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 walking around

A mystery yellow composite flower along the sidewalk. Update: Mom and Abby have identified as camphorweed, probably Heterotheca subaxillaris. Camphorweeds are native.
Leaves and stem of the yellow flowered plant.
This picture is from yesterday (08/12/2022) but there are lots of Grindelia getting ready to bloom near the railroad tracks. A few had opened up by today.
I was also pleased to find 2-3 Scarlet Pea plants along the sidewalk near the Grindelia yesterday. They were still blooming today.
Downstream from the OU duck pond there is a somewhat hidden bridge and there was a native hibiscus blooming near it.
A few tiny annual coreopsis were in the field near the creek. Before it got mowed this spring there were a lot more and taller.
It was too hot. We gave Briar and ourselves some ice cubes upon returning.
She has taken to resting her chin on her ice cubes after getting a drink from her water bowl.

Indoor repotting

We got almost an inch of sleet today.
Briar’s toes provide excellent grip.
Squirrel tree in our neighborhood.
This evening we repotted baby tomatoes and peppers. Mid last week I forgot some other repotted tomatoes outside and they froze. So those three varieties are being germinated again. But meanwhile these babies needed new pots.
One dwarf tomato is thriving and fruiting; the other is drying up and has spider mites. Paula bought a basil and is keeping it alive. The indoor peppers have a good head start for spring but I doubt will fully fruit by then.

Winter wheat did not do fine

So, even with covering, 12° F was too cold for the baby wheat. All wilted and dead. Oh well. It made it through 15 before, so it may have just been for too long, or finally past a threshold.

Finally some rain (plus snow)

Snowed Saturday overnight, so this is Sunday morning.
Heated bird bath, much luxury.
Hopefully the bit of snow kept baby cacti and succulents and Hedeoma safe with a low of 12°F overnight.
Leaves and wire mesh stayed put.
So did the towels. We’ll probably uncover again in a few days once the next deep cold snap is over. A season of extremes!
This strawberry had a flower. Bad idea.
Rain barrels all open so they don’t crack.
Sugar peas definitely done this time.
The rain softened the ground enough that the three of us managed to dig the shallow trench needed for the border (to keep Bermuda grass out of raised beds) in about 40 minutes before dinner tonight.

Big freeze again

We covered the young mizuna, lettuce, wheat, and cabbage with leaves and towels. Now frozen on.
Rain has already frozen after it fell. No glaze ice at least!

Low 19 F forecast tonight

Leaves to insulate the baby bok choy
Leaves to insulate the baby lettuce
The screen (made to keep rabbits out) holds the leaves in, in case there is wind.
Apparently one should blanch small round fruit before attempting to make raisins. Regular ground cherries.
A chironomid fly adult chilling near garage door.
Some sort of cutworm, on collard greens, the previous night. I threw it out in yard where hopefully the mockingbird will find it.
I touched another dog!
The Chef successfully made honey mead! We tried it. Was good. He says it needs to age now.
Crabapple jelly central.
Hanging out in his haunted mansion.