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[whitespace] What's next for Mr. Peake's dairy?

Monte Sereno--Monte Sereno dairy farmer Ken Peake, who died in May after 63 years at his Claravale Guernsey Farm, didn't leave anything to chance.

A well-known animal lover, Peake even provided for his small menagerie even after he passed away.

His new Guernsey, Heather, who came to the farm just a month before Peake died, was donated to an animal farm in Cupertino, where she is expected to give birth soon. He left the rest of his animals with his caretaker, Martha Sanchez, who continues to live in the farm house and take care of Peake's golden retriever, Chien, his 10-year old cat, Woody, and about a dozen chickens that still live on the farm.

But it looks like the animals won't be around much longer.

The family is in the process of selling the lot, and a next-door neighbor also has first right of refusal on the last 1.5 acres of the property that used to spread over 12 acres.

A second adjoining parcel, which served as the grazing space for the herd of dairy cows in their last few years on the farm, has already been sold and graded.

Alan Aertz, whose house backs up to Peake's old farm house, bought his lot from Peake, and is waiting to see what kind of price the last acre will be going for before he thinks about exercising his option.

Aertz says if someone makes an offer on the property, he can buy it at that price if he wants to, but if no offers come in, he may buy it at the midpoint of two appraisals. The property is being marketed at $1.5 million, he said, which he says might be too steep for him.

Buyers have been touring the property, but trustee Richard Lamby (Peake's former attorney) isn't talking about the status of the former farm, and referred calls to attorney Kathleen Pacheco, who's managing the estate. Pacheco said there's no decision yet on what's going to happen or when, and that she wouldn't give more information because Peake's family wants to keep things private.

In any case, now that the old farm house is up for sale, whoever the new buyer is will almost certainly replace it with a new home, Monte Sereno style.

In getting it ready for a possible new home, the other remaining parcel was graded and the old pond--which neighbors complained was attracting birds that built nests in their eaves--was filled in.

The city of Monte Sereno tried to put together a committee of volunteers to look at preserving open space in the city, including the diary farm, but that committee never really formed, and the issue seems to have been dropped at City Hall.
Jeff Kearns

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