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!

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.

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.

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!

Insulation power of snow

We only made it to -8°F (-22°C — I only really comprehend cold in celsius because of my time in Canada being the previously only time I experienced cold this low) when I got up this morning around 7am.

The gallon jugs in the makeshift faucet boxes were both very cold but unfrozen so I have hope for the pipes in the adjacent walls.

I was really fascinated to see the frost on the window this morning. There’s frost right down until the snow that’s piled on the sill. That snow is only an inch or two thick because of the depth of the window sill outside. Gives me hope for the strawberries buried under the snow! (At least if the cold before the snow didn’t kill them.)
I left the plant window completely open to the house this morning: no curtains or cat shield plexiglass. It only got to 50°F but ice still on bottom metal and on lower glass surfaces.
Amazingly, yesterday’s affected eggplant and peppers have not died. I wonder if it was just ice at the very bottom of the pots, where it touched the metal? Fingers crossed they will continue to recover. The Salvia cuttings also seem hopeful.

Unexpected freeze

One corner of the plant window froze!

The Salvia greggii cuttings and one set of seedlings got frozen. You can see how the dirt is expanded out! Seedlings lost were eggplants, bullnose pepper, and Craig’s grande jalapeño. You can see the plants just to the right appear to be fine with no frozen soil.
Juncos getting this morning’s sunflower seeds.
This one junco hopped around with snow on its back, presumably from overnight.
The heated bird bath is holding up well!
Several outside window sills show this neat layering from each round of snow yesterday.
The inside of several windows frosted. The blinds did a good job insulating in both directions! It all melts after I open the blinds.

Snow and melting even at 18°F in the sun

The kale looks kinda wilted even under its glass cover.
Kohlrabi seems fine.
Spinach seems fine.
Not sure about the sugar snap peas.
Garlic has pretty snow and melted refrozen ce

Standing cypress seedlings look pretty wilty in the front yard but I have not checked the backyard ones yet. Lettuce, cilantro, and cabbages I’m unsure how they look (sort of like the sugar snap peas, they could go either way once it warms up).

A soft, sheltering blanket begins

Hopefully we will get the additional forecast snow to help everything from the single digits forecast for Sunday and beyond!

The new onions especially need some protection. This is an experiment to see what they can handle since I should be able to get more if they die.
The backyard strawberry patch already has a lot of leaves, dead grass, saffron leaves (the green grass-like leaves), and the snow, so I think they’ll be fine. I’ll cover the front yard strawberries before it gets below 10 F.