This past Friday,
Marmalade went on a school trip to Lisbon,
to go the the children’s theater.
She had a great time.
We were kinda nervous about signing her up,
since she’d be gone for twelve hours away from us,
half of them on a bus, and she’s only three and a half.
But we thought it’d be an adventure,
and be a great opportunity to connect with her peers.
Luckily, she had a great time.
While she was away,
we were extremely busy;
as it was a Flower transplanting time,
so we were transplanting,
for nearly all of the twelve hours.
We got the eight berry bushes planted on the hillsides,
some of the purple artichokes transplanted into larger pots,
and five organic sunflowers transplanted into the garden
(& covered with water bottle tops, to make miniature greenhouses;
a novel reuse for plastic bottles that I have seen a few locals doing
I plan to use these bottles a lot this Spring, for tomatoes, cucumbers & eggplants,
& again this fall & winter, to help some plants get an advantage over winter frosts.)
This past weekend was mostly “unfavorable time”
(when planetary alignments aren’t conducive to growth),
but the weather was warm and sunny,
so we did some cleaning & went to the beach again.
This time the water was cooler, so only Mohamed went swimming,
but we all enjoyed splashing in the waves and playing on the beach.
I also did some beach-combing, finding two nice pieces of driftwood
and more scraps of fishing rope (to be woven into a rug someday).
During Monday’s Leaf time, I weeded out the leafy parts of the garden,
especially around the twenty purple kohlrabi seedlings,
making a space to plant more seeds:
this time radicchio and lambsquarters
(radicchio I fell in love with while in Florence,
having it braised in a balsamic vinaigrette,
& lambsquarters is a wild edible I first found in Vermont,
& actually had some growing here last fall in between my onions,
but it didn’t survive the frosts, so I’ve planted more to replenish).
During Norooz, I got up early
and was out in the garden before everyone else awoke.
The flowers were covered in dew and just beginning to open,
and the birds and frogs were singing in the new day,
welcoming Spring, and so I was out there with them.
Speaking of the frogs,
I’ve gotten very much into frog-spotting,
keeping a talley of who’s who, how many we have,
and where we are most likely and often find them.
I’ve always been able to spot at least one,
though twelve is my record: five tree frogs, three stripeys,
two green with spots, the big brown one, and a small grayish one.
While clearing out some overgrowth,
I found a few more succulents growing near the boundary line.
They seem healthy enough, though will need some care to thrive.
As we have entered a few days of Fruit time,
I’ve gone through my seeds and selected some for planting:
a dozen more sugar snap peas and nine bush beans for the garden,
as well as two rows of rainbow quinoa next to the potatoes.
And in cups: six Mexican miniature cucumbers, four purple eggplants,
four orange Turkish eggplants, and fifteen blue ballet squashes
(a nice, smallish, greenish-blue winter squash with deep orange interiors).
As for our other fruits:
the two pears are in full blossom,
the peaches are blossoming and we have little peaches,
the stachelbeeren (gooseberry) bush has leafed out nicely,
as have most of our citrus trees, and the apricot and fig;
and our male kiwi plant is finally leafing out from dormancy,
so all three (with the two females) are now looking really healthy.
Some of the other fruit trees have swollen buds,
and others are still dormant.
And our Portuguese course has become something of a gardening class as well,
as we’ve not only been learning the names of wild and domesticated plants and animals,
but also we have been sharing seeds and gardening tips,
and this afternoon, our teacher brought us elderberry cuttings to root.
I’ve missed elderberries, as we lived near an elderberry orchard in Austria,
and had several wild ones growing amidst our backyard in Vermont,
and love the berries in pancakes.
Perfect way to end a Fruit time.