Various and Sundry

If I weren’t a Missouri native I would say the weather has been odd but to be fair to MO WX it’s always odd, so the every-other-day-torrential-rains are just another flavor of unexpected. Looking at my notes from last year, at this time we hadn’t had a drop of rain on the farm in 6 weeks and our retention pond was nearly dry. Odd.

Last weekend I finally put up V trellises for our raspberries, which have been getting excellent pollination from bumble- and carpenter bees and seem to have an excellent fruit set. I would like to re-mulch the canes before the real summer heat sets in, so perhaps I can get to that this weekend (wx permitting). I’m using a natural jute twine for the trellis horizontals that I don’t expect to last long, but I had it on hand and it was much easier to string and tension than #9 wire.

Our second-year raspberry canes looking quite healthy

Our second-year raspberry canes looking quite healthy

I also came across my first monarch caterpillar of the season! Technically the larval stage, it is a voracious eater and is probably already pupating. It was, of course, on milkweed, but in a bit of a surprise to me it was on a common milkweed and not the showier butterfly weed. Here are the milkweeds they eat: https://blog.nwf.org/2015/02/twelve-native-milkweeds-for-monarchs/

munch munch

munch munch

I also spent an hour hand-pulling my least-favorite plant, a perennial weed (and poisonous member of the tomato family) known as horse nettle. It has taproots, spreads both underground and from seed, and has insidious thorns everywhere, stem and leaves!

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