09/10/2022 rain lily seed pod

The rain lily seed pod has three lobes. It’s still green.
A mistflower in a pot is flowering! None of the ones in the ground are flowering yet.
The showy milkweed that died back earlier this summer is alive!!! Yay desert perennials.
The Mexican sage from Judy has started to bloom!

09/05/2022 new dayflower!

Abby has found the perennial and native dayflower in her yard and kindly shared some. It has very different roots than the non native annual one!
Earlier in the day, Shackleton supervised while Paula watered baby cacti.
Careful pouring to wet the soil around the babies.
“What is this fuss? Who opened my curtain??”

08/20/2022 fruit tree check-in and pruning

I was going to trim the granny Smith back carefully to see if any life remained in the tree, but it broke right off at the base, completely dry, in my hands. So that one’s a goner. I’m not sure if it was too much water or too much heat. I don’t think it was too little water, as the soaker hose leaks prodigiously near here.
The north star pie cherry died this year and I checked the trunk- no green left. I think it was irregular watering (boo, me) and heat.
The surecrop pie cherry lost all its leaves a bit later, but I found a bit of green as I pruned back its branches. I think this winter we will move it to where the Granny Smith apple was, and then replace the soil in the corten planters and do native calcareous barrens flowers there instead.
Paula found a magnificent preying mantis and it helped us look at clouds in hope of rain.
We pruned the remaining apple and pear trees back. The first summer ones are supposed to be down to three short branches, so it’s especially sparse looking. This is supposed to help them stay small. The two remaining second-summer ones are trimmed back but more branches left in place. They’ll all get pruned again in the winter for structure and shape.

08/19/2022

I tried cantaloupe in my oatmeal this morning, hoping it would be magical like peaches, but I think they’re best eaten cold and alone. The melon, not the person doing the eating.
Gram is too tall to stretch under this chair.
He came out from under the chair to stretch, then went back under the chair to continue observing his Doggie.
Two new blooms on the two leaf senna!!
I think one of the juniperleaf cuttings had some nearly ripe seeds on it and they sprouted!!! I kept them in standing water in the shade for the first few days as a cutting, then moved them to a dry spot but still in the shade, where they are now. Still watering every day. This is additionally interesting because the seeds I collected from the original juniperleaf in the winter have not sprouted anywhere I put them. I was reading today in Nokes’ germination book that sometimes fresher seeds don’t have such an impermeable seed coat.
A few little grasses in the backyard where I sprinkled the native grass mix from Plants of the Southwest! The mix was blue grama and buffalograss.

08/13/2022 harsh sun

Paula noticed some of the baby Coryphantha sulcata were possibly getting sunscald, because they were turning a bit brown on the tips. She has cleverly shaded them with thin coffee filters that let some light in. They seem to be happier now. Presumably this better imitates where a baby cactus might grow up in the wild.

08/14/2022 straw bale potatoes

We lifted and sorted through our two straw bales of potatoes since the leaves were all eaten off by blister beetles. Upon moving the bales, we found eight bess beetles
One fast isopod
A second fast isopod
Three baby house mice
And one click beetle. This brings us to a total of 14 photographed animals plus a whole nest of ants and a small earwig that got away.
Compare this to our glorious harvest: ten potatoes from two bales. Paula is researching where we went wrong. I feel like maybe we should just go back to growing them in soil. (These experiments were my idea so I’m not blaming anyone else.). At least this year’s harvest is safer than last year’s crop of black widow spiders??

07/17/2022 straw bale sampling and other afternoon torture

We appear to have some potatoes in the straw bales.
The Granny Smith apple is having a hard time. The leaves are turning brittle and possibly sunscalded? We are on mandatory water conservation until the city pump is fixed Monday hopefully so the most I can do is hand water it. However, this apple tree is the most westward facing so maybe it’s just having problems.
Native Texas dandelion in backyard earlier.