Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nursery Crawl...Plus Chickens!

We got off to a late start Friday due to some planing at Randy's place, which is also going to be on the Master Gardener Tour of '09...the theme being Inner City Wild Life Habitats. Since we are both on a "no spending diet" we decided to review Taco Stand fare, Torchy's Taco's on S. First, neither of us had been so we were excited!
This first shot is a view from under the trees. Shuggie's there on the left is a burger place slated to open this summer. It was high noon and there was a line forming as we pulled up.
The menu is fun, a great place to bring guests you want to show unique character of Austin. On the menu were "The Republican, pork filled, The Democrat, beef filled,The Dirty Sanchez...you get the idea...
The staff was helpful and polite! This young lady was working the line so that by the time you reached the trailer you have only to pay, pick up your drink and number...they'll deliver your food to you under the oaks.
You're looking at a "Fried Avocado Taco" and a "Fried Shrimp Taco." They have a selection of 5 different sauces, corn or flour tortilla's and it was excellent! I was intrigued about the fried avocado taco with beans...crispy on the outside and cool and creamy on the inside! Delish!

Look at all that Avocado! My favorite vegetable...bury me now:)
Check out Randy's blog...Horse Lips Horse Sense, for his review! We both gave it a thumbs up, though Randy was thirsty the rest of the afternoon...salty beef.
We pulled into PlanteScape Gardens and were greeted by one of the most docile and sweet Boxers I've ever met...Xena. She was lumbering and gentle...then came...

Scrappy! Twice her size and looking like he didn't care for us none to much, but we were wrong...he's a big lover and wanted to get in on some cuddles! Adam the owner says he often scares people but he's really just a push over.
Diaz Gallery changes Artists every 3 months
Once the greetings were underway, Adam's mother Sandra came out to say Hi as well and we all started in on plant talk. It turns out that Sandra is taking the city's Green Garden Certification program with Randy and I, and she recognized us from the previous Wednesday. PlanteScape has been in business for 5 years and is a mother-son operation. They are both gardeners and landscape designers who focus on low water organic gardening...right up my alley!
A few months ago I was on a search for Ocotillo cactus. I had to get permission to plant them at Zilker, against the better judgement of the Architect who felt like they are not really Austin friendly. The reason is that they are a true desert plant and thrive in draught situations of a yearly rainfall of only 17 inches...well, things aren't getting wetter. I know that weather runs in cycles but it seems to make sense to plant on the dry side rather than the opposite. The Diaz's are from El Paso and they carry a huge variety of cactus and succulents along with lots of natives and adapted plants and trees. They have a huge Ocotillo on the side of their property that survived the wet year a few years back. They include them in their designs and I asked about root-rot and they simply said, "plant on a mound"...which is what I had planned on doing, and they confirmed. I bought on...since I saved on lunch:)

Here is a shot of the greenhouse, everything was healthy and thriving

They have a really nice variety of outdoor pottery and rod-iron yard art.
Driving south on First street, it's easy to miss on the east side of the road...turn after the sign and make a sharp left into the customer parking. Landscapers recieve a 15% discount and coming soon is a Coffee/Juice bar featuring organic wheatgrass shots!

Florence Jean Castleberry II Rhode Island Red...I've always wanted one of these!

When we left, we decided to head over to Callahans as Randy had never been and it's one of my favorite places in Austin. Francis, the chicken lady is one of my hero's. I've had chickens in my backyard for 3 years now and it's been a roller coaster learning experience. I lost my favorite chicken...Tammy Faye on Memorial Day this year and my Buff Orpington Peep hasn't laid an egg since, leaving me with my little Japanese Silkie, Esperanza who lays the tiniest eggs possible...two count as one in a recipe. I explained the situation to Francis and told her that I wanted to have more chickens but didn't really want to go through the baby chicken scene again, it's just to time consuming and precarious. She suggested that I get 6 month olds. They are kept on the side of the store in the warehouse in tiny cages, separating breeds. The chickens come from a hatchery and their beaks have been clipped and it just broke my heart. She said that I should get more than I had so that they could protect each other and that they wouldn't be mean because they had never been out of a small cage, on the ground or around other chicks so the pecking order would come from my girls...and it did.
Flo, Lucinda Silver Lace Wyandotte & Shanaynay trying to decide if they like me coming closer with my camera...no, they didn't like it!

Francis suggested that I sneak the new girls in during the night so that they all would wake up together, and that I get out there first thing in the morning to snuff out any pecking...by...um pecking. Miraculously, I didn't need to. Esperanza was feisty but the new gals were big enough to just get away, jump on the hay stack but they didn't seem to bothered. To prove they felt at home, someone left me a lovely brown egg in the corner!
My lovely birds...
Francis is the best thing at Callahan's in my opinion. She's been there for years and is the caretaker for the hatching's...she knows her birds. As far as food goes though, I buy the organic layer pellets at Buck Moore Feed Store, right up the street from my house on N. Lamar. Last I checked, it was the only place in Texas that sells it!

Callahan's is on the East side of 183 heading south towards the airport. They have lots of seeds and right now fruit and nut trees in packages. They also have garden clothes, shoes, kitschy folk collectibles and carry 1950's kitchen ware. Get on out there, there really is something for everyone.
The girls have settled in and that was it for the crawl. Randy was sweet enough to help me get the birds home instead of heading out for Margaritas.
Happy Gardening!


katina said...

wait, you did this garden shop tour on Friday? hunh...that must mean that Shuggie's is closed for the season--my coworkers and i eat at the Trailer Park fairly frequently because it's close to work. Shuggies has the most delicious ice cream battered onion rings.

Horselip's Horse Sense said...

Another great post, Cheryl. But an avocado is a fruit, not a veggie.

Bob said...

Every time I read about your chickens I think back to when my wife and I got married 28 yrs. ago. My mother, for a wedding gift, gave us 20 laying hens and a rooster. Every body needs chickens, right? My new wife and her whole family thought it was wierd. After we started eating the fresh eggs she realized what a truly wonderful gift it was. Over the years that gift was worth a lot of money. It was years before I told my wife that I had asked my Mother for them as they didn't have a lot of money, but they had lots of chickens.

Bob said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, I really enjoy the crawls.

Anonymous said...

FYI, there's another Callahan's up in Cedar Park, but I always go to the one out by the airport. It's where I get my silver stock tanks.

vertie said...

I met Sandra at a gathering for Lady Bird Lake garden adopters. Her and her son's garden is up on the Pfluger pedestrian bridge. She was very interesting, and it was entertaining to hear how she and her son compromise on what goes in the bed.

Still need to get to the shop. Thanks for the crawl.

ConsciousGardener said...

Where is your post Randy?? And, I know you Smart A. Teehee:)

Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog said...

Wow, I got a little misty-eyed reading this post. Days like you had remind me of what makes Austin so special (I used to live there and really miss it). I'll have to check out the taco place and nursery on S. 1st next time I'm there.

Lori said...

Oooh, Torchy's looks tasty! And I've never been to Plantescape. Your picture of their agave section makes my wallet twitch.

As for Callahan's, I love it, but their hours suck. I can only get over there reliably on Sundays, and on Sundays they're closed. Grr.

LindaCTG said...

Torchy's (on the Drag), PlantEscape, and Callahan's all favorite destinations for me too. And Buck Moore Feed. I always forget they carry organic garden stuff along with things for the critters. Oh, and on Torchy's, best queso around!