I can’t believe I am wishing for rain to cease in drought-plagued California. If predictions for El Nino are accurate, this may be a tough road to get this property done in a year. But Dino (my contractor) and I are determined!
Instead, I’m going to enjoy the bounty of the soil and focus on the beauty of nature as I watch the puddles expand on our construction site. I’ve included below, a collection of garden highlights over the last year and pictures I took of the grounds through various seasons.
It took 1 year for permits to be granted. We needed to come off the septic tank and hook up to a sewer line that ran down the middle of the street from a residence that found it necessary to abandon his septic when it failed. So, our gain—the ability to pay mightily to hook up to the county sewer system. We will stay on well water, but no longer have to deal with all the joys of maintaining a septic system.
Once permits were given, we were able to break ground, literally. As the topography reports revealed that the soil, which made everything grow so well, was full of clay and required much fortification for building on. So 50 yards of soil was withdrawn and new soil and rock brought in for the new pool house.
First up: the pool house. In an attempt to glam up a 58’ long x 16’ wide building that could have ended up looking like a trailer, we decided to add height. So, we now have a delightful pool house chapel. It also needed to block the neighbors’ party house that features every conceivable outdoor sporting activity in very small backyard. I think we have succeeded in doing just that.
Board and batten goes on before another rain storm comes in.
Slow progress due to intermittant rain storms. Milgard windows went in.
For years, we’ve contemplated how to create a place where we could celebrate all the things in life that we value: gardening, cooking, music, art and friendship. We’ve jokingly called it Canappela Compound. Canappela is blending of our last names and “compound,” well we can’t think of an alternative word. We’re not quite sure if we are of the commune or kibbutz mindset.
Last year, while dealing with the impending death of a mother and looking to sell some San Francisco property that had once been in a transitional neighborhood was now white hot in a trendy social media location-- the value was clearly climbing/peaking, we happened on a stunning piece of property in Sonoma, Ca. We had lived there for 18 years in a weekend home and we were now ready to look at it as our retirement community.
We knew we wanted to be as close to the town square as we are now and we also hoped to have some land to grow veggies on and have some chickens. So when we heard about a 1-acre parcel that had been designed by a flipper to appeal to urban gardeners wanting to expand into more nature, there was little to ponder.
Canappela Farm (our new name for the property) became ours in August 2015. See the realtor pictures of the cottage and property-- creatively brought up to date in good taste. Now we just to put our imprint on it to make it uniquely ours.