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Cast Iron Forest to Skillet
Edible and Native Plants in the Cross Timbers of Oklahoma
Why cast iron?
Why a garden blog
Spreadsheets and observations
04/18/2023 a berry
First ripe strawberry
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.
08/07/2022 bulb time
Wild Hyacinth bulbs arrived in the mail yesterday!
We planted the three bulbs in a little crescent along the edge of this drier strawberry/honeyberry bed, and reinforced the dirt berm to trap a little extra water.
Prairie Moon Nursery
says they like medium-dry at most, but will generally do okay if it’s wet during the bloom time (which is usually our rain times).
… We saw it moving around as we dug into the hard packed dry soil! It was somewhere between 2-6″ down. Just as bone dry the whole way. It swam across the water mud as we watered in the new bulbs. Hoping it might be a native one but waiting on what inaturalist or friends say.
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
, 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.
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.
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.
06/09/2022 last (almost) of season
Strawberries! Just a few left. They peaked back a while ago.
Lemon balm is blooming.
This salad contains garden radishes and garden lettuce.
Butterfly milkweed in backyard.
is leaning under the ironweed.
The yellow in the rainbow garden has stopped blooming but the rock garden primroses are blooming!
Standing cypress is looking magnificent after several days of tons of rain.
Rocky mountain bee plant
Geometrid moth among the dayflower leaves.
The striped planthopper on the elderberry.
Very tiny bees on the widow sedum. One sitting, one blurring through in flight.
One Missouri fluttermill primrose among the strawberries!
During weedeater repair we found a DAMN EARWIG.
05/06/2022 emergency strawberry eating party
Fruit processing is a social endeavor among vaccinated friends.
The Chef’s magic strawberry sauce recipe… Strawberries and powdered sugar!
angel food cake
Angel food cake must be cooled upside down for fluffiness.
Since they’re tiny angel food cakes I call them cherub cakes.
The Chef made everything look pretty.
Dog awaits her guests. She likes guests.
Paula had the excellent idea to use our garden cart stools as more seating. Farm to table eating!
05/03/2022 strawberry acceleration
Total of 1522 g of four varieties of strawberry, just today.
Strawberries are escalating
The last two harvests