Saturday, January 16, 2010

There was no farm here after all!

In a post last november, Where are YOU Planted, Country Mouse, I noted that there used to be a farm here. Well, at a recent neighborhood gathering, I asked one of the original inhabitants of the ridge (disregarding of course the original original inhabitants, the Ohlone Indians) about the farm that had been here before the houses were built - its name is painted an old gate at the beginning of our road.

"Oh, there was no farm," quoth he, "That was some scheme of [another of the other people who originally moved up here], something to do with the planning department, I don't remember now, some requirement so we could keep the status of the road as a private road or something. It had to have a gate, so he put a gate there, and he just put that sign on it so it looked real."

So there go all my theories that this is a farm gone back to the wild - I'm very happy of course, to know that this is land that has not been farmed - only clearcut by redwood tree loggers, which is bad enough - but I believe that much of the existing chaparral was originally chaparral and not converted redwood forest area.

It turned out that my informant at the party was also the person who brought all the Monterey Pines to the ridge. (I blogged about that here.) He explained that the forestry service was promoting their use, and giving them out to home owners, in an attempt to reforest areas that had been clearcut back in the late 19th century. He did agree that they hadn't done so well, as it turned out. I guess the forestry service was not so concerned about restoration of native habitats in those days. I wonder what their approach is now?

BTW, I edited yesterday's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post to add notes about each of the plants. You might enjoy a look at that. There is a photo of native plant that has just started growing here, all by itself, Ericameria arborescens.

5 comments:

Nell Jean said...

You can still be Country Mouse, inventing your own history to suit your story. I am frequently frustrated when DH cannot remember where certain things were, like the old railroad and the syrup cane mill. The other day he was even vague about exactly what was where my bookcases cover a door now closed off. I suspect that before the house had a addition added, there was a window. He just can't remember.

Christine said...

I don't know, Country Mouse. Wild lands living covertly as a farm makes for a more amusing story than a farm taking over wild lands. Actually, it's endlessly amusing. It's getting the Mission Impossible theme song in my head!

Randy Emmitt said...

Country Mouse,
Shame it was not a farm! But great that you got the real story about the place.

I found in the bottom land here not 200 yards from my property the remains of a moonshine still. Blown up barrels, tubing and peach pits. Supposed to go back to the mid 20th century.

You have not entered our contest??

Country Mouse said...

Wow that is a very cool find, Randy! All we turn up here are old bottles of pop, and a few small toys, leftovers from the first home owners. I have fantasies of finding Way Cool stuff, like a moonshine still. I'll have to invent my own history, as Nell Jean says, create something in a short story, maybe. I did go by your blog, Randy, on seeing your comment and entered the contest! Anything with pink flamingoes in it is fine by me.

It could be way way cool though if the patches that sort of look like ex-fields were actually ex burning grounds of the native Americans - I'm going to do a post one of these days on what I've learned about how the California Indians used to manage the land - it's quite interesting. We think it's a wilderness, but it was under "management" for maybe 10,000 years before the invaders came.

fairegarden said...

What an interesting story! Making your place into a farm for various governmental perks. I know some here who are listed as farms because of tax breaks, big tax breaks. The farmers deserve those breaks too, a hard life for the small family owned businesses that make up most of the countryside. Loved your natives, it is such a learning curve to see these plants. I didn't realize rosemary was a fire hazard, but it does make sense with that sticky tar.
Frances