for this blog. So please, after you’ve had a long relaxing vacation come back and restart the blog! Remember you are the moderator here; kick the hateful commenters off your blog. Permanently. If the haters never see their comments posted, they will eventually go away.

  28. Oh Noooooooooo! I will miss your words of wisdom. You have inspired so many of us, you deserve a break. Hope you come back when you are refreshed. I sent you a present (a box with your picture on it )earlier this year but do not think it got there. Go rest! We await your return.

  29. I will miss your blog, Novella. I can understand your reasoning, though, and wish you a stress-free summer. Take a break, and the garden will still be there for you when you return. So will your friends.

  30. Hang in there and best of luck. I hope that you return in the fall, refreshed, cheered and legal, to share your thoughts and inspire urban farmers everywhere. Meanwhile, I came around to a similar point of view when I was gardening in tight spaces some years ago. I am north of Seattle, right up the coast from you. I realized that the best use of my limited space was the cool season garden. Around here, that’s eight months when fresh crunchy organic green stuff is wickedly expensive. During the summer months, the farmers’ markets inundate us with great food. I used to buy a case of canning tomatoes and a box of pickling cukes, enjoy zucchini from a large planter, grow cover crops in my garden, and call it good. Then I’d get down to planting the winter garden in August, just as the food flood was hitting the markets. About the time the markets were closing and the greens were coming from Mexico, California and Chile, my harvest would kick in, and last through the following May, except for a few severe storms. Be well, and I look forward to hearing from you in the fall.

  31. Yeah, what everyone else said. I also sympathize with you re. no one understanding the precise issues at hand. Pretty much every negative comment about you that I saw came from some dumbass with no reading comprehension whatsoever. Frustrating.

    Regarding your high water bills: Have you made sure that the EBMUD (they’re the water people there, right) calculated your correct flow factor? This is basically a percentage of what water goes into the sewer vs the ground and is tied to your house/lot square footage ratio. I think a lot of gardeners don’t think to check this on their bills, so maybe I’m helping someone by pointing this out. Also, maybe you could install a bunch of rainbarrels (or hook up more if you have them)? Get them donated, even? I guess I can’t suggest a thing unless I see your property layout.

    Anyway, hope you’re reading all these supportive comments!

  32. Novella, you have delighted me with your book and blog and i share your story all of the time with fellow gardeners and the like. People doing what you are doing are so inspiring and you have accomplished so much in the last few years, it’s no wonder you are burned out and exhausted. I think a break is the perfect thing for you, rest and have fun and enjoy yourself and when the time is right for reentry, you will know it and you will just blast off with new ideas and your characteristic chutzpah!

  33. Jennifer Fisk

    From the soggy East Coast, Maine specifically,you’ll be missed. We are now in full swing of planting gardens while swatting Black Flies and Mosquitoes. I do want to point out that we didn’t get to sit on our butts this winter. There was a lot of snowblowing, shoveling, roof raking, and sanding to be done. It is so nice to walk outside without ice creepers and to not worry about frozen animal water.
    Enjoy your summer of travel.

  34. Your posts and book have been great. Thanks.
    We could all learn a lesson from this unfortunate incident, some things don’t belong on the internet for ALL to see. It’s an easy thing to forget.
    Take care.

  35. I just read your entire blog over the course of a week. I also just ordered your book and look forward to reading it. I live in Florida in the suburbs and am doing something similar, albeit in a little more rural setting than you and without the hassles of CA government. I hope you keep blogging and ignore the naysayers. You are a force for good in this world and an inspiration to others. Thank you for all that you have done.

    Jason

  36. I’ll definitely miss your posts, Novella, but as said above, you don’t owe us a thing! Your book and blog have been so inspiring to me (and countless others) but in the end, you’ve always got to do what’s best for yourself. Have an amazing, relaxing and regenerating summer, and should you choose to return, we’ll be here! Much love!

  37. Burrnout happens. Its quite wise of you to recognize tat and take some time for yourself. I doh hope you return to your little farm and to your blogging. But don’t fool yourself, life in New England isn’t a chari of bowlies. While most folks do not harvest veggies in the frozen winter, we still have to make repairs, get to the livestock and so on. January was a humdinger with four feet of snow. That was followed by several feet of slush, then mud season, cold rainy weather and then with no proper break, 90 degree, high humidity weather for planting. Its frostbire or heatstroke around here. Depression or Lyme disease. Challenges abound for everyone. Every so often everyone burns out. Do what you need to do, heal and get stronger.

  38. Novella, you’ve helped and inspired more people than you can ever imagine. Your forbearance thoughout your troubles with the city and the blog haters (if they don’t agree, can’t they just shut up and go away?) has been impressive, and you’re more than due for a rest. As an east coaster who does get to sit on my ass and read seed catalogs for a season, I think summers off for west coasters is a great idea. You deserve a break after all this; you don’t want the stress to put you off something you so obviously love. So take a break, support your local farmer’s market, and keep writing, if only for yourself. Maybe throw us another book one of these days. We’ll be looking out for you.

  39. Have a great summer off! Don’t let the mean people get you down :)

  40. Enjoy your break. I’ll miss your blog.

  41. Even a trouble free blog must get onerous after a while. Sorry I found you so late in the game…… but hell do what you gotta do. ( I’ll find someone else to meet my “living vicariously” needs for a while ;-))

  42. hey, im sorry the haters got u. amazing r’nt they? hate is so punishing. have a good summer and please come back and blog. u gave me a fresh start on my life. after becoming more disabled i hired a friend to build me waist high beds and have been growing our food for 2yrs now. thanku. i dont feel disabled and we eat well. thanku.

  43. Novella, I know you deserve a good rest, but I’m sure going to miss your blog. Your book is one of my all-time favorite books, and I hope there will be another one someday. If you travel around the country during your time off, and end up on the west coast of Florida, let me know. I’ll find you a good place to stay or camp (you can do both at my house), and I’ll show you my urban garden that you helped to inspire. I will miss you. Have a good summer, and know how loved you are by so many of us.

  44. You deserve a break Novella. Maybe instead of blogging you will write another book–that would be great! Enjoy your summer, my friend.

  45. Oh! I am so sad that you will not be blogging! I just stumbled upon you and now you are not here! But I do understand your need for rest. I worry every day (eventho my zoning says I can have small private “farm”) that my neighbors will try to interfere with my life. We searched two years for the “perfect” home just to find out that the neighbors have their heads burried in the sand; are complete consumers and not producers. How strange! We are surrounded by others who raise all sorts of livestock and have gardens! (one of the last small rural areas in my city)
    Good luck with your future endevors!

  46. Good for you, Novella. Everyone deserves some quality time to “just be” and to refresh themselves. Just a short note to let you know how much your April visit to our Cuesta College campus meant. Amid all of the bad state budget news, campus layoffs, etc, your visit and the many neat, related programs provided us all with a much-needed “bright spot” this term.

    Best, Denise

  47. I am usually not a hater but I donated (it wasn’t a lot but since I am poor, it was a lot to me) to help you out and now you get to travel and take time off. Wish I could do that. Have fun in Europe.

  48. This is the first time I’ve read your blog! I’m leaving The City of SF today after a three year stay here. I’m moving back to my farm two hours East (Turlock/Denair)! Going to plant some salad food and listen to the quiet.

  49. Sounds like a plan. Enjoy your time off!

  50. Katherine S.

    COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH YOU AND JUST HEARD ALL ABOUT THIS. Have family in San Fran. Post when you get your CUP and I would love to visit. You are my new idol. Thanks.

  51. Good for you! Rest is a part of the cycle (California doesn’t do this very well). Let me know if you need me while you’re away!!!

  52. There’s more to life than blogging….I know you will have a good summer and find some cool new adventures (that you NEVER would have found if you were still blogging) :). Those haters are ridiculous….I humanely harvested my first chickens yesterday, and feel like I now have an alternative to cruel, factory-farmed meat.
    Thanks, Novella!

  53. Novella, did you ever see a movie entitle “Legally Blonde”?! Remember when Elle Woods wants to give up and the Judge(played expertly by Holland Taylor) tells Elle, if she is going to quit that she is not half the woman she thought she was?! Well consider me telling you the same thing. Puhleez, a few people with anonymous jabs gonna slow you down? I cannot tell how much I liked your book and enjoy your blog. It my vicarious way to farm raise farm animals. You were branching out into pizza ovens and other cool things( I beyond loved the abandoned car turned into the chick incubator). Take the summer off, enjoy the break, get your affairs in order. I could give a rats about the City of Oakland. You do not know what kind of impression I had from friends about your city before I read your book, you’re doing them a favor just by being there. BTW, do you think that Oprah would have stopped her show and not gone on to have her network if she listened to the haters. C’mon, you are loved. Think big, and go global. We are from the same corner of the globe and in my eyes, you’re a rock star. Be well.

  54. I loved your book and have always found your blog informative and charming. slightly bummed that you’ll be away, but I completely understand that you need a break. perhaps you can just post some occasional goat action photos? :) don’t give up on the enterprise, though

  55. So sorry you are having to deal with so much adversity. I just learned about you/your book/farm this evening as I was scanning the “One Block Diet” stuff from Sunset magazine. Oakland is not the only place that works against people trying to produce food. I am sure there are reasons you stay, and I wish you the best as you spread the word about sustainable living. We get a kick out of the fact that home food production is so trendy, all of the sudden.

  56. Love your blog, love your book. (please write another soon) Hope your summer is a great one.
    Btw, we Midwesterners don’t get winters off, we just trade gardening for log splitting and wood stacking. Did I mention snow shoveling?

  57. Take the time you need for yourself! You’ve no obligation to keep up a blog that’s stressful for you, or to plant one more seed. I would love to be on some kind of mailing list, just to keep up with important events, if that’s something you want to do.

  58. I will miss reading about your life, but I am happy at the thought that you will be out enjoying yours. I’m still going to name my next chicken Novella. Thank you for everything! Happy Spring and Summer to you!

  59. Novella,

    Have a great summer and enjoy less stress! We love you and as you can see you have inspired many people to be more self sufficient. Thank you for that inspiration! Look forward to hearing more from you when you are ready.

  60. Christina Turner

    Novella – I completely enjoyed reading Farm City and found it so inspiring, that I have reached out to City Slicker Farms to become involved in community gardens and food justice. Good for you for taking some time off to play outdoors and enjoy a much needed rest!

  61. I’m so happy for you!

    Not that my opinion matters, but I think you’ve made the right decision.

    If you want tomatoes over some future summer, there might be a way to dry-crop them. I’m not sure my method would work for you, but it’s (necessarily) very low-maintenance.

    Enjoy your break!

  62. Hey Novella,
    I’m so sorry that this has happened. But I know that st’s tough to fight when you’re burned out. I hope that your situation has become the catalyst for others here in Oakland to rally and get this zoning craziness straightened out.
    Go out and find some place with better summer weather.
    When you get back, stop by for a beer – we can compare notes for fall plantings.
    Much Love.

  63. Novella,
    The book is wonderful, the blog was inspiring, and all the best wishes to you!

  64. I found your blog about a month ago. I went to the library and got a slew of gardening books and discovered, hey, you have a book. I read it from front to back in one sitting…my kids were laughing at me because I would be reading and then bust out laughing in the silence. What a great book you wrote. I’m sorry you are being so harassed by the “haters” and the local “governing agencies.” Don’t let others take away your passion. I’m a suburban homesteader and currently we are working on our coop while the chickens are in the garage in a homemade brooder. I understand. You are a very brave gal and your book was inspiring. I’m sad you won’t be blogging as much, but I hope your time off will be relaxing and you can find a way to overcome all the obstacles that are being thrown at you. Girl, look at all you have accomplished!!!! Keep it up, get refreshed, and continue your inspiring journey! Be blessed and good luck to you!!!

  65. Nightengale

    Novella
    I am a local food coordinator at a community non profit and sw Iowa and have been following you (from a great distance) since your book was published. As a Cali native it’s been fun to read about the sarrows and triumphs of the east bay from afar. I want you to know that I and all of my co-workers and fellow gonzo agrarianists completely support the work you have been doing. You inspiring food-ownership/activism/art has been a great addition to the culutre of food in this tired Nation. Thank you for everything you have contributed. Your voice will be missed, your perspective has always been unique and insigtful. If you ever want to get away from the hustle and bussle of CA – check out Iowa. It’s actually a very hip little state. (same welcome goes to all ya’ll out there – Iowa Rocks)
    Be well. Know peace.

  66. If your travels bring you to south central Kansas, pay us a visit.
    http://urbanksfarmer.wordpress.com/

  67. Arm Chair Farmer

    Hi Novella,
    This is the most fabulous application of the old adage, When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Congrats on the creative solution and have a super summer! Looking forward to finding your blog when it becomes active again.
    Carolyn

  68. I’ve been following your blog for years since I linked it from your sisters’ site. I’ve never commented before but I wanted you to know that there are probably hundreds of readers who applaud what you are doing but don’t comment for every negative one that does.

  69. What a bummer. I enjoyed reading your blog, (and your book). I totally understand though. Hope you have a great summer off! :o)

  70. Glad to see you taking care of you.
    Will think of you when that big squash you sent us seeds for blooms again this year.

  71. Sorry to hear about all the stress. But just thinking about how much you have changed your world for the better. Great change is always hard and always draws naysayers. Don’t give in to them. What you’ve done is much better and more far reaching than you can ever imagine. You’ve encouraged people to return to the earth, to caring for her, to caring for themselves, and to caring for others. Have a nice break and hope to see your blog again. Don’t let the negatives win, girl.

  72. Okay. So I’ve checked back three times now since your last post and I have (finally) accepted your decision. Thanks for all the inspiration with your witty and profound writing. I can still laugh out loud (lol) and at the same time gasp in horror (gih) when I think about your screaming “cunt” into the phone when that whack-job butchered your pigs without you. And, I think, I am responsible for at least four people buying and reading Farm City — and say three out of those four will “get it” and tell another four people … blah, blah, blah. As a matter of fact, I was ready to start blogging about my renegade little operation and for many reasons (one being it’s too public) decided not to. Anwyay, take some time. And when you find yourself camping in Santa Cruz County, drop by and see what we’re doing. You know where to find me, you sent me a thank you note!! All the best to you and the boyfriend.

  73. Love always.

  74. mary oshima

    I have never commented on anyone’s blog. I just wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed reading yours. I read your book and then I started reading the blog. I have also enjoyed the photographs, especially of the animals. I admire you for raising your own food and showing people the connection between what we eat, and where it comes from, and what hard work it is, including the harvesting of it. Thank you again. I hope that you have a wonderful summer.

  75. Your blog is a place where like-minded people can communicate with each other, so closing it would be a blow to home gardeners and livestock raisers, and a victory for the few bad guys. That doesn’t mean you have to tie yourself to your garden on our behalf, I think the realization that intense gardening is not necessary in the summer is valid (and one I hadn’t thought about – thank you!). But, you know, I’d be happy hearing about your camping trips and the things you observe along the way. Your insights and inventive ideas, and those of people who comment on this blog, are valuable to me. All bloggers, not just those who are harassed by idiots, need to take a break. Please enjoy yours.

  76. montclairoak

    Novella, your interview on NPR Radio West (kuer.org) was wonderful yesterday. There was enough time to delve into the evolving urban-farm interface, among other topics. Please enjoy your summer without so many chores.

  77. Wish I had time to read all these comments. I bet there is much love there. Have to let you know I have goats only because you inspired me to. So I love you and my neighbors might hate you. ;) Best of luck. Enjoy the summer.

  78. You rock! I only see positive comments here- please feel the love. Don’t let a few haters ruin it for everybody. I loved your book! And love your blog!

  79. Nancy Sutton

    Novella, thanks for everything….such deep delight you’ve given so many of us in so many ways :) Looking forward to your next gift…. but …. don’t rush!.. I can wait!! Take good care of yourself (for our sake :)
    Nancy/Seattle

  80. I came upon your wonderful book last year and I enjoyed it so much that I found your blog. I have never left a comment on a blog before and thought now would be better late than never. I’m sorry that you have encountered so many obstacles from writing about your positive relationship with your community and environment. But with these obstacles so many wonders have occurred. Your courage to put yourself out there and write about what you are doing has given me extra inspiration. I don’t have the guts to have my own blog and deal with the scrutiny of anonymous a-holes without anything better to do but peddle toxic words. I’m glad you did. Thanks for being an inspiration. Look forward to your next book. Mel / Ohio

  81. I live over on 26th street and have been reading your blog since before i moved to the area, about a year ago. I walk my dog over to the lot almost daily and love looking through the fence at what is growing or going on. You have supporters (although quiet ones) all over the neighborhood. Thank you for what you do! We support urban farming and are growing food this year as well and hoping for chickens next year. You are the one who inspired us :)

  82. Well I’ll just have to catch your farm on the flip side! Have a fabulous summer! Keep on Truckin sister!

    Idaho Mark

  83. Too bad! I really really enjoyed your book and was so glad you had a blog. I was really saddened to read about the hullabaloo and drama you had to go through too. You are really an inspiration to a lot of people.

    All the best and lots of love!

  84. Christina VanDyke

    Hi Novella, I moved from the Bay Area about 10 years ago to Northern Idaho. I just finished your book and will be buying copies for my kids who are still living in California and one who is moving back there soon. When we moved up here (some kind of midlife crisis for me) my kids got into 4H and we got 2 pigs, one for 4h and one for us. We had never raised anything before that we would end up eating so the kids and I had mixed emotions about it but I read an article in a magazine (can’t remember which one) about a woman who was new to farming having reservations about having their pig, that they had lovingly raised, butchered. Her husband had been raised on a farm and he explained it to her this way, that everything
    has to die, they were just choosing the time of the pigs death. So they took the pig for one last evening walk and the next morning it was all over with. That idea made so much sense to me. Our pig, Scarlett, had made friends with our Great Dane, Sophie. They would chase each other around the yard. On Scarletts last day, they both met the mobile slaughter truck (I guess we’re lucky up here to have that kind of service) at the bottom of the drive way and chased him up the hill to the house. The guy was kind of wierded out when he asked me where the pig was that he was there for and I pointed to Scarlett standing there smiling up at him next to Sophie. He said “I’ve got to shoot her” and I said, “I know, its ok” and I took Sophie away so she couldn’t see. I was a little sad but I knew that Scarlett never knew what happened and that she had a good life up to the end. I wish that all animals could be raised this way.
    We don’t eat meat (my youngest daughter and I) because we don’t raise any ourselves. Factory farms are an abomination. You are heroic and i hope you find the strength to keep speaking the truth. Not everyone can be vegan and if you are going to eat meat or drink milk you should be able to face the process that brings that animal to your plate with a clear conscience (sp?).

  85. Novella,
    I just picked up your book after my best friend, a librarian in San Luis Obispo, heard you talk. It was fantastic! All red-tape hurdles can be overcome, and I hope your new plan gives you the energy to do it. I have a small garden here in Southern California and I think your efforts are great. I was lucky enough to grow up on 4 acres in nor-Cal, but many city kids aren’t and don’t get to experience this. Your efforts are appreciated! Keep up the good work.

  86. I’m agree with your talk.

  87. Thank the authors write, the share great is perfect.

  88. Happy 4th!
    Enjoyed seeing the photo of you and Amaya doing a puzzle together. A week was so little time. Hope you get to go back soon, like again next summer!

  89. Hello from an east coast New Yorker ! Loved this book & passing it on to my (east coast lazy) friends. Have a good summer !

  90. I became a beekeeper in large part because of you. Three years ago I was feeling so extremely dispassionate, about everything. I felt that the communities and their projects to which I was committed, were tremendous drains without accountability. I needed something in which I could have some faith and belief. I started reading your blog and then I chose honeybees. I now have my own hives in Marin County although I live in Oakland. I am trying to establish some rooftop bee yards in West Oakland. I have mentored and established other beekeepers. I have rescued bees intended for extermination. I have become part of a community that in my heart, I can support and in which, can feel responsible in regards to my paticipation and membership. I have learned that it isn’t my place to help everyone who asks and that all stakeholders need to be invested when I take on a project. You have planted seeds without water.

  91. I miss your blog! I hope you’re doing ok. I wanted to make sure you knew about this woman’s struggle to grow veggies in her front yard (oh, the horror.) She’s facing the possibility of 93 days of jail time.
    http://oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com/

  92. I have just come along your blog after almost finishing your book. First let me say your book is totally inspiring! Know that there are loads of us out there that are fully backing you up! That being said, go and have a wonderful summer filled with awesome vacations in gorgeous places!

  93. Maralee Mertz

    I just finished reading Farm City, and I wanted to say thank you for sharing. I have a dream, and your book has fanned the flames that keep my dream burning! I am on a quest now to find some rabbits to add to my egg laying chickens and teeny tiny garden, in my Beaverton Oregon backyard; and hopefully a milking goat sometime in the near future! Best wishes for your endeavors, and enjoy your summer. Thank you

  94. I miss your blog posts. =(
    But I hope that you are enjoying your summer off. =)
    Sometimes we need “downtime” to re-group and get in a better frame of mind, to be prepared to tackle new challenges and be ready for the adventures that are ahead. My husband and I just finished your Farm City book and loved it.

  95. Dear Novella, thank you for all that you have done and everything you have written. I just read your book and couldn’t put it down. The book you wrote is a class required reading for my Critical Thinking requirement at Berkeley City College.

    Your book and your blog have been very inspiring. I was upset to read that the City is giving you a hard time. However, this just means that you are making a DIFFERENCE. They see you as a threat (and that is dumb) but this means you spoke up so loud about your passions in Urban Farming – you have been heard! People are listening…the legal crap sucks, yes. but you have made a large wave in our community! I want to say thank you & thank you, again!

  96. I think summers off for west coasters is a great idea. You deserve a break after all this; you don’t want the stress to put you off something you so obviously love. So take a break, support your local farmer’s market, and keep writing, if only for yourself

  97. Sandi Ashley

    Come back soon! I love reading your blog. Ignore the negative people, life is much too short!

  98. Taking a break is a healthy thing! Thanks for all your insight, practical advice and for your inspiration. So much good energy!

    If you come up Eastern WA/North Idaho way… (gorgeous country!) please contact me and we’ll have a cup o’ joe or something…

    I think you can contact me through this medium… Just respond to this, I guess. :-) Have a great summer. Look forward to reading in the fall.

  99. Enjoy your break, you deserve it!

  100. I just found and finished your book. Looks like I’m a little late to the party but I’ll catch up on your blogs until you return. I admittedly swirmed a little bit through parts of your book but I was also thoroughly swept away by your passion. You are an amazing writer and I’m spreading the word so please consider writting another book. Good luck!

  101. You are my hero! It is inconceivable to me that you should get anything other than supportive feedback. But this is a bizarre world, so anything is possible. Your book and work give me hope for the future. Feed your soul with your time off. You have always been doing the right thing.

  102. Isn’t it fall yet…. feels like it here. A cool evening after couple of weeks of 90 to 100 temps. Hope to see an update again someday. Also, hope you are having a great summer!

  103. So I just read your book in my summer English class at Laney and I really like it. I’m actuallywriting a paper on it now well i’m procrastinating LOL. Well I’m sorry to hear about the haters. It only means you are doing something right. Keep it up.
    Ps: I live doen the block from 28th so it was cool to drive past and see the lot =D

  104. Good to see you a bit ago. SO HAPPY for you and your new family adventures. Will keep in touch & look forward to seeing you in person~

  105. FloodedByCEDA

    September 19, 1890: TWO COWS ENOUGH
    The Ordinance and Judiciary Committee of the Council, last night, amended the ordinance regulating the keeping of cows by striking out all of the exceptions. As it reads now not more than two cows can be kept on one block by any one person or corporation. Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, Friday, September 19, 1890 (quoted from The old Miller house @ Facebook Terrorized by CEDA Oakland, CA)

  106. Enjoy your summer! And ya, I too am planting in the fall. I can still grow a ton of things…it’ll be different and fun, I’m thinking. A nice changeup. Don’t let people get you down Novella, farming can be hard, especially the urban kind. But it’s also worth it in the end. For all of the haters, think of the people your garden has touched, the children that may have never seen a growing vegetable or tasted farm fresh eggs in the inner city. It’s worth it, you’ve changed lives.

  107. Hi Novella. I just finished reading your book, Farm City. I absolutely treasure it and I’m going to have my mom read it. You’ve really inspired me. I took my time reading the book, starting at the beginning of summer. I finally have started getting my fingers green in our garden (I was sure I had a black thumb, so it took a bit to try again).

    We are now considering raising rabbits. Mostly it is for self-reliance reasons, but I also believe in knowing where your meat comes from, and even knowing your meat. I have great respect for animals. Just want you to know that you’ve inspired me, and I thank you.

    Sorry, to hear you are so tired and that there are “haters” that just can’t let people be. I think it’s a smart idea to take summers off. I live in the NW so summer is essential for us…I’m kinda jealous that Californians can grow year-round.

    Enjoy your break!

  108. good Enjoy your break, you deserve it!

  109. Novella. Is there any way you can turn off comments to your blog. We would still love to read your blog even if we can’t make comments. The other thing you could try. Is there a way to make your blog private and not open to the public unless you approve them? Just brainstorming here. There is always a way.
    I ma having trouble wrapping my brain around people who would make horrid comments on someones blog. Why would you do that? Good luck Novella.

  110. Nate Merchant

    I just picked your book up from the library and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Such a great blend between fun adjectives, farming concepts, and ethics.

    I really hope you keep strong and would love to come visit the garden if possible. I live across the bridge from you guys.

    Farm on!

  111. Sorry that the experiment is falling short, but you should keep it up — I love your blog!

  112. First off let me say I love what you have done! You inspired me to want to change how i live. I have a small back porch so i cant have all of the animals and garden that you have but i love the idea and hope that someday i will. I have gotten your book and loved it, it made me want more so i went and got books on chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, fruit trees, and raised bed gardening. I have been trying to absorb as much information as i possibly can so that when i have the land i can have my own little farm. I
    I am sorry for the haters! but for me personally i am inspired by you. Thank you for showing me that what i have always wanted i can have in a small space.

  113. I loved your book. Very stimulating. I actually live in fresno and googled your farm and felt like I was really there. You are my inspiration!

  114. Novella,

    I’ve been out of the loop this spring and summer, so I’m just now back to blogging (yours and mine!). I’m SO sorry to hear about all this, but please know, that along with everyone else that has commented here, I’ve enjoyed our “visits” on your blog. If you come back to it, great, and if you don’t, that’s ok, too, but please make the decision for YOU and not for any nay-sayers out there, ok?

    Hoping our blogging (or gardening) paths will cross again…

    Jean

  115. Pingback: Well, One of My Blogs… » Some Updates

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