Poem for the Day: A Promise to California, by Walt Witman

Big Sur, CA surf photo shoot with Dand Richardson May 24-28, 2011.

A promise to California,
Or inland to the great pastoral Plains, and on to Puget sound and Oregon;
Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward you, to remain,
to teach robust American love,
For I know very well that I and robust love belong among you,
inland, and along the Western sea;
For these States tend inland and toward the Western sea, and I will also.

2014 Garden Refresh… Time to Thin, Clean, and Replant

With spring suddenly upon us – at least according to theWP_20140301_002 calendar as we really don’t have traditional winters here in Southern California – we decided to combine our minimalistic approach to our outdoor spaces, cleaning out all the old leaves, furniture, and general clutter inhabiting the backyard, area behind our laundry room, patio, and side entrance on the south side of our property. Out went the old plastic lawn chairs, corroded fire pit, and rusty smoker (retrieved by the unseen curbside pickers in the middle of the night), leaving behind only our patio table and matching chairs, chicken coop, and propane BBQ. Our vegetable boxes also remained, but they survived the cut due to both their productivity and attractiveness (and they occupy former lawn space). Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration – Part 6

WP_20140216_002After a three month hiatus to deal with Alicia’s mother moving in for the final leg of her life journey, I finally got back to working on our little camper in the hopes of making a one year anniversary trip back to our first trailer rally at Ocean Mesa campground in El Capitan, CA. The Aristocrat has been covered by a tarp all this time, but a scarily mild  “winter” here in Southern California made its use almost non-existent; indeed, we’ve only had 2-3 days of rain (more like heavy mist) in the past 90 days. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 30 years now and I can honestly say I’ve never seen such unbelievably gorgeous weather, even if the flip side is the worsening of our already severe, years’ long drought. Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration – Parts 3,4, and 5

Exactly one month after starting my Aristocrat Lo-Liner restoration project, I’m finally seeing some real progress and looking forward to the day she will once again roll the highways in all her vintage glory. I can’t say truthfully that I haven’t had my doubts throughout this whole process, but with the walls going up and everything fitting properly, my self confidence has received a much needed boost and I actually believe I’ll be able to complete the entire restoration within the next 3-4 weeks. Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration – Part 2

20130818_122009 In part one of my ongoing restoration project (involving our 1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner camper/trailer), I discovered that simple fixes on 50 year old things are rarely that; and unfortunately what I hoped would be a repair confined to one corner of the camper turned out to reveal damage throughout the entire structure. This had me peeling off the outer aluminum skin piece by piece (held in place by about a million rusty staples), pulling out the entire kitchen area in the front, and removing the bed supports which had pulled away from the outer walls. Once exposed, I discovered wood rot along almost the entire bottom half and undersides, with further damage up each corner to the ceiling. Continue reading

1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner Restoration Begins…

 

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Our 1964 Lo-Liner just prior to tear down. Behind it is a 1950’s Shasta canned ham trailer being restored by our friend, Joe.

The end of summer finally sees us undertaking a much needed restoration of our little 1964 Aristocrat Lo-Liner camper/trailer. We acquired it three summers ago via our friend Joe – aka The Secondhand Answer Man, who found her sitting in a garage in the north end of the San Fernando Valley, for $600.00. Since then, we’ve taken several trips, including a few to vintage trailer rallies as far as Pismo Beach, and some friends even towed it to Burning Man last summer for a christening of playa dust. Continue reading

Welcome to our urban farm.

2012-12-12 13.51.45As in, literally, a project to turn our property into a living, breathing, working farm.

A few short years ago, we got tired to spending too much money at our local Whole Foods Market for healthy produce and watching our unquenchable lawns drink us into the poor house. At the urging of our good friend, Betty, we built a couple of planter boxes to attempt to grow some vegetables, converted our front yard to low water succulent plants, and tried our hand at shopping yard sales and thrift stores to find items on the cheap instead of paying retail at our local Target and Costco.

And while it hasn’t been easy, and we have yet to replace our trips to the grocery store, we have certainly gained much more than a few tomatoes, summer squash, and lower water bills. Our experience in cultivating our tiny, 120×40 foot Mar Vista property has brought us in touch with our land and given us appreciation for what’s been lost in the modern era of convenience, speed, and over stimulation brought about by our technology driven society. In fact, we’ve met hummingbirds that now regularly visit our plants for a drink of nectar, bees cruising through our lavender, worms toiling beneath our soil, and Monarch butterflies nesting in our milkweed as they migrate south. In early 2012, we welcomed our first chickens – Original, Extra Crispy, and McNugget – to our family and they’ve rewarded us with dozens of eggs and morning wake up calls no alarm clocks can match!

It is our hope that this site will bring as much, if not more, information and advice than we can dispense so that our urban farm can become even more productive in the years to come. Please do not hesitate to leave your comments, questions, and tips on this site and we welcome you to come and visit if you’re in our neighborhood and say hello to the hens, who now crave as much attention as most children.

Ian, Alicia, and Kealii
Urban Farmers, Mar Vista, CA