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NFRC: Illegal Goats and Garden Mutinies. May I rant?
Joined: Dec 14, 2005
Posted to Thread #17639 at 11:54 pm on Feb 6, 2010
Some of you asked me to let you know how the new job was going. So far, it's been quite an eventful 3 weeks. I'm working part time as Director of Gardens (D.O.G.) for our non-profit community garden group, Long Beach Organic, Inc. (The president is my friend Spencer and they're already calling me Spencer's dog.)
We have one very large garden and five little ones, and we're looking to open more. I thought I'd ease in, compiling mailing lists, ordering mulch, checking out empty lots, etc. My motto is "There is no such thing as a garden emergency."
Except when there is. I was crazy busy last weekend with back to back cooking classes and I went by my own plot at the big garden to pick some herbs, and there I found two grown goats in a makeshift wire pen. My phone rang just then and it was their owner, Steve, explaining that it was an emergency and they needed a temporary home.
Except it wasn't. Steve and his wife had been given notice three months earlier that their goats were in violation of city ordinance and had to be moved. They are both PHD's but their home is a complete clutter of unfinished projects that spills out onto the porch and front yard. They had the goats in a small side yard with a dozen chickens, but even if there were enough room, goats aren't allowed in Long Beach south of a certain street--Anaheim Blvd. (I always wondered why all the carnicerias on that street are on the north side, but I digress.)
So for three months they collected signatures on a petition, but did nothing to find a new home for the animals except hint that they'd be a nice addition to our garden. I made it clear that it was not an option--we're south of Anaheim Blvd. too.
Then they got a $300 ticket. I guess they thought it would be easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
So while I'm kneading bread dough with one hand for class, I'm scrolling through the municipal code with the other and finding all the ways we are in violation. I had to be the bad guy and composed a semi-threatening email demanding removal within 24 hours.
Can you imagine the havoc a grown goat could wreak if she got loose in a community garden?
So the goats were grudgingly moved and tempers calmed and I turn my attention to one of the smaller gardens, which has been managed for years by the same two guys who do a great job, but don't really like the rest of the organization. They were quite put out when I got hired--not sure why. I sent them a conciliatory note about working together, and I requested their database and some other information, and heard nothing for a couple days.
Then, boom, they sent the entire board a notice of secession. It seems they went behind our back to the elderly property owner and got her to sign a lease in their name, even though we have a rental agreement with her (for $1) and have been paying utilities and insurance for years. When Spencer contacted the owner she was very confused. She thought she had been simply renewing. We need to speak to her agent on Monday to see where we stand but this may come down to lawyers, locksmiths, and marshals. Meanwhile these guys are collecting money without a business license, non-profit status, or insurance. And it is such a nice little garden--a real oasis on a city lot, and I had been friendly with the mutineers--they've been guests at our garden and in my home several times.
So another weekend shot on another garden emergency, even though I don't believe they exist! At the moment I hate people and I hate gardens.
And I really hate goats.
On a brighter note, I'm on the verge of landing another property--I've already found another landowner willing to give us a five-year lease for a dollar--not an easy feat.
We'll see what next week brings...
Other messages in this thread:
- 17639. NFRC: Illegal Goats and Garden Mutinies. May I rant? - Joe - 11:54pm on 02/06/10 (57)
- Oh Joe, - Dawn_MO - 12:15am on 02/07/10
- I'm hangin', and beginning to see the humor. Enjoy the pastries! [NT] - Joe - 12:17am on 02/07/10
- Joe--too bad Mayberry isn't still taping. Your story would make for a perfect episode [NT] - charlie - 12:29am on 02/07/10
- Another week like the last one and I'm pitching a reality show of my own. - Joe - 1:27am on 02/07/10
- What are you going to call it, "It's Me or the Goat"? [NT] - Luisa_Calif - 1:30am on 02/07/10
- Maybe, since "My Pet Goat" is already taken. [NT] - Joe - 1:34am on 02/07/10
- I actually love your title "Illegal Goats and Garden Mutinies"! It is perfect -- - PatBastrop - 1:56am on 02/07/10
- No open fires. It's actually a very densely populated area. We're in a green belt that used to be a - Joe - 2:06am on 02/07/10
- Awww, shucks! so much for the impromptu cabrito! [NT] - PatBastrop - 2:58am on 02/07/10
- Did you say "impromptu?" How fast can you roast a goat? We've had hours-long wine tastings, - Joe - 3:02am on 02/07/10
- Joe, someday, when having some great friends for a dinner party, - KarenNoCA - 12:48am on 02/07/10
- I did make it to the pen and one of them bleated at me in a demanding way. I told her, "I can't be - Joe - 1:20am on 02/07/10
- Look 'em in the eye and whisper one word..."chupacabra" [NT] - MariaDNoCA - 3:43am on 02/07/10
- on another note, I didn't even know people here had goats... or chickens for that matter! [NT] - cheezz - 2:13am on 02/07/10
- Cheez, perhaps you've never been to East L.A. Or Wilmington. For that matter, - Joe - 2:33am on 02/07/10
- Nope, never go that way... I heard goats are great for keeping the grass mowed, though... - cheezz - 1:33am on 02/08/10
- Our chickens love snails too.They fight over them. I love the idea that I'm turning snails into eggs [NT] - Joe - 3:32am on 02/08/10
- My sympathies along with a list of goat recipes (sorry, but I'm still laughing here).. [NT] [LINK] - MarilynFL - 1:10am on 02/07/10
- Yum, yum! Lets have a cabrito barbecue! [NT] - Melissa Dallas - 1:29am on 02/07/10
- I'm sitting on my hands here--forwarding it to the goat's owners wouldn't be nice, would it? - Joe - 1:33am on 02/07/10
- I think what is called for here is a thread of goat recipes.. and perhaps an undetectable poison *g* [NT] - cheezz - 2:12am on 02/07/10
- Birria! my housekeeper gave me her recipe, but I've never tried it. (She uses beef or chicken... - Joe - 3:00am on 02/07/10
- Went on a trip to Mexico while in my late teens. I ordered cabrito in a very elegant restaurant - Melissa Dallas - 5:04am on 02/07/10
- (((Joe))) [NT] - deb-in-MI - 2:16pm on 02/07/10
- Why is it when you are trying to do something good, something nice for others there are - Barbara in VA - 5:36pm on 02/07/10
- Just remember-No good deed goes unpunished. [NT] - Cindy - 6:58pm on 02/07/10
- I feel you pain...and thanks for the heads-up on pitfalls and mutinees... - Glennis_NoCA - 7:28pm on 02/07/10
- Glennis, are you thinking of starting a community garden or gardening the land yourself? - Joe - 9:33pm on 02/07/10
- [sorry for the following] Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo - Michael in Sarasota - 9:36pm on 02/07/10
- Michael, I will now have that song in my head for days. You are evil person. [NT] - Joe - 11:06pm on 02/07/10
- Joe, he's just trying to get your goat. ;o) [NT] [LINK] - Pat-NoCal - 11:45pm on 02/07/10
- HEY, I'm watching that just now!! ballroom scene now. lovely! - AngAk - 5:20am on 02/08/10
- You mean the scene where the tune from "The Lonely Goatherd" becomes the waltz they dance to? - Joe - 6:11am on 02/08/10
- yes, and then out on the patio when they dance the Lendler(sp). goosebumps for me, everytime. - AngAk - 7:03pm on 02/08/10
- Thanks for the hugs and jokes! It's good to laugh about it. I'm not hating the human race quite - Joe - 9:36pm on 02/07/10
- I am at a loss for words.... Think of it as a combination of a giggle and a hug.... [NT] - barb_b - 7:54pm on 02/08/10
- Exactly the combination I was shooting for. [NT] - Joe - 2:17am on 02/09/10
- Mutiny Update: they got away with it, and I'm furious. May I rant some more. - Joe - 3:45pm on 02/10/10
- Ew. Well, now you can put a few new things in place, like an annual thank you letter - Heather_in_SF - 5:23pm on 02/10/10
- Thanks Heather. It;'s a good thing I don't know how to needlepoint--a sampler with your wishes - Joe - 5:27pm on 02/10/10
- Joe, you are doing exactly the right thing for now -- you'll find a garden elsewhere - cheezz - 5:39pm on 02/10/10
- Thanks, I know we're doing the right thing but I still hate it. And I still hate people. And goats. - Joe - 5:46pm on 02/10/10
- that's why you're gettin' the big bucks!! go forth and prosper and grow good stuff etc etc etc. [NT] - AngAk - 6:50pm on 02/10/10
- Goats = baaaaaad (sorry Joe, I couldn't resist!) [NT] - Heather_in_SF - 9:35pm on 02/11/10
- Gosh Joe, wouldn't it be a shame if those weasels awoke to discover their stolen garden had been >> - Steve2 in LA - 7:38pm on 02/10/10
- Thank you, Snidely Whiplash. Great ideas. I would add... - Joe - 9:20pm on 02/10/10
- or just big handfuls of dandelion seeds.... maybe a bunny rabbit or two ... or three [NT] - cheezz - 2:40am on 02/11/10
- or maybe the goats managed to get out of the pen.... just for one night.... [NT] - cheezz - 2:39am on 02/11/10
- Sounds like some good lessons learned...Building goodwill with donated property, - Traca - 4:38am on 02/11/10
- PS. I'm reading a fabulous book called "Farm City" about farming on a lot in Oakland. - Traca - 4:41am on 02/11/10
- I'd take a group shot but we've been locked out of the property, LOL. Relationships really do matter - Joe - 3:58pm on 02/11/10
- Locked out??!!!! What about your garden and your produce that you've put time & money into?! [NT] - cheezz - 7:23pm on 02/11/10
- Oh no, this is one of many gardens we managed. My own plot is in a much larger garden, the one that - Joe - 7:30pm on 02/11/10