Undisclosed location, May 2014

“The realtor described it as a cross between ‘Sanford & Son’ and ‘The Godfather'” explained our hostess and the proprietress Lena.  I had to agree.  I was looking at their newly purchased, 1.5 acre, rather mysterious, former man-club oasis in the city.   I felt I had been let in on a secret- a very masculine, Italian-American secret where I had no business being, since I am a non-Italian female after all.  What an invite!  What a find!

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Cleverly outside of clubhouse building, fruit trees

Lena and her partner Beuford were looking to urban-farm on a larger scale than the typical limits of a city backyard.  They cruised realty sites and Craigslist and at some point came upon this quirky jewel.  It seems there exists an Italian-born octogenarian named Angelo who had made the difficult decision to sell the garden/orchard/clubhouse/tomato sauce processing facility property he had owned and created over 50 years.  There were several tended plots and unique hand-built structures on the property, as well as water, electricity, and creative zoning code violations.  Lena and Beuford were intrigued.

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Angelo is a dead ringer for Frank Sinatra, at least I thought so looking at a large, circa-1950’s photograph of him on the wall.  It is said that he constructed outbuildings from discarded materials and, shall we say, eschewed building codes.  I hope to get to meet him, which is a distinct possibiility.  It seems he does stop by socially and in addition, per the purchase agreement, he has the legal right to continue to make his annual 800 jars of tomato sauce there.  Bellissimo!

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Inside the clubhouse and attached tomato sauce-making area. Square metal thing below crimson cabinets is a wood-fired oven for making pizza! Note the deer head and map of Italy!

For now I am just delighted to spend time at the location.  It is bordered by a large park on one side, a quiet residential neighborhood on another side, and a cemetery – a really quiet neighborhood one might say – on a third side.  Even better, we Fantastics were invited to garden on part of one of the large garden plots so we have begun gardening.  There are fruit trees, an outdoor party area, random machinery, a guy who rents space for his construction vehicles, and possibly a cat that came with the property.

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workshop (top), another view of the clubhouse, garden plot, kids on the party patio area

Thanks Lena and Buford!!  Looking forward to gardening and great times in your little paradise!!

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