OK, starting with the good: yesterday evening my folks brought over more tomatoes and okra, and we hosted them in the back yard. More debriefing on the Florida family followed. Christine commented on how much more comfortable they seemed outside. I'm not sure why that's true, but i think they are. Even at their own home. So we had a lovely visit with them, and i served some previously dried okra and tomatoes with the drinks. There was some distraction from the hoverflies that hovered around us, and - good heavens - the damp damp weather feeds a somewhat fetid underscent. Still, i look forward to more pleasant weather and an established sward and more visits with family outside.
"Gardeners, therefore, sometimes use companion plants to attract hoverflies. Those reputed to do so include alyssum, Iberis umbellata, statice, buckwheat, chamomile, parsley, and yarrow." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverflies
Given that we were surrounded by buckwheat in bloom, the hoverflies are apparently to be expected. I hope they are ones that eat aphids.
As a side note, Mom has forgotten what a dehydrator is and how it works.
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Annoyance yesterday: after getting a bunch of brush ready to chip, i went to start the chipper. First pull on the starter, i see some leaves - presumably attached to a branch -- slide into the hopper. Next pull is tough, and then no pulls are possible.
Lesson learned: make sure the hopper is clear at the end of chipping and before chipping.
I'll have to take the hopper off and fish around to find the branch and get it out of the way. Bother.
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Annoyance today: somehow the signal on the wifi hotspot attached to our modem went south. Fortunately we had another hotspot. Just by chance my iPad was on that hotspot. So i was flummoxed for a long bit trying to figure out why they were different (and what was wrong with my work machine). Christine touched some things which we realize affected the antennas and now it's kind of back to normal. HOURS ON THIS.
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Another annoyance: i've picked out flower seeds for the orchard -- some are selected for ecosystem services such as accumulating nutrients or attracting friendly bugs (hoverflies, say), others because they are pretty or rugged. I'd found some really good deals on bulk seed, but i began to be suspicious at how good the deals were. Feh. Turns out the company has many complaints. I decided to look for other vendors. One plant i had found at the notorious outsidepride site was the beautifully blue and low growing Gentiana acaulis. PrairieMoon.com and EverWilde.com are the vendors i've found with bulk seed quantities appropriate for ground covers. If anyone has any other recommendations, i'm happy to hear them.