Playing in the dirt.

Archive for June, 2012

Before and After

It must look as if I abandoned the blog, but I only went on vacation.  Several days away made a real difference in the garden, though, and I really appreciate my mother-in-law having kept it well-watered in my absence.  Heh.  “Well-watered.”  Because it’s well water.  I crack myself up.

Before pictures, taken on June 21:

Sugar snap pea sprout in garden soil.

Sweet pea.


Cucumber sprout in garden soil.

Baby cucumber.


Carrot sprout in garden soil.

Carrots finally began to sprout!


After pictures, taken on June 27:

Two cucumber sprouts in garden soil.

True leaves beginning to show on the cucumber sprouts.

The square where these cucumbers live actually sprouted both sets of seeds.  The other double-planted square of cucumbers has only sprouted one set of seeds, though, so I don’t even know.

Sugar snap pea seedling in garden soil.

Sweet pea, a little bigger.


Twelve French breakfast radish sprouts in garden soil.

Radish symmetry, French breakfast style.

Curiously, the French breakfast radish in each corner failed to sprout.  I find the symmetry oddly amusing.

A raised garden bed with sprouts and seedlings among a grid laid out with pink twine.

It’s starting to look garden-like!

I’m really pleased with how well things are turning out.  We should be able to begin to harvest lettuce and radishes in another couple of weeks.  My son and I split the very first produce, though, when I thinned out a few extra beet sprouts, and they were delightfully sour-green tasting, full of the promise of the eventual sweet roots.




June 17-23, 2012 Weather Report

Blog note: Apologies, I set this to auto-post, then went on vacation, forgetting to update the weather report while I was away.  I will fill this in properly when I get a bit of time.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

  • High: 87°F
  • Low: 43°F
  • Wind: 31mph, gusts to 44mph (12:00pm); 32mph, gusts to 43mph (5:00pm)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 7% (12:00pm); 9% (5:00pm)
  • Overall: Fair and Windy (12:00pm); Fair and Windy (5:00pm)
  • Lunar phase: Waning crescent (2% of full)

Watered: 15 min. total

Monday, June 18, 2012

  • High: 87°F
  • Low: 54°F
  • Wind: 21mph, gusts to 30mph (12:00pm); 21mph, gusts to 29mph (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 9% (12:00pm); 8% (5:00pm)
  • Overall: Fair and Breezy (12:00pm); Fair and Breezy (5:00pm)

Watered: 12 min.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

  • High: °F
  • Low: °F
  • Wind: mph (whole day average)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: % (whole day average)
  • Overall:


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

  • High: °F
  • Low: °F
  • Wind: mph(whole day average)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: % (whole day average)
  • Overall:  Clear (whole day average)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

  • High: °F
  • Low: °F
  • Wind: mph (whole day average)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: % (whole day average)
  • Overall:    (whole day average)


Friday, June 22, 2012

  • High: °F
  • Low: °F
  • Wind: mph, gusts to mph (12:00pm);  (5:00pm)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: % (12:00pm); % (5:00pm)
  • Overall:  (12:00pm);  (5:00pm)


Saturday, June 23, 2012

  • High: °F
  • Low: °F
  • Wind: mph (12:00pm); mph (5:00pm)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: % (12:00pm); % (5:00pm)
  • Overall:  (12:00pm); (5:00pm)


Another Visitor and Some Refreshments

Content note: This post contains images of an insect, specifically a butterfly.

It’s amazing the diversity that shows up in the yard, much of it coming to take advantage of our bumper crop of dandelions, though we do offer a few other treats for the weary insect traveler.  Once I can identify the various blooming plants around here, I’ll be looking into whether they’re native plants, harmless imports, or noxious/invasive species.  Anything in that last category will have to go (and a job of work it will be, over a whole acre), but I’ll be looking to replace it with something native that fills the same niche.

Yesterday’s flashiest visitor was this swallowtail butterfly.  I think it’s a Pale Tiger Swallowtail, due to the almost-white yellow patches, and the extra orange on the hindwings.  If there were less orange, I could see it being the much more common Western Tiger Swallowtail, but the spot pattern suggests that it is the less common variety.  Which is kind of exciting, really, to get an uncommon species right here in the yard.

A Pale Swallowtail butterfly on a dandelion.

Stopping for a snack.

A Pale Swallowtail butterfly on a dandelion.

Check out my 4 inch wingspan!

A Pale Swallowtail butterfly on a dandelion, wings folded back.

Woah, it’s a little windy out here. Almost fell off!

A Pale Swallowtail butterfly flying over dandelions. The orange and blue hindwing spots are fully displayed.

Beauty in motion.

Some of the tasty flowers in the yard.  I have no idea which qualify as wildflowers, and which qualify as weeds.

Small pointy-leaved plant with tiny blue trumpet-shaped flowers.

Blue trumpets, about three inches high.


Small ground cover plants with clusters of orange flowers.

Orange blossom ground cover.

A closeup of the orange flower clusters on a small ground cover plant.

Orange blossom closeup.

Pointy yellow flower.

Pointy. Yellow. Wildflower or weed?

June 10 – June 16, 2012 Weather Report

Sunday, June 10, 2012

  • High: 64°F
  • Low: 39°F
  • Wind: 18mph, gusts to 32mph (12:00pm); 30mph, gusts to 41mph (5:00pm)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 13% (12:00pm); 12% (5:00pm)
  • Overall: Fair (12:00pm); Fair and Windy (5:00pm)
  • Lunar phase: Waning gibbous (55% of full)


  • 1-2: Lettuce. Rouge d’Hiver.
  • 1-4: Lettuce. Forellenschluss.
  • 1-6: Lettuce. Salad Bowl.
  • 1-8: Lettuce. Mesclun mix.
  • 2-2 to 2-4: Pea. Sugar Snap.
  • 2-5 to 2-6: Cucumber.
  • 2-8: Spinach.
  • 4-1: Radish. German Giant.
  • 4-2: Radish. French Breakfast.
  • 4-3 to 4-4: Carrot.
  • 4-5 to 4-6: Beet.
  • 4-7 to 4-8: Turnip.

Watered: 10 min.

Monday, June 11, 2012

  • High: 71°F
  • Low: 32°F
  • Wind: 9.6mph (whole-day average)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 38% (whole day average)
  • Overall: Hazy (smoke from High Park fire in Colorado)

Watered: 10 min.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

  • High: 74°F
  • Low: 39°F
  • Wind: 13.8mph (whole day average)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 33% (whole day average)
  • Overall:  Hazy (smoke from High Park fire in Colorado)

Watered: 10 min.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

  • High: 85°F
  • Low: 39°F
  • Wind: 12.9mph(whole day average)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 27% (whole day average)
  • Overall:  Clear (whole day average)

Watered: 10 min.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

  • High: 78°F
  • Low: 45°F
  • Wind: 7.3mph (whole day average)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 37% (whole day average)
  • Overall:   Clear (whole day average)

Watered: 10 min.

Friday, June 15, 2012

  • High: 79°F
  • Low: 50°F
  • Wind: 5mph, gusts to 18mph (12:00pm); calm (5:00pm)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: 0.16 inches
  • Humidity: 22% (12:00pm); 37% (5:00pm)
  • Overall: Fair (12:00pm); Fair (5:00pm)

Watered: 8 min.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

  • High: 77°F
  • Low: 45°F
  • Wind: 9mph SE (12:00pm); 7mph NE (5:00pm)
  • Wind chill: n/a (12:00pm); n/a (5:00pm)
  • Precipitation: none
  • Humidity: 45% (12:00pm); 29% (5:00pm)
  • Overall: Fair (12:00pm); Fair (5:00pm)


  • 3-3: Carrot.
  • 3-4: Carrot.

Watered: 15 minutes total


Content note: This post contains pictures of insects, including beetles, a bee/wasp, and a butterfly.  Also, kittens.

There have been a lot of different visitors to my garden and nearby resources.  I’ve seen a couple of different bumblebees and what I think was a cabbage white butterfly, but they declined my request for a photo.

I’ve picked a few of these coppery beetles out of my garden, and I think they’re a variety of June beetle, which I grew up calling “June bugs” as they clustered on the window screens on hot summer nights as they tried to get at the lights inside, buzzing loudly as they flew.

A dime-sized reddish brown beetle on a pine board.

June beetle?

I’m not sure what sort of beetles these are:

A tiny red and brown beetle on a dandelion.

Tiny beetle is tiny.

A small grey-brown beetle on a dandelion.

Dandelions are tasty.

I’m not sure whether this creature is a kind of wasp, a kind of bee, or a kind of fly.  The narrow wings make me think its a wasp/hornet, but it was not aggressive, so I snapped a shot.

A yellow-and-black striped hornet or hornet-like bee or fly on light tan sand.

Hornet? Bee? Fly?

This butterfly appears to be some variety of Checkerspot, but I’ve had little luck figuring out which variety in specific.  Feel free to suggest possibilities in the comments!

A yellow, orange and black checkerspot butterfly on a dandelion.

Some sort of Checkerspot, I presume?

I’m pretty sure this is a deerfly.  It might also have been a Harrier jump jet, considering its sillhouette.

A black-and-white fly, possibly a deerfly, on a light grey rock.

Maybe a deerfly? It looked bitey.

There are some feral cats in the neighborhood, and it’s kitten season.  The trick is catching them before they turn into buzz saws, and finding them homes.  Unfortunately, “buzz saw” usually arrives two or three weeks before “weaned” shows up, and they’re often already tiny fuzzy balls of bitey scratchy pain before we ever see them, but we have managed to catch several over the years to find homes for them where they are neutered or spayed, which helps keep the population down.  I wish there was a Trap-Neuter-Release program nearby, so I could get as many of the adult cats spayed or neutered and some basic vaccinations, so there would be fewer kittens and less fighting, but I have not been able to find one.  We don’t mind the colony much, since we’re kind of rural, and they keep the mice out of the house, but it’s less than ideal for the cats to spend all summer fighting and breeding and then all winter trying to survive long enough to do it all over again.

Still, there’s a lot about kittens to recommend them…

An orange tabby kitten beside a roll of wire fencing behind some sprigs of grass.

Ginger tabby kitten is contemplative.

A mostly white calico-tabby kitten in grass.

Caliby kitten is brave and adventurous.

More Sprouts

There are a few more sprouts tonight.  A second cucumber (the first really was a cucumber), a third spinach, a couple more radishes and half a dozen more beets have come up.  The beets will need to be thinned a bit, since it appears I dropped two or three seeds into a couple of holes, but it’s still not the tedious task that is row planting or scatter planting.

A cucumber sprout in garden soil.

I’m a cucumber!

I also found my first lettuce sprout this evening, one of the Forellenschluss.

A Forellenschluss lettuce sprout in garden soil.

Baby lettuce!

The $300 turnip did not make it.  [Moment of silence.]  But a second turnip has sprouted, so there is yet hope for tasty homegrown turnips!

A turnip sprout in garden soil.

$300 Turnip Two: Electric Boogaloo.


Starting to Look Like a Party

Today brought a few more sprouts!  Two more radishes (one of the German Giant variety, to go with all the French Breakfast sprouts), a second spinach, three more beets, and I’m pretty sure a cucumber all arrived since last night.  I wasn’t able to get a great picture of the cuke, so hopefully it will be unfolded tomorrow, and I can confirm it was actually a sprout, and not some random bit of detritus posing as a sprout.

Beet sprouts in garden soil, marked with yellow stars.



Four French Breakfast radish sprouts in garden soil, each marked with a yellow star.

Radish. Radish. Radish. Radish.  (French Breakfast)


A German Giant radish sprout in garden soil.

Radish. (German Giant)


Spinach sprouts in garden soil, each marked with a yellow star.

Spinach. Spinach.

And the poor bedraggled $300 turnip is still there, still bedraggled, and I still don’t know if it will recover from being snacked on.

A bedraggled turnip sprout in garden soil. Pink twine is visible in the top left.

Turnip? Or my first contribution to compost?