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December 22, 2013

Walnut St. lost one of our original chickens, Talula, on Saturday morning when we discovered her body in the top roosting part of the coop.  She had molted earlier this season and hadn’t had a chance to grown in new feathers yet. Katy had examined her last week and there were small feathers starting to grow back in, but the extreme temperatures in early December coupled with snow and exposed skin might have caused her death.  It looked like her comb had gotten slightly frostbitten.  Katy spent some time with her a few days ago and took some lovely photographs of her feathers. We’ll remember her great egg contribution to Walnut St.  She was a mild tempered bird, very stand offish, part of the first flock that were raised by people.  She received a lot of attention for her good looks! 

Give a hoot about fruit!

July 27, 2013


I just finished reading  O Pioneers! by Willa Cather, and fell even more in love with her romanticized writing for the land than I had after her  book My Antonia.  I was particularly captured by this quote:

“She seemed to feel the weight of all the snow that lay down there. The branches had become so hard that they wounded your hand if you but tried to break a twig. And yet, down under the frozen crusts, at the roots of the trees, the secret of life was still safe, warm as the blood in one’s heart; and the spring would come again! Oh, it would come again!” – O Pioneers!

Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic for the Midwest, where I grew out of a corn stalk, I feel comforted by reading her words about the hard, desolate land that all of her protagonists have come to love.  On that note …. in the more moisture rich areas of the country such as the Willamette Valley in Oregon…

We’ve continued foraging for fruit around the neighborhood and have run into a plethora of blackberries (which are invasive around these parts), plums (every variety you could ever imagine) and the special addition of groundcover raspberries!   Groundcover raspberres are frequently used in urban landscaping and are definitely edible!  They’re gently hidden under big green leaves, so they can easily go unnoticed… but, the nice thing about them is they’re still around even after your typical red raspberries has finished producing.

The majority of the fruit we gather gets frozen and saved for a later date… however, we have plans to make some apple and pear sauce from our annual apple/pearacolypse.  Apples will also be fermented into delicious cider.. Mmm!

Do you have any recipes for using pears?  If so, we’d love for you to share them with us!


24 Things Found Around Our House

July 10, 2013

These probably say something about our house. I’m not sure what, maybe you can tell us?WSCcoffeetable

A mbira, a bag of rock-like candy, an old iPhone case, lip balm, a keychain with a name on it, a flat white glass bead, and an round piece of plastic with a hole in it that goes to something but I don’t know but I found it in the kitchen.

A DVD of The Seventh Seal — Ingmar Bergman film

Books and periodicals:

  • The 10th anniversary issue of the (now awesomely fat) “Locally Grown” Guide to Sourcing Local Food from the Willamette Valley Farm & Food Coalition.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like, and apparently pretty good.
  • Spring 2012 Down to Earth Catalog
  • The latest Oregon Wild
  • Spring 2013 For a Better World
  • Two old issues of The Sun
  • The latest American Educator
  • Omon Ra (poetry by Victor Pelevin)
  • The Simple Art of Eating Well
  • Toll House Heritage Cookbook

Other paper:

  • store receipts from supplies for last Thursday’s barbecue
  • a stapled-together bunch of comics from The New Yorker
  • a blank postcard with a picture of Seattle
  • a flyer for a local beer
  • copies of the latest house newsletter
  • flyers for Next Year’s Great Climate March

Summer Bounty in the Willamette Valley

June 23, 2013

We’re fortunate in the Willamette Valley to have the climate for growing many things, and we’re currently reaping the benefits of the many fruit trees and bushes in our yard!  Thanks to housemates past, we’re well on our way to having a substantial food forest.. and we’re constantly adding to it.  This spring we planted new blueberry bushes and they’re already ripening!

Right now we’re collecting cherries, raspberries, blueberries, chickenberries (har har), and the apples and pears are in their miniature form maturing swiftly!  Yum!

We ended up using the cherries in hamantaschen and raspberries in a cornbread streusel.  Both recipes provided by the ever rustic, divine, simply delicious Smitten Kitchen food blog (Thanks Deb Perlman.)


The chicks, now pullets, are growing rapidly and have been integrated in with the other hens.  They share the same run as the older birds and the two flocks tend to leave each other be, with an occasional chase.  The hen that raised them, Buff, pecks at them to get away if they get too close to the older birds.  At this point Buff has resumed to normal chicken behavior (laying and roosting with the others) and doesn’t spend too much time with younger birds.  This was our first year having a hen raise “adopted” chicks and I’d say all-in-all it has been a huge success!

DSC01556    DSC01548

Opportunity Village Prototype Built at Walnut Street

June 12, 2013

A prototype by Backyard Bungalows has been built in our side yard for the Opportunity Village pilot project.

More information at:

Buffy and Her Adopted Kids

May 17, 2013

Buffy and Her Adopted Kids

Katy has managed to slip four chicks into the care of Buffy, our most broody chicken. You can see that she’s all puffed out to protect them, but one managed to peek out for a photo opportunity.

Party time!

April 21, 2013

This past Saturday, while millions of the undergrads of UO were busy puffing away in celebration of 4-20, we here at Walnut St. Co-op were celebrating the births of the youngest and the oldest members of our community, Joline and Tom. Friends from Maitreya and elsewhere gathered together in our south living room to share good food and drink and bask in the warm, slightly fermented glow of community. We’re fortunate to live in a town filled with wonderful people, who are actively engaged in the idea of strengthening the bonds that hold people together and connect them to a place. For us, a lot of bonding happens around food, games and laughter. So that’s what we did: we ate and played and laughed with our friends and our hearts were warmed by recollections of all the good that Tom and Joline and the friendships and experiences that come with them have brought to our home and our community. Happy birthday, guys!

Here’s a video of some of the highlights of the evening.