Monthly Archives: December 2013

What I Learned This Year

I stopped writing in my journal a few years ago (2014 New Year’s Resolution: Write in your journal!), and so I can’t remember what happened, even events from a few weeks past. Even epic events are forgotten quickly. It makes me sad, but I guess that’s one downside to living in the moment. Still, I did shoot some photos, and I’ve been closing out the year by uploading them on my computer. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Go slow, fava beans are worth it.

2. You can go back home again. My sister with morel mushrooms she picked on the ranch where we were born.

3. Make these walnut cookies that Rosetta Costantino wrote about in her new Southern Italian Dessert cookbook. The book is gorgeous, and even I can remember the recipe because it only has three ingredients. A egg. One cup of sugar. 2.5 cups of walnuts. I couldn’t help myself and sprinkled salt and fennel pollen over some fresh from the oven.


4. Grow pumpkins, like these sugar pies, which were prolific and one roasted made a great pumpkin pie. As for the rest, kabocha “jade” was the best of the batch (not pictured here).

5. You can do a vegetarian Thanksgiving. I wasn’t up for raising a turkey this year, so we did Indian inspired dishes. It was delish. Next year, though, I think we are going to get turkey legs and smoke the hell out of them, Texas style.

6. Conserva, sun dried tomato paste, is divine. Learn how to make it at my tomato processing class this August!

7. Plant a tree–or 8 of them. The citrus hedge I jackhammered a place for in the garden, was well worth it. They are doing great despite the frost and dry weather. We even have two tangelos on one of the youngest trees.

8. Forgive. It’s hard, but once you let that past go, you are free.

9. Finally, love them while they are here. We miss you Phil Druker.

Happy New Year to Everyone; I can’t wait for 2014!!

Announcing…2014 Calendar of Events

As promised, here’s a list of classes at GhostTown Farm for 2014. If you want to sign up for a class, email me at novellacarpenter at gmail. It will be first come, first served. I’ll reply to your email to join the class with details on how to pay. Classes will cost $40, they last about two hours, and are limited to 10 people. All classes will be held outdoors at GhostTown Farm at 28th Street and MLK, Oaklandia.

February 16: Make an Apple Tree. 12-2pm
Grafting scion wood onto a vigorous rootstock is the cheapest way to make a fruit tree. This class will show you how to do just that. Disease-free apple compatible rootstock will be provided, as well as scion wood from various heirloom variety apple trees. Everyone will go home with a grafted tree in a pot. If you want to collect your own scion wood, go to the scion exchange in Berkeley at the Ed Roberts Campus, just across from the Ashby BART, on January 18 from 12-3; or another scion exchange to collect your own scion wood. The class will also include a tour of the farm which has about 25 fruit trees in various stages of development. $40.

March 22: Seed Propagation. 12-2pm
Starting vegetables from seed is the best way to save money on your farm. We will cover which containers work best, how to sterilize them, how to make your own potting soil mixes, basic botany and biology of seed starting, where to order seeds–all so you can get a jump on your summer garden. Taught by Willow Rosenthal. Everyone goes home with a tray of freshly sown seeds. $40
This class will be followed by a plant sale, open to the public, free.

April 26: Urban Chickens 12-2
Raising chickens for eggs is fun and easy. Hens are favorites of children, and they provide the farm with fresh eggs and much-needed manure. Come check out the chicken coop at GhostTown Farm and see how to save money on animal bedding, how to compost chicken manure, how to build a predator proof coop, and basic chicken handling and health. Finally, we will end the day with a poached egg demonstration. We will also hold a best-egg tasting, so bring any eggs for our panel of judges to taste. $40.

May: Farm Stand. Exact date and time TBD

June 14: Farm Stand and Book Release Party. 12-2
To celebrate the publication of my latest book, Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild; we will be having a book release party with foraged snacks and wildly fermented beverages. I’ll be there selling produce and doing a reading from the book. Free.

July: No events

August 23: Tomato Processing Class
One of the easiest plants to grow, tomatoes make great fresh eating. But they are also fabulous roasted, dehydrated, turned into ketchup, made into tomato juice, or canned whole. This class will start with a tasting of various tomato products, then segue into actually processing the beautiful fruits for your pantry. Everyone will go home with a quart jar of home-canned tomatoes. $40