Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just what's been going on

Earlier in the week Calder and I drove out Peoria Road to Gindhart Nursery. On the way I came upon this neat juxtaposition of trees, one in full golden bud behind the skeleton structure of the one yet to leaf out. I had brought my camera along just in case. When I saw the trees I originally thought, "Wow. That's looks really cool. Such a moment in time. I should take a picture." Well, at first I kept driving, but when we got to the nursery I used the gravel lot to turn around and went back to the trees. I took the photos through the windshield just how I'd seen them originally. Nothing special, but really, something special.

At the nursery I was able to find all the things on my list. An evergreen clematis to replace the one that croaked*, 2 peonies of unknown color, Spirea arguta , 2 unidentified, bright yellow-green grasses, and some Yukon gold seed potatoes. I also asked the nurseryman, Bob, (seen here pulling Calder on the cart,) about a glorybower tree. He took us off to find the few he had grumbling as he asked me repeatedly why I would want this tree, that it would spread everywhere and was just a pain and not worth it. This is not the first time Bob has spoken disparagingly about plants that he's selling. He knows his stock. He's honest. And a lot of people are probably turned off by his "I don't care. This is my opinion." way of running a business. But, Bob appears to have done this for many decades. He propagates most of what he sells. And the prices are so low compared to all the other nurseries. I think he's a really special, gruff but willing to smile, man who I'm happy to support. In fact, the first time we went to Gindhart's I didn't know they only took checks or cash. We were rung up and when we realized our bind Bob's wife just gave us our receipt and their address and told me to mail them a check when we got home.

And a funny thing. I asked if the seed potatoes we bought were treated with any chemicals. He told me, "No. In fact, my wife didn't make me any lunch today, so I went home and cooked up one of them seed potatoes." If it's good enough for Bob...

*Bob told me that if you don't pinch back the new growth during the first year then it will outgrow its roots and die. Ours was half way across the front of the garage last summer and then a major pruning accident occurred along with rapid die-off of the vining that remained. Better luck this year, right?

Today was the first day of our Saturday farmers market. Last year the crowds on opening day were thin. The weather was dismal, freezing and raining. Today was the opposite. The market was crowded like it is in the height of summer. The weather was wonderful, and it seemed as though we had all been waiting, anticipating the opportunity to get back to these city blocks and stock up on local produce while running in to all our friends and neighbors.

Jeff admiring a saddle. Really? Would you have imagined this?

I love finding stores with unexpected depth and breadth in their particular genre; like Sunlan for example, the light bulb store on N. Mississippi in Portland. Well, this place isn't quite as unique or comprehensive as that, but it's still very specialized and not the sort of shop you would expect we had any reason to enter... until today. It's called Equine Exchange, and it's here in Corvallis across from Denson's Feed and Seed Store. I am not a horse person. But this place is cool. It makes me feel like I could learn a lot about a subject I know nothing about just by walking around and checking out all the stuff they sell - all kinds of saddles, collared shirts covered entirely in sequins, all the plastic toy horses you can think of, ropes, bridles, neck sweat gel... lots to learn. In fact, and I have no idea from where in the depths of me this wish arose (it had nothing to do with this store,) I drove out the other day to Sunflower Farms to look into riding lessons. I think I just long to relate to animals, especially big ones. I've heard good things about this farm, and am looking forward to scheduling my first lesson.

Oh, and we got the sand for the boat. The tarp's off. The day was beautiful. He made sand castles and knocked them down. It's good.

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