01/24/2023 unauthorized entry

I was putting some books on my desk shelf this evening when in my peripheral vision I noticed more purple plant growing light visible than should be. I keep a towel over it to protect our eyes.
I examined the gap in the cover more closely and realized Shackleton was curled up contentedly on the heating pad, which is set to a cozy 85 degrees F. There’s even a bit of dust (spilled potting soil).
Shackleton napping peacefully with the last unsprouted pepper pot, bathed in a purple glow.
Busted, buddy. The nice thing about this tray is that I can slide it out to check on seedlings AND clever cats.
He did a big back arching stretch of casual innocence.
Shackleton emerges from his vacation tray, complete with unnecessary UV exposure. 🙄
Paula moved Shacks back to his actual cat heating pad on the couch. I put a bunch of empty pots in the tray with the one seedling pot and put more up in front of the towel-curtain, as well as a series of inconvenient containers. Hopefully this will persuade Shacks to stick to his heated bed or at least clogging up our amplifier with his hair.

01/18/2023 refried bean learning times and field violet transplants

It rained 0.31” in Norman in the night on 01/18. The night before I moved a bunch of seedlings of Viola bicolor, the wild annual field violets that volunteer in the yard. I want more of them as ground cover for early spring so I am moving many from existing locations in and near the raised beds. They seem to be doing well! When I’ve transplanted larger plants once they bloom, they don’t do nearly as well.
Paula prepared tepary beans for refrying. The pair of tiny ones at the bottom are wild type teparies.
Paula made a quesadilla with a layer of the refried tepary beans. Her diagnosis was that they worked fine and had a good taste, but that she should have added more lard and onions to make them less dry.

12/2022 backlog of infrastructure and little babies

Yesterday, 12/31, I finally glued on the rain barrel cap holders that the Chef 3D printed for me! I used epoxy after cleaning both surfaces with ethanol.
Paula got solar powered outdoor lights for Christmas and has used them to make the path to the compost visible! Edit: thanks to Mom for inquiring if we can turn the lights out. Yes we can! It’s important not to pollute the dark with more light than we use at any given moment.
I am hoping these tiny seedlings are the annual bluets that sometimes grow in this part of the yard. Keeping an eye on them.
A tinier potential annual bluet seedling next to the comparatively large wild geraniums. These two pictures were 12/31/2022.
12/28/2022, the Ratibida columnifera rosettes survived the big cold!
Two Verbena halei rosettes also exist and made it!
Finally, and very thrilling, two potential Penstemon oklahomensis seedlings! They don’t appear to be hairy leaves like some other common seedling volunteers. Stay tuned.
Shackleton enjoyed a leashed walk in the same excellent 12/28 weather.
Jeanne kindly sent us some Salaginella riddellii- Riddell’s Spike-Moss. We put the biggest chunk in the rainbow garden (in green of course) on 12/25.
We put a smaller piece of the spike moss in the cactus planter.
12/25 was so nice we also moved some volunteers. This is the big root of a poke berry! We moved those along the back fence where another pokeberry lives. We also moved several ampelopsis from random spots in the yard to along the south fence trellis.
A blackjack oak acorn with a sprout on it! We planted this exciting find (12/24) into a pot on 12/25. Fingers crossed for a spring sprout.
Judy gave us an adorable toad house! I have placed it near the veggie beds. Please come eat our earwigs, toad friends.
12/24 checking the pot containing Sedum nutallii from Jeanne. The sedums seem to have made it along with Verbena rosettes (V. Halei??) and other intriguing volunteers.
Going somewhere! Wow!! Happy briar in the car.
On 12/24 we visited the lake at Lexington WMA. This seasonal creek was frozen solid! The lake was too. Briar wears her hunter orange.
After the deep freeze, only the top tips of the recently transplanted rosemary got frozen. They were pressed down by the sheets. But the sheets protected the rest of the plant!

12/31/2022 turning compost, turning new year

It was a beautiful day yesterday so Paula wanted to turn the compost! I fetched our pitchfork which is from Mom and Dad. The Chef created a new handle and stick for it.
The back, older pile may be ready by spring! Weirdly it was drier, though. We set up some hoses to direct water from the closest rain barrels to both piles now, since it’s not good to leave water in the barrels when it might freeze.
A very fast rollypolley!
Paula adeptly captured this woodroach. It’s a North American native genus! For those worried about roaches in the house, I’ve never seen one in the house. This is an outside only friend, doing its ecological role of nutrient cycling by munching on detritus (here, in the compost- just what we need for veggie waste to be turned into good rich soil!). It’s the invasive and introduced-by-European-settlers (presumably accidentally) roaches that are human-associated, such as the German Cockroach.
The tragic face of a dog not allowed in the compost area. She likes to eat eggshells. There’s also a great stash of feral cat poop down behind the house in the leaves. For Briar’s sake, please keep your cats indoors. She might be allowed a chance at the eggshells if there wasn’t cat poop!!

12/06/2022 green tomatoes

Friends gave us the extra tomatoes from their garden when it was about to freeze. They have been gradually turning red over the last few weeks.
Tonight Paula used some of the green ones in a spicy yet delicious dish!

11/12/2022 frosty

Marigolds are done. Photo by Paula.
Winecup rosettes are fine for the winter! Photo also by Paula.
We went to look at Saxon park.
It was fun.
Then we went home. Having dog thoughts in the backyard.
Catctus
Tom kha (Thai coconut chicken soup). Has garden lemongrass in it. Lemongrass is not frost hardy so Paula divided the stems to keep a few indoors over the winter, and froze a bunch of stems to use.