09/22/2022 afternoon after work

The backyard sunflowers are quite magnificent at this point.
I don’t see any in this picture, but I saw several bumblebees up on the flowers.
The Salvia azurea are really doing well.
I have a new bunch of Indiangrass sprouting and blooming!
The little bluestem is blooming too. This clump has gotten quite happy in its second or third year now.
Jeanne, Abby, and Mom have been kindly helping me over text to confirm my accidental imports of non native and invasive King Ranch bluestem or “KR grass”. As they bloom and get identified, I have been pulling them.
I’m also continuing to work on pulling the annual, invasive Commelina communis. Unlike the native perennial dayflower, its roots are very shallow.

09/06/2022

The rainbow garden in the morning. Only orange not blooming.
Dinner with garden onions in the quiche and up in the corner, a watermelon salad.
Here’s a close up of the watermelon salad. The feta cheese and balsamic vinegar really helps the bland watermelon. I really hope the next moon and stars actually gets riper.
Tragedy strikes. The scurf-pea got chopped off at the stem. I assume it is too small yet to come back from that.

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.

08/13/2022 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 fermenting slimy seeds

I did some reading and it seems like we should actually be fermenting the canteloupe seeds, so I threw out the others (which were crunchy with dried goo/slime). Here’s the seeds from today’s snack.
White currant tomato seeds looked pretty fermenty in the cupboard today so I rinsed them in the strainer and plopped them onto a paper towel. We set the paper towel by an air vent. This has worked for these seeds in the past, as this year’s plant is from harvested seeds.

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??

07/30/2022 pretty!

Good thing I’ve planted the borer resistant cushaw squash! It is a native moth and it sure is pretty.
A Madhu ras cantaloupe melon slipped its vine so we figured it was ready.
The only red yucca that’s sprouted from Judy’s seeds is doing good in its new spot. It has a third leaf now.
Briar found Shackleton. He was not as happy as she was about this.
The dog corner of the prairie

07/31/2022 garden and neighborhood

A Texas dandelion was open in the backyard prairie after a refreshing 1/10th inch of rain!
Waaaaalk plzzzzzz
We stopped to look at the vegetables on the way out to walk and this magnificent little jumping spider was on guard!
On our walk today, near the sidewalk there’s some unmowed area near a creek. Around this beautiful and native silver leaf nightshade you can see a lot of non native and invasive Johnson grass.
An American bumblebee was visiting the nightshade.
It has a lovely flower. Mom has one that volunteered in her garden area.
The plant has pretty flowers as it crept onto the sidewalk, but turned out to be a non native invasive species called Tribulus terrestris.

07/22/2022 our first and only apple

We looked at the William’s pride apple tree today and the apple was missing!! Concern. We found it on the ground.
Sadly, the bottom half was rotted. I forgot that William’s pride is an early variety, so we should have picked sooner before it fell.
However, we cut off the bad part and the rest was quite delicious! A nice texture and magnificent smell!!
Gram was less impressed than we were.

07/22/2022 new and complicated tomato

We realized we should think about when green vernissage tomatoes were ripe. They are supposed to have green flesh so this has turned out rather complicated. These ones are good. The green between the dark green stripes has a hint of yellow and translucency. They taste nice and the flesh isn’t mealy.
These ones are too soft. They are darker (I don’t think the picture shows well) and have some very soft spots. I tried one and it was bland with a mealy texture.
This tomato is too soft.
These green vernissage are all ripe except the very bright pale green one that has a thumbs down on it.
Bonus: Briar examines the topped up jar of bisbee gray cowpeas.