Monday, July 22, 2013

Mama got a piece of Mountain Ash!

Basically, I love me a Farmer's Market.
And when I come home with loot like this, I love me the GOLDEN Farmer's Market.
Check out this vegetation!

Gorgeous, huh?  
I have a secret.  This entire collection could be YOURS for one easy payment of... FIFTEEN DOLLARS!  (plus or minus a trip to Golden.)
Yep.  It's a pretty big secret that I feel needs a big audience (like all five of you I've already told over the phone :)

Last time I typed to you I said I'd show you what treasure I found there.  Well... There is a booth at the market that sells these grass baskets, handwoven by women in Uganda.  It is a fair-trade organization selling them to profit the women making them.  They are a little pricey, but the hands that make them work for days to earn that $30 or 40 or 60 dollas.  Once you have your basket, you visit the Miller Farms booth at the market and you get to fill it for fifteen bucks. Every single week.  COME ON!!

 The last time we went I was dying to get one, and Nick's mom was with us and she offered to get it for my birthday.  Clearly a deal worth shaking on!  The one I loooooved was actually a lot less than some, and happened to be the biggest. 
 So now I have my big, beautiful grass basket with goat-skin handles, ready for a $15 visit to the Miller Farms booth every Saturday.  I won't try to figure out how they profit, I'll just enjoy the bargain.  All week long.

I spent about an hour getting everything soaked in vinegar water... Beets scrubbed and peeled and steamed, carrots and chiles and asparagus and squash trimmed and sliced and marinated for dinner guests... Greens torn and packaged for future salad-ation.  Made me feel all domestic and farmy-like.  

I can't wait 'til I'm getting goods like this from my very backyard.  Until then, I support the locals :)

Speaking of gorgeous vegetation... I've been trying so hard to get some of our own around our house, but I just feel like the process is crawling along.  I get all antsy pantsy when it comes to my mini-ecosystem here.  If only I were longing for sharp, spiny, thorny, stickery weeds- I'd be in knee-high weed heaven!  Where are my future goats when I need them.  I got weeds that need a-chompin'.

When I got back from North Dakota, I came home to this insanity:

The front of my house is behind there somewhere.

So one of my first days back, I went nuts.  I weeded and pitchforked and wheelbarrowed my way through it all.  My hands, arms, legs, feet were acting like tough guys as I scraped and pricked and burned through their tender skin.  

Let me tell you something.  SO.  MANY.  THORNS. up in this motha.  This is not a job one can do in flip-flops, but if you know me then you know it took me a few hours and frustrated outbursts to figure it out.  I chopped down and hauled about three volunteer trees, and pruned others.   Finally, yesterday, after about a month of re-growth, Mister Boree joined me in the final frenzy to clear it out. I let him dig out every bit of root from two horrible thorny buckthorns I had all but obliterated.  However, their already-shed Thorns Of Death and Dying are sure to leave a mark on flip-flopped feet for years to come.  Just leaving a legacy, those nasty buckthorns. 

Roo was a big helper, and proud of it too.  She loves all things nature, even all things requiring hard work and hauling in the hot, hot sun.  Thought you needed a few sweet pictures of her efforts :)

Standing on my front porch, here is my view of the street.  Before:
 and after:

The tree near the middle of the photo, the juniper or whatever, next to the big pine tree on the right... That one has to go.  Unfortunately we need to keep it there, in all its scraggly, prickly, thorny wonder, until we have a replacement plan.  Without that tree we would feel just totally exposed and vulnerable to that mighty sunset every night.  Plus the neighbors facing us from way down yonder on the cul-de-saccy.

We had family over the other night to celebrate a couple of our birthdays in June and July.  Turns out, I missed Mother's Day while I was out of town.  Turns out, there was a lot of make-up celebrating to do!    Turns out also that I got a lot of cards, full of well-wishes and some money!  My plan is to put that $$ to good use up front.  Make my yard a happy place to walk and drive by.  A small portion of someone's journey that delights them and makes them think, "My what happiness lives in that home and in that yard and beyond.  Surely."  Little did I know that I would find a key ingredient to that joy the moment we walked through Home Depot yesterday!

H to the Depot has a lot of trees marked half off already.  Shade and fruit trees, some flowering trees.  We plan on making good use of end-of-season tree deals in the very back of our property, since it's bare bones.  However I'm thinking like 90% off and not 50.  Beggars can be choosers when it comes to percentages off.
Well naturally, yesterday, I fell deeply in love with a big ol' tree in their full-price section.  The section of trees that are like WAY beyond what we can spend on a single tree, the ones in 35 gallon pots and requiring some Team Lift to move them out.  Sucks to be me right now- I was trying to figure out how to afford it and get it home!  Deciding to wait for it to go half off, we went to another garden center.  One where even like the scrawny, 15 gallon trees were over a hundred bucks!  That $150 ginormous Mountain Ash wasn't looking so 'spensive after that.  We went back to the Depot.  

As Nick dropped me off at the entrance, wishing me luck with my powers of negotiation, I wandered inside with a Roo by my side for luck.  

I headed straight for Customer Service.  I said sweetly, "Hi!  I was curious about a tree outside... You, see- I accidentally fell in love with this amazing tree, thinking it was on sale like every other tree outside.  But then my heart shattered learning that is completely full price, with no sign of a price drop in the near future. That I know of. I realize now the signs clearly indicate it is a full price tree.  However, I am mad for it and I thought it was worth asking if there might be a sale soon, or if there is room for even a tiny wiggle in the price." 

She says, "Let's ask a manager, it couldn't hurt!"  Manager comes over.  They talk.  I concentrate my curious, pleading eyes on my daughter, hoping they can't tell I'm as desperate for that daggone tree as I am.  Embarrassingly desperate though I may be.  I let Roo do some flips on me, passing the minute and a half they were talking while I acted like I wasn't trying to listen.  The gal comes back.  Says, "Know what Big Guns Bob said??  Well he's not really Big Guns Bob but I thought I should call him that since he is acting like a big shot with this tree deal... He said, "Give her half off!!""  

HALF OFF!!!  Well slap me on my Mountain Ash!!!
I was thinking, maaaaaaybe, just maaaybe I could get them to take even 20% off.  Or let me know that a sale starts some day soon.  But half off?   That's like insanity to my ears!!  SOLD!  I just so happened to have 75 bucks on hand, thanks to getting another older and another year of motherhood under my belt.  Sold as sold can be, that tree was.  Nick ran home to get the trailer, I bought it, and we drove it home in a glittery cloud of happy-gratitude and awe at my powers of effortless persuasion.

Pretty daggone big tree!

the white-ish trunk, bright green leaves and bursting red berries will be sooooo PRETTY in front of our gray house!!

The trunk is almost 5" at the base.  This tree is no spring chicken!

So that's my excitement.  Farmer's Market gold and some Mountain Ash treasure.  I think I have about thirty bucks left to spend on some front-yard prettiness, and I think that will go to some super tall shasta daisies and wild grasses to establish for next year.  A field of daisies up front, sprawling among the tree trunks, would surely brighten up any front yard's appeal.  Especially my former field of weeds :)

We're planting our new tree tonight- I'll show you a picture after!

 Lots of love for you.

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