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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Culinary, Cabbage, Cats & Coons: The Creation of Mog Cottage Urban Farm

I've always been a gardener at heart. Perhaps it goes with the feeling that I was born in the wrong era, as I have always had a connection with history, especially the 1900's Arts & Crafts movement. I admit I hold it rather sentimentally, even though I wasn't born anywhere close to that era. I'm also a compulsive fiber artist, embracing old technology such as, spinning and knitting. I love to cook, especially ethnic foods. I haven't figured out where all these interests came from though. They're just innate, like genetic or something.

Part of my personal journey
lately is to take my love for gardening a step further by getting formally educated and attend a community college that offers a degree in horticulture. I started last spring quarter. One of the classes I took was on vegetable gardening. The class was taught by two gals who took a ferry in from the Kitsap peninsula at the butt crack of dawn to teach the class every Friday morning.The idea of the class curriculum was to take weekly steps in constructing a real or imaginary garden (along with the one started on campus) and write a weekly report on the subject for the week. I thought, yee-hah because I work best with deadlines and have wanted to install a veg garden for a long time. The issue became where to do it.

For the past 4 plus years I h
ave been seeing a fella who lives 37 miles from my house in Seattle. I found him on Craig's List. One of the requirements in my singles ad was a love of the Arts & Crafts movement, antiques, architecture, gardening and cats. He turned out to appreciate the same things I do, is a craftsman and owns an old house infested with cats. He likes to collect (I'll get into that on a different posting) and grew up with a father who had an entire city lot devoted to a veg garden located on Queen Anne Hill. Now for the logistics.

This is my house:

It is located in Smokey Point on a former cow field. It's on a postage stamp sized lot and there's no room for much veg other than some container veg's on the back deck and a herb garden.

This is Roland's house:

It was built in 1905 on a double lot in the heart of the Norwegian Ghetto - Ballard. It need's paint. The lot is 50' by 125' and is currently filled with weeds, lumber, 9 cats, coons, and 3 dead cars. However, it has other endearing qualities; there's room for a veg garden. Time for adding cabbage and carrots to the mix.

As I'm living in a fantasy of having a pastoral urban estate some day, I've decided to name the place as folk did in England (part of that Arts & Crafts era sentimental thing).
Roland is not British, he's Swiss, but I have British pedigree so made the executive decision on the name. I picked Mog Cottage as 'mog' is a British slang term for pet cat of dubious pedigree. That's what our motley crew is mostly made of and they act like they own the place anyway, even demanding room service (in, out, in, out, in, out the front door despite the cat door in the back).

So, as the class progressed and I submitted my weekly reports, the garden took shape and now we have a good start. As urban farming is a huge trend, especially in Seattle, I feel that we are part of a movement towards better urban land use. Neither of us are herd animals that tend to got with trends, but this is a cause we can easily embrace.

I'm taking part II of the veg class this summer. After my final presentation, one of the teachers told me that she enjoyed reading about my culinary garden adventures and that I should start a blog. So here it is. Welcome to the adventures of Mog Cottage Urban Farm.

1 comment:

  1. Great beginning, Debra! Hope you'll post lots of photos. Have you considered chickens? Great pets, even better eggs.


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