Hospitality Day

Yesterday, Thursday, was quite a day here on the urban homestead.

SmartCar visits the urban homestead

First we had a representative of the German automaker, SmartCar and a film crew pop by for a quick visit. To coincide with the launch, SmartCar is producing a film segment (approx 12 minutes) to show why it chose California as its base from which to launch SmartCar to America. And the answer to that question is “because California is the heart and soul of the green movement in the U.S.”As part of the film, they are interviewing visionary, cutting edge, green companies and people located in SoCal. They wanted to visit with PTF since “the story of individual “green” efforts – is most inspiring!”

So between cold wind and raindrops, the interview and filming went on. Unfortunately, because of the wet conditions, we were unable to demonstrate solar cooking, pedal power, etc. Everyone made the best of such circumstances.

FYI: No, we didn’t get a SmartCar for being a part of the promo film; however, we did have one question “Do they come in diesel?” Answer: “no” – their diesel models are only available in Europe”. Too bad…

Mid morning a USC film student, who is working on a film from Eudora Welty’s “The Whistle,” which first appeared in a collection called A Curtain of Green,stopped by. The book/film is set around the great depression and the student producer was looking for locations with garden shots and our place was recommended as possible setting. “The Whistle,” based upon, as Welty explains, a warning of early frost that brought out a beggar’s ransom of clothing, bedding, and floor coverings, to protect the crops against the freeze. With live actors they are going to play out the scene where the couple has to get up during the night to save their crops, covering them with blankets and clothing off their backs. Our family can somewhat connect with the such a forlorn scene reminiscing last winter when we experienced the coldest consecutive days on record. Although gone are the days when a whistle sounded to alert the entire community of an approaching freeze, we now depend upon a our own frost alert version warming system, Justin, to give us the low down on the weather situation. Since the scene is at night and early morning and with a little modification, the backyard would look like a field some where in Mississippi. If all goes well, filming should start in February.

Jay & Molly visits the urban homestead

The highlight of the day was when Jay & Molly (best known for their haunting song, Askokan Farewell — theme song for Ken Burns award winning Civil War documentary (which happens to be one our ultimate fave songs), dropped by the urban homestead for lunch. Like I usually do daily here on the urban homestead, I made lunch with some of our very own “homegrown tomatoes” (thought they would enjoy the similarity since they sing a ditty titled “Homegrown Tomatoes”). For dessert Jordanne & I whipped up a meyer lemon pound cake (using up those meyer lemons and duck/chicken eggs!) topped with homegrown, homemade meyer lemon and hg pomegranate syrup – it was delicious! After a much complimented over lunch ( just can’t beat homegrown), I just had to show Molly our monster tomato plant still loaded with tomatoes. Since she lives in the Catskill mountains of New York, she commented how she just had to see a tomato growing in January!

They both were warm and engaging people. Before, during and after lunch, the conservations were lively and we talked about all sorts of things. With rain driving everyone indoors, a warm fire burning and home filled with wonderful company and home cooked vittles, what better excuse to spend a day indoors. To top off the wonderful lunch with such pleasant company, Molly sat Jordanne down for a impromptu guitar session. Then Jay joined in and they played two songs together.

And, last but not least, the gave us three of the CDs. One was titled “Harvest Home” on which they wrote

For the Dervaes, the embodiment of HARVEST HOME. – Jay Unger & Molly Mason

It was a thrill and a pleasure to meet with such wonderful homegrown and talented musicians such as the likes of these two people who embody all that down home, good old American music that touches your heart and soul.

Oh, what a wonderful and memorable day. The fun isn’t over yet….

Sunday, we are planning a social gathering (so we are hoping the rain stops for awhile!) and there’s to be more filming that day also. Busy, busy, busy.


  1. Kristi says:

    Aren’t those smart cars great? They have the diesel in Canada, as well, and they get 70mpg! In a year or two, Europe’s particulate emissions will surpass the US’s (great to see who the climate “leaders” really are…), and they’ll be able to sell them here.

  2. Lucy says:

    OH, gosh! I love Ashokan Farewell! love it, love it, love it. One of my favorite tunes to play on the harp.

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