12/2022 backlog of infrastructure and little babies

Yesterday, 12/31, I finally glued on the rain barrel cap holders that the Chef 3D printed for me! I used epoxy after cleaning both surfaces with ethanol.
Paula got solar powered outdoor lights for Christmas and has used them to make the path to the compost visible! Edit: thanks to Mom for inquiring if we can turn the lights out. Yes we can! It’s important not to pollute the dark with more light than we use at any given moment.
I am hoping these tiny seedlings are the annual bluets that sometimes grow in this part of the yard. Keeping an eye on them.
A tinier potential annual bluet seedling next to the comparatively large wild geraniums. These two pictures were 12/31/2022.
12/28/2022, the Ratibida columnifera rosettes survived the big cold!
Two Verbena halei rosettes also exist and made it!
Finally, and very thrilling, two potential Penstemon oklahomensis seedlings! They don’t appear to be hairy leaves like some other common seedling volunteers. Stay tuned.
Shackleton enjoyed a leashed walk in the same excellent 12/28 weather.
Jeanne kindly sent us some Salaginella riddellii- Riddell’s Spike-Moss. We put the biggest chunk in the rainbow garden (in green of course) on 12/25.
We put a smaller piece of the spike moss in the cactus planter.
12/25 was so nice we also moved some volunteers. This is the big root of a poke berry! We moved those along the back fence where another pokeberry lives. We also moved several ampelopsis from random spots in the yard to along the south fence trellis.
A blackjack oak acorn with a sprout on it! We planted this exciting find (12/24) into a pot on 12/25. Fingers crossed for a spring sprout.
Judy gave us an adorable toad house! I have placed it near the veggie beds. Please come eat our earwigs, toad friends.
12/24 checking the pot containing Sedum nutallii from Jeanne. The sedums seem to have made it along with Verbena rosettes (V. Halei??) and other intriguing volunteers.
Going somewhere! Wow!! Happy briar in the car.
On 12/24 we visited the lake at Lexington WMA. This seasonal creek was frozen solid! The lake was too. Briar wears her hunter orange.
After the deep freeze, only the top tips of the recently transplanted rosemary got frozen. They were pressed down by the sheets. But the sheets protected the rest of the plant!

12/22/2022 definitely no birds only leaves

I put out bird seed since it’s so cold and a flock of a dozen or so juncos visited. They never came when we first moved here- they needed the cover of the wood pile and later the brush pile.
I put the seeds on the stepping stones and by the brush pile especially to make it easier and safer.
Shackleton might have noticed the birds. The birds say any and all movement was leaves! Definitely no birds!! Fortunately for them, this polar explorer is indoors only except on a leash. Much safer for birds and warmer for Shacks.

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.

12/21/2022 solstice chill

My Persian friends celebrate Yaldā today, a holiday for the longest, darkest night of the year. Appropriately, tonight the temperature is plunging from the 40s F into the teens and single digits and we won’t unfreeze until probably Sunday!

No insulating blanket of snow is forecast (maybe just a few light flurries), so I moved a bunch of leaves from the patio onto the herb bed to especially protect my oregano and chives, which had a very rough time last winter. I put extra greenhouse plastic over it.
The finished covering.
I tucked the extra plastic around our cactus planter with more leaves, and piled some leaves on the containers with native plant seedlings in them. I suspect they will be fine but containers are not as protected as they would naturally be on the ground.

11/20/2022 frostweed!

With every freeze I’ve checked our frostweed. This morning, a low of 20F was enough to freeze beneath our still-fully-leafed red oak.
A close up of the left stem.
A close up of the right stem.
Another nearby plant.

The oak tree has been protecting the Texas mallow from freezing too, so once it gets above freezing today , we’ll see if that finally got “got” too.

11/12/2022 frosty

Marigolds are done. Photo by Paula.
Winecup rosettes are fine for the winter! Photo also by Paula.
We went to look at Saxon park.
It was fun.
Then we went home. Having dog thoughts in the backyard.
Catctus
Tom kha (Thai coconut chicken soup). Has garden lemongrass in it. Lemongrass is not frost hardy so Paula divided the stems to keep a few indoors over the winter, and froze a bunch of stems to use.

Bounce (back)

Brr!
Snowy is fun for fluffy.
The ground is warm so the snow was slushy below, but the air is cold so slush refroze on Briar’s long hairs.
She didn’t mind a bit. Her thick undercoat keeps her warm and dry by her skin. We wiped all the ice off for human preference though haha. It melts!!
Would rather frolic.
Buds. We’ll presumably see some plant buds when it turns warm again tomorrow.

Tiny greenhouse

A little centipede in the garden dirt. Hopefully it’s an earwig predator.
Hoops in!
Seeds planted, cover on! We put lots of extra and smelly plants like cilantro and parsley among the carrots and bok choy and beets in hopes of earwig distraction.