Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27 2011 Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies.....

The sun is here again!!  Yesterday after work, I was able to plant the cherry tree cutting that grew roots and take up the crabapple trees.  I got a general fertilizer from our local Nitron Industries store as well as the paramagnetic rock.  I used these when planting the cherry tree and in replanting one of the crabapples. The other crabapple snapped in the winds earlier this week. I'll probably end up using it for mulch.

I planted the two passionflower vines finally. I don't have the trellis built yet, but I know what I want to do. The caterpillar disappeared.

I'm still working on that online landscape design class through our local library. This is what I wrote for one of our assignments which included drawing up a plan:

"Before I bought the house, I'd had the full acre surveyed.  I used this professional survey as the background for tracing paper. Using this method, I mapped out all the existing trees. I had several "free" Arbor Day trees I wanted to put in, so I read up on how large they are expected to get. I evaluated the available spaces, keeping in mind areas we wanted open for company to be able to park and just open yard space to enjoy.  I was able to find a few areas to plant my trees. I thought about the colors the trees would offer and what times of the year those might change. This allowed me to plan where to plant a witchazel, a cherry, a redbud, and a crabapple. I also found spots for lavender to spread. I thought about what kind of trellising to use for my passionflower vine and put in on the plan. The trellis is pretty much longer than it is wide, sort of a short, shallow fence that parallels the driveway.
Before I started planting trees, I also called the 811 number our state has for finding the utility lines and was able to include those in the plan so I could avoid planting trees on or too near them.  It's been an interesting but fun experience."

Technically, David helped me quite a bit with this.  And the 811 number did NOT help me much but I figured out where the utility lines were anyway (the sunken earth lines gave it away).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 25-May 26 2011 Acres and Acres

More rains last night, but not much.  My brother came up with a friend of his and took David and I out to eat. It was nice.

The caterpillar was still around this morning but wasn't on the plant anymore.  Frog is still around too!

The wormies are happy still.  Treelings look okay.  I know that's not proper terminology, but I like the way it sounds. I wish had acres and acres.  I would plant an orchard, have some chickens, some goats, a great vegetable garden. I'd also make sure there was adequate plantings around for rabbits, squirrels, deer, birds, and other wildlife. I would have a blast. 

I'm going to try to remember to stop and pick up some mushroom fertilizer on the way home.  Someone suggested it for my trees.

I don't think I mentioned it before, but they had a tornado down in Denning and Altus a day or so ago. Four people were killed and I think 33 injured. Donation sites are popping up all over the place to help with Joplin and the smaller tornadoes.

May 24, 2011 Rainy Days Are Here Again

We got storms again last night. About another 1.5 inches of rain.

Caterpillar still with us.  Need to get the passionflower planted, but can't because everything is soaked.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23 2011 Tornadoes

Last night a tornado wrought havoc on Joplin, MissouriNational Public Radio this morning reported that 70% of the town was flattened and the death count was at eighty-nine. Last count this evening was 116, again from the NPR news. claims that Joplin's tornado activity is historically higher than the rest of Missouri and is 161% above the national average.  I'm not sure where they got that information though or if it's even true. Joplin's public library has a digitized collection of photographs from a 1971 tornado. West Siloam Springs is also said to have been in the path of this 2011 tornado on its way to Joplin.

Here on the homestead, we got just under 2 inches of rain since last night and it's about 60 degrees. There's standing water under the skinny magnolia, in the spot where we turn around, under the big tree out back, where the gas and water lines are, and in some holes the dogs dug. Did I mention the last winds that we had snapped the tops of my tall blueberry bush?  The blueberries are gone of course.  Oh well. And the catnip and bronze fennel may not have survived David's mowing yesterday.  Again, oh well.  I need to plant the mint out there.

Once it dries out, I'll plant the rest of the trees out front. It will eventually give us more privacy from the street.

Couldn't believe it, but that caterpillar is still out munching on the passionflower vine.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 21-May 22 2011 March of the Caterpillar

My butterfly garden sees its first caterpillar! This little guy or gal had the munchies for my passionflower vine (passiflora incarnata). I haven't even planted it yet, but this caterpillar has already found it suitable. My first thought was that it was a Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar. After a little research, I think it's actually the Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia).  I used these two great websites to help in identification:

I planted the two free crabapples this weekend. They're mere twigs right now. They were part of my ten free trees for joining Arbor Day. Basically, you get 10 free trees for the $10 member fee. Then, as a member you can buy other trees for discounted prices. You don't have to get your 10 free trees though, you can select to have them planted in National Forests instead. A few of the forests they're replanting for 2011 are in Oregon. Other National Forests included in 2011 replanting are located in Wisconsin, Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, and Minnesota. I think most of them had fire damage and that's why they need replanting help.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 19-May 20 1011 The storm arrives

I think it might have rained last night. I know it did while I was at work today.  I had about 20 minutes of weeding and picking up debris after work before the storm rolled in. It's still thundering and raining right now. I can hear the frogs in the pond talking :)

The skinny magnolia is blooming. I only noticed because I saw a big white thing laying in the grass and figured it was probably trash blown in from the storms earlier today. Nope.  Big white, lovely and lightly fragrant blossom. Delightful scent really. I tried looking it up in the tree books we have.  My best guess is that it's a Sweet Bay Magnolia. That is a guess though. 

The skinny yellow irises are blooming. It looks like the yellow flag iris but again, I don't know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 17-May 18 2011 We like it wet

Oh we had two wonderful days of sunshine.  Now it's chilly again and we are expecting it to rain this evening through the weekend. It's only Wednesday! Apparently we like our springs wet down here.

The hazelnut twigs came in from the Hazelnut Project through Arbor Day. I planted them by the fence in a no-shrub zone. Most of the fence is covered with shrubs, except a few areas (thus the no-shrub zone).

So far everything I've planted looks like it's doing okay. I took a walk out with the dogs and checked on the little plants.

Yesterday we had some excitement.  When we got home, there was a baby bunny on the porch. I took a picture of it, but other than that, we left it alone. Figured it would go back to its mommy once we did.  Sure enough, we saw it hippety-hopping in the front yard with its mom about 45 minutes later.  It was so cute.  I didn't know rabbits were that affectionate either.

May 11-May 16 2011 Tree Plan

I finally got the fennel, catnip, and lilac in the ground next to the driveway. I got one of the lilies planted and still need to plant the other two and the passionflower before they die!

After the initial flights to freedom, the worm farm is doing just fine.  I need to read more about it.

David helped me figure out where to plant the 6 trees I have left: dogwood, redbud, witchhazel, hawthorn and 2 crabapples.  I was able to give the rest of the trees to one of our friends.

The weather has cooled off.  We've had a few days of scattered showers, not much though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 8-May 10 2011 Sunshine on my shoulder

It was supposed to rain this weekend but didn't. Today was cloudy but no rain.  Yesterday I got the bean seedlings in the ground and built a trellis for them out of the bamboo we have growing by the pond. There are five small ones.  I don't know if I should bother with the tomatoes and the peppers.  They are very small still and probably won't do well.

I still have to get the passionflower vine in the ground as well as the fennel, the catnip, and the lillies. I also still have some flower and herb seeds I need to plant.  I think I will direct sow and get it over with. They'll either make it or they won't.  Oh... and I still need to plant the lavender.

I moved the potted ferns out by the pond.  I think they look good there.  Hopefully they do well. I noticed frog eggs in the pond.  Unfortunately, there is also some algae starting to grow.  I will have to look into how to keep it from taking over.  I know it likes sun, but I can't do anything about that without obstructing the view more than it already has been.

The temperature today was pretty nice.  The wind blew but not too hard.  All in all, a pretty great day.  I spent some of this evening picking up shingle pieces, nails, and other trash from before we bought the place.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 3-May 9, 2011 Rain Reprieve

It's so hard to keep up in here now that the sun is shining.  I feel like we went straight from winter to summer as far as temperatures go. It's been 70's-80s and is supposed to be in the 90s this week.  It hasn't rained in days.

I mangaged to get some of the verbena, petunias, and the snapdragons in the ground. I still have to plant the passionflowers, bronze fennel, and catnip.  The catnip my brother gave to me yesterday when I went down to visit for mother's day. I also got the two semi-dwarf cherries planted. They are too close together but it will do for now.  I needed to get them in the ground.  I threw some parsely, cilantro, and some other kind of seeds out for the butterfly garden.  I still need to get some of the other seeds out. Oh, and the lilies for the butterfly garden.... still need to get those in the ground.

The roses are blooming.  Mine are old-fashioned kind that look like the wild ones. Who knows, the way my yard looks, they may be wild ones. The irises are still blooming.  I've had to stake a couple of them.  The heavy winds during all that rain knocked them over.

Right now, the butterfly garden looks like a hodge-podge affair.  Hopefully that will change.

Monday, May 2, 2011

April 29-May 2 2011 Rainy Days

It's another rainy day. We did have one day of sun. I can't remember what day that was though. 

I have been busy. I finally completed my soil testing from the kit I bought at Lowe's. In the area that I tested, pH is 7, nitrogen and phosporous are both medium and potassium is high. I will have to do more research to figure out what makes these levels what they are.

I ordered red worms and a bin through Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. I am ready for them to arrive! My kitchen compost bucket is overflowing. I keep it outside since it has a lid.

I am headed tomorrow to pick up some rain barrels from a guy here in town. I found him on Craigslist. I've signed up for a gardening class through Ozark Alternatives Farm here in Fayetteville. It's a one-day class from noon to 3 p.m tomorrow.  I took the day off from work to do the class and drive down to borrow my sister's truck to get the rain barrels.

Friday after work, I attended the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks member plant sale. I bought some plants for my butterfly garden. I'm still deciding on exactly where that needs to go.  The location I had intended it to go is looking like it might over the gas line.  Probably not a good idea.... I put in a call to the 811 "Call before you dig." I don't really get it.  They say it will be done by May 5 at 7 a.m.