now that i'm doing more bicycling than motorcycling, i go back to the question: which is the more dangerous mode of travel? when i first started riding the bicycle, i was always scared. cars behind me, oncoming traffic, sudden door movements, all that contributed to a perpetual feeling of tension. but now i find bicycling to be the safer option, and it's the motorcycling that makes me more anxious. i ride the speed limit and i get tentative when i notice an emerging car. i'm just trying to survive this season.
my mother was home but soon left for the cafe when it started getting busy.
i pruned off all the black knots from the plum tree. it's too late to spray, but now that i'm aware of the problem, i can keep an eye out for future outbreaks and will spray with fungicide early next spring. the plum tree's other problem is the scale infestation. nothing i can do about it now, will have to wait until next spring to treat the tree with some sort of insecticidal oil. the tree hasn't developed a mature plum in years. all the fruits fall off when they get about gumball size.
there used to be 3 apple trees in the backyard, and now there's only one. we chopped down the one that used to be in the southwestern corner a few years ago. this year we're converting that corner to a corn and sunflower garden. the one surviving apple tree is riddled with disease, as yellow spots dot the leaves and the apples are all deformed and stunted. the tree in the southeastern corner is essentially a hollow tree trunk with a single surviving branch overhanging into a neighbor's yard. it's on this tree that i noticed some strange protrusions emerging from the trunk. it took me a few seconds to figure out they were the empty husks of recently emerged apple tree boring beetles. these are a pretty awful pest to have since just a few can kill a tree, but tree is pretty much dead anyway. more the reason to completely chop it down in the fall.
my father was the first to return home. he did some wisteria pruning then we put up some wire mesh trellises by the side of the basement entrance, for all the climbing plants (peas, gourds).
i just realized today that my parents' backyard is full of invasive plants: bamboos, honeysuckles, wisteria, raspberries, mint. even the biennial money plants have expanded to the other side of the yard, and the new addition of some chinese lantern plants adds a new member to the invasive garden.
i managed to get a few photos of a bald-faced hornet drinking nectar from some roses. they're pretty fierce looking and are bulky in size. i've seen them before but never able to get any pictures. this particular one that i saw is actually a queen, fueling up to start her nest and give birth to daughters who will then take care of her so she doesn't have to forage for herself anymore.
i also saw an underwing moth. it flew onto the fence when i disturbed its hiding place. i didn't know what kind of moth it was at first, until i saw it flying away and noticed the yellow/orange patches underneath its wings. otherwise it's a very nondescript moth with great camouflage.
finally, observed a bee-mimic robberfly underneath the heavily-pruned maple tree. it was stalking prey, using the violet leaves as launching pads. it unsuccessfully attacked a fly, followed by a yellowjacket. the skirmish with the wasp was most impressive, and it seemed like maybe the fight was started by the yellowjacket itself. my father was there when i pointed out the robberfly. he initially thought it was just a bee.
in the vegetable garden, nothing new to report, other one of the korean-store-bought cherry tomato plants have started to bear fruit. it's may and the tomatoes are already out! likewise, at least one of the cucumbers have already produced tiny fruits but not sure if they'll mature or just drop off.
the brief iris show is now over. the next flowers to bloom are some azure alliums i planted in the fall. i think i spread them too far apart for them to make any sort of colorful impact once they flower.