Author Archives: kathryn

Summer Garden 2016

We are awash in cucumbers and squash…the tomatoes are just now beginning to ripen as it’s been a very cool summer.  We’ll probably have abundant ripe tomatoes in October, judging from the very cool mornings here in West Oakland.

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New Construction

The new building is coming along quickly …hopefully finished by the end of this year.  In the meantime, people who live here enjoy the gentle tap tap of neighborhood  nail guns on a routine basis…When finished the new building here will provide solar lighting for the gardens and new storm drainage into the water table.  Also, pathways and patios between the buildings will be upgraded…or redone with used brick and stones…some might not see that as an upgrade but this isn’t suburbia…and we often find ancient bricks and tiles in the gardens…often recycling them into pathways or yard art.


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Summer of 2016 at The Ranch at Dogtown

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Not enough sun, yet.

Finally….we started construction on The New Building,  on or about June 1, 2016…after almost 2 years awaiting permits and crew.  The CREW, the wonderful crew, is moving ahead at lightening speed.  We are up to framing the second floor in less than two months.  It is exciting to see this project finally take shape…go “in the ground” as we say in the building trades.   The construction has altered our garden a bit but we are still producing our magical tomatoes…see pictures…!

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Raised beds for our “salad bar”….

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Thanks to Randy for the tomato pruning…great job, note the lack of mildew!

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June 2016

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July 27, 2016

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July 25, 2016

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Tomatoes on the right….

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La Casita

2016 The Gardens Renewed





Lost three hives this year.

Lost three hives this year.


We're experimenting with raised beds this year.

We’re experimenting with raised beds this year.

Not many weeds! Thanks to many hands and the winter cardboard.

Not many weeds! Thanks to many hands and the winter cardboard.

June 2015 Garden

We planted five stone fruit trees in fall of 2013…much digging and fertilizing with our “worm goo, chicken poop” and it looks like we’ll have a wonderful harvest in July-August.

Watering has been an issue here but much of our watering is now done with “recycled” water…shower buckets, etc.

Year Two Peaches....

Year Two Peaches….

We’ve also installed an irrigation system to avoid over watering…..

Lady Bug Family life

These little guys are happily increasing their number…and eventually ridding the garden of aphids!….one hopes.

The Girls...noisy girls...

The Girls…noisy girls…

The New Building, continued

Three days and all is gone, awaiting the next phase…foundations.



A lot of the concrete goes to recycling, as does all the tree/plant debris.



All the concrete and heavy stuff goes to the dump.

All the concrete and heavy stuff goes to the dump.


The locals, plus Phillip…all the way from France.


George at the wheel.


Our picnic area untouched.


The metal door did go to recycling.



See How The Garden Grows….

Sunshine, chicken poop compost, worm goo...magic.

Sunshine, chicken poop compost, worm goo…magic.

How many times do I have to tell you!  Put the tools away...ok, just this once.

Do you think they’re talking?

The New Building

There was an old, old single story, single car garage at The Ranch. It was a mess, the roof fell in years ago and the dampness caused the walls to buckle and fall. It defines imploded.   But, storage space being in such high demand in the “urban core”….it  housed old skis, kayaks, bikes, building material, recycling…tons of stuff.

The roofless garage.

The roofless garage.



Ask me in a year if we really needed to save this?...

Ask me in a year if we really needed to save this?…




So after much nagging and badgering…not my favorite; most of the detritus of apartment living is gone. I suspect that I will find some of what was there stashed in available corners, under staircases, etc.

Detritus Maximus

Detritus Maximus

What will come in place of this nasty old storage/garage space will be a gallery (very small) and workshop (also very small) and two tiny living studios…pictures to come…

May 2015 I await the Building Permit…submitted in February!  Oh well, I guess they’re really really busy down at Building and Planning….

Spring 2015

It’s April and  our  2015 farm garden is just beginning after a winter mulch.  A new irrigation system now being installed,  water savings is what we hope to accomplish.  Lots of people are giving up home farming to save water this year…We’re doing the irrigation system and will irrigate minimally at night.  We also will recycle as much household water as possible.

Early spring 2015 crop of collards.

Early spring 2015 crop of collards.

This site, betweeen 1430 32nd St. and 1404-06 32nd Street,  is the site of a planned new building.  I have filed for a building permit and expect to start construction sometime in the late summer, early fall.  The proposed new building is a two unit building and will house a small gallery and workshop on the ground floor, two small living units about.  Another iteration  of the “Shop House” idea….

Soon the locale of a new building...2015 project to come...

Soon the locale of a new building…2015 project to come…

Add this to the Doohickory category...thank you Julian  Hodges.

Add this to the Doohickory category…thank you Julian Hodges.

Yes we have bananas…in Oakland.  Amazing but true…this plant will die once the bananas emerge…it’s a wonderful spectacle the fruiting process, very dramatic.

Bananas in Oakland!...yes, we have a microclimate!

Bananas in Oakland!…yes, we have a microclimate!

Peter's Honey...fig. Figs are upright on their branches until they are ripe and drop down, heavy with sugar.

Peter’s Honey…fig.
Figs are upright on their branches until they are ripe and drop down, heavy with sugar.

We lost three hives in 2014 but the remaining hives are going strong.

We lost three hives in 2014 but the remaining hives are going strong.

Site of many a party....

Site of many a party….

New Toys at The Ranch!!!

We now have our very own Extractor!…surely making possible more honey processing FASTER.  The old equipment was pretty sad and we had to drive miles to rent it…So now we have our own set up and look forward to being able to process and provide honey to more folks…faster.  We’ve been the happy recipients  of a whole lot of bee keeping equipment.  As people loose enthusiasm for the process, they have found a happy home for their often slightly used equipment.  It’s a lot of work and if you don’t have a lot of hands to help, it can be discouraging.  We have found making a party of the harvest (and other less enchanting chores) is a good way to get lessen the burden and spread the joy.

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