Sorry I’ve been so out of touch. I’m sick with a head cold (snot, anyone?) and something so big has happened, I’ve been sitting with it and trying to figure out if it really happened or if I just imagined it.
I’ll just come out with it: Billy and I bought the lot. We’ve been squatting on the 4500 square feet parcel next to our apartment for the past 8 years, growing vegetables and fruit trees. I’ve imagined the bulldozers coming multiple times as various owners of the lot have threatened us with development. First they would uproot all the trees, then they’d drive over all the carefully tended beds, then they would build shoddy condos. I would watch, horrified, and make plans to move to East Oakland.
Instead, the latest owner of the property, S, came by a few weeks ago. She told me she needed to sell the lot. When she said that, I imagined the bulldozers. Then she said that she wanted to sell it to me. For cheap. I felt like I was in a Disney movie. All the birds in the fig trees came down and landed on our shoulders, and started singing a song; and then the lot rats scurried out to do little jazzy dance moves, and a big sunny rainbow appeared. “No way!” I said to S and laughed and punched her arm. She looked at me like I was a true nutball that she had expected (last time I saw her, I picked her a bouquet of orange tiger lilies as a bribe).
I’ve never owned property before, so I didn’t know how to proceed. Luckily, I had heard about this nice realtor lady, Bobbi Vogel, so I called her. She was at the lot within 15 minutes of my call. I told her the price and she couldn’t believe it. Within a week, I owned the lot. I just got the Grant Deed in the mail, which says S “hereby grants to Novella Carpenter, a single woman the following described property in the City of Oakland: Lots 29 and 30 in block 2024”. This seems so olde English.
So now, the question is: what to do? Build a greenhouse? An outdoor kitchen for classes? A tree house for the goats? I want to finally crack through the concrete and plant espaliered fruit trees along the property line. Luckily we have 100 fruit tree rootstock from an overambitious Rain Tree order last year. I can finally start hosting field trips from the local schools without worry! Those are the fun ideas. In reality I need to: hook up the water meter, get insurance, and have the property surveyed. I might even go legit and register Ghosttown Farm as a real farm business as soon as the City Council makes urban ag legal (supposedly happening next spring).
I’d love to hear what ideas you all have!
In case you were wondering, of course we’re not going to start locking the fricking gate, even though someone keeps harvesting my cabbages.