11/16/2022 a previous frost

Away from the shelter of the oak tree, lots of plants are getting frost, including the wine cups we grew from seed and planted last spring.
The rosettes will stay green all winter, I believe. They show off the frost beautifully as it avoids the veins, creating a pattern of frost with greener veins.
The frost hasn’t killed the apple leaves yet either.
Another apple tree with light frost.

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.

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.

07/17/2022 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.

07/10/2022 purple

Paula tried one of our Purple Beauty Peppers and found it to be not very sweet, more green bell pepper taste still, and after looking online I think I picked them too early. Needs to be fully, deeply purple. I was worried about sunscald though (see the big tan area on the top one). They’ll still be good to use though.
The William’s Pride apple continues to get a flush of red. It’s hot out, me too!
I thought this grasshopper was really pretty. Not sure I’ve seen one like it before. We have lots of predator insects and birds in the yard so a few grasshoppers are no harm and lots of food for our other wild friends!
Zucchini begins.

06/05/2022 bird nest

Bird’s nest fungi, that is!!!
The Chef noticed these this afternoon. Very excited.
A William’s pride apple!!!
I realized there are multiple kinds of horse crippler cactus. Mom helped me identify this as Echinocactus horizonthalonius (the common and widespread subspecies), based on it having eight ribs. The flower closed in the sunshine today. Apparently it needs a second individual to make fruit, ie it’s self sterile (also known as self incompatible).
Some kind friends brought us a big obsidian rock!
I put it near the baby two leaf senna. I think the black and yellow will look very nice together.
A small pokeberry growing in backyard.
A Texas dandelion accidentally brought from home! Yay!

Leash training

For the dog, of course. Shackleton is an expert leash walker. Briar is pretty good too, but it’s very hard when there is KITTY who might be a FRIEND nearby!! Note apples blooming near Shacks.

Dwarf fruit grove additions

Quality assurance inspector
Paula found a loofah deep underground while digging one hole. How?? Why????
Four new trees all dwarf or semi dwarf: Liberty apple, Seckel pear, Kieffer Pear, and McIntosh Apple. We’re supposed to be on the edge of conditions for those apple varieties but with three other well adapted types already planted last year, I figured why not try. I really love McIntosh and they’re so rare around here.

Early morning to early afternoon

Briar wanted to go out around 4am. I found this nibbled out Bisbee red cowpea flower.
A pair of Red-banded Hairstreaks mating. They must have started yesterday as I can’t imagine they were flying at night.
Alright actual morning, the chewed up flower still opened!
A bit of rain seems to have the Bisbee red cowpeas really blooming!
A tepary bean flower!
She had a piece of grass on her nose, silly dog.
A break indoors. Gram’s really lounging hard.
A close up of this hard working kitty cat.
A geometrid moth trapped in the shower. I released it outside.
Front porch is boring. She sits next to more strawberry runners I’m capturing in dirt for a coworker.
A Pearl Crescent sits on moon and stars watermelon leaf which is speckled with “stars”.
A different watermelon flowering.  I forget which variety.
A jumping spider patrolling the cushaw squash vine
Briar investigates.
An American Bumblebee (Bombus pennsylvanicus) in the loofah gourd flower.
The volunteer loofah gourds are really framing the rain barrel nicely.
A different loofah individual has made itself a ground cover for one of the apple trees.
The whole front garden.

Down to one apple

I noticed a bump on one of the two remaining baby apples. The apple in question fell right off so I guess it was a goner anyways.
A top view of the wee beastie after I coaxed it out with a piece of grass. I believe it’s a fly maggot but it seems too big from what I read of the common apple fly maggot (Rhagoletis sp).
“Nooooo don’t turn me over”
“Where’s my apple???”
“Hmph.”. Back upright for a full length portrait with its prey.