This blog started with small daily paintings then changed to a more personal sharing of projects, events and photos. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Garden at Olompali, 1989--90

We lived in Marin County for several years--right in Olompali state park where there is so much very colorful history that it's hard not to mention some of it--this is more than you need to know, but having lived there, I feel compelled, so hold on, we're going for a quick history ride!!!

In 1776 a chief from a Miwok indian tribe built an adobe home, which is the site of the Battle of Olompali in 1846, also known as the Bear Flag Revolt. The chief's son, Camillo Ynitia, sold the adobe to James black, who's daughter, Mary, acquired the home. Mary married Galen Burdell, one of the first dentists in San Francisco. Mary and Galen's son, James Burdell built a mansion around the adobe!
The mansion and land was eventually sold to the University of San Francisco, to be used as a Jesuit retreat. The University tried to sell it a few times. During the 60's, the Grateful Dead lived there for a time, creating a meeting place where other musicians, like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, came to play.
In 1967 Don McCoy bought the property and leased it out to a hippie commune called, "The Chosen Family", where " The Family's" children attended "Not a School" run by a nun, who I believe was ousted from her former job for smoking pot? (not sure about that piece of info)
In 1977 a fire burnt the mansion, but parts of the mansion and adobe remain standing--the land was bought by the state to become Olompali State Park.

Whew! Something about that land up there--it is so full of spirits--(the ghost that roams Mary's garden and the child ghost that lives in the old servants house), that if I start telling any little bit about the history, I just can't leave anything out! (I'm sure I did)--like opening a can of worms...oh no!! oh yes!!---just down a little dirt road from where we lived was an old dilapidated red worm farm! Which brings me back to my gardens at Olompali....

About ten years after that mansion fire, My family moved out to the state park--we lived in a mobile home and had a few great gardens. The weather is hot and dry in the summers and cold only freezing occasionally in the winters. My kids ages were 9, 6, and 2 years.

For a few years our garden thrived, but then the gophers got news of the new garden and that was that!

My son at three--you may have read my previous post about his garden now. the deer were actually jumping over this wire fence, so I had to rig up the funky strings above the fence to keep them out!

11 comments:

martha miller (it's all art, isn't it?) said...

LOVE THIS GARDEN SERIES, SUE!!! And LOVE seeing these old photos!!! You and me - we are farmers and workhorses at heart! Must be that old paper route training...xox

P.S. When you start painting again, I see soooo much for you to paint in all these old photos!!!

martha miller (it's all art, isn't it?) said...

Oh, and yes. There are ghosts out on your coast. I still remember seeing those old faces before I fell asleep that first night...

Dean Grey said...

Thanks for the history lesson, Susan, and for sharing your early pics with us!

-Dean

michaela said...

I always felt weird walking around that old filled in pool. The story that always got me as a kid is the story of the child who rode his bike into the pool and drowned. The pool wasn't kept up on the commune and i guess it was really dirty so the child was missing for days before someone swimming felt him/her in the pool? (do i have this right?) Then they filled in that pool but left eveything else about the pool even the hand rails. It was a pool of grass when we lived there.

michaela said...

and oh yes the gofers.....i had much sympathy for them. you mean gofer killer you

michaela said...

gophers...third times a charm :)

Susan Beauchemin said...

Hi Martha--it all goes back to the paper route--do you have pictures of us doing that job?
I will be painting soon too!
Right, you were seeing old Indian faces all through the night and then we found our you were sleeping right on an old Indian site--was it a burial site? Do you remember?

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Hi Dean, you're welcome! It's been fun to dig out the old photos and I'm not done yet!

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Hi Michaela, Oh there is more history that I forgot to mention, or that we just never knew about!--yes, that sad sad story about the child found in the dirty unkempt pool--also the feeling I got every single time we passed the mansion and the garden--or stepped foot into the maintenance shop which is now the office--how that second story of that house was boarded off, but now has been renovated! What a thrill it was to go upstairs and finally see what it looked like (turned into offices, but still..)
Also the wildlife--foxes, coyotes, deer, raccoons, ticks, birds and I would have killed that gopher--maybe--maybe not--you stopped me though! Lizard catching--the wind through the oaks--the smell of tar weed in the hot summer--walking you kids to the bus--you and AJ riding the wagon down the hill. Star gazing in the parking dirt parking lot that has now been paved. The small ripe plums we'd collect--the walnut grove. That place has magic in it--I could easily feel it the very first day I set foot there!!

Melissa Mead said...

Yes Susan!!! Please paint again! I am loving the garden expedition. It reminds me that I HAVE a garden! I don't have time to care for it but somehow it manages to feed us.

This harvest photo reminds me of our first Dragon bean harvest! Purple striped green beans winding in and out of the cup...so alive and beautiful!

martha miller (it's all art!) said...

That Georgie is so CUTE!!!

Susan Beauchemin said...

Hi Melissa, I'll paint again--(I keep telling myself), but it may take some time! Those dragon beans sound beautiful!

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Hi Martha, He was then and still is now--in a more handsome way of course!

Chris Beck said...

I've always liked Olompali, but had no idea of all the history. Thanks for sharing that. I'm so jealous that you actually got to live there!!