Week in May

Perennials are the ticket when it comes to feeding the hunger for early flowers in spring. It’s worth anyone’s time to figure out which flowers will overwinter well and can handle the hot-then-cold vagaries of the Taos springtime climate. This is blue flax, basically a wild flower, but it can be showy, like in this photo, and has captured my heart by coming back strong from seed last spring. Each year it will just expand its growing territory.

Last week I had a welcome visitor, my former husband, Mr. Cartwright, whom I met and fell in love with 34 years ago. This is a common thing for us. In time potential projects that call for a patient, helpful man pile up and I eventually reach out and invite him for a week’s visit. This time he took the train from southern California and slept outside in the back yard in my 3-man tent (on an air mattress). I was noticing how nice the tent looked one afternoon just after we had hung the hummingbird feeder (repaired). I got my camera and took this photo. Some people will be able to see the hummingbird that flew up almost immediately, the first one I’d seen this season. A magic moment.

Went to the farm market yesterday and it was not a perfect day for it like last week. It was cold and breezy. What I really zeroed in on were seeds and dried food from last falls harvest juxtaposed with early edibles. In this photo courtesy of Ladybug Farms we see coriander, beans and safflower. I am really starting to perk up at the idea of saving seeds and finding ways to carry the bounty of summer into winter. I talked to one woman who said they freeze some of their peppers and tomatoes to add to soups in winter. She said when her young son started school he complained about the taste of canned vegetables he was served there at lunch. A new taste for him.

Here’s a nice selection of salad type plants that will show up early and deal with the cooler spring weather. These were likely grown in a greenhouse for some protection: cilantro leaves, parsley and chives. This display was on the Ladybug Farms table so I would guess they let their cilantro mature and then collect the seeds. Looks like turnip greens on the left. That’s an early crop. Beets would be too. I planted some a week ago but they haven’t come up yet.

But the people with the goods in the SEEDS category were Ron and Debora of Mergirl Gardens (& Bee Sanctuary) from Alcade. They will sell you seeds they’ve saved by the spoonful. I really like this concept and plan to give their offerings a careful look next week. I had just met up with some friends from out of town before taking this photo and was a bit distracted. They also sell feathers from their own fowl. I was especially excited about their turkey feathers.

Couldn’t resist this lovely display of dried tomatoes. Debora had a bag for sale that was $10, which seemed expensive until she said it took 10 pounds of tomatoes to make it.

I was able to get to the Talpa Gardens booth before all the chard and spinach was gone (like last week). Since it was not great weather there was less competition for sure at 9:30 in the morning. Let’s hope the customers were just waiting for things to warm up outside before venturing out.

One of my companions (fellow artist and a blog fan from Cincinnati) pointed out that I never included any photos of myself, so she took this one of me at my favorite spot, right next to the sunflower sprouts. I was eagerly waiting in line to make my purchase. The ones I bought the previous week kept well and I will keep buying them to supplement the salad plants I can grow at home. Today I harvested my first dozen or so leaves, mostly arugula and Russian kale.