Finally! It has been unseasonably cold here in the Willamette Valley, so everyone who isn’t a polar bear has been huddled inside for the past few weeks. Then, yesterday, the sun made its reappearance, foreshadowing the summer to come. Heatbunnies like me got outside and gardened with a vengeance.

I have a really old bed of purple bearded irises, like the ones that inspired Van Gogh, but unlike Van Gogh’s bearded irises, mine are overgrown and squashed into a place that made them unproductive. We don’t get many flowers, and that’s entirely ok with me, since I don’t much like purple anyway. In fact, I call my garden endeavors in this house The Great Unpurpling, since most of the landscape is purple or pink. Me, I like red. And here’s why. That’s me with my flowering quince. Yes, I want my landscape to match with my hair. Is that too much to ask?

But I’ll spare you my gardening complaints and just report that I made it through 3/4 of the irises, weeding and thinning and transplanting. (Yes, it’s late, but I was away in fall and didn’t get to properly winterize the garden.) It felt so tremendously delicious to be out in the sun. My assistant (see above) helped me by soaking up the Vitamin D and making sure no birds came too close to me. He also helped mow the lawn by eating a few errant tufts of grass, and he held office hours behind the shed.

What does this have to do with food? Well, mainly it is a defense of carnivorism. I have to prove that I can do plants. I’m feeling guilty because we went to the second Saturday Market of the season and mingled with the hordes snapping up strawberry plants, tender lettuces, bags of tiny carrots and little turnip golf-balls, dahlia tubers and cut daffodils, and we bought…

MEAT.  We came home with a bag of meat. Retrogrouch disappeared when I was musing over a fig tree, and reappeared, triumphant, holding Sweet Briar Farm peppered bacon and lamb chops. We visited the Deck Family Farm stand and took home their price list with info about their meat CSA. Then, some grilled vegetables in the very last stand caught my eye, and I went over and…

OMFG. Carnitas. A giant copper vat filled with oil, orange segments, bay leaves, cumin and hunks of pork shoulder, boiling away. Carnitas might be my favorite pork dish of all time. We bought almost a pound of the stuff and snacked away. Delicious. Not as good as it would be fried in lard, but still. I was so enthralled by the deep-fried meat I didn’t notice the name of the stand or anything other than an intriguing creamy asparagus salsa that tasted like guacamole but didn’t have any avocados in it. Mmmm…carnitas. The stuff didn’t last long enough for us to take pictures of it, sorry, but if you go to Saturday Market next week, be sure to stop and check it out with your own two meatilicious eyes.

2 thoughts on “sunshine!

  1. annie zk 14 April 2008 / 1:14 pm

    The carnitas stand is Canby’s. Usually they are at the OTHER end of Market, but this past Saturday everything was shuffled a bit. And, they usually only sell for the beginning and end of the season. You should check out their corn tortillas too!


  2. Eugenia 15 April 2008 / 6:49 am

    Aha! Good to know, Annie, thanks! I will not let them slip through my fingers.


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