Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 11, 2009) Carnage in the Garden; Blossoms; Harvesting Water; Empty Clouds; Spoiled Squirrels

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

This has been such a windy week that it’s been hard getting plants into pots, but by yesterday I had planted petunias, dianthus and a couple of peppers I had split off and saved for their pots on the patio.

In the raised beds, there has been absolute carnage as the little crickets are out in full force and the pill bugs have been nipping at lettuce and chard. In fact, I was horrified today to see some very nice chard seedlings GONE!!!

Over at our sister site Open Range Ramblings, we’ve been focused on fruit. Here’s a bit more…

Apricot blossom

Apricot blossom

So far, that blossom is the only one on the tree.  In case you’re wondering what that odd thing in the background is, it’s my new “rain barrel”.  What rain we get comes mostly in the form of huge downpours during the monsoon season during the summer. So, I’m hoping “harvest” about 50 gallons of water this summer.

Yesterday was rather cloudy but no rain! This is typical of this area…you really think there’s a chance…but nothing materializes most of the time.  However, the sky does do some interesting things…the light here is always fascinating.

No rain after all...

No rain after all...

The squirrels are out, but I don’t see them too often. I’m thinking there’s some day care going on for little squirrels.  The squirrels have been knawing at a cactus I planted last year, so I put water out for them near the wall.  Nearly every day I toss the vegetable scraps over the wall for them to feast on.  They must be fairly happy because this is the first year I haven’t found a huge hole being dug in the raised beds.

Obviously, my rock squirrels are pampered, in the hopes that they don’t have to rely on marauding through my garden TOO much. Chicago Correspondent Leslie sent this along awhile ago, and it describes the kind of life my squirrels receive:

 ...at the spa

...at the spa

Even though they need constant pampering, I have to admit the little ones are adorable, so I’ll be looking out to their debut and will hopefully be able to catch a few shots!

Have a great week outside!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 4, 2009) Spring Winds; Squirrel Wars; Bees Invade Feeder; Wounded Butterfly; Sunrise Over the Organs; Slick Lounges Around

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s been a tough week for the garden in some ways.  The spring winds have arrived so I’ve had to put wind barriers up around the raised beds. I’m using the sunshade for this, because it’s bright and I don’t want my plants to dry/fry!!!  The temperatures are still in the 40’s overnight so with the winds coming through, although they weaken overnight, I don’t want too much of a temperature shock.

Still have some of the plants saved for the pots…a couple of peppers, an eggplant, and a couple of tomatoes…but I’m keeping them inside overnight. I bought some annuals…zinnias, petunias, a new geranium and an interesting spirally plant called “Rush.”  But these are all sitting safely under protection for now…

The squirrel wars have started. They’ve been gnawing at the cactus in the far corner of the yard and nibbling at the eggplant and lettuce. I’ve got tons of peaches on the tree in the warm corner and I’ll have to “bag” the fruit soon or else the squirrels will be busy there too as soon as they start smelling something sweet.

The hummingbird is coming all the time now…until today. The feeder was full of swarming bees!  This happens every year and I think these may be Africanized bees. So, the hummer and I will back off until they go.

A few days ago I spotted this butterfly on the ground. I picked it up and placed it in the Texas Ranger.  The poor thing obviously had some problems with its wings. A short while later it had gone…

Wounded butterfly

Wounded butterfly

This past Thursday I had an early morning blood test.  The Healthplex branch of one of the hospitals is near our house and has stunning views of the Organ Mountains.  And being up so early, I knew I could catch the sunrise….

2009_0401sunrise0037

As I write this, I’m just back from a rendezvous with Animal Control. This morning I was walking Slick and Toro in the arroyo and suddenly spotted a golden lab (?) who had obviously recently given birth. I thought I had seen this dog barking from behind a wall on the far side of the arroyo. We left in a hurry and I figured she could easily jump back over the wall and get home.

At 8:30 PM as I as out with Slick and Toro again for their last walk, I thought I saw the dog near the path into the arroyo. It seemed to go back down into the arroyo.  I immediately call Animal Control and I took the officer down to the path and pointed out the house I thought the dog came from. We scanned around with a flashlight but didn’t see anything moving.  The officer was going to stop by the couple of houses where she could have come from to find out more from the owners.  I sure hope this all turns out OK, because if there are puppies involved, I’d hate to have the mother wandering lost for days or sitting in the shelter.  It’s expensive to get dogs back these days and I wouldn’t want her to be left there and the puppies orphaned.

This sort of thing always makes me go and give mine a hug…I’m not bragging, but they have a really good life…because they run mine!!

Slick lounging, safe and sound

Slick lounging, safe and sound

Let’s hope next week bring less wind so I can finish planting…and that the lost dog is found.

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 21, 2009) (Flowers, Fruit and a Miniature Spider Web)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

HAPPY SPRING!

Things have really progressed this week in the garden!  First of all, the temperatures have been getting into the low 80’s and the overnight temps have stayed in the 40’s the past few nights.  I’ve started planting some of the veggies, but am holding back on the tomatoes a bit longer as it’s supposed to be windy on Sunday into Monday.  The last few nights I’ve kept the plants out overnight, but covered.

A lot of annuals overwinter well here.  The petunias, for example.  A couple of years ago I had some petunias that lasted 2 years!  Tthe purple and fuschia petunias from last year started blooming this week.  The purple flowers are particularly striking, but seem more fragile…here’s the first one of the year:

Returning Petunia...

Returning Petunia...

Snapdragons do well in the ground and pots, too…and they take only a short break depending on how mild the winter is….

Yellow Snapdragns in the Garden...

Yellow Snapdragons in the Garden...

An Interesting Snapdragon in a pot...

An Interesting Yellow/Red Snapdragon Combo...

The New Mexico Privet in the backyard is starting to bud out!  Meanwhile, out front, the NM privet that I’ve been training as a tree hasn’t even started. That’s what micro climates are all about here.

Backyard NM Privet

Backyard NM Privet

In the fruit department, the grapes and figs are really on the move! And the peaches on the tree in the warm corner have doubled in size. Meanwhile, in the more sheltered area, that peach tree is just barely getting bud swell.

Baby Figs!

Baby Figs!

Baby Peaches!

Baby Peaches!

By the time the April winds die down, half will be gone…

Here’s one of the artichokes…I bought two, but each pot was a double and I managed to tease out 4!  I’m going to see how they do and if they can grow as perennials here…

Artichoke

Artichoke

Finally, here’s very lucky shot I got of a very small spider web on  the slow-developing peach tree at the side of the house.  It’s a miracle I got this shot!!

Tiny Spider Web

Tiny Spider Web

In the raised beds, over the last couple of days I’ve planted a couple of eggplant and peppers in the garden, and took the stray potato that started growing in the composter and planted that, too.  I soaked the chard and okra seeds overnight and planted them yesterday as well.