Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring: It's official!

This is the 100th post for the Urban Luddite! Woohoo!

I guess I'll blog a centennial celebration by describing my very busy but productive weekend.

Friday, we got Lana situated in her new apartment in the garage. Now she can brood and rear her chicks in a safe, protected environment and she won't be able to steal the other girls' eggs anymore. We can't park the car in the garage while she's in there but it's no longer winter so that's fine. There's a window cracked for ventilation and she gets all the light she needs, and she's got food and water, a small space to walk around, and a nest in a sheltered corner.

There are only two fake eggs in the nest right now; we're picking up our fertilized eggs later in the week once the mother hens lay them. The other noteworthy feature of this apartment setup is the chick feed - apparently the calcium in layer feed is bad for a hen when she isn't laying, so she's eating chick feed for now and when the chicks get here they can eat that too. It's higher in protein and other stuff that baby chicks need.

Here's Lana showing off her new digs:

On Saturday, we woke up early to a fantastically beautiful day. Keith was working on a commercial out on Sauvie Island, so I drove him out there and we caught the sunrise over the Columbia River and listened to the wild birds carrying on in the wetlands. Then I came back to Portland, got a coffee downtown, and got in position for the start of the first farmers' market of the season!

At 8:30 am, when the opening bell rang, I finally purchased the artichoke and cotija cheese tamale (with hot salsa on top, yum) that I've been dreaming about all winter. This tamale is my regular farmers' market treat - it's so creamy and delicious, with bits of corn in the outer layer and tangy marinated artichoke hearts held together by melted cotija. I walked around with it for awhile, savoring the flavors along with the bright sunshine and the leaves budding on all the trees around the PSU campus, admiring everything the vendors had on offer. This week it was mostly greens and baby plants for the garden. I got some baby turnips with their greens, a few root vegetables, and other deliciousness but I couldn't resist two beautiful white ranunculus and young mint plants for the back yard, either.

When I got home, I planted the ranunculus and chocolate mint in deck planters, and I got the Kentucky Colonel mint nicely situated next to the rain barrell, where it will get lots of water and hopefully grow to take over that whole corner of the yard. Nothing else grows there because it's too wet, but mint loves that and this is a particularly tasty variety that (I am told) makes fabulous mojitos for the summer time. Of course, it goes well in iced tea, too.

I then took some more time to start seeds - I only had nine survivors from the first round of tomato planting, so I did a second round and I now have 28 little pots with baby tomatoes in progress. Hopefully I'll have more survivors this time! Next spring we'll have to build a greenhouse, as these seeds are a bit fussy for growing indoors under a single flourescent.

Besides my tomatoes, I also started four pots of collard greens, ten nasturtium flowers (edible AND beautiful!), and two Czech Black hot peppers.

It was the perfect day to start off spring - perfect spring weather, the first farmers' market, and some gardening. Can't top that!

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