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??

Beautiful day but some people just keep having ideas

Wes said he wanted to go to Lowe’s today and somehow one of us (all three of us?) Decided we should finally get our compost pile in shape. It was hard to access for turning over, surrounded by chicken wire that kept collapsing in.
Wes helpfully volunteered his plastic recycling bricks to be a small scale model.
I’m not sure loading the car with 40.5 cinder blocks was a great idea.
Beetle larva found during clearing the edges of the pile for the concrete cinder blocks. Decomposition is happening!
The first two layers mostly laid out. I’ll take a picture of the completed structure tomorrow.
On one side, we encountered a mysterious wire on the ground surface. We thought it might be for cable TV as it wasn’t marked by the call before you dig flags. It was above ground maybe for four feet, then both ends went deep again. To be safe, we put it underground a bit, with Wes’ plastic bricks as markers to prevent cutting it later.
We moved these giant concrete corner stones (that came with the house) from compost pile corners to become the new stand for the heated bird bath.
The salvaged iron plant basket was previously being the pedestal for the heated bird bath, and now is marking and protecting the baby Mexican plum.
While resting after the compost pile was done, I checked the rock garden. The seedling next to the pebble might maybe perhaps be the desert bluebells (Phacelia) that I seeded directly in fall????
More of the mystery plants are up. I’m suspecting blue stars.
Dropped a chip in the garden accidentally and later found it covered with Tapinoma sessile (the odorous house ant, a native species). Thanks Diane for the identification.