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.

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!

10/24/2022 greens survived one night

We were worried the front yard earwigs would eat them all up, but the various greens we transplanted from backyard pots survived the night and seem happy with an inch of rain overnight into this morning! the metal raised bed is surrounded by scattered leaves and individual plant species and varieties are marked by small white metal signs. There’s some bluish bok choy in the front, a more yellow green lettuce in the middle, and frilly scotch blue curled kale in the back next to a tall Fordham giant Swiss chard. Smaller plants are scattered nearby but I’ve forgottten which ones.

06/28/2022

The accidental shot of the week. I didn’t notice this bee kicking a wasp off its foot until I looked at the photo later!
The bumblebee is feeding on Echinacea purpurea.
Front of the bumblebee face is yellow.
A zoomed in shot. The short overall hairs, all yellow on thorax and head, smoky dark wings, and minimal color on abdomen have led me to think it may be Bombus griseocollis, the brown-belted bumblebee. I have entered the sighting and photos on Bumble Bee Watch’s community science website where they can verify or correct this identification. This would be our fourth bumblebee species for the yard if I have identified it correctly. 🤞🤞
I found a second partridge pea plant blooming in the “prairie”!
An all orangish solider beetle on a Rudbeckia flower.
Shackleton the cat enjoyed hiding in brown crinkly paper. He has such big eyes!
Paula is experimenting with kombucha fermentation thanks to a culture from Abby. This is the first sample and contains a garden strawberry for added flavor. It was good!
Briar helps us observe bees out front. I’ll do a separate post with evening bees if any pics turned out.
A baby moon and stars watermelon!!
A baby praying mantis on the mint!
Paula and I weeded the orange and red section of the rainbow garden. It has a lot of invasive grass in it.

06/23/2022

The second Coryphantha sulcata seedling seems to have died, but the original is getting longer.
Another two spotted bumblebee (Bombus bimaculatus) visited the mealy blue sage today!
There was only one but I took a lot of angles. You can see the two spots if you zoom in.
In flight you get the best view of spots.
I liked the pollinating wasp zooming through in this picture.
Baby mantis!
I believe this is a baby red yucca, as that’s what I planted here, and it seems too sturdy to be grass.
A big ol mydas fly in the backyard!!
The native clematis likes its new sunnier spot about 20 ft to the west. It already has two or three new leaves!
I weeded the strawberry/honey berry bed but got called in for dinner when there was still a patch left. Maybe tomorrow.
I found a second pale zig zaggy spider in the backyard. Looking at it closer, I think it’s the wrong pattern and shape for Argiope aurantica, the usual banana spider.
Filling up the bird bath intrigued the dog.
African blue basil has flowers!
One of the many marigolds in the raised beds (we mixed the old seedheads and plants in over the winter) is beginning to flower!
The corn is going to town! A vaquero bean is flowering!
A fine little bell pepper!!
Cooling off after gardening with the mysterious Paper Protozoan. Note the hairy flagellum sticking out.

06/10/2022 exciting friends

I wasn’t sure at first if this was a bit of debris on a bird seed sunflower stem.
But I saw it walk!! It’s a plant hopper!
I think it’s Entylia sp, possibly carinata if I understand bugguide saying there’s only one species and it’s quite variable. That’s the species shown in the new Abbott and Abbott Texas insects book.
Spittlebug adult!
The most special flower.
A beautiful white lined sphinx visiting the non native verbena.
I love the different wing angles the camera catches.
Side view.
Slime mold very happy after 3.46″ rain in the past seven days.
Blurry but you can see two seedlings: the winecup above with three leaves and the lyre leaf sage with two seed leaves. Working on my ground covers out front around the raised beds.

06/08/2022 rainy day

A few last baby winecups sprouting long after their big relatives.
Nightshade can flower even in a tiny pot!
So much rain.
Stubby variety okra is up!