Friday, December 20, 2013


People cut through the yard at Sage Garden.  I've been told by neighbors that I need to be stern with trespassers, and I agree that's a valid way to be.  I admit with a little regret that I once scolded someone for walking right by my open door on his way to a friend's house.  If I forget for a moment that fist-shaking is endorsed and expected, and consider whether I really want to act that way, it's obvious that I don't.  One day, people won't cut through here anymore - it's inevitable.  Right now, the front yard is bare gravel, with a sidewalk exactly where pedestrians would want it, but as the area develops into a domestic space to be enjoyed, and looks more like a home than a shortcut, will pedestrians start walking around it?  Is that what I want?  To cultivate a place for enjoyment and then prevent people from enjoying it?  Fast-forward even more, is extinction in the cards for our species?  Seems like the consensus opinion among religious and secular worldviews that a day will come when we're no longer on this planet.  And when we're gone, if some piece of me remembers this day and can weigh in on the question of how to treat trespassers, wouldn't I rather invite everyone in than try to keep them out?  Or if our memory is held only by this dirt and the things that live in it, what will their opinions be?  Will they prefer the trespassers who unwittingly nourished the soil by spitting on the ground, or the well-intentioned property managers who used long-lasting poisons to quell the more, shall we say, spontaneous elements of life?
All elements of life are spontaneous.  Life IS spontaneous.  Or maybe more accurately and more to the point, the ingrained patterns of life and growth aren't swayed by your plans or mine.  And if I truly want this place to be alive and to induce more life in the people plants and animals who encounter it, I'll not only accept unexpected foot traffic - I'll learn to thrive on it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sage Garden Olives!

This morning we harvested olives!  There are 5 mature olive trees at Sage Garden.  It's late in the season, and most of the olives have dropped or are overripe, but a few remained, and that's all we need to cure our first trial batch.

I've never harvested or cured olives before, so even though this batch is small and potentially on the overripe side, the learning experience will be invaluable preparation for next year, when I predict we'll have a crop of well over 1,000 olives.

Here's our trial batch of 75 olives, washed, scored, and ready to cure.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Final Lease Signed

Tonight I signed the final lease agreement.  All residences are now filled.  I immediately took down the FOR RENT sign and the CraigsList ad.  Although it was fun showing the place to prospective residents, answering questions and explaining my objectives and goals, I'm quite happy to turn my attention back to caretaking.  It's time for more planning, scheduling the first planting season; it's time for digging and plumbing.  And this weekend's rain is perfectly timed to soften the ground.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The first compost bin is started!
I was running out of containers to put compost in.  For starters, we'll have one bin in the front of the house and one bin in the back.  And now I have a use for my dishwater, too.

In other news, I've been busy showing the place to prospective residents, and the last 2 units are pending - just finishing the screening process.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Signs Posted

Signs are now posted, including this lovely banner designed by Andrea.

One fortunate thing about this location: when you turn off Center St, the first thing you see is Sage Garden.  Here's what it looks like from the street.

I'm happy to say my kids Ollie and Brandy are spending their first night here tonight.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Post from Inside Sage Garden

As I type this, I am standing barefoot in the "Wisdom House" at Sage Garden.  I'm spending my first night here tonight.

It's been a productive day.  Cox installed cable for my modem.  I met another neighbor, showed the place to 2 prospective residents, handed out my card to 2 others, set up an appointment for tomorrow, and, with Andrea's help, moved the essentials.

Tomorrow, I'll put up the banner and post a picture of it.  For now, it's time to rest.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's Official

The sale recorded today.  I'm hoping to get keys in the morning, because I've got a lot planned for tomorrow ...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Here We Go!

Something happened today.  I signed the docs to purchase Sage Garden!  I ended up with a deal I'm very happy with.  Utilities are turned on, and we are once again moving forward.  I was tired of making and revising projections, but I don't mind saying now that the sale should be recorded in the next day or two, and I'll finally get the keys.

That was worth waiting for.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

1BR is Available!

Here's an update on availability: The 1BR space is available, and another one of the 2BR spaces is all but taken.

So now there's one 1BR and one 2BR available.  As of today.

Here are some pictures from the 1BR "Compassion House"

And when will the sale be finished so I can finally move in?  All I can really say is I'm planning to move this weekend.

I could be disappointed that there have been so many delays in closing.  And honestly, on occasion I do feel disappointed.  But then I realize this brief waiting phase is almost over, and soon it'll be time to move in and begin the real transformation.  And I'm really grateful for that.  And for the tireless efforts of my lender and real estate agent.  And for the patience of the seller.  And for the support of so many fine people.

Soon ...

Laundry Area

One of the first few projects to do at Sage Garden will be to set up a shared laundry area.  There are laundry hookups in each house, but I'd like to have a high efficiency alternative with a clothesline available as soon as possible.  Here are 2 candidate locations:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Even Closer ...

Still waiting for a second appraisal so we can complete the purchase of Sage Garden.  The latest projection is Tuesday.

In the meantime, all the buried utility lines been marked to facilitate site planning.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

And Closer ...

Signing didn't happen today, so close of escrow is tentatively planned for tomorrow.

What did happen, though, was I received a Sage Garden Ecovillas banner in the mail.  I'll show you when it's displayed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Getting Closer ...

The purchase of Sage Garden Ecovillas is getting closer.  I just found out today that close of escrow will not happen tomorrow as planned, but we're just days away.

If you're reading this and you or someone you know wants to move into Sage Garden, now is the time to let me know!  We've got time to set up your walkthrough and application, but if I don't hear from you, the opportunity may pass quickly.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Given Options Are Not the Only Options

I forgot to post this when it happened, but better late than never.

One of the issues that came up during the appraisal of Sage Garden was concerning dishwashers.  The lender told me I HAD to install dishwashers - that it was a condition of the loan.  Now, I don't mind other people having dishwashers.  They use a lot of water and power, but I get it: they're convenient.  However, I don't want one for myself, and I don't want to spend money on a single dishwasher that's not going to get used.  I'd rather use that money for the garden, or a shared, high efficiency clothes washer.  And I'd rather use that space for vermicomposting.

When someone tells me, "You HAVE to do X," it may sound like an objective statement about the reality of my situation, indicating that I just don't have any options available to me other than to do X.  But it's not.  It's a subjective statement equivalent to, "I don't know what your options are."  Which sometimes really means, "I don't know what MY options are if you don't do X."

So I called my lender and after several calls found the right person to talk to.  Turns out the issue was this: if a dishwasher has been previously installed, they require one to be installed at the time of the appraisal, so the kitchen sink functions and drains properly.  Me: "Good.  So it sounds like we don't have a problem.  There are spaces for dishwashers under the counters, but there haven't been any dishwashers installed since the sinks and disposals were installed.  And the sinks checked out during the inspection, so I know they work and drain just fine."

"Well, I guess I could write up my report that way."

"Thank you.  That will help me tremendously."

The options that are given are not the only available options.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting to Know Sage Garden

I got to spend the day at Sage Garden today, fixing up a few things so the appraiser can re-inspect.

I installed range hoods in all four houses, replaced a circuit breaker, and did some exterior caulking and painting - all very satisfying.

We're on track to complete the purchase of Sage Garden Ecovillas next Wednesday, 10/9!