Last Farmers Markets of 2008 lists two farmers markets this weekend. If the ice and snow don’t materialize, I plan to make it to them. Portland Farmers Market has a Winter Solstice Market on Saturday, Dec. 20, promising potatoes, squash and beets as well as free gift wrapping for your purchases. Seems a little Schrute Farm-y to think of beets as gifts, so that must refer to the items from the artisan booths. The marvelous Hillsdale Farmers Market is open on Sunday for its last market of the year. I would love to make it to that one and pick up some Sweet Briar Farm bacon and some chicken and eggs from Kookoolan Farms.

My husband said he misses salads. So do I, but I was so spoiled by the CSA and farmers market lettuce and greens that I just hate to buy bagged greens at the supermarket. Winco has a good selection of bagged greens, including organic selections. But if I make it to the farmers markets, I hope the hydroponic grower is at one of them to snag some greens from them.

We had two minor mishaps with the cold temperatures this week. Vancouver was spared any build-up of ice and snow in the weekend storm. But my big bows blew off the carriage lights and I’ve brought them indoors. Then the condensation drain line from the furnace got plugged. Luckily, I was able to thaw it as the ice plug hadn’t grown past the elbow joint where it drains from the side of the garage. We hadn’t cleared the barkdust from around it, which allowed an ice stalagmite to grow up from the ground and lead to the ice plug. We dug a hole beneath it now so it should drain freely. Our furnace gives off a quart (liter) of water every hour when it is running! Is this a possible source of drinking water in an emergency? I suppose if it were filtered it would be OK in a survival situation. But it’s hard to imagine a situation that led to the loss of water and not also electricity. I’m happier we have a couple of 5-gallon bottles of Sierra Springs water.

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