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Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Week Later, A Week Ago

Every few days in June, an energetic storm system or three passed through, leaving anything from an inch to five inches of rain. The creek got out of its banks, just a bit, on several occasions but the pond level rose above the outlet pipe only once. I made this series of photos on June 28.

This is milkweed. These flowers somehow end up as the large seedpods that burst with down in the fall.

Day lilies and various grasses near the pipe spillway.

Wild grape added to the mix at the edge of the pond.

This plant, I do not know its name, makes nasty prickles.

Poison ivy in one of its manifestations. Our mowing and spraying last year, or weather and different competition – for whatever reason there is much less poison ivy this year in the trafficked and managed areas.

Another of our nemeses: thistle. I spent a lot of time last year with spade and machete eradicating thistle, and this year there has only been a small fraction of last years' plant numbers, maybe one percent.

The wild grape gets everywhere, an ongoing challenge to manage.

Down in the woods, the storms knocked over dead trees and brought down limbs. It's all pretty wild looking.

Every day that was too wet to get into the garden was a day I watched helpless as the purslane closed in on my little intended plants. The yards dried more quickly and I reckoned I would harvest more grass clippings to spread as mulch once I could work in the gardens.

I piled up lots of clippings. Three days later, when I began to spread them, I plunged my hands into one of the piles and nearly burned them. The clippings were in a state of advanced decomposition, and too slimy to spread around crops.

The sweet corn is nevertheless pretty well mulched with newspaper and clippings, and though the last big storm (which spawned a tornado in nearby Muscatine) knocked over the entire crop, it stood back up after a few days and has now closed the rows. As this occurs in other crops as well, the weeds will be more shaded and outcompeted.

The tomatoes have filled their cages and seem to be thriving; they're flowering.

We inherited the concord grape vines and a couple mature apples trees. Both are bearing heavily this year.

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