Friday, December 31, 2010

Seeds for Spring

  I've received numerous seed catalogs in the mail the past few days, so I became inspired to dig out the seeds I already have to take stock. One container holds corn and squash seeds, along with a few cobs of Potawatomie corn. Favorites come from Native Seeds S.E.A.R.C.H. The catalog is beautiful. Seeds from SEARCH are primarily suited to the Southwest. Kansas can be quite wet and humid, so the seeds I use from SEARCH are planted in raised beds with plenty of manure and compost.
In cold weather I like to revisit my garden plan for the Indigenous Food Garden. This basic plan is for an acre and was intended to be created on the campus of KU (until a "microburst" caused too much campus damage and monies had to be diverted to repairs instead). My gardens in Baldwin are spread out. Check out the How to Create a Garden page of my website, the American Indian Health and Diet Project
1. Entry 2. Decorative Native Grass 3. Pumpkins and Gourds 4. Bush Beans 5. Tomatoes 6. Tomatoes 7. Sunflowers 8. Raised bed Gardens (onions, herbs, peppers, strawberries, watermelon) 9. Compost 10. Three Sisters (several types of corn and squash) 11. Picnic Table 12. Peppers 13. Containers (tomatoes, peppers) 14. Potato Mounds 15. Sign Kiosk 16. Benches 17. Arch 18. Bird Feeders

Planning for Spring in Winter

I finally painted some garden signs for my butterfly plants and one of these days will sand and paint the gourds that have dried (below). I grew a combination of bottle and dipper gourds.

New Year's Eve 2010

A dreary New Year's Eve in Kansas. Still, there is plenty going on. Birds are visiting the feeders and yesterday was warm enough (60 degrees) to thaw the compost in the bins. I added mulch and water.

below: My TCU Horned Frog patiently waits in the butterfly garden for warmer weather.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kansas 4A Cross Country Champions!
Congratulations to the Baldwin High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams, the 4A Kansas State Champions!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baldwin City Maple Leaf Festival 2010

Come visit the Baldwin City Annual Maple Leaf Festival Sat. and Sun., Oct. 16-17--the best time to view the autumn leaves. Hundreds of booths, lots of food, rides and a quilt show. The parade is Saturday, Oct. 16-17.

This is a tree in my yard; the town and surrounding areas feature thousands of trees with bright yellow, red and golden leaves.

KS Frontier League Cross Country Champs 2010

 Congratulations to the Baldwin City Cross Country Teams, the Frontier League Champs. Making 1st Team for Girls are Katie Jones, Kaitlyn Barnes, Sienna Durr and Elizabeth Sigvaldson.

Boys 1st Team are Tony Weiss, Ethan Hartzell, Brian Wright, Tosh Mihesuah

Regionals are Oct. 23 and State is Oct. 30. Way to go, Bulldogs!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Time to Mulch

Last weekend Tosh and Josh unloaded a trailer-full of mulch we bought for $10 from the City of Lawrence. We also have two compost bins and every six weeks in summer add that mix to the beds.

Late Summer Butterfly Garden

October 5 and my butterfly garden is still attracting insects. We've had one frost but the blossoms are bright.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer moth

A moth rests on bark that surrounds my small pond.
This swallowtail caterpillar found a spot to make his/her chysallis. This is what it looked like after a few hours of being immobile. Note the silk that holds it up and the discarded head. The butterfly is the result.

Swallowtail caterpillars

I managed to nuture 23 swallowtail caterpillars this summer in my screen-in porch. Above: a cat makes his/her way between two that have already metamorphosed on the screen. Below: cats feed on fennel.

Heat Index 110--What Survived In the Garden?

The temperature is 102 degrees and the heat index is 110. I ventured out to water some wilted plants and decided to see what might still be viable in the garden. I found a quite a bit: cucumbers seem to thrive no matter how hot it is; the spaghetti squashes looked fine even though their vines are brown and wilted (I pulled them out); the cherry-sized tomatoes are still going strong although some of the larger ones have split. The corn is also pretty healthy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Spaghetti squash

I think I may have over planted. Here are three of the dozens of spaghetti squashes in the garden today. You can easily make a low-cal and tasty side dish with these--see my recipe for spaghetti squash

Potato Harvest

This morning I dug up a nice crop of potatoes. If you are interested in growing potatoes, see my web page on Potato Gardening. After these potatoes are washed and dried, I'll store them in boxes in the basement where they will remain edible for months (provided we don't eat them in the next few weeks). I'll start a new fall crop in about a month.

Don't bother me

This swallowtail caterpillar reacts to being touched
by rearing up and sticking out his antennae.

Quick-pick of the gardens

A productive quick-pick yesterday. The last of my carrots and beets, but only the beginning of the cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hank the Tank and butterfly bush

A butterfly enjoys the butterfly bush while Hank the Tank walks through the garden.

July harvest

A quick run through my gardens brought in cucumbers, squash, beets, peppers and green beans.
A big and fat swallowtail cat on one of my fennel plants. I have six fennel pots and some planted in my butterfly garden.

Flower Bed, Front Yard

If you are thinking of designing a flower bed you may want to consider perennials that attract butterflies. My front bed includes bee balm, fennel, day lilies, cone flowers, butterfly bush and honeysuckle. The previous owner had only periwinkles--a nice little flower that likes hot sun. But this way, I don't have to replant anything--all these plants pop up each spring.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This June bug got caught in a spider's web and was in the process of being subdued when I took the shot.

The swallows finally left the nest and stay out all day. They return in the evening and sit on the chimes before climbing back into their nest for the night.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Baby swallows and sunflower

The baby swallows a week later--just about ready to fly. below, one of the many sunflowers that have blossomed in my yard this week

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baby Purple Martins

Baby swallows under our porch are growing fast. There are at least four in this nest.
The trumpet vine, honeysuckle, and various other climbing plants have overtaken the fences of my dog runs. They not only provide shade, but birds hang out in the greenery and hummingbirds, bees and butterflies also flit around the blossoms all day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Front porch plants and swallowtails

My front porch is now surrounded by butterfly bush, dill, fennel, hollyhocks and some potted plants (obscured by the dill). Every summer butterflies and bees are attracted to the plants and swallowtails, especially, love the fennel. Last year dozens of caterpillars metamorphosed into butterflies. The viburnum above had at least 11 different insects on the blossoms this morning. The small flowers smell wonderful and the odor wafts into the open window.

Early June garden

My largest garden seems to doing very well. I had some issues with mice and moles, but I dropped moth balls around the mounds in the foreground (that will eventually sprout The Three Sisters) and stuck some whirleys I got from Dollar General that I hope scare away bunnies. The broken ladder will serve as a support for pole beans. See my gardening links for info on how to get started with a garden.

A swallow takes a break

A swallow parent with a nest under our balcony takes a break in the hot weather. I stuck an old bamboo post in the ground four years ago and swallows use it each summer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goose Families

Two pairs of geese hatched some goslings in our neighborhood and showed up on our property the first of May. See the picture on the right panel. But look how they have grown. One family is obviously older than the other. The parents decided to band together for safety and it looks like all the goslings are still accounted for.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Purple Martins and Frogs

A typical late spring morning around here. A green frog sits on a floating plant in the small pond while a tadpole below sprouts legs on the other side out of the way of the goldfish.
A male and female Purple Martin sit outside their apartment that is probably a lot neater than the swallow nest under our porch (middle shot below). That messy nest is less tidier than the house parents created a few years ago (bottom). It's the same nest they use each year, but probably not the same adults.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marvin the Plecostomus

Marvin, the fish tank cleaner is now enjoying solitude (left). We got him about two years ago when he only a few inches long (middle pic); now he's about six inches.

The two gold fish that stay inside over winter are back in the small backyard pond. In addition to algae tablets, Marvin likes cooked zucchini and Romaine lettuce.