Keeping it Natural

I’m well aware as I write these mundane daily notes that for now we are among the fortunate few in these terrifying times.  We aren’t facing loss of income, eviction, herding restless quarantined kids, dire health issues, or another disaster on top of COVID.  Of course, with a selfish lunatic for so-called president, nothing is for sure or guaranteed.  So I never take anything for granted.  I grasp at any glimmer of light or color I can find in our fragile world.

So if my boring garden anecdotes seem incongruous or self-absorbed while the world is melting down, It’s only my way of trying to maintain some sanity and order in solitary confinement, and perhaps convey a sense of life going on despite apprehension and uncertainty.  I know it’s not easy, losing the essential ingredients of a stable life, or having to bunker down indefinitely without hope of relief, or the usual support systems.

All I have to offer is these scenes of a natural world persisting through it all.  It helps me cope, and maybe it can cheer up someone else for a moment.



Bucketing and Battening

It’s bucketing down today (yay!) so today’s photos are a buffet of unposted flora, fauna, and food on a recent sunny day.  Here’s what it really looks like out my office window today, and Misu’s latest battening down place in my office closet.

Starting with food, here is E’s latest bread experiment (a delicious hybrid of challah and sourdough Italian bread–Jews and Italians are cousins, after all), and her latest version of tapioca pudding.

Here are more random plants and butterflies.  Pokeweed may be a weed, but it’s native and fun, as long as you don’t eat it.

Butterfly Bonanza

Here is E’s latest greatest homemade everything pizza, featuring homegrown tomatoes and basil.  And here are a zucchini and yellow squash from the garden.

It’s still blazing hot and humid out, and pollinators are having a field day.  I was fortunate to see this (I think) beautiful black swallowtail butterfly on the zinnias.  Hummingbirds continue to hang out there; one buzzed my head while I was taking photos.  There are lots of flowers for them all to choose from.

And then, I witnessed this gorgeous butterfly–it’s not a monarch, though with similar deep orange, black, and white markings, but smaller; the white splotches look like mother-of-pearl, and the whole upper side of the wings is orange.  It was a sight to see.  OK, found the ID–it’s a gulf fritillary.


Small Successes in a Fail Year

My little garden successes may seem few and insignificant, but all the more reason for me to celebrate when they happen.  Today my first native California poppy bloomed in the “California rock garden”, with more to follow.  So, not a total loss there.

Here we have Misu presiding over the food scene from her washer throne.

Apparently it’s ‘shroom season in the garden.  New varieties pop up each morning.  Now we have alien colonies.

I think this is a silver spotted skipper butterfly on the zinnias.  They do like to skip around a lot!  Who knew lowly zinnias were such a magnet for hummers, goldfinches, butterflies, and many other pollinators?



Civic Duty in a Pandemic

Well, we voted!  We didn’t see any COVID precaution signs on the door, though they were doing a pretty good job of it inside.  As predicted, it was pretty empty at 8:30AM.  Paper ballots are now being used (to minimize hacking into the system, they say).  Our party ballot was extremely short, as you’d expect around here.  The process was straightforward and orderly, although if this were a large turnout, they’d need to scramble to get more organized.  Anyway, hopefully our votes, such as they are, won’t get “lost” in the shuffle, today or in the November General.

Here are E’s latest best yet challot.  And here is a large pile of tomatoes, including some green ones that fell off the vine.

Flowers are happy (as am I) after another torrential rain last night.

I was especially happy to see this eastern tiger swallowtail on the zinnias yesterday.  One by one (literally), some species are finally showing up down here, abnormally late in the season.  I still haven’t found a monarch, or any caterpillars.




Neither COVID nor Gloom of trump…

Tomorrow we vote in our local (US, state, and county) primary.  We chose not to attempt mail-in ballots, having followed disturbing reports of interference and obstruction by trump and his state flunkies, even down to the postal level.  We just didn’t want to take a chance on losing our votes.  And the early voting we experienced last election was crowded, and potentially risky in light of the virus, and people not caring.  So we weighed the risks and chose to take our chances in our usually empty polling place.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

After another torrential downpour last night, the flower feeders are busier than ever.  Better yet, all these large mushrooms popped up overnight, indicating my soil amending is finally paying off.  ‘Shrooms are always a promising sign of soil health.  At least something’s healthy in these sick times!




COVID Summer Days

We needed to pick up my new Greenworks rototiller at Lowes today (:D), and almost all people had masks on and were distancing, so that’s something, however belated.  Later in the season, I’ll be cultivating more amendments into my garden beds, and enlarging them.

Here we have E’s annual fabulous lasagna, featuring a sauce that includes homegrown tomatoes, onions, and herbs.  And tons of cheese.  It’s “annual”, because it takes a year to get motivated to make it, and a year to work it off.

Here is Misu in her usual lethargic poses.  It’s a hard life.

And of course we have some happy flowers, and this butterfly (I think a common Buckeye) making the most of them.


Dodging Feeble Minds

I’m loving all this rain, but at the same time not envying folks along the east coast facing tropical storm emergencies during the pandemic.  I can’t imagine having to choose between two forms of death risk at a time like this.

It’s dangerous enough just shopping for necessities, knowing there are actually people who are intentionally and maliciously coming up to masked customers and spewing germs on them, out of some misguided resentment over the inconvenience of masks.  This is the kind of deranged behavior encouraged by our narcissist-in-chief.

Fortunately we did not encounter much strange behavior at Kroger this morning, other than a large creepy guy stalking E through the store.  Almost everyone was wearing a mask, although some people still don’t get the part about actually covering their faces.  Mental deficiency seems to go with trump territory.

But I digress from matters of consequence.  More rain means more flowers in the “prairie” and gardens.  The tomatoes are finally tomato-ing.  Totally unrelated but just as shiny, here is a new lava lamp to replace the one that died.  I know, not a necessity, but essential for atmosphere!  It’s a mental health lava lamp.




A Change in the Air

It’s like someone flicked a switch.  Even down south, as soon as it turns August, there’s a certain something, je ne sais quoi, in the air.  It’s fresher and breezier, and it’s easier to work.  Which is what I did.

I finished cleaning up the main veg bed, planted some homegrown pepper and eggplant seedlings, fed and watered them, and spread blood and bone meals around the various veg beds.  I also planted my mammoth sunflower seedlings in the front of the “prairie”.  Hopefully they’ll get off to a good start before the varmints eat them.

Lots of blanketflower, goldenrod, BE susans, coneflowers, butterfly weed, mountain mint, and other natives are blooming in the “prairie”.  I’m noticing more dragonflies, birds, rabbits, and other critters out there.  It actually is starting to look more prairie-like, if you squint!

And of course no post would be complete without yet more flower shots around the yard.