Thursday, March 20, 2008

March : Edible Portland, Worms, Bantams + Events !

Daylight rolled forward on the 9th. On the radio that day there was an organic farmer talking about how his dairy cows handle this change.

They are sleepy, it's weirdly dark, they aren't too sure they wanted to be milked at what feels like an hour earlier (?!) the farmer eases them into it by shortening the milking time from an hour to half an hour for at least a week in the morning and evening and gradually works them back up to the full milking time. Of course at night they don't want to come in, because it's still light out and the pasture is tasty.

At home, it is suddenly dark out again, the bed seems extra cozy and my clock is confused. It's time to get up? Really? At the end of the day though, it is so nice to have that extra time to be outside. A week and a half of this has gone by now though, and
I still feel a lot like a dairy cow...

I am getting jokes about the NNF or the Naomi National Forest, as my warehouse men have named the shop. If I can't be outdoors all day around plants, it's so nice to be in a sunny room with them and talking about even more plants with you! Some rogue and abandoned plants have been donated, too. The cymbidium orchid that came by for overwintering last year, sent up two spikes and has been in full bloom this year. She's back to rest and I just wanted to post a couple of flowers in case you missed her. (Orchid Society Show + Sale at the end of this month!) Thank you to Priscilla and Sally of Queen Bee Flowers for letting this gorgeous plant live here! Our new counter was ready just in time. The official top is still being coated, but we'll have it on soon. It's so nice to be able to ring up more than one of you at a time and have bar stools, too.

I brought a little herd of worms in from home. They're currently living it up in a bucket that has got some nice fluffy coconut fiber and shredded newspaper bedding. A great source for all matters vermiculture is the Yelm Worm Farm in WA where we get our excellent castings from. Tiny speaks of cutting one of our empty molasses barrels to make a nice home for mine here at the shop... You are welcome to meet them, too, just ask.

Oh! Also! the plastic barrels and metal drums we have,
now empty of molasses, are perfect for making your own * Rain Barrels * - I will post a photo soon and get some links together for customizing them with a spigot and cover. Open to any experience and tips you have.

The Human Power Discount is going great. Recently, Skip picked up some good ol' Teufel's Organic Compost in his trailer. And while the CHS truck (formerly Kropf) was backing into our dock with a load of Organic Payback feeds from the Harrisburg, OR plant - a serious worm composter who'd come in for some Soil Mix Perlite and Coconut Fiber to make his own potting mix, strapped on the back rack, headed home.

It's been exciting to meet a bunch of new chicken owners with baby chicks - hi there and congratulations! For inspiration, here are some egg photos. Two dozen we saved back around Christmas, early on in our ladies laying, to make quiche! Right now we have the first 14 eggs from our bantam (Banti...) saved up to make a quiche for Easter. She was 9 months old before first laying, but wow are her eggs amazing and so big for her petite size! I'll get some photos of those next...

Back on February 26th, there was a couple who contacted me about a little bantam of theirs who was being picked on pretty badly and we worked through some solution ideas for her and when I got home that day our bantam laid her first egg! (born May 26th).
If there is chicken karma or bantam connection, it was a pretty neat day. They didn't have a photo of the bantams, but sent a photo of their other ladies (looking oh so innocent) when they were younger with Nugget in the front and on the right is a picture of three of my chicks last year, Banti (Mottled Cochin) is standing in the back, with Lima (Ameraucana) on the left and PJ (Barred Rock) on the right.

Okay a couple more hen thoughts - there is a Chicken Fest coming up at Livingscape Nursery which is also a benefit for Growing Gardens and I'll be doing a workshop at Pistils in early May, more on that in a bit. The other exciting news is that we're having a custom Organic Pullet Developer made by Payback/CHS this spring to follow the Organic Chick Starter. Perfect for your chicks second bag of feed when they are 3 to 4 months old, before transitioning to the higher calcium and lower protein of the Organic Layer when they are 5 to 7 months old.

> > > On the topic of the red wiggler WORMS: a deluxe hen treat is oyster shell flour covered worms, oh my. All the more reason to start a worm bin or two. < < <

At home this weekend we were outside in the garden. Renegade flower and veggie jungle is in progress.

The hens direct their island out front, we do and plant as they say. They demand flowers (home grown stock of sunflower seed, for example) and they love kale, chard, spinach - any deep, rich greens.

On Sunday they had a wayfaring visitor who liked resting on the 'tree' part of their enclosed run as a sunning perch. It was a Cooper's Hawk, also known as a Chicken Hawk (ahem...)! Incredibly beautiful bird. The eyes and alertness remind us of our Ameraucana, but the hook on that hawks beak reminds me of why the ladies are in an enclosed run wonderland.

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We were invited to be in a special section of Edible Portland spring issue that featured a lot of our super neat customers!!! They also put a photo (which includes Lou, the venus fly trap we bought Tiny for his birthday), from our shop on their website which has all kinds of neat articles and videos.

Okay, if you haven't read this issue yet, here is a preview... One article is on seed maestro Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed and Gathering Together Farm the ultimate source for all kinds greens and other amazingly well bred seeds.

Another is on the Eastside Egg Co-operative at Zenger Farm (land that is also part of Laura Masterson's 47th Avenue Farm) - the founders, Holly and Patrick have a link to a video piece done by Cooking Up a Story (loads of great little videos!) on their blog site, Hen Waller.

Then there are the ladies of Your Backyard Farmer, which is an incredibly cool way to bring farming into this city.

* Another city farmer recently written up in Willamette Week is "The Bike Farmer" Kollibri Sonnenblume of Sunroot Gardens who was just in getting this springs load of all kinds of wonderful soil amendments. *

Also exciting to see Shari Sirkin of Dancing Roots Farm in the magazine! Yay!

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My mom is coming into town from the midwest (brrr!) at the end of the month for our birthdays and there is so much cool stuff going on:

Orchid Society Show + Sale
- Mar 29th & 30th
Better Living Show - Mar 28th - 30th
Lights Out America / Earth Hour - Mar 29th from 8 to 9pm, global lights out
Chicken Fest - Mar 28th - 30th
Trillium Festival at Tryon Creek State Park - Apr 5th & 6th
Hoyt Arboretum - so much in bloom over there and so much invigorating hiking to be had
One Green World - no special events, just a fun plant lovers field trip

Any other ideas?

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Spring is lush and the goods are rolling in by the semi truck load and rolling back out in small cars, on other
on semi trucks, bicycles, shoulders, pickups, vans. We do are best to keep the beloved Teufel's in stock and pick up a full semi load almost every week, but as it is compost they are making, it takes time for the ingredients to be ready and we do run out (as we will tomorrow...) - you're always welcome to give us a call to check on the availability of what you need.

Items coming into stock soon: Liquid Fish Emulsion,
Orchid Bark, Sluggo Plus, Neem Oil, and other organic pesticides and herbicides.

My bulk soil amendment 'pantry' is in the planning stages and I'll write more about that as it gets closer.

And in addition to our Chinook Book coupon and Human Power Discount (see Feb. post), we've also got the * * * 10% off on orders over $150 * * * and you're welcome to go in on an order with a friend, neighbor, or family to get to that amount, which makes a nice carpool and help unloading when you get home, too!

Happy Full Moon and see you all soon : )