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Hive inspection, fishing line, and “funnel” clouds

It’s now been about a month since we received & installed the two bee packages.  Steve & Charlie did an inspection yesterday.

The Italians are looking good, doing what they’re supposed to.  They did find possible evidence of wax moths, though, so we’ll be setting out some homemade traps and keeping a close eye on the situation.

The Carniolans are not thriving.  At all.  We’re not sure what the deal is but we’ll discuss it with the experienced beekeepers at tonight’s meeting.  They’re not dead by any means but they’re just not doing much.

We finally bought more chicken wire so Steve finished the chicken pen.  One of the neighbors used to keep ducks but lost them all to eagles swooping in and making lunch of them.  To combat this, we’ve stolen an idea from a friend, Alan.  A few years ago, he mentioned stringing what I think was fishing line across the tops of his chicken pens to keep out the flying predators — cheap and easy!  To (maybe?) act as a further deterrent, we tied construction tape to the intersections of fishing line here and there.  It’ll also keep tall & spacey morons like me from running into them constantly.

At the end of the day, we looked up and saw…  funnel clouds??  Of course, they weren’t real tornadoes but they look like it, don’t they?

Garden update:  Another 1/2″ of rain this morning as a storm blew through (and knocked out our electricity).  Yesterday, I got the chiles planted out and cages made & placed for the majority of them.  I’ll do an accounting of them after I double check my count.  The sun finally came out again just a bit ago.  Maybe it’ll stay out this time and the garden can dry out so we can get more accomplished!

Glug, glug, glug

More rain today.  *sigh*

A couple of days ago, Steve grabbed a couple of kids and ran to a dump about 15 miles from here.  He passes by it on his way home from work and noticed they had a big pile of wood chips.  There’s still another trip’s worth of chips left if he has time to get them before they disappear.

I’m saving these to mulch the tomato & chile seedlings I hope to plant out this week.  (Go away , rain!!)

Front yard

A hen & chicks jumped into my cart at the store a few weeks back.

Then its sibling snuck in right behind it.  Very, very sneaky…

Lambs ears from Susan and…. something? in the foreground.  (Susan?  What is that again?)

Comfrey, also from Susan.

I love, love, love the comfrey flowers!  I’d never been able to grow it in Oklahoma so had no clue what it looks like in bloom until now.

What used to be one of several Alpine strawberry beds… until the cats decided to make it a litter box and killed the strawberries.  So I replaced them with cat grass, cat mint, and cat nip.  Ha.  Now let them poop in it.

Along the left side of the drive is a decorative fence thingy that was here when we bought the place, along with irises?  I think that’s what they are.  (I’m a flower dummy but I’m trying to learn.)  The girls and I planted several mixed flower seedlings around the fence this week so it should look pretty cool in summer.

The peach ones are past their prime.

But the purple ones are still at it, even if some of them are falling over on the job.

Aunt Molly’s ground cherries, treading water for dear life.  I multi-planted within the cages, figuring moles or flood or kids would get a good chunk of them, being in the front yard where a loto f the action happens.

This is in the back yard — chamomile I started from seed this spring and transplanted out.

And then the kids found gobs of wild (feral?) chamomile growing along the driveway.

The tree seedlings planted along the edges of the property are doing very well.  Um, well, except for the ones I mowed over.  Shhh….  This one is a hazelnut.

Steve brought this clump of bulbs home from the yard waste dump several weeks ago.  I planted it out by the the other decorative fence thingy on the far side of the drive.  They’re flowering now.  Anyone know what they are?

And more unknown stuff from Susan.  I’m not sure if they flower or just stay as clumps of green?  She told me all of the names as she dug them but I have giant holes in my brain and the info fell right out.  Susan?

There’s still a chance of rain for the next several days but, hopefully, it’ll be light and scattered so things have a chance to dry out.  Steve actually gets two days off this weekend so there’s lots of slave labor to be done!  We hope to get the tomato beds done and get those poor things in the ground.  They’re HUGE!

Cold & Damp

The weather sucks.  Flat-out sucks.  I don’t want to muck around in three feet of mud.  So, instead, I mucked around in 4″ of wet grass and 6″ deep puddles taking pics.  Did I mention it’s 50 degrees out there?  I’m freaking cold, people.  And bored to death.  Please tell the sun to come back!

In the meantime, you will be subjected to far too many photos of green stuff.  Shall we start with the back yard?  I’ll save the front yard for tomorrow.

I put up a rain gauge a few weeks ago.  About a 1/2″ last night.  We got 2″ the previous night.  Before that, we were actually drying out enough to work the garden some.

I built cages for each of the 47 sweet peppers planted this week.  My hands are shredded.  (I don’t need no steenkin’ gloves!)

Steve cemented in the gate post and attached the gate (he previously built) for the new chicken run.  (We ran out of chicken wire or the run would already be done.)

Remember last fall when Steve found a bunch of discarded but perfectly fine pumpkins and other winter squash at the town yard waste dump?  The ones that weren’t fine got tossed on a big pile of cornstalks and leaves that we were composting.  We now have three billion winter squash sprouting.  We’ll let them grow out and see what we get.  (Anyone want some squash this fall??)

The tomatillos have happily settled into their permanent homes.

The wide row of psychadelic-green lettuce was harvested for the first time this week.  Yum!  It’s loose-leaf and cos types so cut & come again.

Glaskins rhubarb I started from seed this spring is finally putting on some size.

20-ish round, raised wheel beds in the back yard and several more in the front yard.  Now, imagine mowing around all of these.  I get so dizzy!!!  I’m very relieved that the other raised beds we’re putting in will be square!

Josie loooooves picking and eating the wild green onions that grow all over the yard.  She has the stinkiest breath of any toddler (or adult) I’ve ever known!   She must have gotten the raw-onion-nut gene from my dad.

Sinister (and tall!) things lurk in the back yard….  (Poor Cody.  I so rarely get to take his pic and then, when I do, he gives me this almost dark look so I just had to play with the color to exaggerate it.)


Hello, summer vacation!

Duke got a notion one day this week to build a seesaw.  He scrounged a 4 x 4, some nails, and an appropriate log and designed & built it all by himself.  Voila!

Charlie is turning out to be the Rainman of riding mowers.  A slightly drunken Rainman but still…

In the past couple of days, with help from the short people, I’ve planted a few hundred flower seedlings here and there, along with Painted serpent melon, Rampicante Tromboncino, and green, grey, and yellow summer squash.  Weeding is a never-ending chore, as is hilling the potatoes.  I managed to make & place cages for the 47 sweet peppers I planted out a few days ago.  Still no tomatoes or chiles planted out since the rain has still be at it.  We’re going to try to force some progress in that department this weekend, one way or another.  The time has come!


It worked!

Singing “Rain, Rain, Go Away” apparently works.

The forecast was promising bad things and the sky started looking like this.

So we hid the seedlings under the van and truck in case of hail.


Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

‘Tis a good thing.

Rain, rain, go away!

I’m so glad we’ve gone with raised beds from the start here.  It’s been soggy so much this spring, it’d be hard on the plants to so much of their lives just trying to tread water.  We still need oodles more wood chips to make the paths walkable but, for now, we wade out in muck boots as needed.

Over the past week or so, I’ve gotten quite a bit planted:  A couple dozen Aunt Molly’s ground cherries, 47 sweet peppers (don’t ask me how many of what varieties because there was an oops involving gravity and upsidedness), 560′ of potatoes, and the following cherry tomatoes (in the front yard):

3 Baby Beefsteak
3 Juane Flammee
1 WOW cherry
3 Tommy Toes Red
3 Sweet Treats
3 Sungold
3 Sun Cherry
1 Sara’s Galapagos
4 Matt’s Wild Cherry
1 Large Red Cherry
3 Chiapa Wild
4 Black Cherry

I also managed to get the rest of the tomatillos planted around the chicken run.  The chickens will get to eat the parts that poke through the fence and provide them with some shade & windbreak if they’re lucky.

When Grandma Kaye was here for Nellie’s birthday, she brought us a half dozen Canby thornless raspberries.  Yay, Grandma Kaye!  I love raspberries!  Sure, they just look like sticks now but just you wait…

The prettiest thing in the garden right now?  These gorgeous brown mustard seed plants!


I’ll spare you the photos.

Did you know yesterday was World Naked Gardening Day?  I’ll just leave you with your imagination for that one…

(Thanks to Paula for the link!)

Garden Accounting

For my records and for those who are getting seedlings from me, here’s what made it to the final potting up.  I’ll put a very brief classification of the tomatoes after each but they’re very generalized and limiting so, if interested, look up details of each at Tatiana’s.  Another great resource for learning about specific varieties of just about any plant is Dave’s Plant Files.  I’ll italicize the hybrids to differentiate from the OPs.  (Someone holler if I screw any up.)  I’ll bold the ones that I’m hogging all to myself — none to share.


  • 6 Arkansas Traveler (red slicer)
  • 5 Aunt Ruby’s German Green (green slicer)
  • 6 Azoychka (yellow slicer)
  • 6 Baby Beefsteak (red salad)
  • 6 Beefmaster (red slicer)
  • 6 Black & Red Boar (black striped slicer)
  • 1 Black Brandywine (black slicer)
  • 2 Black Cherry (black cherry)
  • 1 Black from Tula (black slicer)
  • 6 Black Krim (black slicer)
  • 5 Bloody Butcher (red salad)
  • 8 Brandy Boy (pink slicer)
  • 6 Brandywine (pink slicer)
  • 2 Burning Spear (orange paste)
  • 6 Carbon (black slicer)
  • 3 Cherokee Purple (black slicer)
  • 4 Chiapas Wild (red currant)
  • 6 Cuostralee (red slicer)
  • 6 Dana’s Dusky Rose (black slicer)
  • 6 Dix Doights de Naples (red paste)
  • 7 Dora (pink slicer)
  • 5 Estler’s Mortgage Lifter (pink slicer)
  • 6 Eva Purple Ball (pink slicer)
  • 1 Fish Lake Oxheart (red heart)
  • 5 Gary’O Sena (black slicer)
  • 7 German (pink slicer)
  • 4 German Johnson (pink slicer)
  • 5 Giant Belgium (pink slicer)
  • 9 Goji Faranji (red slicer)
  • 6 Hungarian Italian Paste (red paste)
  • 5 Italian Tree (red slicer)
  • 6 JD’s Special C-Tex (black slicer)
  • 8 Japanese Trifele Black (black paste)
  • 11 Jet Star (red slicer)
  • 5 Juane Flammee (orange salad)
  • 10 Kellogg’s Breakfast (orange slicer)
  • 6 Large Red Cherry (red cherry)
  • 10 Livingston’s Paragon (red slicer)
  • 7 Ludmilla’s Red Plum (red slicer)
  • 5 Marglobe (red slicer)
  • 9 Marianna’s Peace (pink slicer)
  • 7 Matt’s Wild Cherry (red currant)
  • 4 Mexico (pink slicer)
  • 7 Nepal (red slicer)
  • 4 New Yorker (red slicer)
  • 4 OSU Blue (blue variable)
  • 9 Pink Brandymaster (pink slicer)
  • 7 Pink Floyd Mix (segregating F6 of Brandy Boy)
  • 9 Pruden’s Purple (pink slicer)
  • 4 Prue (red slicer)
  • 9 Rose (pink slicer)
  • 4 Royal Hillbilly (pink slicer)
  • 6 Rutger’s Select (red slicer)
  • 2 San Marzano Redorta (red paste)
  • 1 Sara’s Galapagos (red currant)
  • 3 Sun Cherry (red cherry)
  • 5 Sungold (orange cherry)
  • 10 Super Boy 785 (red canner)
  • 5 Sweet Treats (red cherry)
  • 8 Tommy Toes Red (red cherry)
  • 1 White Princess (white ?)
  • 5 Wisconsin 55 (red slicer)
  • 6 Woodle Orange (orange slicer)
  • 1 WOW Cherry (orange cherry)

Chile Peppers

  • 8 Anaheim, Joe E Parker
  • 8 Cascabella
  • 4 Cayenne
  • 6 Cayenne x Jalapeno
  • 6 Ixtapa jalapeno
  • 5 Mulato
  • 12 Numex Conquistador
  • 12 NuMex Heritage 6-4
  • 11 NuMex Heritage Big Jim
  • 12 NuMex Jalmundo
  • 4 NuMex Pinata
  • 11 NuMex Primavera
  • 10 NuMex Suave Orange
  • 8 NuMex Suave Red
  • 9 NuMex Sunrise, Sunset, and Eclipse
  • 9 NuMex Vaquero
  • 10 Poblano

Sweet Peppers

  • 8 Alma Paprika
  • 4 Banana Supreme
  • 8 California Wonder
  • 8 Cubanelle
  • 7 Golden Bell
  • 2 Grand Bell Mix
  • 1 Jimmy Nardello
  • 2 Kaleidoscope Mix
  • 11 Peperoncini Italian
  • 1 Purple Beauty
  • 8 Red Beauty
  • 4 Roumanian Rainbow
  • 7 Sweet Banana
  • 8 Valencia Orange
  • 6 Yellow Belle

Hey, wake up!  I have more garden porn.

Asparagus, from store-bought crowns planted this spring.

Asparagus seedlings that I started from seed.

Cilantro.  We are so addicted to cilantro but were not able to grow it much in Oklahoma due to the heat.  I’m hoping it’ll do much better here.

Stevia that Charlie roped me into buying.

Sage, wintersown from seed.

Brown mustard seed, also wintersown.  I’ve never grown it before but it seems to be doing well.


Potato shaving, part 2

After my last time (prematurely) pulling potato sprouts, I stuck the tubers back into moist mix.  They sent out a new round of shoots — this time very sturdy & leafed out.

Much better, right?

It’s like looking at the Dalton Gang.

I stuck them each into 4″ pots and will get them transplanted out to the garden… soonish.

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