Natural History Notes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


First scissortail, and also pink evening primrose, back on April 11. What's more, now some primroses have come up in the front yard! not that far from where I just planted two more I got from the native plant society.

Indian paintbrush showed up a couple of weeks ago, and is getting widespread. There's quite a bit of slender vervain near the blue gate, also paintbrush and crow-poison, making a modest red-white-blue display. The first spiderwort has appeared, just before you get to the gate coming up the drive. The white violets are done blooming. They're kind of buried in a sea of bedstraw.

Hummingbirds - I heard at Redbud Day that they had been seen at feeders, so I put up my little 3-ounce one the next day. This Monday, the 19th, I saw a male several times. The feeder looks very small until compared to the bird; then it is big!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

planted my new natives promptly, yay, me

11 April Sunday
Very pleasant day at RbR. mostly cloudy most of the day. Pleasantly cool morning, warmer (low 70s) in midday and humid, cooler and nice at evening.
Eddie and Stephen mowed almost all of north pasture. SW was too wet, and they missed the lane in the NE; rest is pretty good, especially for just 4 hours.
17 of the 18 potatoes are up, and onions are several inches tall.
I planted the standing-cypresses, the pink evening primroses, and the Missouri primrose (sundrop) in the fencerow just north of the ceniza. Hope they all take hold and reproduce. a propos of reproduction, I found a volunteer bluebonnet outside the fence. Don’t know from whence it springs,but it’s welcome.
Cardinals have been bathing in the birdbath, two of each sex, or maybe one each twice. Third female sat on the edge and thought about it, but flew away.
Both the sages, lyreleaf and cedar, that I got yesterday, seem to want some shade, as does the columbine. So they will go in the eave bed with the mints.
After the guys left, I fired up the string trimmer-mower and went around the veg patch and outside the kitchen back door. Harder than it looks. Used small 0.65 string -- tied 3 lengths together in the middle and inserted them as one. Seemed to work.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

festive Saturday, buggy Friday

I've just been to Redbud Day and the first Community Market. The market will be every second Saturday, in the area behind the farmers' market. Got Amy a knitting-needle holder for works in progress (though I think she's using a circular needle now, come to think of it). Talked to a Flower Mound alpaca-raiser and a glass artist.

At Redbud Day I spent $30 with the Native Plant Society on 8 plants - missouri primrose, evening primrose (2), standing cypress (2), columbine, Texas germander, and a cedar sage. Also $5 on funnel cake. Many freebies - shopping bags, drain cleaner, pen, mosquito dunks, etc.

Before I went I got my order in to Wilhite Seeds for green soybeans. I have that vacant tilled row, and three hils for pumpkin, winter squash, and luffah gourd. Aside from those, the garden is pretty full. I have got 4 pole teepees up for the pole beans so far, not planted yet. I swapped my bush blue lake beans for the pole variety, and got bush limas which I planted alternate with the okras.

Last night I "harvested" about 50 radish sprouts to put in a sandwich. Mustard greens still badly need thinning. About ten of my potatoes are up, and a dozen or so onions. Also the peas are going to town, at least 4" high.

Yesterday the benthic group went out -- sampled all four sites, picking the samples thoroughly on site, also breaking for lunch. 5 hours total. Some odonates and mayflies, many many mosquito larvae and a fat-bottomed critter-- Simuliid? ID in lab next week.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

2 more April days in the garden

planted so far (4 April)
tendergreen mustard, radish, lettuce oak leaf
white onions, red norland potatoes
sugar snap peas
peppermint, chocolate mint, candy mint (?), orange mint
bouquet dill (split in two)
ruffled basil, Italian flat parsley, stevia
mammoth dill
elfin thyme, golden thyme, lemon thyme
sweet alyssum (2), bluebonnets (2)
Fairy Tale eggplant, Brandywine tomato, yellow plum (pear)
Celebrity tomato, Sweet 100, Mr. Stripey, Green Zebra, Old German, Jubilee
Lilac pepper, sweet banana pepper
Classic eggplanto, Ichiban eggplant

still waiting
yellow squash, zucchini, cantaloupe
winter squash
pole beans
sweet almond verbena, lemon verbena, lemon balm
purple sage, purple small-lvd basil, compact oregano
oregano, rosemary
morning glory

April 5 - finished herb bed w/8 herbs above plus 3 portulaca and expensive gallon Mexican mint marigold from Meador’s ($6.95). While preparing the last part of the bed, I succeeded in digging out a quite sizeable brier root. Proud of myself.

Discovered that the Blue Lake beans I got at Meador’s were bush, not pole. Oh, well. Have to squeeze out a row for them, and get limas for the poles in the squash hills. MUST get seeds in ground tomorrow.
The little Ichiban eggplant is looking much better. Something had unearthed one onion set; stuck it back in again.

Cloudy this morning, clear afternoon, still (or again) very windy. 80°F. Spring will be very short at this rate.

Birdfeeder -- cardinals, 2 towhees, dove, Harris sparrows, chickadee, titmouse. I hear a bird that sounds like the last three notes of whitethroat - just three long whistles - maybe it’s Harris.
Photographed black vulture on transformer pole, and movie. Turned off camera JUST before it took off. Drat!

11pm and still 72°F!

6 April Tuesday

mostly cloudy, still windy, 66°, 70s by midmorning
Buddy’s hair coming out in huge mats. Seems to be almost no hair on his shoulder and back of thigh, I can see dandruffy skin. Flies getting bad. Will ask at D&L.
Bacon, onions, and poke sallet on toast for breakfast.
One potato is up! and an onion.
I’m procrastinating. Must go out and till okra and squash space.

Later -- all tilled, 10 squash hills, rows for okra and beans, spots for cukes. Planted 3 hills, cantaloupe, 2 each yellow squash and zucchini.
S'posed to be way cooler tomorrow, sixties instead of eighties, and near 40 overnight. Protect eggplants?

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more mostly garden, 1 April - Easter

1 April
morning check showed scores of mustard and radish sprouts, and possibly minute green specks of lettuce
Dry south gale all day. Almond verbena dried out, also oregano from Meadors. Hopeful of recovery. Later -- all perked up aain
Calloways $44. 2 mints and Stevia, 6 tomatoes - 4 heirloom, plus celebrity and sweet 100. 3 assorted eggplant, 1 banana, 1 bell pepper. 4 portulaca, 2 bluebonnets, 2 alyssum.
Tilled space for mints, and 3’ of herb rock bed. Added a little manure, 1/3 bag mushroom compost, 40# “topsoil” and 2 cubic ft. “landscape mix.” Constructed first section, planted bluebonnet, 2 alyssums, 2 thymes.

All plums over except two small brier-buried ones in pasture by gate that just started. Maybe they’re pears; they are greenish-white.

Lots and lots of white violets, kind of buried in chickweed. Lots of stagnant water slowly draining - culvert is running but algae pools are backed up under the trees.

Tried to call Jeff Dowler again to cut tree - left another message.

2 April
light rain before dawn. Sounded like quite a lot on the tin roof, but actually very little in Buddy’s bucket.
Let the cats out at 9, with trepidation, then worked more on herb bed. Planted the other bluebonnet and the elfin thyme, one dill. Probably will put oregano in top spot. Basil in this bed or elsewhere? Need summer tarragon (Mex. mint marigold) and more parsley, and I guess a spearmint. Rosemary will go over a yard further, beyond iris, I think.

Need to see if workerguys can roll BIG rocks over from under plums. Put some just outside fence as outer side of rock bed, others as seats.

The heavens opened about 10:30, and I was able to get the cats in.
Brief but VERY heavy rain. Need to take loppers and shears down and clear more around cookstove in creek, take pics.
Winter honeysuckle is done blooming. New deep green leaves, only a few blossoms here and there. Not sure where bees are now -- seen a few on redbud. Getting pollen from oaks, maybe.
Calloways again, Brandywine and yellow plum, also tomatoes for Sycamore St and bluebonnets, lemon verbena and purple sage

3 April
cold (!) last night s 40s ;-) Littlest eggplant in pot looks sad. Planted 2 peppers 2 eggpl in rest of tomato row
Peas are up!
Got to Oxide in time to pioto neckpiece. Helped Mary brainstorm rearraonging.
Back after midnight, Agate must have slipped out as I came in dark kitchen door. Called and called, stayed up 2 mr hours, no Agate.

4 April Easter
Walked around calling 7am, Aggie appeared at end of garden perfectly happy. Let all out. Went to town to get tiller. When I came back all were willing to come in to breakfast.
Soft moist morning, 70°. Removed first section of rocks from eave bed by kitchen door. Will place them flat as a border further out.
Tilled space for yellow plum, Brandywine, and Fairy Tale eggplant, basil, parsley, dill, stevia by fence north of mimosa. Took out BIG rock.
Napped all afternoon w Alabaster.
At dusk, tilled eave bed, in the dark planted 4 mints.

late March notes, more garden than wild nature

3-13, 3-19 --iris dug at 610 (Stephen)
3-14, 3-28 - planted at Ridge
3-13, 3-19,3-20 - replanted at 610
3-28 - still 2 boxes (15%) in garage

3-27 - planted peas,lettuce, mustard, radish

3-28 - began remaking rock-garden herb bed

going to plant potatos 6 hills, onions 80 sets, zucchini, pellow squash, tomatoes 5, eggplant 3, cucumber, cantaloupe. okra. pole beans?
Also basil, mint, parsley, oregano, rosemary, dill,thyme,sage, sweet almond verbena from bee mtg
Morning glories on trellis
nosturtium & zinnia somewhere

almost all bush plum flowers gone. most Mex fading - not the one buried in grapevines; it’s flowering spectacularly

bluets Houstonia pusilla tiny bluet Qaaker Ladies is a Tx native. Not henbit L amplexicaule or L purpurea. Crowpoison? native - nothoscordum bivalve

4-ft bushy cedars in 15-gal tubs at Meador’s are $90 Nope.

Towhees still here. Residents? Whitethroats & Harris here 2 days ago, didn’t notice today

31 March - used new Troy-bilt electric tiller, works well to 4”-6” deep, occasionally gets stuck with rocks just the wrong size. Housing needs to be arched over tines, not flat.

Planted potatoes and onion sets, watered some - handspraying with hose. Need to fix hose coupling that leaks when there’s pressure on it. Also a longer hose, with a male end instead of cut hose, on front faucet. And a 50’ 12-gauge or 10-gauge extension for first section to tiller.