08/14/2022 straw bale potatoes

We lifted and sorted through our two straw bales of potatoes since the leaves were all eaten off by blister beetles. Upon moving the bales, we found eight bess beetles
One fast isopod
A second fast isopod
Three baby house mice
And one click beetle. This brings us to a total of 14 photographed animals plus a whole nest of ants and a small earwig that got away.
Compare this to our glorious harvest: ten potatoes from two bales. Paula is researching where we went wrong. I feel like maybe we should just go back to growing them in soil. (These experiments were my idea so I’m not blaming anyone else.). At least this year’s harvest is safer than last year’s crop of black widow spiders??

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.

07/22/2022 new and complicated tomato

We realized we should think about when green vernissage tomatoes were ripe. They are supposed to have green flesh so this has turned out rather complicated. These ones are good. The green between the dark green stripes has a hint of yellow and translucency. They taste nice and the flesh isn’t mealy.
These ones are too soft. They are darker (I don’t think the picture shows well) and have some very soft spots. I tried one and it was bland with a mealy texture.
This tomato is too soft.
These green vernissage are all ripe except the very bright pale green one that has a thumbs down on it.
Bonus: Briar examines the topped up jar of bisbee gray cowpeas.

07/22/2022 more popcorn and the judgement of cats upon it

I think the latest glass gem popcorn (right) was harvested at a better time. The colors are brighter and the kernels are looser. The plant stalk was completely dry as well as the ear husk.
Tuqu wanted to rub her face on it.
Gram was only mildly intrigued.
Shackleton went under the bed to avoid responding to our survey.
Briar only had eyes for Shackleton.

07/17/2022 finally dealt with identifying dayflowers

The seeds are rugose. This means rough. Commelina erecta, the native species, has mostly smooth seeds. C. diffusa and C. communis have rugose seeds.
The “spathe” is the part that enfolds the flower. In C. communis the veins are slightly darker, which I believe matches this.
The tiny third petal in front is white. Apparently it’s blue in C. diffusa.

All this to say, after keying out with the NC TX flower, I am disappointed to find my yard full of dayflowers appears to be full of the invasive, non-native version.

Okra: a poll (n=17 people) for future reference (updated Sept 2022)

  • Roast okra with olive oil and salt until softened or blackened: 5
  • Fried: 3
  • Don’t like it: 1
  • Pickled with or without hot peppers: 3
  • In various saucy bases:
    • In tomato sauce with garam masala: 2
    • Coconut curry (Sri Lankan): 1
    • Bangladeshi curry: 1
    • Curry (region unspecified): 1
    • Chili: 1
    • Gumbo: 4
  • Don’t even bother: 1
  • In chili: 1
  • Boiled: 2
  • In patties with egg, flour, and onion: 1
  • Not sure: 2
  • Eat it raw: 1
  • Saute in any vegetable with seasoning such as garlic granules, salt and pepper, smoked paprika, vegetarian spice blends: 1

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.

05/01/2022 ashy sunflower from moldy humid container, attempt 2

The ashy sunflower humid tupperware had those two new seedlings. Last time I transferred out into soil, they shriveled within a few days.
So, this time I’m making them a little greenhouse to get adjusted.
This pot actually has two: one seedling and one I found sprouted with a root but the cotelydons (seed leaves) weren’t out yet from the seed husk.
The upside down lunch meat container doesn’t quite seal over them, so I put damp paper towels as a sort of barrier. We’ll see if it works!
Accidentally knocked off some flowers of showy evening primrose by the sidewalk when going back and forth to get pots and soil.

04/26 and 04/28 assorted

The Tupperware experiment Ashy Sunflowers have a few more sprouts as of 04/26. I need to move them more carefully as the last two I tried to plant promptly shriveled up and died.
Texas mallow coming up!
The other individual of Texas mallow coming up!
Now on 04/28, an Ashy Sunflower actually sprouting from seed! I believe this was one that got stratified.
04/28 rock garden is looking good.
Penstemon grandiflorus from prairiemoon.com as bare root seems to be growing!
The Astragalus (ground plum) not looking as good again.
Finishing up the 04/28 pics, the culinary sage is blooming in the rainbow garden!