Sunday, June 30, 2013

I saw a Mourning cloak! I saw a Mourning cloak! I saw a Mourning cloak!

I saw a Mourning Cloak this morning in my garden and I'm so excited! -- Aren't they beautiful? See why I get excited when I see one?

***not my photo!***

I have had a couple Monarchs, and I saw a birdshit butterfly (it's real name is Red Admiral). Usually there are more Red Admirals than everything else.

The other day, I even saw a black swallowtail. Woot!

This is the swallowtail that was getting some moisture from a puddle I created, watering in some new plants.

Look up swallowtails. Black and yellow swallowtails. Interesting!

What happens when you neglect your garden

Here is the distant view of the garden, corn in front, hip-high, mullein in back, armpit-high. I have a lot of pigweed, common waterhemp, lambsquarters and nightshade in amongst everything else because circumstances have kept me out of there. However, it is doing well without my assistance, looks like. I do need to get to some of those weeds, though, before they get tougher than I am!

The easiest-to-grow garden veggie, milkweed aka mahic (ma-heench)!

There are a lot of milkweed bugs this year. Earlier I only saw a few of these guys, but now they are all over the place.

Look, look, look, a honeybee. And her cousins were out there, too, the flies that mimic honeybee colors, but they have the heads of flies and those funky fly eyes.
Proof that melons thrive under corn. Woot!
Milkweed is not just good for us to eat and nectar for the monarchs, it's housing from some folks. Can you see the spider?
An onion reaching out to bloom. It was too crowded in the garden, so it stuck out an arm.

I love the mullein especially this year, because I transplanted babies last fall, and this year they are not mowing obstacles and are IN the garden. I'm thrilled.

 Sex in the country!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The mystery, the drama, the tall valerian

This is my valerian plant.

The blossom smells a bit like lilac, but fainter. I don't know if it's the rainy spring/early summer we've had, but this crazy thing shot up about 2 feet to bloom. It's been blooming for about a week. Shaking my head. I have no idea why it zoomed up quite so tall.

And now, you can see way down low, it's re-blooming four inches off the deck.

Things that make ya go "hmmmm." It has a reason. I don't know it. There are so many things I don't know.

Mystery has its own appeal.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monarch on the honeysuckle

This is a monarch hanging upside down from the honeysuckle my aunt sent me. The hawkmoths are all over the honeysuckle, and I was watching them, and I caught sight of this gem. Fanning. Pause. Fanning. Pause.
And after about a flash or two, it flew away. It seemed small, but maybe they seem small when they're fresh out of a cocoon. I don't know.

I'm just happy to see it.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

My first rhubarb of the season: big sticks! Woot! Gotta love rhubarb for so many reasons!

Simple uses for your herbs ... way simple!

Did you ever look at your herbs and plants and think "Well this is nice, but what do I do with this stuff?"

Here is a wonderfully lazy and simple solution. A friend of mine, Michelle, has been doing this with fruit and herbs recently and I thought it wouldn't take too much time, so ... I'm in! (Thanks Michelle!)

This is a plain widemouth jar with chocolate mint put in it. I did nothing besides put it on the counter and wait a half an hour. I get distracted easily, so it was probably more like an hour. It tastes nice. Not like the more intense blast you get when you smell chocolate mint, but very pleasant. A nice change from just water, and the combinations at hand are endless.

I recommend it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Willowbark wine

I clipped off some tender twigs *with bark* from a willow tree, about 10 or 15 pieces, about 8-12 inches long. Since the inner bark is used, don't dry the twigs first. Strip the vegetation and compost it (or whatever). Then, since I have fingernails (I realize not all of us do), I pinch the bark off the twig and strip it off. Some of the inner bark will be on the outer bark, and some will just be there on the twig. Since I used just tips of branches, I kept the twigs. I snipped them all small. (Some shot around the kitchen!) Some look like hair, some look like naked twigs. Then I put them in a warm oven, about 200 degrees for about 15 minutes. They got slightly crispy.

Then I divided them roughly in half, and stuffed them into some used-but-clean olive oil jars I had hoarded. The throat to the funnel is about medium, and allows the twigs in pretty easily. ... Unless there's a traffic jam, and then I push with a chopstick.
I fiddled around some to get the amount of wine "equal" and put the twigs and bark in there.
Then, because I'm doing a lot of things at one time, like you are, I labeled them right away. In a week I can easily have forgotten what the bottles contain. In a month, for sure!

The recipe I found (on calls for

3 cups white wine -- the sweeter the better because willow can be quite bitter
3 T willow inner bark, dried and crushed
     Put the bark into the wine and macerate-shaking daily-for 1 month. Drink 2 tablespoons 3 times a day with food for headaches, migraines, stomachache or rheumatism attacks. or to take the ache out of a broken leg.

If you choose to try this, consult with your doctor first and don't use this instead of regular medicine. But yes, I'm going to try it. Like after a month.

Oh yeah, I get the really cheap Moscato. I don't spend big $ on this. It's against my grain.

I'm just trying this, and I don't necessarily know what I'm doing. I just like to try stuff.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Epic battle against crabgrass

I have decided on my strategy on fighting the crabgrass. Since it's so hard to pull a lot of it without injuring one's back, I have decided that two hands full at a time is enough. I'll just need to do it more often, less at a time.

I'd show you my progress, but my SD card reader has decided to go and die.

But someday my pretty garden decorations will be more than a couple inches taller than the crabgrass. -- Someday

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PCF and my garden

I got the gift of four little purple coneflowers this weekend. I've been on the alert for them since I had to murder some of my plants that had aster yellows. The left plant is a mullein. That's monarda (bee balm) on the far side of the wheel.
This is the hills-of-corn portion of the garden this time with corn in it. I made the pic huge so you could see the teeny corn plants coming up.

You can see my onions with the catnip plant I couldn't kill and milkweed at the left and in the foreground. (Milkweed is food.) In the right part are some nearly transparent tomato plants and some marigolds.

The cages are around some habanero peppers. You can see milkweed again in the right foreground.

There are small cucumbers in front of and behind the "gate." It is a former city park band shell gate from the information I've been told. I don't understand that, but maybe it was altered. It does look like something the cukes will climb. ... And more milkweed. It comes up where it wants to.

In the bottom photo, the cages and fence are around mullein. The larger mullein are in their 2nd year, which means they will put up a flower spike this summer.

The tiny ones, like in the round fence at right, will only be a rosette this year, preparing for the following year, when they flower, seed and die. Plants like this are called biennial, or every-two-years.

And the milkweed. You probably think I'm crazy about milkweed. Well, that's another post.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Salsify or Goatsbeard or Oyster plant

Heliotropes follow the sun. Sunflowers are heliotropes, and to a certain extent, salsify is, also. Since I'm not home during the day, I'm not really sure, LOL
I love these guys, they are tough as nails and good-looking to boot. You can find information on eating their roots, too. I have not tried this yet, although since the drought started, I'm seeing quite a number of salsify. Maybe just by comparison, I don't know.