Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden 2011: Planting Corn

Jo planting corn while Rusty watches intently. Dogs believe dog treats are the one and only small items ever contained within small bags. One year we when we weren't paying attention, Rusty dug up and ate several of the green beans Jo had planted. We kept a watchful eye on him this time.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden 2011: Recap #3

It just wouldn't be spring if we weren't running behind with everything.  The photos above were all taken on May 5.  The main feature of all of them is that it's obvious the grass needs mowed.  Between preparing for art fairs, traveling to art fairs and all the rain we've received, I'm very much behind with my mowing.  I was finally able to attack our garden area with the mower on Tuesday (5/10/11).  Now we can at least venture into the garden without having to wade in almost knee-high grass and weeds.

  • 1.) Tomato plants are still under cloches.
  • 2.) The cloches need to be removed from several tomato plants.
  • 3.) Cauliflower.
  • 4.) Chinese cabbage.
  • 5.) Lettuce, spinach, chard, radishes directed seeded into the garden.
  • 6.) Broccoli.
  • 7.) Potatoes.

Our irises are well into their blooming sequence. We don't grow a lot of flowers, but have gotten into growing irises because friends gave us rhizomes when they thinned their beds. The flowers are beautiful, and irises are one of the few flowers deer won't eat.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden 2011: Strawberries

Not quite ripe, but soon -- very soon.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Male Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)

Because Jo and I know the limitations of our Point-and-Shoot camera with its wide angle lens, we don't usually even try to photograph birds except during winter when we use a shelf feeder on the window sill to entice the birds within a foot or two of the camera. However, today we had a very special visitor that demanded we try taking a few photos. A male Painted Bunting fed under our feeder several times throughout the day. He is a new entry for our yard bird list.

For species details (and much better photos) please see Cornell Labs.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Spiderlily (Hymenocallis sp.)

Jo and I were a little out of the Ozarks when we found this beautiful wildflower.  We were on our way to an art fair in Oxford, MS, when we stopped to visit friends down in the Little Rock area.  The ditch and adjoining marshy field where we exited off I-40 in rural Lonoke was full of spiderlilies.

I think this is a Spring Spiderlily (Hymenocallis liriosme).  The Little Rock area could have both Spring Spiderlilies and Carolina Spiderlilies (Hymenocallis caroliniana).  The Carolinas are more common and widespread, but one source said that Spring Spiderlilies have a more yellow center and these blooms seem to qualify in that regard.  Regardless of species, spiderlilies have to be the most beautiful ditch plants we've ever found.  They seemed very much out of place growing amongst the paper trash, broken bottles, plastic containers and old tires in the ditch.

Spiderlilies are native, deciduous herbs.  They prefer moist soil and partial shade.  Habitat includes flood plains, bottomland, ditches, ravines, depressions, marshes, stream banks, prairie, plains, meadows, pastures and savannas.  (Source:  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)  


Water Lines and Fence Post Augers Don't Mix

On Tuesday our neighbor decided to start fencing the land he cleared last fall, including a small section of woods beyond the clearing.  He and a couple of hired helpers were setting the pairs of large black locust corner and gate posts.  Although he knows our water line runs right along the road, he didn't bother to call the water district and have them mark the exact location of the line.  When drilling the hole for the companion of the post shown above, he put his fence post auger through our water line.

Being out of water for a few hours while the line was repaired was no big deal.  As a matter of fact, neither Jo nor I even realized we had no water until the water district employee who repaired the line came down to our place to flush it out.  The muddy mess made of our road out is more troublesome.  The depression to the left of the fence post shown above is where the repairman used a backhoe to dig a large hole so he could access the damaged line.  The hole extended about a quarter of the way across our road.  Because we've received a lot of rain recently, the ground is saturated.  The hole was back filled with mud.  Until it dries in a month or so, the back fill is about as firm as quicksand.  Jello would do a better job of supporting a vehicle.

The last thing this section of saturated red clay needed was a lot of traffic which included heavy equipment. 

The water in the road has nothing to do with the water line break.  It is runoff from the hill above the road. 

Jo and I need to leave for an art fair on Friday.  I hope we can make it out.