Sunday, April 17, 2011

market, seeds, cabin, garden...

yesterday was one of those perfect spring days. mid-60s, sunny, big puffy white clouds, flowers everywhere and a steady, drenching rainstorm all night. i spent all day outside.

in the morning i rode my bike to the first saturday market of the year. it was a little tricky, lots of flooded areas because of the crazy high river.

the market wasn’t as crowded as i expected, but maybe that’s because it’s so huge now...they keep shutting down more blocks and spreading farther and farther.

i mainly came for the seed swap...

i scored fennel, mountain spinach, french sorrel, purple sprouting broccoli and “idaho blue corn”: sweet corn that started as “black aztec,” and the gardener has been growing it here and saving its seed for 33 years.

at the last seed swap in february i forgot to take one of these peppers, but i snagged one yesterday. they’re “choriceros,” from basque country, and the person who brought them here 50 years ago has been growing them every year since. here’s a photo of him with his peppers.

i stopped by to visit with mike, one of the wood artists i profiled, and he gave me this fabulous maple spatula. i’ve already used it three or four times.

on the way back i stopped at tully’s to see some of amber’s awesome metal sculptures.

later in the day i hiked around in the foothills for a while. i was shocked at how lush everything looks already. currant bushes in bloom everywhere! last year i messed up, i didn’t start looking for currants until late july when they actually ripen in early june. this year i’ve already located hundreds of bushes and i’m ready to pounce on them the second they’re ripe.

here’s where i’m working now:

and here’s the view out the window behind my some of the rooms you can hear the rushing water:

i keep wanting to write a big long post about all the interesting stuff i’m being exposed to lately, but everything i try to write comes out sounding lame. here’s a brief, somewhat-lame rundown: w.s. merwin (current u.s. poet laureate) is visiting in just over a week, so i’ve been reading some of his work in preparation, and for the most part i love it. i’ve also read a lot about him and his incredible conservation work in hawaii.

there’s a good bit of down-time when i’m not answering phones or editing or whatever thing i’m doing, so i stay busy reading work-related stuff: local authors and visiting writers. right now i’m reading tony doerr’s “the shell collector,” the most amazing book of short stories ever written. i first read just the story “the shell collector” while lounging in a pool in belize--it’s included in a collection of beach-themed stories in this wonderful waterproof book:

and after that i meant to read everything he’d ever written, but i’ve been on this crazy nonfiction kick for so long, i never got around to it until now.

quick garden update: i planted beets 4/11; favas up 4/14 and 4/15:

carrots started sprouting 4/16, chard up 4/17, and little borage sprouts that reseeded themselves from last year have been coming up all week. most of them chose good locations.

i pretty much gave up on the mȃche ever sprouting (it’s been almost a month since i planted it), so earlier today i started planting sorrel right on top of it...then, like magic, mȃchelets appear. i think it’ll be fine if they intermingle.

first ripe strawberry today!

chives and oregano look nice and healthy...i already harvested a big chunk of the chives:

i got a couple rubber snakes to keep birds away from two of the salad beds:

i’m trying to avoid having to cover everything in netting like i did last year. jeanne used rubber snakes last year and she told me they worked on birds but not squirrels, which is fine with me, i only have one bed that’s bothered by squirrels and it’s not a big deal to net that one.

yumm, lettuces. i’ve been tempted to make my first spring salad out of baby kale, dandelion leaves and violas but i don’t think that combination would taste great. those are all accents. i need a good lettuce or spinach base.


Jessica said...

What a wonderful assortment of plants you are choosing to grow. How, might I ask, do you already have a ripe strawberry? My strawberries have not yet flowered. Are you growing some strawberries indoors? Have you had a warm and sunny spring? Ours has been cold and wet. I hope your strawberry tasted as wonderful as it looked!

Emily said...

thanks jessica! no, our spring hasn't been warm or very sunny...BUT, (and this might just be my perception,) it seems like while the high temperatures have been much lower than normal the low temperatures have been higher than normal. not a lot of temps below freezing in the last month and a half. so it's wet and chilly, but temperate, which is creating different plant successes and failures from last year when the temperatures were more extreme on both ends.

Anonymous said...

hello. thanks for sharing your saturday adventure & garden pictures! discovering sprouts of planted seeds that one has given up on is always a wonderful surprise.

Kim and Victoria said...

Great post. Sounds like a great day off. I used to enjoy the Sat market, but now I work every Sat. Bummer.

Bumble Lush (A Garden Blog) said...

What a great haul from the seed swap! I'm intrigued by the 33-yr old corn seeds. Am very curious to see how they turn out. The Old Town Alexandria farmer's market is the closest to me, and it's a great market, but no seed swap. Maybe that's something I could suggest to them...

Emily said...

daishin--thanks for stopping by my blog! i agree, that is a good surprise.

victoria--that is a bummer...but maybe you can go to the market on thursday evenings? it's smaller but still fun.

bumble lush--definitely do! that would be cool if it caught on. seed swaps are so interesting--i love that some people bring rare or unique varieties with such rich histories.

Refinerii said...

Looks like u had a lovely Saturday; I meant to make it to the market, but got busy with steel-work; will make it this week though, rain or shine lol : ) Thanks for including the pics of my pieces at Tully's :)


Emily said...

you're welcome! have fun at the market!

be said...

plastic snakes! what a great idea.

Rachel Writes said...