Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And Now the Days Are Getting Longer

...or so they say. I know it's true, but it doesn't feel that way yet. One of the ways I like to drive my long suffering husband crazy is to constantly remark about the length of daylight compared to night. I say things like, "I've never seen so many sunrises in my life until we moved to Oregon, and it's not because I get up early". In no time I'll be complaining that it's 10pm and the sun is still shining.

The birds are making the most of the feeders lately, and now that the bird bath is thawed they can wash it all down with rainwater. Aaahh.

I haven't done much in the garden since the big freeze, except clean up some of the casualties. We had lots of rain after the thaw and some plants have begun to rebound, like mustard greens, turnips, parsley and a few of the lettuces look like they'll pull through. I used turnips in a braised short rib stew last night.

And inside, the Pimiento de Padron pepper is hamming it up like a hothouse flower. Still blooming and producing little cocktail peppers. Don't know why I never did this before, but this plant will have a huge head start when I bring it back outside once it warms up.

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Chill

Well up until just a few days ago there was still plenty to eat coming from the garden. Mustard greens, turnips, lettuces, kale, pea sprouts, beets, rapini, Chinese broccoli, chard, celery, oregano, and parsley. I know, I know, it all sounds little too healthy.

But a few days ago it turned cold, really cold, well really cold for Oregon. I can hear mid-westerners and east coasters chuckling. Really cold, really dry and really windy. Get out the chapstick. Last night it got down below 20 degrees and the water for the chickens was frozen, as was the birdbath, and hummingbird feeder.

Most all of the plants are slumped over, not looking very happy. And this just after I've been bragging about my "cold tolerant peppers". Well they don't look like they're cold tolerant enough. Luckily I brought some of them inside, where they seem to be quite comfortable.

I've put a heat lamp in the coop, just to knock a little of the chill off, especially since two of the birds have been molting. They are almost re-feathered, but I don't want their semi-naked butts to be too cold. The trouble is that they awake at about 5am and start to squawk, so I get up and turn off the light and go back to bed. And so do they, until dawn when I let them out to peck at the frozen ground.

Oh, and there were lot of these things in the garden too. Luckily I harvested before the freeze.

Jerusalem artichoke, or Sunchokes
We ate some in salads, and stir fry, and the rest of them became pickles, along with some cauliflower and onions. Sweet, sour, and very crisp.