How NW Nurseries end their retail seasons

Bloged in garden by mark Friday May 28, 2010

We had one fabulous Saturday two weeks ago with Nancy G & Carol traveling to just a few favorite garden nurseries to complete the wish lists for garden/deck plants. WHY in Mid-May? Some wholesale favorites CLOSE to the public for the season about June 1, and the last couple May weekends, EVERYTHING goes on big sales. We loaded up our cars for little money.

Our first stop, is a favorite of mine: Bauman Farms.

This fun place is open through the summer, because of their retail produce store, deli, ice cream cones, yes! But they sure do throw a great plant sale in May. They have lots of veggies for Mark! Nice, healthy, plants…… Gervais, Oregon….the heart of Oregon nursery country.

Just a couple miles from Bauman’s is Fessler’s.

This place is usually only wholesale (mammoth greenhouses), but opens to the public from March to June 1…. So, we joined the crowds scouting out favorites for the deck and yard. This place is almost all flowers/shrubs.

From here, Carol returned to Portland while Nancy rode with us up to near Oregon City to show us the Rare Plant Research Specialty Nursery . Ahem! THIS is only open a couple times a year to the public, most of their business is done online. You’ll see VERY rare plants here, some expensive, some not so much. This one is:

The REAL showplace here was the amazing home this guy is slowly building above the nursery, mostly from recycled materials….and here’s a couple photos showing that….

The tower at the home’s main entrance:

This place really has an old European feel:

The trellis pieces are fairly new, I expect vines will be growing on them soon:

On the lovely trail (to the right), a pair of Killdeer parents were so very upset trying to draw people away….they have laid their eggs ON the trail, NO nesting material. It was amazing, you would never have known the nest was there……beautiful:

So, finally, we were hungry, and tired of plant “research” (and the car was full). We began looking for a place to eat, and simply by chance, happened to notice La Famiglia . . . . where we had a pretty fabulous lunch, and a fantastic pizza. THAT restaurant is getting into the address book.

This was simply Another memorable day with fabulous friends. Thanks, Nancy & Carol. Finally back at home, we unloaded the plants, Mark set up the little cold frame, got a couple starts into the ground with a water/wall around it, Rodger got some deck pots and plants ready……..and we retired to the couch for a tired evening.

postscript: Isn’t one of the bright spots of any year, the day you spot your first batch of baby ducks? We did that with Nancy M the week before THIS trip….the pic has been reduced for this post, and I hope you CAN even see the little cuties. Ducks ARE SO cute when they’re little:

Homer Desserted us!

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out by mark Wednesday May 26, 2010

I completely forgot to post a pic or two of those fabulous desserts Homer makes without even consulting a recipe while he was here during some unplanned very rainy weather. He was a most Gracious Guest………….and fun.

Our first was his famous Lemon Meringue Pie he seems to make for LOTS of parties at his home in Tucson:

About a day later, we picked our first batch of rhubarb out of the garden and he threw together a fabulous Rhubarb/Strawberry pie (that had PECANS in it):

If that weren’t enough, about day 5, we watched him whip up an angel food cake (using 1 doz egg whites), then he made fresh lemon curd (using 1 doz egg yolks…no nothing wasted). All one needed to add was the fresh strawberries and Voila!

….and yes, we’re sort of dieting this week……………… I learned quite bit this week ….. and intend to master all of these desserts so we can make them again for friends here. If I don’t succeed, watch out, we may have to take a trip to Tucson! THANKS, HOMER!!!!

A breather coming?

Bloged in birding,food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life by mark Sunday May 23, 2010

We have just finished a most pleasant week enjoying the company of a vacationing friend. Homer was kind enough to join us here for a week that’s been filled with good food, fun lots of talk, Sauvie Island Birding, dog walks, talks, the gorge, Homer’s Pies: Lemon Meringue & THEN, a fresh rhubarb/strawberry (his own recipe)….and let me say, when Homer T says he can make a good pie, he KNOWS what he’s talking about. I am determined to learn HOW to make that rhubarb/strawberry/pecan wonder.

The gorge is always a great view from Crown Point, eh?

We ALL got some thrills on our birding trip: 1) A bald eagle hatchling being fed in the giant nest….fabulous, and…. 2) The Heron Rookeries we posted about a while back are SO very alive now with 2-3 big heron babies in each nest sounding out calls to parents constantly (it’s how they recognize and find their own “kids”)…..THAT was thrilling. When the trees were leafing out 3 weeks ago, we thought we wouldn’t see the birds again…we DID.

We enjoyed some fine Portland food at home, John St Cafe, Ya Hala, Pause Restaurant, and Swagat-Orenco –to name a few….. (do not remotely think any of the other “Swagat’s in this town are connected to, or even close to the beautiful presentation and incredible variety of rich northern Indian food this place offers…no matter what the web site indicates. This one is run by a separate group of people).

At one point, we certainly enjoyed how someone carefully changed the “P” to an “F” on this advertising car . . .

Sadly, we’ll say goodbye to this “animal whisperer” friend tomorrow…..and maybe begin getting to the “to-do” list that’s been idle for a week, dang! After all, even without Homer here, it has been nothing but spring storms / hail / rain / wind every day. One night, we ate my Mom’s Recipe for Enchiladas de Santa Fe in the dark here ….

the power remained out until early morning hours.
The link points to the recipe I’ve posted long ago here. Oh well.

May has been a month with NO pauses, and I have some more worthwhile material to put here in my diary…..but I must get to that tomorrow. We had TWO beautifully inspiring and fun outings with Nancy G & Carol to fabulous nurseries in the Willamette valley…. that’s next up.

The birding excitement was high all week. This is that time of year here in the hills/forests, the song birds are ALL HERE singing in the mornings….eating about 2 quarts of sunflower seed a day plus other mixes. IT is fun.

Birds now feeding at 9336

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Pacific Northwest,Passerines by mark Tuesday May 4, 2010

THIS morning, I’m happy…. so far, I’ve seen these guys at the feeders (DISCLAIMER: Except for Rodger’s close-up shots of the two hummers near the end of this post, the bird pics ARE NOT ours…..no time to set up portraits for everybody….I’m just wanting to note who’s here early in May):
* Both white and red breasted nuthatches….cute, little, but not shy birds!
**above, red, below, white:

* Oregon Juncos, and not just the black headed ones.

* Mourning Dove

….yes, one of the most peaceful birds around.
* Band tailed pidgeon
…..big clumsy oafs…..silly birds.
* Stellar Jays

* Evening Grosbeak….written about last week here….

* Black headed Grosbeak — who seems to be moving in, YES!

……absolutely one of the most beautiful calls we see in the spring is the Black Headed Grosbeak song..(click on “listen)..inviting the girls over.

* One Golden Crowned Kinglet…only passing through…he didn’t stay.

*American Goldfinches….all pairing up now for the season

* Littlest Woodpecker, the “Downy”:

* The medium sized Hairy Woodpecker:

* Black capped Chicadees….lovely little families of these in summer:

*And year round beauty, The Spotted Towhee:

We LOVE the songbird season!

Now………….on to the real reason I had to make a diary note.
*** Annas & Rufous Hummingbirds. **

It is near record breaking cold for May…we were in the 30’s last night. WHEN THAT happens, hummingbirds, who have NO fat stored, crowd the feeders evening and morning…..it was pretty fabulous to watch that last night at dusk.

More-so was the little trick we learned to get closer to them….
(THESE two pics ARE OURS….taken just as close as it looks like it was!!!)….One quart feeder is about one foot from a maple tree trunk….we’ve learned to get just in front of the trunk, do NOT move, no sound, and very quickly, the little hummers came in to feed…(yes, the camera “click” would scare them)…but here’s the example…..these are TWO female hummingbirds, first is the Rufous (note she’s smaller, and a bit more tan shade):

NEXT, the female Anna’s, almost all shades of lovely green, and larger:

Rodger captured these beauties….so we could show JUST how close we WERE to the birds. I think he’ll be perfecting some by w/e. …it was a new test for all of us…including the birds!

and PS:
**Last friday, I was lucky to see a large flock (about 15) Yellow-Rumped Warblers move through the tree tops digging for insects in the branches….just slowly moved across the panorama….in their little beauty, and their Yellow-Rumped Calls weren’t bad either. THEN, this morning, a PAIR has returned…looking over the feeding space, and just “maybe” we’ll get a breeding pair close to home.

A new update about Evening Grosbeaks:
**A couple weeks ago, I noted the migrating Evening Grosbeaks passing through….I should have linked to a site where there chirping sounds exactly as it does in nature: Evening Grosbeaks Calling . SINCE that time, we just MAY have lucked out once again! Today, 2 matched pair returned to feed….**WILL we get to see them raise a family?

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