Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lovely Afternoon, Preparing Beds and Weeding Around the Wildflowers

What a beautiful day! Normally I might not be so thrilled for a 70 degree, slightly humid, breezy almost stormy but sunny day in January - but heck, even if it's SUPPOSED to feel like Winter, that kind of day is perfect! Now if only we got more of those days in the middle of Summer when i'm hiding in my studio under 7 fans and misters.

The husband brought home a dolly yesterday and we moved some old planters to the front yard - i think they make a nice fence like border along the sidewalk, though i wish we had one more to make a nice odd number. Although it is a little early to plant most things, and theoretically too early to prune (i don't buy it: my rosemary has already put on 3 inches of spring growth and the pecan tree is budding) i took the beautiful afternoon off to get my hands dirty.


I weeded. Every last square inch. I weeded around the broccolis, lettuces, and herbs in the veggie garden, i weeded around all the little sprouting wildflowers in the 'strip', and i weeded any other weeds that i saw and fed them to delighted chickens left behind in the back yard. Belina and Soot laid this morning so they had the privilege of joining me in the front yard to snack on Elbon Rye. Lots of clearing as well as weeding helped to open up areas around the xeric bed and big herbs - the compost doubled in size!


I prepared the planters to receive onion sets: tilled, pulled the fava beans to compost, mixed in molasses and rock phosphate and a few handfuls of more compost. The raised bed that usually houses basil will be used for mustard this year: i am excited to make pickled mustard leaves and let the plants flower to make mustard from my very own mustard seeds.

It was a bit tricky weeding around the wildflowers, as they are essentially weeds themselves. But i was careful, and i was delighted to see little flowers here and there already blooming! I reckon This year is going to be a great wildflower year for me.


During my weeding and thinning i harvested a few radishes, overgrown but still perfect for soup, some kale and some sorrel and dill. I've never added dill to chicken soup before, and i don't think i will again - it added another dimension to the soup, but i'm not sure i'm a big fan of that dimension. The sorrel and radishes, on the other hand, were delicious and cooked to a perfect firm but not crunchy in about 1 hour in the soup stock. We enjoyed our soup while watching The Natural History of the Chicken, which is a completely ridiculous movie - especially enjoyable to those of us with chickens. Hilarious, and insightful. We caught part of this film when the chickens were wee chicks in a box beside us, and it was very neat to watch it now with older chickens and recognize in our hens the traits those in the film also recognized - they are such interesting critters!


Next on my list is a trip to the nursery to buy mustard seed, onion sets, borage seed, corn seed, and cucumber seed. My step mama is bringing me some green beans - not sure if they'll translate from Eugene OR to Austin TX, but i'm happy to receive. I would order my seeds from the many catalogues i receive, but my limited space requires limited seeds and my local organic nursery has a pretty nice selection of plants that do well in this specific area.

All in all, a wonderful 2-3 hours spent with my girls and my garden: some of my very favorite things!

Have you gotten your hands dirty yet this Spring?

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