Thursday, April 29, 2010

April Showers bring..Rainbows!

Right after breakfast this morning, we experienced that perfect combination of sunshine and light showers. When I looked out the window I spied part of a rainbow. Stepping out onto the patio I discovered a complete arc in the western sky. The left side of the arc appeared to land on our property, down by Dorothy's creek. I could use a pot of gold right now! Did you see any rainbows today?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Vegetable Garden- Off and Running

Because of all the sunny, dry weather we have been having this Spring, I was able to start my vegetable garden today. First, the site needed some help. I had a nice blank slate to start with, after all the work we did last year. But before I started planting, I did want to bring in some more soil to raise the back of the bed, level with the front. After a trip to Lane Forest Products and Dad's help with his small tractor, I was ready to layout this year's garden design.

I decided to scratch the back row of sunflowers that I have done the last two years. Each year they stretch out , reaching for more sun and lean over into a walking path. Then, when the Fall rains come, they fall over. Enough of that! So I decided to move the tomato row back to the back row. Hopefully, they will still get plenty of sun there. In front of the tomatoes I want to do a whole row of Zinnias. Then, in front of them, I planted a long row of two varieties of onions: "Prince" a yellow storage onion & "Mars" a red onion , both grown from Johnny's Select Seeds seed by local Hayhurst Farms. I picked up a 6-pack of each yesterday at Down to Earth. Then, in the front as always, I prepared the 4 raised beds for my Winter Squash. The rest of the garden won't be ready to plant for almost another month, when it really starts to warm up for good. But it sure feels good to have everything ready so early.

My long row of "Prince" & "Mars" onions.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cousin Jack's Pasty Company

This morning at the Lane County Farmer's Market, I had the pleasure of discovering a new-to-me local food vendor. The company is called Cousin Jack's Pasty Company and they were founded just over a year ago. I first spied them at the Holiday Farmer's Market in December, but somehow never made it over to their booth. Lucky for me, I did today! I tried their Leek & Onion Pasty, filled with organic & locally sourced leeks, potatoes, onions, turnips & cheese. Delicious. I could have easily had two! After coming home I had a chance to read a bit more about Cousin Jack's on their web-site. Their philosophy:

"Together, our family believes that the freshest, tastiest ingredients are those that travel the least. That's why we've packed this international favorite with the finest locally-produced ingredients. We're committed to sourcing from local ranchers and farmers. " And they mean it. All the meats and vegetables in the pastys come from Lane & Linn counties. The cheese from Tillimook and the butter from Yamhill.

Currently the pastys come in 9 different "flavors" :
*Broccoli & Cheese          *Cheeseburger
*Harvest Vegetable           *Pesto Lamb
*Wild Mushroom              *Steak & Ale
*Leek & Onion                 *Smoked Salmon
*Egg & Sausage

Their company headquarters is at 1333 W. 2nd. Alley in Eugene. But, if you can't make it to the Farmers Market, you can buy their products frozen at many local stores including The Kiva, Market of Choice and Capella Market. Equally exciting I think,  is that you can buy the pastys hot and ready to eat at all Dari Marts. Imagine, healthy local food at a convenience store- way to go!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~Elwyn Brooks White, Essays of E.B. White, 1977

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Erythronium Time!

We are now experiencing peak bloom this year for Erythronium - or Lamb's Tongue as they are more commonly called. These beautiful little members of the lily family are found most profusely in dappled shade, though the double specimen shown pictured left is growing on a bank in almost full sun. Many of the lamb's tongue on our property fall victim to the appetites of deer before they reach peak bloom. But a few of our neighbors have amazing drifts of hundreds of plants. Last Sunday I took a walk and captured the pictures below. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blooms in the Forest

As Spring progresses, there always comes a time when ,quite suddenly, there are beautiful white flowers in the forest. Upon further inspection you find that there are pretty delicate trees growing, with branches completely covered in small white blossoms. I don't have an exact identity for these trees, though my mother swears they are a "wild" cherry. I have found 4 or 5 of them on our property and there are many more you can see along the road as you drive. Whatever they truly are, they radiate like a white beacon in all of April's intense greenness.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Showers..or downpours!

After such a dry and mild February and March, April has been a different story. In the last week alone we have had hail storms, snow flurries and thunder & lightning. But the real difference has been the rain storms that have come through every few days. They have dumped inches of rain at a time. In response , the seasonal creeks on our property have been running strong, fast and muddy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter !

I hope that you have a Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Farmer's Market - A Brand New Year

Today was the opening day for the 2010 Lane County Farmers Market. Thankfully, the stormy weather that we have had the last week blew out last night, leaving just a few showers today. I arrived at the market later than usual and found it busy, despite the grey skies and cold wind.
The flower vendors seemed to be doing an especially brisk business. I think many of the bouquets bought are destined for an Easter table tomorrow.The tulips were beautiful.
I especially admired this variety of tulip. It was a mauve colored, tipped in yellow.
Many of the farmers supplement their incomes by selling vegetable starts early in the year. It is so hard to resist buying them right now. I had to smile at all the folks who had purchased tomato plants. We still have a good 5 weeks until the last frost date and the soil won't truly start to warm-up until the end of May.
It is time however to get the sweet-peas going. These were beautiful looking starts.
And we can't forget the produce! It was only the first week but there was a great array of greens, leaks, radish, and baby carrots to be had.  And kudos to all the farmers that had to pick all of this in yesterday's rain, thunder, hail and sleet. Have you thanked your farmer today?