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Patsy's Page

Today I have two grown kids, Jesse, and Katie, and a new grand-daughter Archer Rose. Jesse was born at Stallings and Katie at Struggle Mountain. During my 20's I lived in the community Black Mountain, then on The Land and later at Rancho Diablo, My 30's were spent at Stallings and Struggle , my 40's down the hill in Palo Alto. The kids were in school and Court and I had a store (Earthly Delights) for 8 years so it was easier being down the hill. I came back up to Struggle Mt. at 51 in 2001. I'm hoping for many more years on the mountain. In Dec.2016 Katie had a baby girl. This picture is taken up in Trinidad where both my kids live. Archer loves when Katie hikes with her.



One thing about living in the back-lands was the always present Raccoons that would wait until you left and then find a way into not only the house but a locked cupboard. I especially would love it when they would push a glass jar of flour and a bottle of molasses onto the floor. You would walk into a mess mixed with glass and sticky flour. This image of me with my cat reminded me of the battle with the raccoons. Late one night up in my loft I woke to terrible screaming. A raccoon had gotten my cat and was heading out into the night with it. I could not get down from the loft in time to save it and could hear it's screams going farther into the woods. I felt so awful and still feel guilty about not being able to save her. It wasn't too long after the cat was taken that I moved up to the frontlands with my goats Winnie and Dew Drop.


a rare sitting still moment

Selling at Christmas on the corner of Skyline and Page Mill. ( 2 acres on Black Mountain were zoned commercial)
I'm selling wreaths Rip and I made, while Chris Story plays guitar.

I came to the hills just after the big snow storm of 73. My sister Linnea and her 4 year old daughter Ashley were at her cabin down in the Middleton tract near Portola State Park. She was on the phone with my Dad when he heard a big crash and the phone went dead, so everyone was worried. Court was standing on the corner of Page Mill and Skyline and remembers her husband Rick speeding by in a Jeep with a chain to try to rescue them..It took Rick 5- 6 hrs. to get to the cabin. He had left the jeep by the gate on Portola State Park Road when he couldn't go any further.. The snow was so heavy that the branches of the Oaks and Madrones couldn't take the weight and went crashing down . He had to hike over thousands of downed trees that crisscrossed over the road. Linnea had lost electricity but had the Franklin stove for heat and to melt snow for water since the pipes had burst. It was pretty scary for them since the cabin behind them had been destroyed by a falling tree and several had fallen along side their cabin. Linnea was very happy to see Rick, though could hardly believe he had made it there in the dark.
I moved up not long after that. Everyone was still talking about it. It seemed like we had a good deal of snow every year during that time 1973, 74, 75 and 76 all seemed like winter wonderlands up here. I remember trying to drive on Skyline and swerved all over the road.


my sister Alice and Rip on Skyline near the entrance to Black Mountain

I had been living in Berkeley, taking the last few classes I needed at Merritt College in order to transfer into Berkeley. I had finally decided to study botany. I was working in the President's office so I could have first pick of my classes, and lived with my friend Alison who was going to Berkley. Then showing up one day wasRip and Chris Story, Barbara Martell , Court and other Black Mt. folks to drag me off to work a 3-day Bluegrass festival in Marin. Playing at the festival was Jerry Garcia, Maria Muldar, Vassar Clements and others. I worked helping with food, and the guys with the stage building. Rip and I ended up driving Vassar Clements back to his hotel room and got invited in for a party happening there. It was great fun and got me close with everyone. Later when a friend came in town and we went to visit my sister Linnea, in these hills, we stopped off at Black Mt. They were all going to leave Black Mt. and start a commune at a place called Pegs Perfect Pumpkin Farm up near Oroville. I had recently read Waldon II and thought it would be nice to try living in a commune. Also I liked the group of people and decided I would join them. I went back and dropped out of school, quit my job and told Alison that I was moving and disappeared into the hills. When the deal on the Pumpkin Farm fell through I took off hitchhiking across country with Barbara, her son Spencer and their dog Lucy.

One place Barbra, Spencer and I ended up at was "The Farm" in Tennessee. They needed women at the new farm they were starting up in Wisconsin, but that sounded weird. We may have stayed except for everyone started their conversations with "Steven says" and I started wondering if anyone did any their own thinking. We hitched a ride out in a semi truck coming in to deliver something and ended up in Florida where we called back to Black Mountain to see how things were going. They said the Blue Dome was open for $40 a month and did I want it. I told them to hold it for me and started heading west to move into the Blue Domebludome-sml.jpg I was in the dome the first winter. I loved standing outside of it at night with all my candles burning, it looked like a space ship waiting to take off. I built a nice loft, cut a lot of fire wood, made a lot of macrame hangers but spent most of my time patching leaks. Chris Story was working for a waterbed co. at the time so I had a good supply of plastic to patch with. I later made a sweat out of a waterbed and had it in front of my place. During one sweat I ran out of Eucalyptus leaves and so had the great idea of using Bay leaves that were close by for picking instead. I thought they would work the same and give off a nice smell. Don't ever do this. They burned our eyes so bad we all went running out to rinse our eyes out.
When a cabin came available there I decided to move out of the dome. It was still on Black Mt. but was closer to the barn than a lot of the houses on the land itself. I loved that cabin sitting on the hill above the main house.


my cabin on Black Mt.

I had a deck down below that I could do yoga on in the early mornings. I'd listen to Joanie Mitchel on my record player hooked up to a car battery, and read by lamps bought at the Whole Earth Truckstore. Bringing in wood and lighting the lamps would be a daily chore. I had a wonderful wood burning cook stove that I'd heat water for bathing and take baths in a big old wooden wine barrel. The main house had a shower but I loved and still love taking bathes.
During that first year I would also spend time at "The Land "and got to know Ken Scott, Danny Lynch , Jim Arnold, Jim Fredericks, Little John, Kit, Jan, Wodstock Bob, Maria, Kathy, Robyn, Dianne, and many others. I loved walking over to the dances at the land.


Dancing with Mark in the long hall. Robyn and Jackie front right

I used the free store for clothing and would get my grains at the store in the barn, and visit with Leslie in her shop. I remember rides in the back of the flatbed to Duarte's or concerts, like the one at Kezar Stadium. Remember Neils moon and star jewelry made in the barn? I still have mine . There was the wood shop in back,and Brett up front working on land vehicles. I remember hitching up North to a healing festival with Ken Scott and Kit.


traveling light


Ken and Kit at the healing festival

And potlucks on Lone Oak


(Heather and I climbing up to Lone Oak with food for a pot luck on top)

At some point Rip and I started staying over Sadhana Ridge. We had set up the dome greenhouse from Black Mountain and were living in it. It’s confusing to me if we both were living in it or just me because we weren’t together as a couple yet. We didn’t get together until after we got home from 4 months on the road together starting out with Ken in the Milktruck. . When we got back it was November and cold so we moved back into my cabin on Black Mt. It was pretty destroyed from how I had kept it and my things scattered everywhere. Maybe that was why I didn’t mind getting down to the basics in the tepee.

We moved back over to the Land by spring and had two bowls and two pairs of chopsticks to eat with. For someone that likes to feed people this is not a good thing. Rip loved to give everything he had away and start over. I remember many times saving a few things that I knew he treasured and returning them to him later.
I hadn’t planned on traveling with Rip and Ken that summer but at the last minute came along. Rip and I drove a car for Philip up to Canada for him. I remember names like Nanaimo, and Denman Island, but it was Hornby Island where we left the car and took a ferry back to meet Ken. I think Gary Starkweather lives up near there now. We met up with Ken and Tommy in the Milk truck near the Space Needle in Seattle.


Kens Milktruck (had been Marks) Larry and his girlfriend, friend from Montana, Ken, Rip, me and Tommy

Ken was leaving “The Land” to go live with a girl he had met that lived in Toronto. On the way he was to drop Tommy Bartlette, then 5 years old, off with his grandmother in Detroit. It ended up taking a good month to get him there and Kathy’s mom was not happy with us at all, though she did put us up for the night and was nice to us after the initial balling out. I wish I still had the drawing Rip did of Tommy. It was of Tommy standing in the bathroom, having just gotten out of the tub and still dripping with a puddle under him. There were stacks of quell piled up behind him, with Kathy’s mom yelling, “But it comes from dirt”. Yes we had delivered Tommy to his grandmother with scabies. I don’t know how, since we stopped a lot at schools and wherever we could to shower along the way. He probably got them when we were hiking. Before leaving Washington we had hiked Glacier Peak. In my mind I remember hiking all night with a full moon and getting to the hot springs in the morning.


Rip, and Ken Scott


climbing in Wash.

I’ll have to ask Ken about that since Rip is not alive to check my memory anymore. We met up with Woodstock Bob Scowcroft in a bar in Montana. We walked into this crowded bar and suddenly from across the floor run Bob and gives me a big hug. He said he could recognize my laugh anywhere. We joined up with him and stayed the night on the floor at his friend’s house and ended up hiking in the Bitterroot Mt. with them.

Patsy in Montana.jpg


Bob Scrowcroft (Woodstock Bob) and Larrry Golberg i

This may be where Tommy got the scabies. I remember the bugs being really bad, and thought even though it was beautiful out there the bug would be hard to live with. We’re lucky here in Calif. not to have much of a problem. After dropping Tommy off with his grandmother, we headed up to Toronto where Ken was to stay on with his new girlfriend.

After Rip and I left Ken and the Milk Truck in Canada we were on our own with just our thumbs to get around. Hitch-hiking was still easy back then. Trouble is we had no money so we had to come up with ways to get home again. We came across a Back-To The Land festival in Toronto and decided to work it. When we left the Bay Area we had been working for John Jeavons at Ecology Action in Palo Alto. We called him and had him send us copies of “How to Grow More Vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine” then we quickly double dug demonstration beds.


Our demonstration beds for double digging at the Back to to Land Festival in Toronto around 1976

It went well and we sold out of the books we had. When we finally got home after 4 months on the road, we went back to work in John’s research garden in Palo Alto. Rip had done a lot of the illustrations in his book that was selling well. We both ended up in his mini farms book picking wheat and in Sunset magazine as well. John’s method was catching on.


picture taken from Sunset Magazine

It worked well working in the research garden and living on “The Land”. We started working the back land garden and being able to implement the techniques we were teaching through Ecology Action. We got sent out to North Carolina with others from Coeval, Calif., studying under Alan Chadwick. People out there felt it was too hot to double dig and thought we were nuts. “ They said they had mules to do that kind of work.’ With the humidity we had to agree. The best was being sent down to teach Caesar Chavez Organic gardening. What a wonderful man. My son and Woodstock Bob share his birthday. I just told the story to Bob about having dinner with Caesar Chavez’s family while we were there. He had the most amazing pepper garden with every variety you could think of. I wasn’t use to hot foods at that time and in the middle of dinner I bolted for the sink to get water. They informed me that what I needed was not water but milk. I learned something that night from him but it was more than what to do when your mouth is on fire. Never have I met a more down to earth humble man. He had beautiful gardens but wanted to go organic. How nice that my son always got his birthday off through college because we finally honored this great man with a holiday. What a privilege to have met him.


me outside of Ceasar Chavez's house



Our home during this period

We didn’t really have a time schedule but did need to get down the hill to do the watering in the Research garden by a certain time. Sometimes it could take hours to get out from the backlands. Too many things going on and people on your way out to meet and talk with, not to mention having to take Winnie all the way back if she discovered us gone. This may have been the period we had mini-farms. It consisted of Shari, Rip, Court myself and Rips brother Tommy who was living at Black Mt. at the time. We would go down the hill and put in French Intensive gardens for people. They would get a journal at the end showing everything planted. We would double dig the beds, put in lots of compost, and do the hexagonal spacing for the plants and of course companion planting. Likes and dislikes for other plants was very important. Every bed would have marigolds around the edges and herbs around the outside . All a lot of labor for the little money, but then living on the land we didn’t need much. We did most of our shopping in the dumpster behind Mid-town Market, didn’t pay rent and gas was cheap back then. Between working in the research garden and doing a few jobs as Mini Farms we didn’t have to be down the hill too much. We were working the backlands garden by then as well.


me, Shari and Rip taken at Felt Lake after a Mini Farms job

1976 we worked the DeAnza fair celebrating the Bi-Centennial. I remember Obie and Leslie working it with us, not sure who else from the Land was there.


Obie, Leslie and me at the Deanza fair. Pretty blurry picture (only one I had)

It was part of the 1776- 1976 Bi-Centennial Celebration. A friend Joel was putting this on and wanted us to tour with his bus that would travel around the U.S. all year. He wanted all of the Land to get involved I thought. I know we were supposed to do an organic garden on top of the bus. We ended up not doing it but I do remember working the booth for it at the celebration held at DeAnza College.


Our learning box at the Senior Center, my truck in the background


Joel’s wife worked at a Senior Center in Palo Alto near on East Meadow and Middlefield. We would later teach a down there to the seniors. Rip built this wonderful box that they could wheel up to or stand at and be able to garden.
They couldn’t bend down so some had not had their hands in the dirt for years. They loved it. Then I started bringing my goat Winnine down in my pickup. I had gotten a great old Chevy from Norman who was a mechanic for Neil Young. I either gave it or sold it to Shari. I don’t remember now. You can see it behind the learning box in the picture. Hopefully I gave it to her. I loved that truck even more than the Hillman Minx that Jackie, Rio, and I later bought together and drove down to work at the Menlo Park Recorder (Nowels) when we all worked the night shift together. Another story from when I lived in the Front Lands.
Meanwhile the elderly we were teaching went nuts over Winnie. A lot of then had grown up with goats but had not seen one in years. They enjoyed it and Winnie seemed to love the attention. I don’t know how long we taught there, but ended up turning it over to Court. He was better about showing up on time and was a good teacher. Not sure how long he kept it going. A few weeks ago I was with my sister Alice at the Home and Garden Show and saw a booth called Gardening made easy. No stooping, no bending. It was Knox Gardening Box. `It was our senior planting box on wheels. It really took me back. The box at the senior center actually lasted at the site for many years. I use to drive by and love that it was still there. It’s been gone for quite a while now though. I did have a thought about why we hadn’t marketed the senior box when I saw two different booths selling them. Rip did come up with the Learning Box though. It was designed more for kids, and had the bottom layer for worms, then sprouting, growing area, with an interchangeable top for lath or plastic for a green house effect. This one he got a patent on. We had a neighbor, Harry Amines that was a patent Attorney. Harry and Barry Block often came up for Breakfast in the Long hall. Rip’s learning box was written up in Sunset Magazine. Rip got many orders for it but was not set up to produce them. It could have been a good cottage industry but he wasn’t prepared for it when it happened. He had to send a lot of checks back if I remember correctly.

Rip and I lived together at Black Mt., then the ti-pi on the Land, and Bob’s cabin below Obie and Leslies.
When we split up I moved up front to the big house. Rip took off with Willie Nelson down south. During this time I had a miscarriage. I hadn't even realize I was pregnant when I left Rip so when he went traveling he didn’t know. By the time he got back I had had a miscarriage. I remember labor being as heavy as later when I did give birth. I was still living downstairs in the big house. I do remember Martha Fentress being there and I’m sure Robyn was there as she was for my later births. Rip came back and was very hurt, and upset to find out I had been pregnant and had lost the baby. He never did have kids and died way too young. We did live together again as friends, at the Ranch with Danny and Todd after I split up with the kid’s dad Tom, but never again as a couple. Rip got with Mecca for a while after we split up. They had a band consisting of Rip, Mecca,Sara, and Kevin called the Summary Judgment during the trial days.
I was living in the big house and working at night with Rio, and Jackie. Jackie and I were doing type setting and Rio did proof reading at Nowels Publication (The Menlo Park Recorder). We shared our Hillman; which later became mine, and went to work. We would sometimes be all night because we’d go to dinner or a movie and then realize we had to get busy. We had a lot of copy to set by the time them morning crew came on and we could head back up the hill. I think that’s when I started drinking coffee.
Mark moved out of his tower and we moved upstairs in the front house when Terry andKaren from Up-Press moved out. Little Sierra use to climb those steps looking for her Marke. She was so cute and he was so good with her. I know it broke his heart when she died as well as the whole spirit of “The Land” Community”. Something died along with Sierra. We all tried so hard to fight to keep it going and that last year really brought the community together as one I must say. Between court days, and breakfasts in the long hall , and Sierras death, the community banded together.


Norton Tooby, (our lawyer), his girlfriend, also a lawyer, Mark and Obie having breakfast at the Dew -Drop Inn in the Long-Hall

We started Barn Talk that last year and put out 4 issues. Its fun to read through them and see what was happening; we should have had something like that all along. Rip, Rio, Susan, myself, and others all worked to put it together during the last year of The Land.. Those issues are posted on this site under Publications. Rips wonderful drawings and Rio’s great court notes and sketches, peoples poems and whatever else they wanted entered.


This is one of Rio's sketches from Barntalk

During this period of the Land I was living with Mark. Days were spent in the courtroom fighting for Land and evening discussing what had come down.
Mark, Norton and Tommy would stay up late preparing for the next day in Court. I think for a while there we thought we might be able to stay. You can following it all if you go to Press on this wiki site.


Dale, Rip, Jan, Kim Sierra, Rainbo and me

I thought this might be a picture taken in the morning outside the Long Hall where we would gather before going down to Court. Now I think it was taken after the Bulldozer came, because we have the same clothes on.


Circling the bulldozer whenit came over the hill at dawn


another shot of the bulldozer coming over the hill at sunrise

or dealing with the police when they would show up just made us stronger.


With the Police (Mark and Rip on both sides of me

What a shame we lost Sierra and the Land. David Harris wrote a story about it all for the New York Times back in 1978. It's under Press clippings on this site, called "The Short Happy Life of a Child of "The Land". I often wonder what would we would have become had all the battles been won.

photo by Neil


Photo by Ann Mason