mercado & more
So we went a little overboard at the mercado.
Every month, on the first Monday of the month,
São Teotónio has a huge open-air market,
where vendors are selling everything from
fruits, cheeses, nuts, and honey,
from clothes and housewares to live rabbits and birds
(mostly chickens, but some ducks, geese, quail, turkeys & peacocks),
and garden seedlings, flowering plants, and fruit trees.
And fruit trees are mainly why we went,
aside from the general cultural experience;
and since my father was visiting,
and we had Marmalade home from school,
we all went together.
Though the deep-fried donut strips might have been everyone’s favorite part
(kinda like a Mexican churro, but without the ridges,
kinda like a Spanish churro, but lighter and less dense).
But yes, we went for the trees.
The Swiss family recommended the mercado for a walnut tree,
since we wanted to plant one next to the pond,
and couldn’t find one for sale anywhere else.
And we did find a few for sale, and purchased one fine specimen.
We also found a lime tree,
something else that’s been hard to find,
and on our wish list.
And a few of the u.f.o.-shaped peach trees,
so we got one of those, too.
And since I had only read about golden raspberries,
but never before seen them, I got two of those bushes, too.
I also saw all of the other trees on our list:
a persimmon, several nespera (which turns out to be a loquat),
and a few more apricots, pomegranates, and lemons,
since we hope to plant another of each of these.
But we stopped short of buying them,
since we couldn’t really carry anything else,
and we have a lot of holes to dig just for these.
And a few more holes to dig, too.
Last weekend, I picked up another red raspberry bush
and three more blueberry bushes,
so this upcoming Fruit transplanting time will be a doozy.
This time also coincides with a Fruit trine,
so it should be an especially good time for all the transplanting.
It’s been a Flower transplanting time,
so I repotted some of our flowering houseplants,
and was able to get eight artichoke seedlings into the ground,
so now half of them are now getting established.
Also, we’ve had another wildlife sighting.
While putting out some recycling around twilight,
I heard a scuttling noise so I ran in to grab the lantern:
it was a really large toad, “sapo” in Portuguese,
(green, spotted, and the largest I’ve ever seen)
walking across our porch, slowly, methodically.
Luckily it paused long enough for me get its portrait.
And another wildlife hearing.
While planting the raspberries under the moonlight,
we heard the most beautiful birdsong, unlike any we’ve heard before.
Our Portuguese teacher told us to listen out for nightingales,
saying that unlike other birds, their songs aren’t repeating melodies,
but long, almost improvisational, songs from the heart.
And as it was approaching midnight,
while backfilling around the raspberries,
with the stars and half moon shining bright,
it truly was a magical experience.
We’ve gotten the walnut tree in over by the pond,
the lime high up on the hill above the lemon tree,
the u.f.o. peach on the hillside near the other peaches,
and got the blueberries in during moonlight.
We’ve transplanted the first three blue ballet squash into the ground,
on the top of the hillside behind our bedroom windows.
There are two more seedlings a little behind these,
so they will go in next weekend at the final Fruit time
before the two-week transplanting time ends.
I’ve also transplanted another sunflower,
and the first tomato seedlings into the garden:
five red cherry tomatoes and two Stupice
(a small hardy heirloom from the Czech Republic).
And thanks to my father bringing over 33 new organic seed varieties,
I very excitingly started two dozen more tomato seeds:
four each of Cherokee purple, green zebras,
yellow pears, San Marzano (an Italian heirloom plum tomato),
Cuore di bue (“oxhearts” another Italian heirloom),
and Principe Borghese, the original sun-dried tomato,
as in ideal climates, the tomatoes will dry right on the vine.
I also started sugar baby watermelon seeds and loofah seeds,
for both the loofahs they grow and their young squash,
which are tasty when grilled or pickled.
And orange bell peppers and pineapple tomatillos.
Oh, and three seeds from nespera, the loquat;
which we finally tasted at Mohamed’s parent’s guesthouse,
and since it was a Fruit/Seed time (when the moon is in Leo),
saved the best seeds to hopefully start some new trees.
The garden is just lovely,
with the peas, broccoli, and everything else, really,
taking off with the increased daylight and temperatures.
Now we’re utterly exhausted,
as Spring often brings for gardeners;
and have four Root days to catch up, harvest radishes, and dig holes,
before we have a Flower transplanting time marathon.
Happy Spring everyone!