Visiting Family, Golden Globes, and Planning for Spring and Summer

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon down at my parents' house, exchanging our Christmas gifts finally, and celebrating my birthday, as well as my sister Kristi, who was born on the same day, and our sister-in-law Sara, whose birthday was on December 30th, and who is expecting a baby in July--congratulations to my little brother Robby and to Sara! Their baby will be the 5th grandchild in the Gilliam family. I have a feeling it will be a little boy. We will see!

When I got home last night, all I needed to read was a FB message from my friend Tara that the Golden Globes were on, and, after the kids were in bed, I was a total couch potato, watching the Golden Globes while Facebooking, drinking red wine, and eating a milk chocolate bar Landon picked me up on his way home from session. It was a great evening. Later, I took a flashlight to bed and read long past midnight.

Now for the part I'm most excited to blog about today: I've just discovered an indie nursery called Pistils on N. Mississippi, and I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time there in the coming months. We picked up one of their beautiful terrariums--unlike any I've seen before. What's so great about this nursery is their blend of creativity and art with gardening. It's an amazing business, offering a wide array of products and services. Their website is incredible--probably the best looking website I've seen in a long time, and Pistils offers many resources for the urban homestead, including chicken keeping (their first chicks arrive in a few weeks!), composting (including worm composting), hardscaping, landscape design, vegetable gardening, and even beekeeping. I really love that there is a strong movement in Portland to bring country living into the city. Step by step, I'm getting closer to creating an urban homestead, and I'm grateful there are resources like Pistils to assist me with the process. I'm learning all sorts of things right now--for example, did you know that you can make your own fertilizer by mixing a cup of compost into a jug of water and letting it steep? In the end, you'll have a compost tea, which makes an excellent fertilizer. Apparently, the drippings from worm composting make an excellent fertilizer as well. I might try my hand at worm composting for leftover kitchen produce, mainly for the better compost and fertilizer this composting method produces, but I'm composting much more these days than a pound of worms could consume in a day, and with worms, you can't compost napkins, waxed paper, dryer lint, or yard debris, for example. When it comes to chickens, I'm still carefully considering, but I do see this in our future as well. If we do get a chicken or two, we'll not only have fresh eggs, but chicken manure to enrich our compost. I'm also in the process right now of figuring out what vegetables we can grow in our side-yard, which only gets part-sun. I think I've found a list of vegetables and herbs that will grow in part-sun to keep me busy this year (e.g. broccoli, leaf lettuce, peas, beans, and various herbs). Any plant that produces fruit or edible roots, such as tomatoes, carrots, or potatoes, needs full-sun, so if I'm successful with what I start with this year, I'm going to look into renting a plot at our neighborhood community garden for full-sun fruits and vegetables next year. There's also nothing to stop me from growing tomato plants in containers this year in full-sun around the house. I'm just hesitant to grow them street-side, which is why I'm considering the community garden plots. Oh, yes, and then there's installing a clothesline and my hope to disconnect our downspouts and save the water for the garden using rain barrels. Lots to consider; step-by-step we'll get there. Right now I'm in the planning stages for these things, and looking forward to blogging about them more in the near future.

Meanwhile, does anyone have any advice about caring for terrariums? Can they easily become a nesting site for gnats in the summer? Since mine doesn't drain, I'm watering by misting every few days, but any additional advice I might not know about would be appreciated.


Jeremy said...

Ooh I love Pistils! We've been there several times. It's such a sweet store and they get a lot of bantam chickens in the spring... one of only a couple stores around the area that do.

No advice on the terrariums but we can definitely talk vegetable garden this spring!

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