April « 2008 « verdure
eating the lettuce despite it all
Sunday, April 27th, 2008

We had a lovely, warm weekend. At last! Though, again, the outlook now is rain with highs in the lower 50’s and lows not much above 40.  We put all the windowsill plants outside on Saturday.  They came through last night, which got down to 48, just fine.  We’ll have to bring the less cold tolerant plants inside tomorrow though.

We have been eating a leaf or two from the larger lettuce that we started indoors, along with using some of the chives.  I am a lot more enthusiastic about our homegrown lettuce than I was expecting.  The leaves are very delicate and have far more flavor than the store bought varieties. The Columbia City Farmer’s Market starts next Wednesday.

The cat dug up one of our 2 pea plants (with no signs from our second planting, still).  Tux, is that you?  Nothing was touched last year, but this year it seems like it’s more likely than not that anything we plant outside will be destroyed. The green garlic (perhaps it doesn’t smell very good to a cat) has started to come up, though, and we think we see a few cauliflower sprouts.  There are some tiny sprouts where we planted alyssum, but it’s too early to tell if they are weeds or flowers.  We’re trying again for some parsley and some not so lanky tomatoes.

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not quite a greenhouse
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

All of our indoor plants are still leaning towards the window, weeks after I thought we’d be able to move them outside. For good reason, they all seem to think that it’s a weak sunned summer. I don’t think plants handle transplant shock very well after they’ve started blooming:

And here’s a shot comparing the Yellow Pear’s leaves, above, with the Early Girl’s, below:

Meanwhile, nothing that we planted in the ground has poked up yet, but there are new sprouts slowly coming up in the lettuce and spinach pot. Once again, the cat (?) came back and this time dug up the pot with the parsley seeds. Really, I need no gifts from cats. I’m starting to feel sympathy for the ranchers who helped kill off the Thylacine.

P.S. It snowed last weekend.  It’s late April.  It wasn’t supposed to snow in late March, either.

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paying for the city life
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I suffer from the irrational assumption that “normal” prices for a particular item are permanently set by the going rate  when I first started purchasing that item.  Butter should be $1/lb.  A dozen eggs should be less than $2. And the first apartment that I lived in was a (decent) 1 bedroom for $375 a month, and that was shared with someone, so I was only paying half of that.  Therefore, struggling to find “a studio for less than $900 a month” in the U District strikes me as obscene. Granted, in terms of my ability to pay, half of that one bedroom was far more of a struggle for me than where I currently live.  This is the first time in my life where I don’t have to worry about food or bills bringing my checking account below zero, and habits of the poor person die hard.

But even if I’m now an example of the fact that Seattle has enough high paying jobs to keep rent prices where they are at, until very recently I was still a student and really only qualified for those part time, little experience and no degree jobs.  With those options, $375 is far more attainable than $900. Housing prices, while not the most important factor, were a part of why I decided I didn’t want to go to college in Seattle, despite UW’s excellent reputation in computer science.  Mostly for other reasons, but for that one too, I have been quite pleased with my choice.

I also very much agree with Kilbourne’s observation about the ferociousness required to find a place and then get your application in before it is snatched up by someone else. I didn’t know it at the time, but our search also coincided with the lowest percentage of vacancies since 2000.  I sent out my email of interest in the place that we ended up renting at 1:30 am, very shortly after the ad made it up on craigslist, an instance when being a night owl paid off, if not in the monetary sense, significantly.

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winter 2
Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Including our freak record high last Saturday, our high temperatures have been about 2 and half degrees below the average so far in April (4 degrees not counting Saturday). Mike is calling it winter2. While memories of last year are not necessarily objective when you’re waiting impatiently for the warm weather to get here already, I’m pretty certain it wasn’t this cold in April in Bellingham last year. Of course some of the early spring plants, which have sprung up wholly without help from me or anyone else, don’t care:

And the tree outside our bedroom window had buds/flowers(?) out, and we’ve seen more birds lately too. It’s just decidedly not warm yet.

For the most part, I do like Seattle’s climate, or at least the results of it. It’s never unbearably hot. I love that the grass and many of the plants stay green all year, yet I still get fall color.  I like snow, but it’s nice not having to switch tires and navigate what would be treacherous hills if they were routinely covered in ice.


And now for a cool lumpy sounding word of the day: troglobite: a creature that lives entirely in the dark parts of caves.

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Saturday, April 12th, 2008

The sluggish plants outside got their first day over 70 degrees, forecasted to be followed by a high of 58 tomorrow. The lows have been in the upper 30’s for the last week or two, which is encouraging, but not exactly balmy. We planted more seeds outside today — the ones that I had scheduled for my 3 week past mythical frost free date (cauliflower, red onions, green garlic, alyssum and some additional spinach, lettuce and peas). We are waiting on moving out the indoor seedlings because we haven’t started acclimating them to the colder outdoor temperatures. The tomatoes are rapidly outgrowing the space under the hydra lamp, and next to the window for that matter. They (along with the alyssum) are also starting on flower buds, which isn’t quite what we’d like just yet.

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meanwhile, hail and snow
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

On Friday it snowed. It was 38, so there was no accumulation, but the huge wet flakes were certainly trying. Then on Monday it hailed, with some atmospheric touches of lightning and thunder. Frost again this morning, but the highs are back in the 50’s through the end of this week.

The lettuce and spinach outside are still there, but haven’t been growing much. We have three baby pea plants poking up that the cat didn’t get to.

Mike repotted the remaining peat pots. The plants now take up the entire window sill in the kitchen. Of all of them, the cauliflower is doing the poorest, growing more slowly and the leaves aren’t as green as they were. Fertilizing seemed to help the tomatoes. Most of them really are big enough that they would do better outside, if the weather would cooperate.



Tomato - BW

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