Wacky Weather and Other Stuff

Or What’s Been Going On The Last Couple of Months

 

The weather in May was quite crazy. We had a snow storm that started on the evening of the  21st and continued into the morning of the 22nd. That is the latest snow I can recall in a long time. Now if we lived in the mountains that would not seem so unusual, but I live in the ridges and grasslands of Nebraska.

 

Three days later we were back to normal May weather with temperatures back where they should be in the 75 to 80 degrees range. So I spent the day mowing the “back forty” and turning soil over by the shed. I also put the rocks back in place under the downspout of the gutter for the shed. The little johnny jump-up flower is still doing well.

 

May 26th was spent celebrating Connor’s 1st Birthday(my second grandson). I can hardly believe it has been that long. He is such a cute little fella. He has lots of personality with a bit of orneryness thrown in.

 

The last day of May was just gorgeous. So Sully joined me outside, while I puttered around the yard doing things.

 

Just hanging on the step.

 

 

I transplanted my 4 sweet pepper plants in front of the shed by the steps. Last years flowers around the deck seeded well. I sprinkled a new box to fill in the bare spots. I decided to check choke cherry bushes in the backyard. I had been smelling the flowers on the breeze. I took these photos of said flowers. That done I called an end to my puttering.

 

June started out nice. I decided to give the grass around the water spout a trim this day. I can’t get the mower in close enough. So with scissors in hand I gave that grass a nice buzz cut.

 

I also loosened the soil in the flower bed under the bedroom window. I sprinkled a box of wildflowers here. That is when I noticed that the stray irises were putting on canes this year. This is the first year they will bloom after they got left behind when I cleaned the rest of them out back in July of 2015.

Blooming yellow irises.

 

The weather continued to be wacky, out of the four sweet pepper plants only one survived to mid June. The green bell pepper plants were finally ready to go outside. I planted three in the old sweet pepper spots then two more beside those. I decided to put the only two wall o’ waters we had around the last sweet pepper and one of the green bell plants. At the end o f June we got lots of rain again. I lost the two plants in the wall ‘ o waters when they collapsed on the plants. So I will have no sweet peppers. I still have the four unprotected green peppers on this side of the shed. If you look in the left hand corner of this photo you see a bushy little plant. That is a stray carrot from last fall. I just left him to grow just to see what he would do.

Two wall o’ waters and four unprotected green bell peppers.

 

The rest of the green bells were planted on the east side of the shed. These seedlings were grown in cardboard egg crates. Each cup had two seeds in most of them both seeds sprouted. I cut them into individual cups and planted them that way. I found six old coffee cans to go around them.

Six coffee can peppers.

 

I also got more flowers seeds sprinkled during this time and got the gladiolus bulbs in the ground. Wouldn’t you know we started another wet spell. I was hoping that they would not get saturated and rot like last year.

We are now in mid July and every thing is growing nicely. Remember that carrot I mentioned earlier in the post?
This is what he is doing. He has several flower heads. I think I will have some carrot seeds pretty soon. Once he seeds out I will pull or dig him out to see what the bottom half did. The four remaining peppers are doing well in this area.

 

The peppers in the coffee cans are just starting to peek over the tops of the cans.

Peek a Boo! We see you!

 

The flowers have started blooming in the deck beds. The baby’s breath was first. A couple of small white cosmos and a pink centered white bachelor button. This purple button was in the middle of the bed. On the corner of the deck the gladiolus did not rot out. The west end has catnip, cosmos, and lots of petunias.

 

The south window bed is not doing so well. Most of the wildflowers I sprinkled here were washed away by rain. A couple of marigolds from last year manage to sprout once the weather stayed warmer. There maybe one or two flowers from the wildflower mix on the west end. Next yardening day I need to weed it to find out for sure.

Weed Me, Arlene! Weed Me Now!

 

The west window bed is just getting started sprouting. I sprinkled a wildflower mix here too. This time I went ahead and lightly covered it with soil, so they didn’t get washed away. The Johnny jump-up in the south corner is just going wild this year.

 

And finally in plant related news…
Our neighbor had the second tree on the south side of the driveway felled. I think this wacky weather took its toll on the poor thing. It may have got infested with something and the weather didn’t help matters. This was our Wednesday evening entertainment.

 

 

The kitties have been just doing kitty things. Sully likes to sleep. Little Kitty likes to sit and stare at me. When they weren’t doing those things they would both assist with crochet photo shoots.

 

With all this rain this spring and early summer the shed roof has been leaking. David had Nick get on the roof to put sealant in the leaky spot. With that done David decided that the shed needed to be aired and dried out. So Milly the Shed Kitty got to come in so that the door could be left open to do just that.
She is now living up to the second meaning of Shed. Nick and I have been brushing her like crazy. She jumped on my tv tray by the kitchen table. I brushed for twenty minutes and removed the fur from the brush four times. I think there is a good sized tribble in the trash can now. 😀

How Does My Garden Grow?

Ever So Slowly.

 

The weather is not being at all cooperative this spring, if you could call it that. It can’t make up its mind if it wants to hang on to winter a bit longer or jump right on over to summer. I have been trying to get out and do a little bit each day that the weather is nice.
I finally got around to raking out the flowerbed around the deck. There were lots of leaves. The upper ones were dry but as I got lower in the pile closer to the ground it was very moist. Even some small puddles of water.

 

It also disturbed quite a few of the leaf litter dwellers. I saw black beetles scurry away, an inch long brown centipede squiggle away, and about three young wolf spiders ran up the deck wall. Earthworms were also present. I tried to cover them with some soil so they could find their way back underground before they dried out or the birds found them.
When I was starting to rake out around the deck I managed to break the claw rake. It had broken last year but David was able to fix it with super glue. The metal “nail” that held the claw to the handle rusted out this time. I just threw the claw part on this stand. I took out the wooden handle by the shed steps and replaced it with the plastic covered handle from the just broken claw rake. I put the old wooden handle next to the burn barrel. David said the other day that he was needing a new longer stick for stirring the trash as he burns it.

 

David  bought me this cute little leaf rake to replace the claw rake. It worked well getting into the smaller spaces. I was also able to rake out the soil after I had turned it with a shovel.

 

I pulled all the dead marigold plants out of the junk pile bed on one of my outside days.

I was expecting to find an iris plant there, but I think the gophers found it before the ground froze.

There was now sign of it.

 

The Junk Pile Bed and removed marigold plants.

 

The irises are coming up in the corner of the shed flower bed.

They are also coming up in the bed under the south bedroom window.

The Irises in the corner of shed flowerbed.

 

 

I have been bringing Sully out with me each day too. He is glad to be able to find more available grass to munch. He also has a spot in the lawn that he just sits and smells and drools all over. I can’t tell what is there that is of such interest. I don’t see any catnip in the spot, so there must be some other plant that catches his fancy.

 

 

Now that I have raked the flower bed I have uncovered some catnip.

 

 

The rest of the photos showing the raking of the deck flowerbed.

 

 

Sully surveys my work. He finds a clump of grass to nibble. Then he finds his way under the steps. There is no catnip under the steps yet but he did find this tree sapling to nuzzle and drool on.

 

 

When I finished raking for the day, I decided to just sit on the deck step and enjoy the sunshine on my face. As I looked up at the sky I saw a small black spot in the tree at the far end of the driveway. It was the neighbor’s kitty. I call her Little Blackie because I don’t know her actual name. She is a climber she has startled David and I both when we come outside and she is on our roof. I had to talk her over to the deck area one day so that she could jump down onto the shed roof then onto the deck to get down. One day she startled Dave when she jumped from the roof onto the swamp cooler in the back yard. If she had been in one of the trees over the roof of either trailer this day I would not have been to concerned, but this tree just hangs over the driveway and I didn’t want her to fall from that high up. I decide to walk over to the tree and talk her down. She was a very good listener. She followed my instructions and got safely to the ground. She thanked me by rubbing on my legs, let me give her a couple of pets, and then laying in front of me rolling around. I walked back over to the steps and she found a shady spot to lay in the driveway like nothing even happened. Sully watched it all laying in his comfy, grassy, lawn. He kept an eye on Little Blackie after she laid down in the driveway too.

 

 

Friday I turned a small patch of soil in the deck flowerbed and raked it out with my new rake.
I was able to do a bit of indoor gardening today. I transplanted the four best looking sweet peppers into pots. I then got some green bell peppers started in an egg crate.

The Transplanting.

 

 

That is where I stand in the yardening this week. We are supposed to get some more of that white fluffy stuff again, starting Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday afternoon. We could get around 6 inches. I don’t think it will actually accumulate since the ground is still pretty warm so hopefully it does a lot of melting. So you see the weather is taking another turn back towards winter. I really wish it would stop doing that.

 

 

 

 

 

The End Of The 2018 Yardening Season Is At Hand

 

I have not posted much about yardening for a few weeks. The flowers really slowed in new exciting blooms as the days have gotten a bit cooler. I did get one late gladiolus. It was taking forever to open. I brought it in a couple of  days later since it still looked like this.

 

Finally after being in the house a few days two flowers finally opened.

 

Even the weeds were blooming late. This weed was blooming with cute little white flowers by the wood pile.

 

I got one more nice pink poppy, before the cold, wet, windy weather decided to make several appearances.

 

Even the garden creatures were getting ready for the cold to come. I saw this caterpillar in the marigolds. Just a few weeks later I saw the second one on a cloudy, cold, wet day trying to hide in the cracks of the shed door.

 

These were the last of the interesting flowers in the wildflower bed. A cute little stunted white cosmos and the droopy little pot marigold.

 

On October 6th we got our first frost so now most the flowers are turning brown and droopy except for the petunias, some of the marigolds, and the black-eyed susans. I had picked some peppers a few days before the frost. The second photo is the last of the peppers I had to pick after the frost. I used them right away since they had been nipped by the frost.

 

So as soon as we return to just normal chilly fall days I will have to start preparing the garden for winter. I will remove the dead pepper plants, dig up the gladioulus bulbs to be stored over the winter, and remove the marigold plants. I will probably leave the wildflower bed and the cosmos/ petunia bed as is until spring.  I am pretty sure I did it that way last winter/spring for the cosmos/petunia bed. I did not have to plant it this spring as it self seeded. I hope the wildflower bed will do the same. If it doesn’t I have those new boxes of seeds David got for me.

I don’t know if Cleo will make it through the winter. I had no pot big enough to bring her in. Her leaves were shredded by wind and blown off, what few she has left are brown. Even her stems have turned brown. But yesterday I looked at her a bit more closely. I saw a couple of small babies that were still green. So some of her seeds grew hidden under her and the petunia jungle. I covered them with mulch so maybe they will make it to spring. If not maybe some of her other seeds will survive the winter under the mulch.  😀

 

I Found Some Late Bloomers, Big Leaves, A Bee, A Beetle, Patterns, Peppers, and Plums

 

 

I was out watering the flowers on August 31 when I noticed two different patches of purple and a patch of small blue flowers down low among the taller flowers’ greenery. I got down for a closer look, they were all new varieties that had not bloomed before. So the next day I took out my camera to get these photos.

 

My coleus, Cleo is doing so awesome. She has gotten so tall and look how huge her leaves are! I took these photos showing the size and the beautiful tricolor of her leaves.

I don’t know if I will be able to bring her into the house this year, I don’t think I have a pot big enough. I wonder if I cut her down close to the ground and mulch her really good if she would survive the winter ? Oh, and then put an empty wall o’ water around that. Any other suggestions would be helpful.  😀

 

Sully asked to go out on Wednesday(September 5th). I got my garden jacket on and put the garden scissors and camera in the pocket. I put his harness on him and out the door we went on this cool morning. As I was going down the deck steps I noticed a nice bloom of the white with pink trim cosmos. I got my camera out and ready, by that time the flower had a visitor on it. What luck, I had tried to get a photo of a bumble bee on the flowers the other day but she was a bit flighty in the warm afternoon. This was a nice cool morning so she was a bit slow. I was able to get pretty close. I tried to get one more really super close but I must have touched her with the lens, so she flew away. I didn’t bother her again when she landed again. I don’t need an angry be wanting to sting me.

 

 

I was walking over to the east shed bed to pick some peppers when I noticed this in the corner of the bed. The other gladiolus canes were finished weeks ago. I thought this one might cane, but was not positive as it was small and skinny.

 

I continued over to the pepper plants, I began moving leaves around looking for peppers. I was expecting to find two peppers that were ready to pick. I was surprised to find three more.

 

Sully was all settled by the deck so I went over and turned on the water hose to begin watering. I was just about to start when I noticed this sitting on a marigold. I am pretty sure he is not a beneficial bug to the garden. I believe he is some kind of pine beetle.

After doing some research on the internets I was able to determine that it is a Monochamus notatus, the northeastern pine sawyer or notable sawyer. I was correct that they can be a pest. It is not surprising to find them around our area, we do have the Nebraska National Forest all around us. The information below was provided by Wikipedia.

Monochamus is a genus of longhorn beetles found throughout the world. They are commonly known as sawyer beetles or sawyers, as their larvae bore into dead or dying trees, especially conifers[1] such as pines. They are the type genus of the Monochamini, a tribe in the huge long-horned beetle subfamily Lamiinae, but typically included in the Lamiini today.

If sawyer beetles infect freshly cut pine logs, they can cause a 30–40% loss in value due to the tunnels their larvae bore. It’s important to process logs within a few weeks of cutting or store them in water to minimize damage.[2] Some species are known to transport phoretic Bursaphelenchus nematodes, including B. xylophilus which causes pine wilt disease.[3]

 

After noticing the beetle, I started noticing some really cool patterns in many of the other marigolds. I took these photos of the more dramatic ones.

 

Do you remember that bunch of asylum that surprised me in the west bedroom window flower bed? Well it is finally blooming now. It is just full of these tiny white flowers.

 

The wild plums that grow along some of fence line with the horse pasture have produce a good crop this year. The bushes along the county road and the top of the driveway are just bursting with plums. This is just a small bush that grows outside the back door of the house.

I was able to lean over the fence to pick this one that was within my reach. You can see here they are not as big or the same colors as the commercial kind you buy in a store. I don’t think they are good for just eating right off the bush. They are probably more suited for jam or jelly.