I dont know what it’s like to have to be living in your home while it is getting remodeled, but after this experience I am pretty certain I will not like it.
For the last week or so our garden has been torn apart and destroyed. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into that garden, as measly as it was… I was proud of it. Even when you know the destruction is temporary and the bigger plan (if successful) will be amazing, beautiful and fulfil the legacy I am trying to live out… I still cried when we couldn’t save the big Loquat tree. I cried when the bluejays and gold finches fluttered frantically around wondering where their favorite boxwood bushes were going. I cried when I had no where to transplant my 2 month old baby corn plants when we had to pull up the garden box… and they were fed to the animals. I cried when they were done working that first day and everything was empty… completely empty and I suddenly lost my vision that had been so vibrant and inspiring. What had I done?
What had I done….
Now let me tell you… over all my years growing up on this property, this lovely field has seen it’s fair share of “construction”, but I was never the one who had the bright idea to start tearing things out, it was my grandmother. My grandfather would then take her crazy brained idea and ground it with something fitting and rational that still managed to keep her happy. He truly was amazing.
Anyway… from growing plants straight in the ground to building feed sheds, a cow pen and eventually a guest house (the one we now live in)… this little field has been torn up and built upon many many times.
But this time was different, I was responsible. I was paying for it. I was in charge.
…. The little girl who followed her grandmother everywhere. The messy haired, blue eyed, dirt covered tom-boy who danced around the yard singing the melody to Little Mermaid while making mud pies…. the girl who collected snails and giant slugs for the chickens, the girls who eagerly got right in the middle of calves and goats being born, the girl who struggles to find patience waiting for plants to grow, the girl who spent hours laying beneath the field of flowers dreaming of being Alice in Wonderland… that girl was calling the shots.
…deep breath in…. deep breath out….
Let me first introduce you to our concept, our idea… our mission.
Ranaldi Family Farm is a local urban farm designed to provide educational experiences everyone will enjoy. Crafts, animal related activities and learning to help a plant grow for the kids in our beautiful Children’s Garden. All our old raised beds and a few newly constructed recycled material beds will be the foundation for my Children’s Garden. We will show kids how you can grow in all kinds of garden beds, not just in the ground or in a wooden box. They will see you can grow in straw, in water, in cement cinderblocks, in bags or recycled food containers, in old shoes wheelbarrows or bathtubs…. it will be a fun unique place for kids to come, grow and learn in their own unique way; hands on. If my girls have anything to say about it we will also have a fairy/butterfly garden complete with little houses just in case Tinkerbell and her friends want to take up residence…
For the adults we hope to provide fresh organic produce for each growing season. I will provide a “You-Pick” special where for a minimal fee you can come pick you own produce from what is available at that specific time. You can fill one of our bags/baskets or bring your own. We will also get a CSA program started so we can provide amazing quality fruits and veggies to our amazing, awesome members who choose to support us by subscribing to a monthly or weekly CSA program. We will also to workships and activities for the adults! We will have a cheese making workshop out of our deliciously fresh goats milk (we might even include hands-on milking session for those who are interested) once the curds are scooped out and drained you will be able to pick fresh herbs from the garden to put in the personal sized container of feta-like, goat-cheese deliciousness to take home!! We plan to have soap making courses (also with goat’s milk) and jam making/canning workshops… I like to think of them more like parties because we will all get together, have some wonderful food/snacks, maybe a few drinks and enjoy learning and sharing together.
I have amazing wonderful friends who know the ins and outs of permaculture and everything that entails so we can also have gatherings to discuss the details of grey water systems, hydroponics, aquaponics, composting, ph levels of soil, seed cultivating, grafting, gasification…. you get the point right?
BIG plans for a little Family Farm.
Speaking of amazing friends… one group of them in particular formed a company called
They are extremely educated, experienced and incredibly dedicated to bringing urban farming to the forefront of the local community. They “will plan, design, build, plant and teach you how to grow tasty vegetables” in your very own back yard, no matter what the size! I have been clicking through photos of their finished products for other clients of theirs over the last year and growing envious by the click; wishing and dreaming I could one day have an overflowing vegetable garden like “so-and-so” had. When my husband and I decided to begin this crazy adventure Marcos was the first man we called for the job! He came by immediately after hearing we were interested in jumping full speed into the world of fresh produce production and needed help! We talked candidly about our dreams for the space and goals for the farm and within hours he had drawn up a very fair quote to do everything we had asked and then some. I knew our money was in good hands.
Step ONE: 4th of July 2013
before the good gentleman from Simple Growth Gardens showed up I had to clear away the workspace. I had to empty out some of my old garden beds which was so sad for me because they had been growing wonderfully. My corn was sprouting up so quickly and looked beautiful and healthy, I was eager to see if flower and develop nice fat little corn cobs! I even had a beautiful 6ft tall sunflower that voluntarily took up residence in the center of my 12ft garden bed… it was thick and healthy and provided a wonderful play place for the wild birds and the bees, but I was very worried it wouldnt survive being transplanted. I tried anyway.
Oh, and guess what?! My sunflower has survived!!!
(so far anyway, haha)
Three hard woken men showed up in early hours of the morning and got to work tearing apart bushes and trees that have been rooted in this soil longer than I have… It was an emotional day for me. We tried to save some of the trees, but the root systems were too exspansive and the tree too large to transfer so far into our back yard for transplanting. It wasn’t worth the cost and labor and it had to be moved to make room for the large garden beds… so they dug it up and tore it down. The birds flew back and forth trying to keep an eye on what was happening to all their lucious greenery. The men worked so incredibly hard that day and I just sat there staring teary eyed watching as everything was torn away and destroyed….
Goodbye my dear Loquot tree…
The dust settled that evening on an empty field just waiting to be brought back to life….
The men came back and used a nifty stump grinder to shred apart the old stumps in the garden area. The chickens got to come out and play in the fresh dirt too. It was beautiful to watch them play and spread it all around.
Even the piggy got to help !
The next day the guys showed up and dug lines for the pipes to connect to the drip system and our beautiful pile of high quality redwood was delivered!! The hard working men got started right away and by the end of the night had two very large raised beds built and the pipes all connected. Seeing the beds go up gave me such hope and stirred my excitement. Any worry and doubt was gone and the beautiful birth of this new garden and the new life happening on our farm overwhelmed me!
Geezer really was a big help… especially when they took their lunch break!
So here we are… waiting out the weekend before Monday comes and our wonderful Garden is finished. Two more 25ft beds, a GIANT load of beautiful rich compost, a couple drip lines and a LOT of seeds and we will be on our way to success!!
Please consider supporting our Family Farm and keep track of our journey! You can subs
Would you like to help? would you like do donate to our cause?