Category Archives: Life in it…

Homegrown Revolution

I accidentally came across this video the other day, and I have returned to it a number of times since. It is a great inspiration for me and I hope for you too.

Path to Freedom presents ‘A Homegrown Revolution’ A collaboration of selective media clips which feature their urban homestead and farm which focus on the need of radical action — growing food in the city.

This self produced, short music video was shown at Peter Seller’s Cultural Art’s class at UCLA followed by a short presentation by urban farmer, Jules Dervaes founder of Path to Freedom. The class focus was on the art of slow food and among other guests invited were Michael Pollan, Alice Waters and Eric Schlosser.

Like Victory Gardens of yesteryear, start your own homegrown revolution, grow your own food in your back or front yard — for more information visit the urban homesteaders at

Or on their online journal at:

Since the early 80’s the Dervaes family has slowly transformed their ordinary city lot into a self sufficient urban homestead.


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Filed under Fruitvale, Life in it...

Life on Sausal Creek, 1868-1888


In the spring of 1868 I sold my lovely home, 524 Post Street, for $18,000, and once more set out to find a suburban residence where large grounds, fresh air, freedom from obnoxious neighbors, a horse and carriage, fruits, flowers, milk and eggs of our own production, should add to our family comforts and gratify my innate love of country life.

The creation of our beautiful home “Alderwood” in Fruitvale, about five miles out of Oakland, was the result of our present removal. For $6,000 I purchased six acres of an apple nursery that had been allowed to grow up, there being no market for the trees. There was a small house which I repaired, thinking we could live in it while the children were at school. But it was close quarters. The location was, however, beautiful–in the bottom of the long narrow valley of Sausal Creek, which penetrated the mountains east of Oakland through a steep, narrow, well-wooded cañon, and only a quarter of a mile below its debouchment from the hills. The place was sheltered from the prevailing northwest winds, and its altitude being 125 feet above sea level, it was rarely visited by fogs. The soil was very rich, and the vegetation consequently rank. The creek meandered through the lot in form like the letter S (it has since been straightened and spoiled) and was lined with huge oaks, laurel alder and buck-eye trees. The large alders of California, a tree resembling the eastern beech, were the most numerous; hence we gave the place the name of “Alderwood.” They were the charm of the place, and bowers fitted with rustic seats, a rustic bridge and summer house (all my own handiwork at early dawn and dewy eve) soon made the most of their beauties. The improvement of this lovely spot was for several years the joy of my life and I was greatly aided therein by the sympathetic and artistic concurrence of my wife.

I designed a large, low, Gothic cottage with wide porches on three sides. The old house, removed to a new location in a bend of the creek, formed a part of it. The apple trees were nearly all dug out and replaced with two hundred and fifty fine cherry trees, peaches, almonds, apricots, etc. The grounds were laid out in winding avenues, lined with cypress and eucalyptus. A new street was opened and fenced on the north side, shortening the drive to Oakland from five to three miles, and our street lines were planted with walnut, fig, and gum trees. A nice barn, carriage house, hen and cow houses, were built and appropriately occupied. I bought four more acres across the creek, on the hillside, and planted thereon 2500 mulberry trees, intending my girls to earn their pocket money by raising silk (a scheme badly addled by Mrs. Grundy), at whose instance I dug out the trees again and converted the lot into a cow pasture.

We widened Fruitvale Avenue from forty to sixty feet; the work of two years ere the cooperation of all the property owners could be secured. The neighbors clubbed together and built a water work which cost $20,000 and has since supplied the vale with water in pipes to every house. We again clubbed together and built the Brooklyn and Fruitvale Horse Railroad across the hills, which is still running [1888] with constantly increasing profit. (I was president both of the water works and the railroad, and did most of the work of organizing and constructing both.)

Around our cottage were lawns, flowering vines, and shrubbery which grew to perfection; and the perfume of violets and jasmine, of roses, melissa, Spanish broom and heliotrope, the tall plumes of pampas grass, the perpetual flowers of the solanum, the massive bloom of the wisteria, the luscious treat of abundant cherries, blackberries, and other fruits, plenty of milk and delicious cream, good horses, comfortable carriages, and fine roads, all these now made our place a heaven on earth for my family and haven of delight for old and new friends, who could not come often enough to please my hospitable wife and daughters. The house was nearly always over-run with company, especially in the season for ripe cherries, and I suppose California cherries are the finest in the world…


Filed under Fruitvale, History, Life in it...

Scraper Bike!

I love this! these kids are having a blast! bikes, video, technology, music, potery and all. There also home grown here in Oakland Ca.

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Life in it.

Life in the Fruitvale, is so cool.

It has great Latino culture and all the great things that make Latino culture, Latino culture.

Reminds me a lot of, Echo Park & Silverlake in Los Angeles, and also like San Francisco’s Mission District, and to top it off it has the weather of all of them, maybe even better. ;-7

This section of the blog I will talk about life in the Fruitvale, as I know it and see it. And hopefully promote it as a great place to live in Northern California. With a Bart station at the Fruitvale Transit Village your connected to the entire bay area! There is also plenty of casual carpooling going on as well going into San Francisco during business hours.

With the down turn in housing and the rise of foreclosures in Oakland, the Fruitvale District is also feeling and seeing these effects. What this means to people just now looking to get into a home of their own, is a market flush with great little properties in a beautiful spot in Northern California, at great prices!

Tomorrow morning we are going to the Day of the Dead festival on International Blvd, and will be sure to post some photos from our adventure later that day.

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