The original horses at the Novato ranch came from the Jensen girls at Olompali. Later, Tomasina, Apache Chipper (The Stud) and Mac Jagger, three great Appaloosas which took up residence at the ranch, were a gift from Roger Lewis. Next, Valerie acquired for Mickey a thoroughbred racehorse named Tychain, and Stephen Stills supplied another. Mickey also had a beautiful Morab (half-Morgan and half-Arab). Billy and Susila had Liquorice and Rats Arse. The Jensen girls looked after the horses and other livestock, including a large colony of pet white rats, named after the various denizens of the ranch. These were later introduced into the community, but that’s another story…
The beautiful Rhonda Jensen
Mickey Hart & Cookie Eisenberg
Christina Hart on her pony
Members of the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage and crew in front of Mickey’s Barn studio. Far left standing on the board, Sonny Heard, Jerry Garcia, behind Garcia is Sam Cutler, Rex Jackson and the top of David Nelson’s head. Next to Jerry is Bob Weir, Pigpen, Billy Kreutzmann, John “Marmaduke” Dawson (in the doorway) Ray Slade, David Torbert, Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh. Sitting on the hay bales are David and Bonnie Parker, office staff. Down in front is Jon McIntire, manager and secretary, Gail Hellund.
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A NOTE FROM GERMANY
I was born 1950 in Berlin, Germany, and with the impact of the communist wall in 1962 I grew up to be a city person. My first career was in designing, giving me a sense of art and creation. In a twist of fate my journey brought me to California in summer of 1970. I had met Rock and Nicki Scully in London in 1969 where I was sharing an apartment with Sam Cutler and Alan, a roadie for Pink Floyd. Nicki was pregnant and I invited them to stay at our home. I loved the sparks of love Nicki had for Rock. They accepted my invitation and it was an unforgettable time.
The following year I traveled to San Francisco, the new home of my old roommate Sam, to visit and explore with my new friends Nicki and Rock. Nicki gave birth to Spirit and she showed me what her home state was all about, from Big Sur to some of her friend’s farms. I ended up for a little while on Mickey Hart’s farm watching his and Cookie’s two teenage girls, having an incredible adventure of exploring yard sales, huge ice cream stores and lots more , things I never had heard of before. Billy and Sue had a new arrival in Justin so all around it was a family atmosphere. I went to one concert in the country side with Janis Joplin rocking it out with PigPen. Everybody got to eat and all had a family spirit of mutual respect.
My experience gave me a sense of country life with same age or slightly older people which was very different from the high rise apartment environment I was used to. I had simply forgotten what life outside a big city was like, since the Berlin Wall went up and I could no longer visit the surrounding country side and my granddad’s East German farm.
I returned to Berlin fall 1970, but I got to visit the Grateful Dead twice on their 1972 Europe tour. I have always kept the country side from San Francisco to San Raphael close to my heart and memory. I was fortunate to have been in contact with Rock before his passing.
– Sylvia Forbes, 2015
Photos: Top to Bottom – Guy Cross, Unknown, Basia Raizene, Herb Greene