Kansas City trip

We went on an outing to Kansas City to the Sea Life aquarium. Not our typical routine, but it was fun.

Jason in fish tank

This is Jason’s brother Mark.

Mark in fish tank

There were horseshoe crabs and rays.

horseshoe crabs rays

This is a blue catfish.

catfish

These are very thin fish–I’m not sure what they are.

thin fish

My favorite was the puffer fish.

puffer fish

The finale for the trip was seeing the weinermobile.

weinermobile

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Work day

We organized the potting area and it looks really great. The bottom is mulched with wood chips to hold moisture and smother the weeds.

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There are lots of volunteer squash plants in the compost pile. I think they are probably butternut squash plants.

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The baby swallows are getting bigger but don’t have regular feathers yet. One of them was especially exuberant this morning.

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Flowers on the road

It has gotten hot here during the daytime and I’ve been enjoying going for morning runs when it’s still cool and there is a breeze. I always attract some attention from the cows. Typically, the cows run along the fence with me during the first of the spring. After they realize that I’m not going to feed them and there is no one chasing me, they still watch but stay put.

cows 2

There are lots of native prairie flowers that I see on the road, and also some introduced flowering plants. Here are some that I’ve been able to identify.

general wildflowersI think there is black-eyed susan in this picture. I guess that it can be invasive in certain environments. Funny, because I know someone from Salt Lake that said she really struggled to keep them growing in her garden.

butterfly milkweed

This is butterfly milkweed. There are different flowers that are called that same name, but I’m pretty sure this is what this plant is commonly called. I have some orange-flowered ones that I have acquired seeds for.

ohio spiderwort

These blue flowers were everywhere in our neighborhood a month ago. There are still a few left. They are Ohio spiderwort. They do tend to grow under areas that have lots of trees.

pink flowers

I believe this is a wild prairie rose. The petals are almost like evening primrose but the centers are different. I think it’s the same as my login picture on Windows 7, actually.

Stinkhorn mushrooms

We were walking around the farm Saturday and admiring the beauty of nature. Kiro the cat came with us.

red-wing blackbird

kiro in garden

cinnamon vine

This is cinnamon vine or Chinese yam.  They make edible tubers and grow really well here (well enough to compete with crabgrass and bindweed).

horseradish

This is horseradish.

purple hulless barley

This is purple-hulless barley.

Then we saw these (bizarre, ugly things–I can’t help saying this).stink horn 1stink horn 2These are stinkhorn mushrooms (Mutinus elegans). They are harmless and grow in leaf litter. It was just surprising because neither of us had seen them before.

Last of the winter squash

The butternut squash and tatume squash has stored through the winter but is now starting to go soft due to warmer room temperatures. I baked a bunch of the butternuts and then froze them in portions so that we still have a supply of the pulp until we get a new crop this fall. The secondary benefit of that is roasted butternut seeds. Mmmm.

roasted butternut seeds

The one tatume that we had left was dry and stringy, almost like spaghetti squash. I baked this to get the pulp out and then broiled it with a bit of sesame oil and seasoning salt. We had this with some soba noodles that I had from the Asian market.

broiled winter tatoum

We did not roast the seeds from the tatume for eating, although we have before. These seeds are definitely keepers because this particular squash stored so well.

storage tatume seeds

Irrigation and another visitor

Although it has been really wet this spring, the summers are hot and dry here. We have some areas that are now set up like gardens for vegetable and fruit-bush growing. Jason has plumbed these with irrigation lines made from PVC pipe.

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The water is from the pond. The plan is to pump it to 250 gallon totes and then gravity-feed it to the lines.

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I think the irrigation control station is especially clever. You can pick which areas to irrigate. It’s like a big sprinkler system.

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Last but not least, some babies do come from under cabbages leaves.

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The work of orcs?

The electric company came by to cut the trees under the power line. A lot of them were natives and dogwoods, which Jason said would fill back in quickly after they had been cut, so we weren’t too concerned about letting them do this. We hope to plant some trees that don’t grow so tall underneath the lines so that this doesn’t continue to be an issue. The workers were really pleasant and efficient, but the results are a little startling.

Here is the driveway area that wasn’t cut, so you know what it looked like.

Driveway trees

Here is the area that was cut out.

driveway mud pit

I did seed some white dutch clover here so that it might interfere with the poison ivy. But I was reminded of this scene from one of the Lord of the Rings movies:

Orcs take down tree