i had a dream last night where i was on a crowded bus talking with somebody when i suddenly realized i didn't have my face mask on. i looked around to see who else wasn't wearing their mask and sheepishly put mine back on. coronavirus dreams!
i rode the bike to belmont on this saturday because supposedly we were going to get some heavy rains later in the afternoon. but the noontime forecast downgraded that to a passing shower, one that could potentially pass by us altogether.
one of the pepper plants that we kept alive indoors over the winter but thought was probably dead has come back to life. it'd been heavily attacked by aphids and we basically gave up on it but didn't toss it out because there was a new fern plant growing in the plot. today we ended up burying the pepper in the raised bed and i moved the fern to someplace shady. i believe this is an apache pepper, very spicy, rather unusual, that's why we decided to keep it alive during the winter.
now is the season of foxgloves. in our backyard they grow like weeds, emerging out of the most random of spots. foxglove seeds are tiny, like dust grains, it's a miracle we managed to get so many out of just a few that i originally raised from seeds. they started out all white but as they mature they turn into various shades of pink. we've seen a few bees visiting the flowers but they're not bigger attractors of pollinators.
my father pruned the water reeds. we brought it out too soon, they don't have the cold weather just like the cactuses. anything below 50°F and they start yellowing. we originally had a pot full of green stalks that have no turned mostly yellow. fortunately they grow fast, in a month or two they'll be back to green again.
i saw them yesterday but my father made some DIY cages to protect our squash seedlings we keep seeming to disappear. not sure what's eating them, a combination of rabbits most definitely, but squirrels also like to dig in the dirt, uprooting the seedlings in the process, or simply eating the seeds. my father used everything from inverted air conditioner cages to stainless steel magazine racks that he put upside down and put cardboards on the ends. once the seedlings get big enough hopefully the smaller critters will leave them alone.
i noticed spots on the reliance grape leaves. they looked familiar but i wasn't sure what they were. if i had to guess, black rot infection. sure enough, later when i looked it up online, they are indeed black rot. i'll need to remove all the affected leaves tomorrow and spray everything down with serenade.
my father buried another length of wire fencing underneath our southern wooden fence when he noticed that a woodchuck had dug a new hole. that area used to be impervious to woodchuck digging thanks to dead and buried bamboo roots, through thick for even a woodchuck to dig through. but after all these years the roots have dried and now they've become brittle, easier to dig. my father hide a pile of old bamboo roots he pulled out. instead of throwing them away, i'm going to rinse the dirt off of them first.
all my lotus plants have between 3-4 coin leaves. those that have 3 should actually have 4 as well: one i accidentally broke off the tip of the stem when i was originally germinating the seeds, and the other one was uprooted by a raccoon, a miracle it survived at all. the 5th leaf is special because starting from the 5th leaf it may either be a surface-floating coin leaf or a free-standing aerial leaf. the two lotuses located in the most central portion of the garden both seem to have potential aerial leaves. i was surprised that these 5th leaves all seem to be emerging a few inches away from where i originally planted the seed. the two lotuses on the side of the raised bed (rubber tub lotuses), they didn't get as much as the middle lotuses, and they were also small in size to begin with. these don't seem to have made any 5th leaf yet. finally, the lotus by the basement entrance, it appears to have made a 5th leaf stalk all the way on the side of the basin. some of the lotus containers are cloudy either with mud or algae; i'll need to clean them at some point once we have enough surplus rain in the barrels. the lotuses don't mind, but i think they look better when the water is crystal clear.
as far as i know, none of the lotus roots i reburied from last season seemed to have survived. all the activities seem to be from the new seedlings. a few reasons why this year i can expect healthier lotuses: 1) i started earlier, a month earlier than last year; 2) each lotus plant has its own large basin filled with grow medium (mostly clay and sand, one container has a combination of soil-clay-sand), so plenty of space to grow; and 3) i've elevated the inner basins so the lotuses are just 4-6" below the water, so they don't have to work as hard to break the surface. i don't think i'll be lucky enough to see any first-season lotus flowering, but i'm hoping to have enough healthy lotus seeds that can survive the winter indoors so they can be regrown next spring.
it was so sunny during the first part of the day that we were thinking we wouldn't see any rain today. but around 3pm the sky darkened fast, and soon the rain started.
it wasn't a drenching rain, more like a drizzle with fat droplets. and it didn't last very long, less than an hour later i was back outside, the rain had mostly stopped. we didn't get much rain in the barrels, about an inch increase at best. i did observe the rain barrel in front of the house collecting rainwater from our downspout gutter diverter, we weren't sure how much water it could collect but it looked like a good amount.
while it was still raining outside, i was busy disassembling our old transfer pump and putting it back together. it stopped working again today, just like the last time. to fix it, i just need to take everything apart and put it back together again. nothing seemed wrong inside, not sure why now suddenly it'll just stop working for no reason. there doesn't seem to be any kind of reset button, yet somehow jiggling around the inside parts seems to fix it.
once the rain started to let up, i went outside to take some more photos, as the rain always seems to add a touch of drama to the wet plants.
though the rain wasn't enough to fill our rain barrels, it was enough to water the entire backyard. nothing like a long drought to make you appreciate the times when it does rain. it also lowered the temperature by a good 10 degrees, it was now nice and refreshingly cool outside.
we noticed it earlier, but the bottom underneath the fence that my father plugged up, a woodchuck did manage to come into our backyard for a little while. in that time, it managed to utterly defoliate all the lupines growing by the back fence. even though it looks horrible, i'm confident the lupines will bounce back. not having to make anymore flowers allows them to divert their energy to making more leaves. just to be certain though, we checked underneath the log piles to make sure no woodchuck was hiding there.
i've been meaning to get more hot pepper seedlings but haven't had the chance. in the backyard we currently have two kung pao peppers i raised from seeds (the only two that germinated), one overwintering thai red chili pepper plant, and one overwintering apache pepper. hot peppers are a plant that are compact enough that it's possible to put them in a pot and keep them alive over winter so you can replant them in the spring.
more foxgloves and columbines!
when i got home i opened up as many windows as i could to cool down the house (80 inside, 68 outside). i went to bed by 2am, but when i checked my pokemon go app, i saw there was a nearby gym with an empty slot. if i put a pokemon there overnight, that's an easy 50 coins. so i got dressed and like an addict, i wandered the dark empty streets to the pokemon gym to place my pokemon.