my Seattle urban farm March update

[23 Mar 2013 | By | 3 Comments]

“Best & Worst of today?” This has become a frequent information extractor at our dinner table, a chance for each member—amidst crazy schedules—to share the highlight and low light of each day. Sometimes it feels like we answer in staccato form, but other times it leads to a rich discussion on a significant moment or life lesson, and/or allows us a chance to validate, support and celebrate each other. I love the focus on what to be thankful for (‘bests’), and equally appreciate knowing the struggles, bumps and disappointments (‘worsts’) of those I love.

seattle urban chickens

A best moment could be as simple as that extra snooze and snuggle in the morning, the shining sun or bites from that night’s dinner. Bests could be a milestone or recognition at work, that email you were waiting for, appreciation from a teacher or a good mark on a test. It might be having a great soccer game, going for a long walk or an impromptu hug.

seattle urban farm @talkoftomatoes - 1

It isn’t uncommon for my best to include an urban farming moment: pride in well-developed compost spread over raised beds, a new temporary coop to host our baby chicks (see pic above), tulips pushing their way up through the dirt—a promise that spring is here. A good moment may be as simple as an impressive number of eggs (good job girls!), progress on our home remodel, or a notch on our battle belt against slugs or bugs or rats and racoons.

With a few ‘bests’ and ‘worsts’ tucked in, here are some recent goings-on at our Seattle urban farm:

Why did the chicken cross the road? To become part of our flock. A neighbor walked two blocks to our house with a stray chicken, asking if it was ours. Nope, but we are happy to host until the owners are found. We put out emails to neighbor groups with no response—that was 4 months ago. Now ‘Cinny’ (short for Cinnamon b/c she is the color of a cinnamon stick) has finally and happily settled into the flock. She knows all the ‘cattle calls’ (I make noises when bringing treats, or to call them in from the yard at the end of the day) and I daresay has even made friends. Having Cinny join our flock is a easily a ‘best’ (see Cinny, below).

seattle urban farm @talkoftomatoes

Is that drywall paste in your hair? Why yes, it is. We pushed hard the last few months to get our basement to ‘habitable.’ We are DIYers; my husband built walls and re-routed wiring and plumbing. Some walls are drywall (my job aka paste in my hair) and others are covered with recycled fence boards (finding these boards was a huge ‘best’ moment). We now have a farm-stocked pantry, and a place for our sons to hang out with friends. Though ironically, the first inhabitants were just-hatched chicks (to stay warm as they grow, and before we moved them outside).

baby chicks @talkoftomatoes

Why don’t the kitchen lights work? We disconnected them. Three months ago. Candles are a great invention. I am fortunate my husband is great at wiring (and a lot of other things). Truth: when you live in the middle of a remodel (this is our second), you often go without lights or water for a bit, disconnect heaters, move to a temporary room and well: wash dishes in the bathtub. I am proud to say: we have working kitchen lights again. A worst: drywall dust. No matter how hard I try to keep the mess to a minimum, that dust makes it everywhere in the house. And I like things clean;).

What do you have growing now & what did you plant for ‘early spring’? February and March I planted outdoor seeds: spinach and braising greens, cauliflower and broccoli, arugula, beets, radishes, carrots and spring peas. I started seedlings (a bit late): eggplant, hot and sweet peppers and tomatoes. In the next week I will also shove potato starts into the ground. Each year is different, each year I learn something that works and doesn’t. I am tickled that seeds I spread last fall (from plants that I let go to seed) successfully overwintered and grew: notably arugula, kale and broccoli. My celery is going strong, fennel is sprouting and I have a gorgeous bed of red, orange and yellow-ribbed chard. I also see early growth/spring buds of: rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, artichokes, chives and a pile of herbs.

garden starts @talkoftomatoes

March on the farm is so full of promise: apple tree and tulip buds and ‘new’ dirt (from my compost bin), baby chickens and rows of new seeds. The sunlit hours lengthen each day and it makes it easy for my turn at the dinner table: I have lots of ‘Bests’. Where would you like me to start?

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  • Donna Vander Griend said (25 March 2013 at 2:41 pm):

    A thankful heart…so fitting for this time of year!!!

  • Evelyn said (26 March 2013 at 10:49 am):

    Love the best and worst idea! Love you and so happy we met in Italy, which feels like a dream ago. I want to come visit your farm with my boys!

  • Rocky Mountain Woman said (4 April 2013 at 8:19 pm):

    What a lovely place to visit! Your photos are gorgeous. Recipes are intriguing…