01/02/2023 pots and pets outdoors

After last year’s failed veggie seedlings due to root rot and damping off fungus, I drilled 4-5 big holes in all the pots.
I am hoping to start a lot in the yogurt containers and build up the soil around the stems, reducing the amount of repotting for the plants that can root from the stem like peppers and tomatoes and their relatives.
Briar was bored while we did the annual pruning of the dwarf fruit trees.
Shackleton got a leash walk all around the backyard (he’s exploring the prairie here) AND the front yard. Wow!

12/2022 heavy duty garden cart!!

New boxes. Gram stands on the cart box while Tuqu investigates some pet toys.
Briar discovers some assembly required.
Briar lets humans assemble the cart. Humans have thumbs.
The Chef alarms Shackleton by cruising by. Zoom in on his eyes.
Shackleton actually liked his cart ride once he settled in. He got to look at things and the dog didn’t get near.
Gram was nervous about his ride and left his tail hanging out the whole time.
First test of cart! We moved this rock from the irises to the rainbow garden.
Briar says boring. But leaves are nice to sit in.
Current state of the side yard. Lots of good sticks and leafy habitat for insects.
The front door/garage nook keeps sinking in as the tree roots decay. We moved soil from the backyard mystery berms (a later post will feature this progress) to fill this in.
Needs one more load for this year probably. You can see I raked the top layer of soil that probably had most of the Euphorbia maculata and Melothria pendula vine seeds to the side so I can put that layer back over the top once we have filled it back in. anyway, an excellent test of the cart! A big success!

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!!

12/23/2022 feeding our friends

Briar was very interested in the three squirrels.
Shackleton liked the sun, the squirrels, and the chickadees and juncos! Good stuff! I was pleased to see the juncos eating chenopodium seeds and wild sunflower seeds off the dead plants as well as the supplemental bird seeds we put out today for the cold weather. It got up to 19 F.

12/22/2022 big cold and bigger wind

This screenshot from the Oklahoma Mesonet weather app shows that it is currently 7 degrees F with winds 28 mph from the north sustained, and gusting to 38 mph, though at some point the maximum for Norman was 49 mph. It will stay below freezing until at least Saturday.
Hmm Briar sees a dusting of snow. But she was willing to go out! Snow is ok. It doesn’t get in her ears like big rain.
The herb bed covering held. This is in a sheltered corner that faces east (picture windows) and south (plant window).
The cactus planter covering held. it looks like there are still some leaves with some snow on the native sprouting planters so that should be good.
In the front yard, my last minute sheets and concrete blocks covering of the rosemary held up.
The greens greenhouse did not. It was opened right up on the north edge. We had gusty winds up to 35 mph a week or two ago, but I don’t remember what direction it was. This sustained north wind peeled it right open. The plant leaves are frozen solid.
I put three gallon jugs of hot water in and secured the plastic sheeting in with twice as many or more clothespins. But, even though these greens are cold hardy, this may have been too much and too suddenly. We’ll find out on Sunday when things warm up.
Big wind pushed an empty rain barrel over. All the others were fine though empty (to prevent freezing damage) so this one was at just the right angle.
Snow outlined these frog stepping stones that Judy gave me.
I didn’t cover the strawberries this year. They already had a hard summer with heat and drought, so we’ll see how many make it through to spring.

12/14/2022 winter plantings

I ordered plants from a new to me nursery, Missouri Wildflowers Nursery.
Hmm box with ok smells?
Gram came running to see if he could have the box.
“Hello little brother “
The packing by this nursery was quite clever! Shredded paper mostly over the rosettes or dormant pots.
They also kindly marked the plants that were dormant. A few other species had low winter leaves (spiderwort) or rosettes (asters, pussytoes).
Even the dormant plants had happy roots!
The soil held together with roots but weren’t aggressively bound in.
Paula found a small cicada larva under the oak tree while planting!
We also uncovered an ancient Nylabone from Briar’s youth. She was unimpressed.

12/13/2022 greenhouse survives a little storm!

We got 2.5” rain in our gauge yesterday from an overnight thunderstorm! Mesonet had 1.8” at airport in Norman and maximum wind of 35 mph. so we were very pleased to see the greenhouse plastic and clothespins survived intact! Briar stands next to it. Waiting for her walkies.
When we tucked in the trimmed plastic, we poked the corners in so water could drain into the bed. This is the corner Briar was standing by.
The next corner drain looks good too.
The corner back by other beds (behind where Briar stood in first picture) also has no standing water.
And the view from that back corner again looks great! No clothespins lost, the plastic sheeting tidy and crisp over the metal hoops, and minimal puddling of water on the sheeting edges!