What a sight! The garage in 1985 or 1986… condition remained pretty much the same till started fixing up in the late 1990’s. The white box truck we brought from Florida to move our furniture – everything we owned fit in this truck!
First tour of the urban homestead in 2002 (located on the right: a bunch of homemade self watering containers on the 30’x30′ concrete patio, homemade solar oven and chicken run) The garage was painted once again (white) – still needing molding! Sheesh, look at all that concrete!
And now, spring 2008. We re-painted and re-roofed the garage ourselves back in 2003 (when we self installed 12 solar panels) The “flower-crete” is made from recycled concrete from the backyard 30’x30′ slab we removed by hand (see our concrete removal efforts) Last year we hung new “doors” that allow easy access when we have public events. (Located to the right: earthen oven, clay pot irrigation bed, small greenhouse and animal enclosure)
Looking back at all the old photos as I construct the new photo gallery (containing nearly 2,000 photos!), it’s a humbling and rewarding experience to see how the urban homestead has evolved over time.
In 1984, trading 10 acres in the countryside for this 1/5 acre uncared for lot with a fixer upper house and garage that looked dilapidated – one had to see past all the flaws for potential. And that’s why Farmer D choose this place. Where others saw a “dive,” he saw potential for a garden and play area for us kids who were used to the “wide open spaces.”
Looking back at the photos, I have to admit our friends and family were right – the place was “a dive.” I remember “the looks” people would give us when they would come over to visit – they would see all the work that needed to be done. Before we owned it, the house had been rented for 20 years and neglected. It certainly needed A LOT of TLC. But to us kids, we could care less – we had room to play and plant a garden.
It’s been a slow transformation that’s taken many years – over twenty to be exact. The transformation didn’t happen overnight, nor could we afford to hire help. In fact, we did most of the work ourselves, on the cheap.
Can you believe this is the same exact garage that people advised us to “tear down” or told us that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Really? This “old thing” was made of genuine redwood and the wood was still structurally sound.
Not only is that one time declared “tear down” being used for storage of urban homestead goods and supplies (collection of bikes, grain mill, used grease, biodiesel processor etc.) there are 12 solar panels on top. The garage is now used for community workshop, film screenings and gatherings.
Change takes time and one learns you can’t listen and rely on the skeptics who didn’t have the vision to see the potential of “a sow’s ear.” We learned to labor…. and to wait….
Any readers have a “sow’s ear” stories to share?
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