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The 22nd Annual July 4th Rock and Roll and BBQ







DSC_0021Well Mother…we did it again!…It was a really fun party…lots of good food and music.  We only do this once a year but we’ve got it down!…and of course, even with lots of help, it takes a year to forget how much work it can be…However, THANKS to all who made this another great event.

The Rummies....once more played their hearts out!  Of course, we all know all the words.

The Rummies….once more played their hearts out! Of course, we all know all the words.


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The Garden

The winter’s cardboard mulch has been removed from the growing beds and we’ve cultivated and planted for the summer. The tomatoes are in the ground and supported by yet another support experiment. However, this one looks like a winner.

This is the 22nd year we’ve been working on this garden…gardens.  Each year the soil gets better and we learn from our mistakes.  In truth…ours our probably the most expensive tomatoes in the universe…but we love ’em and we love doing the work.

If you are reading this and going to be around Oakland July 4th…come on down and see for yourself…we will have the 22nd annual July 4th Rock and Roll and BBQ…right here at The Ranch at Dogtown.



Spring 2014


Hot Peppers.....!!!

Hot Peppers…..!!!

We planted five fruit trees last year...
We planted five fruit trees last year…


Onions as borders

Onions as borders

We use cardboard as a pathway mulch to separate our planting beds

We use cardboard as a pathway mulch to separate our planting beds

Fall Garden

The summer garden was great, especially the tomatoes!

The Russian Krim Tomato…best of breed in our garden!

Now, as winter approaches, we have put to bed some of the plots.  They have been covered with cardboard and weighted down  so that the soil can rest  in preparation for next spring’s plantings.  The cardboard will decompose and enrich the soil while keeping the weeds at bay.  The  cardboard/paper should be several (4-6) inches deep…so, save your old newspapers/magazines and layer them on…before March 1st and we’ll need the rain to make this system really work.

Dormant beds resting for spring

The “Dormitory”

Gardens One, Two and Three  have been planted with winter crops  — peas, chard, kales, broccoli, lettuces–that will provide good eating while we wait for spring.  Garden Three has beans climbing up their string supports.  What a great job on the construction!  And in the Greenhouses we have….?????

Back garden with its plastic greenhouses

Here are some beautiful peas using the garden umbrella skeleton for support.  They look really robust and healthy.

The apples Also were delicious this year.  We didn’t get to the pressing, though.  Well, there’s always next year.  For some reason, no one got to these beauties high in the tree.

High-hanging Fruit


What To Do With Abundant Plums

Hi All:  We’ve got a whole lot of little purple plums…an easy way of using them follows

Plum Pie

Filling….pick enough to fill a 4 quart pan/pot.  Clean them and cook with 2 cups of water…cook slowly until the plums get all mushy.  Cool the whole mess and strain it thru a collander.  You should have 4 cups of fruit mash.  Bring three cups of this to a slow boil for 3-5 minutes, dissolve 4 envelopes of Knox Gelatin in the warm mixture, add the remaining cup of cool fruit, add two cups of sugar and cook for another 10 minutes until you are sure the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a crust (chocolate graham cracker/store bought) and top with whipped cream/creme fresh…You can spice up the fruit mash with ….rum/cinnamin/lemon…?  Also, you can use more sugar if you like…I like it somewhat tart…You can use this same method with other stone fruits….try it!  Happy Gardening/Farming


June 19th/Extraction…?

How many centrifuges (or is it centrifugi) do you own?  Well, me too, I also have none.   However, if one joins (as one has) the Alameda County Bee Keepers Association, one can rent a honey centrifuge for a modest $20.00.    Not only have we rented the equipment for our first “extraction”, we have had the benefit of much coaching and encouragement from the lovely folks at ACBKA….We are nubbi bee keepers but enjoying the heck out of it and happy to have joined the community of urban beekeepers.