From The Land Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Invaded by Land folks -
People and things I remember
Patsy Gustafson Dodd

After the Land ended Stallings became home for a lot of dislocated Land folk. It was already a community with ties to The Land. It was owned by Jane and Hal Stallings who had raised their kids there. They rented the property out after the kids were grown. The property consisted of the big house that had once been a Russian Nunnery called Saint Seraphim’s. The nuns that lived there put in all the pennyroyal that was growing all around Triangle Lake on the property. It helped keep the mosquito population at bay.


Triangle Lake at Stallings, photo by Court

Stallings was located where Alpine and Page Mill came together, less than a mile from the Land and the connecting property to Black Mountain. We use to cut through the woods to go down from Black Mt. to use the lake.
You came down the long driveway from Page Mill and the first house you came to was the big yellow main house. This is the house that I lived in when I moved there with my husband Tom Dodd.


Tom, Patsy, and Muk Tuk, photo by Asa Lee

When the Land ended I was still with Mark Schneider We moved to Big Tree Way off Skyline with others from the Land, Rio Burns , Sue Debowski, and Willie Nelson. Jim Forsell was under the house doing stain glass with my goats Winnie and Dew Drop. Jim now live with us again all these years later at Struggle. Alan Bowers stayed in his camper in the driveway for a while. We stayed there 6 months before moving over to Rancho Diablo where Dale Oderman from the Land had moved, and Court Tefft and Heather Hairston Baker were there in the space over the garage, Willie had also moved over just before us.
Meanwhile while lots of folks had headed down to settle in Santa Cruz, though some stuck it out on the mountain that cold wet winter over at Stallings. Diane Buuck


Dianne Buuck, photo by Asa Lee

had moved into a tin shed down below the lake at Stallings.( I just ran into someone the other day that said he live at Sallings in 1967 and built Diannes shed). Next thing she knew she had other refugees from the Land joining her there. David McConnell, Billy Wheatley,Rip, Mecca Burns and Jackie Young all crammed into that little place surviving that first winter after loosing ""The Land" together. Eventually Jackie got the structure across the driveway from the main house,


Jackie and her Volvo at the back of her house, photo by Asa

and Rip and Mecca got Spare’s old place down the path toward the lake. Robert Sperry
had moved over from Black Mountain years before. That cabin was later occupied by Babette . She had been married to Hal’ Stallings. Larry Wilson and Cindy were in the school bus below and to the left of the main house with their son Aurian


Cindy on the driveway below Jackies house, photo by Asa Lee


Larry Wilson at Stalligs

Larry and Cindy had moved to Stallings when friends going to Stanford were living in the big house. . After the Stanford Students left the house was occupied by a couple named Jim and Gail (not from the Land), who had lots of goats, chickens and cats. Sue Debowski lived with them for a while when we left Big-Tree. Willie had moved to Rancho during this time and lived there when Mark and I did. Heather and Court left Rancho and moved to Stallings in a house below and to the right of the main house.


Court and Heathers house at Stallings


Court inside his house

(Court in his house at Stallings)
Meanwhile Mark and I split up while at Rancho. I drove down the Coast and worked and lived for short while in Davenport. Tom and I got together during this time, move a few places and later joined others at Stallings, before finally settling at Struggle Mountain.
We were care-taking at Foster Gambles old place down Alpine Rd before moving over to Stallings. When we moved out from there Willie and Sue (back together) took over care-taking for Nickie Mean who now owned the place, he called it Hawk Mountain.

Norma Swetnam Nesmith shared the big house at Stallings with us while I was pregnant with Jesse. What a beautiful spirit she brought to the place. I’ll never forget Norma Jean and her sister Pats beautiful voices singing at my wedding to Tom in the barn at Hawk Mountain. The Southern charm of those Georgia girls was amazing to witness, and also their brother Asa Lee who later came out and stayed at Stallings.


Norma up on Skyline during the time she lived at Stallings (photo by Asa Lee)


Normas's brother Asa Lee playing guitar at Stallings

My son Jesse was born on March 31, 1980, a once in a blue moon baby. (2nd full moon in the same month)

Photo taken by Lizz Green
Lizz was a geologist that lived with us at Stallings at this time. She brought back some ash from Mt. Saint Helens which had just erupted. She moved out not long after Jesse was born. Norma had moved away before Jesse was born and didn't get to meet him or my daughter Katie until years later. David McConnell also lived with us. Here he is in the kitchen with Clare from the Land (one of my midwives) during my long 28 hr. labor at Stallings.


Robyn Clare and David McConnell in the kitchen at Stallings

Mark, David, and Tusa (Carolynn) Brady shared the big house with Tom and I during Jesse's first year. Here is a picture taken out front of Tom, Jesse, me , Tusa and David.


tom, Jesse, Patsy, Tusa and David McConnel at Stallings




Heather and Jesse in front of the main house


Patsy spinning, Mark wearing it.

Tom and I had already moved over to Struggle in 1982 (the year Katie was born there ), when Stallings was destroyed by mud-slides. It was a year of intense storms and major flooding, trees down everywhere, and mudslides. Stallings was one of the casualties. Jane Stallings had moved back in after Tom and I left , so was living there at the end. The place just wasn't livable after the slides. I remember going into Jackie's house and felt like I was in a fun-house. Everything was at an angle. Everyone had to leave after that, and Jane sold the property to the Open Space District. Court and Heather took what they could carry and moved up to Alice's Rest., where Court was working, and then got a place on Skyline. Currently he is living at Struggle Mt. in the big house with me. Mark also later moved over to Struggle and is still living there. Larry never did get the school bus out. Cindy and Larry split up and Larry moved to Struggle later that year, and has been there ever since. Tom spent 20 years at Struggle, but is now living near Pescadero. Stallings is still owned by the Open Space District, as is Black Mountain and The Land. They have never done much to maintain Stallings or Black Mountain so they are both pretty overgrown and hard to hike around. The lake was changed in the 1982 mudslides and has never been as good for swimming.
Stallings wasn't an intentional community like the Land, but sure became a refuge for a lot of us that still wanted to share the wonderful communal experience we had been living. It was a wonderful place to live and I remember being terribly upset when Jane wanted to move back in and we had to leave. As it was we had six months to find a place, unlike everyone else. I was blessed with being out before the slides, and there being an opening in the big house at Struggle Mountain. Tom and I were able to become a member of that community and continue this lifestyle. My kids got to grow up at Struggle and learn to know and love these hills as much as I do. You never know in retrospect when something in your life seems terrible that it may be a blessing in disguise.