Like many people, when Spring Fever hits I want to be outside doing something in my yard. There is some correlation between the Spring renewal and our nesting instincts. This is the third Spring we've spent in the house. The first Spring we were still pretty involved in renovations. (We still are, but they are more manageable these days.) Last year we did some basic landscaping. I felt pretty good about that. Landscaping is like a manicure for your house. It'll look okay without it, maybe a little plain but functional. Landscaping is the polish. It adds some flare and color and shows others you care.
This Spring Countrymouse and I are trying our hands at gardening. This is a new endeavor for us and we're pretty excited about the promise of homegrown veggies and herbs. (The closest we've gotten to gardening in the past were a few tomato plants in pots on our deck.) About a month ago, Countrymouse built a raised bed for our humble little garden. We put it on a skinny strip of land that hugs our neighbor's garage. I have some concerns about the amount of sun it'll get, but it was a useless part of the yard, so it's nice to have something positive going on there.
I don't think a day went by those first two weeks after it was in that Countrymouse didn't ask me when we were putting plants in. The fact that we were still having frosts at night and cool days didn't slow him down. Two weeks ago, I finally acquiesced.
It was fun shopping for our *crop*. There were some things I knew we had to plant, like tomatoes and basil.
Throw in some onions and capers and I am set for the summer. (Oh, and lots of kosher salt.)
I really wanted herbs to use on a daily basis. So in addition to the basil, I also planted cilantro, catnip (for the Italians, my cats, Massimo and Mia), flat parsley, rosemary and French lavender.
Of course we planted veggies too. Tomatoes were just the beginning. We planted red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, pole beans, cucumbers, ichiban eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers (orange and green).
We have plants all over the place! I don't know where we'd put another one. Who knows how any of it will thrive, but it'll be fun watching everything grow (and hopefully flourish). And in case it doesn't, I have a back-up plan. Countrymouse and I joined a food cooperative, Blades Orchard, a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We know the folks running it so it is doubly nice.
CSAs make buying fresh, local produce a breeze. The basic concept is that the consumer buys a share in the harvest. Your investment goes directly into the farm and in return you get a weekly share of the crops. (Like any investment, there are no guarantees. If the farm doesn't do well, your share is smaller.) The Blades Orchard CSA is just about ready to start weekly shares. I can hardly wait. It'll be a while until our patch is producing. I am eagerly looking forward to my first `mater sandwich. Let's hope I can keep up with the thinning and weeding and watering.
In honor of all of this farm talk, I thought I'd share a picture of Old Green with you. Old Green is Countrymouse's classic 1952 Chevrolet, 5-window, 3-quarter ton truck. I love the way it looks, but I hate driving it. (They really hadn't gotten the whole power steering thing worked out in yet 1952.) The closest it will get to being a farm truck these days is being parked next to our little garden. But it'll look good.