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  • Archive for June, 2013

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    …don’t forget to change your blog feed reader service if you’ve been using Google Reader. It’s gone starting July 1st.

    I’ve switched to Feedly and based upon Elizabeth’s review to Bloglovin’ as a backup. They both have platforms to import your current feeds, but you can also type in Oceanicwilderness.com into either and add me in or use this link for Bloglovin’. You can also copy in http://feeds.feedburner.com/oceanicwilderness to either of those services, or click the link, but it seems Feedburner has narrowed down their list of potential subscription services significantly. Email subscriptions still work currently with Feedburner so that is also an option until Google does away with Feedburner and then I’ll have to find something else.

    So…don’t forget to fix your subscriptions by the end of the weekend!

    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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    Pitching our tent on top of the Pass turned out to be perfect. We found an out of the way alcove, pitched the tent and took an afternoon nap. I alternated between reading and napping and of course poking my head out to check on our gear in case the goats were out snacking on it or our food.

    Chris saw some other folks climbing one of the mountains nearby so he followed in their tracks after dinner in order to try to see about taking sunset photos. I can’t remember if it was a success or not, but I’m sure the view was even better a few hundred feet higher.

    I think if I lived in the area this national forest would definitely be on my list of outdoor playgrounds to make regular visits to. So much to explore, learn, and see.

    Black from Tula
    Black from Tula

    Ceylon Red
    Ceylon Red

    German Johnson
    German Johnson

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    radishes
    French Breakfast radishes

    Schimmeig Striped Hollow
    Schimmeig Striped Hollow

    Strawberry Popcorn
    Strawberry Popcorn

    Striped Togo Trifele
    Striped Togo Trifle

    Black from Tula and Sriped Togo Trifele
    Black from Tula & Striped Togo Trifle

    Orange Tomatoes

    Scallop Zucchini
    Monster squash

    The heat is killer now. Sometimes I am tempted to get up early in the mornings just to work outside but then I laugh at myself and realize just how crazy that is—me, get up? Nah! Although, I have been getting up early to rollerblade a few times a week—some weeks—when I manage to get up after Leo pokes me in the face with his paw a million times.

    But, it is hot. Now I try not to work outside until 7pm and then I end up working out there until 8:45 when the sun is set and dusk is falling fast. Now is the time of year it seems like I just mowed and I’ve gotta mow again, or I just picked those weeds and now I’ve gotta pick them again. So much to do.

    Tonight I am going to plant a night blooming cereus, which has a couple of flower buds on it that I am excited to see bloom. It was a $2 special at a local nursery several months ago—the fall maybe?

    And there’s no rain in sight. At all. 10-20% is not a chance in my book. Ok, so an afternoon t-storm could show up, as it did a week ago when I was in the middle of mowing the backyard. I pulled the lawn tractor under a hickory for a few minutes hoping it would pass but it didn’t so I had to finish mowing later on in the week. But that’s it, which means I’ll be doing some hand watering for trees around the yard.

    It’s hot. That’s really all I’ve got to say…the veggies are hanging on there, I’m hoping to get more tomatoes but we’ll see about that now the temperatures are high. I guess there won’t be any canning going on this summer.

    What’s going on in your neck of the woods???

    Also, drop by Sprout Dispatch tomorrow for the first in our summer garden tour series!

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    I stared at the snow covered peak in the far background on the right for a long time. It looked gigantic, threatening, exciting. I later determined it was Glacier Peak.

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    When we arrived back at Aasgard Pass we stopped to take a short break and take in the view. I hadn’t taken any photos on our summit, having been tired and ready to filter water at one of the lakes. That afternoon we were planning on descending and camping somewhere down at Colchuck Lake but I decided that we should camp up top, enjoy the view through the evening, especially since we had the permits to be up there. So we did and it was magnificent! I’ll be sharing some of the evening photos soon!

    For the last several weeks I’ve been noticing a very small, really tiny bug in our kitchen around our pantry. I’ve just swept them up or killed them if I saw them walking around, but I get bugs in the kitchen coming from the sink, up through the pipes from the septic tank, so I really just expected it was something along those lines.

    Finally as I was cleaning up last night for a visit with family coming to town I decided to Google the bug with a weird description. It had a long snout and a rotund abdomen and went from there. The initial results gave me the idea of weevils. But none of the common pest weevils that were listed looked like it. I gave up for awhile but thought on it while I went upstairs to get ready for bed.

    I thought maybe I would put sweet potato and weevil together and see what I came up with. After all, we stored our sweet potatoes in the pantry. Could be…who knew? It was worth a try.

    Hah…worst guess ever—worst guess in that I was right! Holy cow!

    I didn’t even know sweet potatoes had pests but apparently they do! So, this morning I dug out the paper sacks I kept them in to find them all eaten up from the inside, shriveled up and dried. So much for having some sweet potatoes to get us through until late Fall for our next harvest!

    Sweet potato weevil damage

    Sweet potato weevil damage

    Look at all those holes! Needless to say I threw them all out, bypassing the compost bin. No use in trying to spread that business around my yard for most infestations later.

    Sweet potato weevil damage

    I keep trying to figure out just how I got them but I guess that some larvae overwintered in there and when the time was right out they came? I don’t know but I guess we’ll either have to eat our next harvest quickly or find a better way to save the potatoes.

    Entirely frustrating!

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    Since it is coming up on almost a year since our trip to Washington I thought it wise to start finishing up these photos. This is our walk back towards Aasgard Pass through the Upper Enchantments, showing some of the area that I didn’t cover on our trip into the lakes.

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    The pink on the snow is snow algae, also called watermelon snow.

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    Going back through these photos makes me wish I was out adventuring somewhere. Maybe sometime later this summer or the fall.

    Short fir trees, rocks…must be a mountain in the north woods. New Hampshire to be precise and getting into the White Mountains. I wish Chris had left the video on as we came out of the trees and into the open mountain top so you can see the full effect of getting to the top of a mountain. I loved how it flattened out, there are the end, time to speed up after several miles of a steady ‘up’.

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    I’m thankful I only live about 7 minutes from my office so I get to spend the lunch hour at home if I want. It’s nice to see what the garden is doing in the middle of the day, too. The bees are busy, building out comb and storing honey for the winter.

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    From talking with others growing tomatoes it seems this year is weird for tomatoes. Perhaps the cool spring and then hot summer immediately after is not going to let us have an abundant harvest. These are the first ripening tomatoes, labeled at Arkansas Traveler but I’m almost 100% sure this isn’t an Arkansas Traveler. I’m guessing we mixed some seeds up or a label somewhere along the line.

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    The cowpeas are doing excellent, thick and lush! I can’t wait for them to start producing some fruit! These are Big Red Ripper.

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    And a little bit of tropics with a plumeria cutting that is blooming. I got this from my mom, who got her cutting from her (and my dad’s) friend Randy when he lived in Florida.

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    The corn is flowering! And you can see the okra there below it to the left, recovering from the deer grazing a couple of weeks ago. Some of that is growing exponentially!

    That’s my lunchtime garden roundup for today…now I’ve gotta get back to work!

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    Over Memorial Day weekend we headed off towards the Texas Hill Country west of San Antonio to do a little exploring. Our original intentions were to hit up Government Canyon State Natural Area since we always seemed to drive past it for other parks further west. Well, the weather decided not to play nice that weekend. Only days before we had been planning on kayaking along the Guadalupe River but a call to an outfitter and checking the river levels online revealed the river was a bit dry for running the river where we were planning. Then storms came through two days in a row causing flooding. Then there was too much water in San Antonio!

    We’d checked night before on Government Canyon’s Facebook page for updates on trail closures and they had reopened. Now with storms rolling through San Antonio on Saturday morning we decided to find a McDonald’s for wifi to check on the park before getting into town. Sure enough they were closed as was Hill Country State Natural Area just a bit further west. But Lost Maples had somehow evaded most of the heavy rain and was still open! As we meandered through San Antonio on I-10 we saw signs for lower ramp levels closed due to flooding and later on found out the San Antonio river had done some localized flood damage. That’s flash flooding for ya!

    I wrote about the bird feeders at the park where we had lunch, but then after lunch we headed down the trail. We opted for the west loop this time, walking in a counterclockwise fashion.

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    We passed the ponds first, walking on relatively flat trail the majority of the loop.

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    Water was available in the creeks but nothing over the top and overflowing the banks.

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    Nothing like a mass of caterpillar to pull your off trail to investigate. I’m not sure what kind they are…anyone?

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    Walking through the narrow canyon between the hills was fairly quiet and uneventful. Chris walked right past this green milkvine, Matelea reticulata. It was intermingled in a mass of Clematis texensis, which meant a good photo opportunity.

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    I’m not sure which nightshade this is, probably Solanum elaeagnifolium?

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    Mexican hat’s were providing a good dose of summer color (Ratibida columnifera).

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    Phaon crescent butterfly

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    Took me a bit to figure this one out since it wasn’t in my butterfly book—but I narrowed down to the blues and hairstreaks to get to Reakirt’s blue butterfly.

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    Both it and the phaon crescent were sipping off of the frog fruit flowers.

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    At least they were patient enough to hang around and let me get a few shots. Next time I need to snag the macro lens from Chris!

    It was a pleasant walk through the park, though a bit humid towards the end of the hike. The crowds started growing as we were leaving with weekend campers backpacking in to the remote sites for the weekend.

    Last week Chris and I were in his truck and I had the strange thought…I really wished I had a gac vine. I know, strange thought there, but the peachy/yellowed colored blooms just came into my head and I began reminiscing about all of our plants in Florida then and there. So, I thought I’d do a short post on some plants I wish I still had but sold over three years ago before we moved. Some I probably won’t get back due to our less tropical growing zone, others I could probably swing once again.

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    Gac!

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    Gac intermingled with passiflora and thumbergia there on the fence. A little wild I’d say. We were trying to smother the air potato vine that the neighbors didn’t know to kill (death to air potato!).

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    The Brassavola sp./cultivar orchid that did so well in its coconut shell. Right by our screen door on the back porch, it was lovely to stop and smell on the way in or out.

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    Variegated vanilla….and any of our vanilla orchids that had managed to climb up trellises and poles, trained up along the ceiling of the porch.

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    Our chalice vines. Not really vining in the sense of the word, but more succulent like and massive once established. We had a variegated variety and a regular one as well. Easy to establish by stem cuttings.

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    Tillandsia streptophylla. I actually bought this off of Etsy. When Etsy was easy to search and manageable.

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    Of course now we work on having new favorites, but some of the old ones will have a place in my heart.

    Do you have a list of plants you wish you could have again?

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