By Jeff Hutchison
I am writing this week not from the field but from my home base, the “Goat Shed.” The Goat Shed is a little cottage tucked away at the bottom of Flamingo Estate. When I first started at Flamingo, this was our tool shed. Chainsaws, shovels, pick axes and all the rest of the tools we needed to build the garden filled the space. As the intensity of the build-out slowed, the Goat Shed started taking on its own character. Shovels were replaced with herbs hanging from the ceiling, chainsaws gave way to handmade brooms, our copper alembic still arrived and took up residence in the library, and so on.
On Monday night, a good friend of Richard’s came for a visit. It had been two years since she last saw the space so I was excited for her to see how much the garden and the Goat Shed had changed. We had a lovely candle-lit dinner on the porch as the new moon showed itself over the Los Angeles basin.
Whenever we have visitors, Richard and I play show and tell. I get to show everyone the latest experiment we are working on. I have been in the midst of making our new bar soaps, and this week I’ve been deep in the throes, perfecting our turmeric, beeswax and lemon soap. We also have a few vinegar experiments going on, and we just distilled a fresh batch of black sage. You’ll have to imagine the intensity of smells and colors in every corner. All of the work we do here is slow, methodical and focused. It is truly a therapeutic experience just to spend time down here. I am so lucky to call it my office (although I prefer “laboratory”) and I am so grateful for all the people who bring their talent, passion and wisdom into this space. It is the heart of the garden, where we dream up all the ways to bring its magic out into the world and share this pleasure with you.
In solidarity with keepers of the earth everywhere,
Director of Flamingo Estate Garden & Horticulture