01 August 2021

from garden to table

No cowpeas yet, but I'm still impressed at how healthy these plants look. Barely touched by the insects, while I'm picking leaf hoppers, stinkbugs and cucumber beetles off the green beans right next to them. Still no sign of little beans yet, but they've begun to send out thick runners. I put up a few poles but will need more- and taller!
One huge cucumber, and a short but very fat zucchini. 
Baked it with tomatoes from the garden! 
 Also made this lentil dish, finally cracking open one of my cookbooks. (The cucumber slices were added as an afterthought, not part of the recipe). Lentils cooked with (among many other things) peppers, bay leaf and ginger mint from the garden. Fresh basil garnish. So the meal had seven things I grew.
My kids were not too keen on the zucchini boats, but they liked the lentils! It was work to prepare but definitely worth repeating.

29 July 2021

for chicken soup

fresh out of the garden: carrots, lovage, leeks and tarragon.
I used the tarragon from the perennial herb bed- it was great. Thriving. The more tender mexican mint marigold in the pot is also doing well, but I don't like the flavor as much. 

On the cutting board the lovage, tarragon, leeks

28 July 2021

garden food

Cucumbers and tomatoes. The cukes are good again this year- nice and fresh, no bitterness at all.
Getting a nice amount of cherry tomatoes! and darker cherokee purples.
My basils are all thriving on the deck
Fresh caprese one of my favorite summer snacks
First decent picking of green beans
The cowpeas- on the right here- grow taller, stand upright without support (so far) and don't seem as bothered by the bugs. But they haven't flowered yet, much less grown any beans. If they do so later in the season, might be worth growing both every year after all (I was leaning towards just cowpeas in the future) to have continual crop.
I have a few new zucchini forming, Hope these don't turn to yellow mush like the last one did, before I can pick 'em.

27 July 2021

july flowers

Some just beginning, others are near their end. My purple clematis bloomed a third round- though the flowers are very few. I had to prop up this last one for a picture, as the rain beat it down last night.
A yellow counterpart- at least, its shape seems similar to me: zucchini flower. If my zucchinis continue to rot (cucumbers right next to them are prefectly fine!) maybe I'll start eating the flowers instead.

Rue, yellow floating above the blue, also a bit crinkled from the rain.
Small yellow on the ground: cucumber flower.
Even smaller: tiny white flowers on my winter savory.
Also quite small- tiny purple trumpet-shaped flowers on the dark glossy plant I bought on a whim. Never found the tag again and I can't remember its name!
Up on the deck, a volunteer nicotiana. It grew out of the drain hole in a pot, that had trellis for my sweet peas. So I left the pot there, because it was so amusing (and pretty).
Pink trio of geraniums are flowering again, though they keep loosing leaves. Turn yellow, then brown, then drop. Am I watering too much? or not enough- are they drying out between rain spells.
Cardinal climber has crawled all over the planter boxes on that end of the deck railing. Swarming my parsley!
Most of the flowers are up top, here. I've trimmed some of the trailing vine ends- they are still looking for height- hoping the plant will branch more further down and fill in the trellis. I love how it's grown all through the balusters:
Tithonias are all flowering on the second sunny slope. Doing much better in this new spot!
Beautiful from the sideyard: gladiolas. The one salmon pink spray is from the new group.
Arranged in the house.

26 July 2021

the smallest ones

I moved my shrimp jar back downstairs, and put the old one (left) next to the new one (right).
First jar is pretty much the same- 
Second one I planted with the corkscrew vals. Funny, I don't really like how these vals look in my main aquarium, but I find them interesting in the small jar. 
Above view:
Each jar now has just two amano shrimp.
Camera had trouble focusing on this one.
In my tenner, the few white cloud minnow fry are getting bigger- enough to look like regular fish, just so small. They're still a tad smaller than a single rotala leaf!
And very hard to get photos of.

25 July 2021

angels update 10

It seems this might resolve on its own, the mouth fungus. I've kept to my new cleaning schedule and maybe it's helping. Or having less stress, fewer aggressive fish in the tank is. Perhaps her immune system is finally fighting it off. Shirley's improved another margin.
The bruising under skin and odd behavior isn't any better, though. My family has started to notice: "Mom, why is your fish acting weird?" My husband has seen them wildly thrashing the pelvic fins, and today I was in the other room, replied "I don't know, what are they doing?" Ten-year-old told me that Miss Beautiful was at an odd angle, nose up, and the other fish was picking at her. Dread in my heart. This is just what I saw going on with my prior paradise fishes before they died . . . 

Well, for the little help it will give in keeping nitrates low, most of the pothos vines I cut have sprouted roots long enough to reach.
So I've put them on the back of the tank- the stem sits on the rim lip, and the roots just touch the water through gap behind the skirt.
One didn't grow much yet and is still in the cutting tray.

24 July 2021

two new

things growing for summer- I have ripe figs now! Small, but pretty good. Rose of sharon is blooming- at least, the oldest one. Younger and smaller haven't started yet.

21 July 2021

yesterday

the eggs turned white- all dead (unfertilized). Precious kept fanning and protecting them, Miss Beautiful wanted to eat them- and aggressively drove Precious away so she could do so. Now Shirley is plump and her breeding tube showing, Miss Beautiful's tube is out also. I'm expecting Shirley to lay eggs next, but not sure if she will pair up with one of the others? Last time she laid eggs was with one of the males I removed. Perhaps Miss Beautiful and Precious have a strong enough bond they simply won't allow her to lay eggs.

Precious has a few fin tears from Miss Beautiful chasing her, I think that will heal okay but Shirley has flat white marks on her tail fin that weren't there before. Her lip is the same- a small white blot in center. I didn't do a salt bath yesterday or today- but am still testing the water daily. Nitrates started to get above 10ppm so I did a wc today.

My plan is to do 30% wc twice a week on a regular basis now. Every other wc I either rinse one of the filter sponges or gravel vac the planters, and I made a little chart so I won't forget what I did last time. I'm thinking of making new baskets, to have them all uniform height and a bit less depth- maybe that will help me keep it cleaner. When I bought new food recently, I immediately tossed half the amount of each package, because I know I will only go through about half in six months, and this will easily remind me to buy new food for them again.

Upset because I think they have viral septicemia. I was going to try putting all of them- the three angelfishes and three remaining kuhli loaches- in my 20gal QT and treat with triple sulfa, but that would only help if this is the bacterial form of the disease, and most accounts I read of that say the fishes die very quickly of that, within days. Whereas some can be resistant to the viral form. And there's no cure. So basically I can't add any fish, and have to just give them the best care until they're suffering too much, then euthanize and leave my tank empty for 2 weeks. After that the virus should die out lacking a fish host. If the info I read was correct.

I suspect this is what my two prior paradise fishes had. I don't know for sure, though. I treated the angelfish tank with praziquantel twice before, as I thought the jerky motions and twitchiness Miss Beautiful displayed, was from external parasites irritating her? She only got marginally better though, and the symptoms came back. She sometimes looses color and sits nose up, motionless or drifting, in the middle of the tank. Other times she twitches and darts around like something bit her, or shakes her ventral fins wildly (not the same jerking as when threatening another fish). The other day I saw one of the gold angels jerk the pelvic fins in the same way. And she's for a very long time, often startled and crashed into the walls (though not recently)- I thought she was just nervous, or being bitten by the black skirt tetras- but now I wonder if it was the virus affecting her brain all this time. They all show the red streaks still, which fades sometimes and is more vivid other times.

Sorry if this is repetitive, I've been thinking about it a lot and reading a lot, trying to find symptoms described that match- and viral septicemia seems what it is because of the redness where the fins meet the body, or as if bruises under the skin. It makes me feel very glum. Upset that I adopted fish and put them in this tank which is probably infected, that my beautiful angels suffer, that I gave fish to someone else who might be carrying it. The festivums didn't have symptoms but I did tell the guy who took them, that they'd shared a tank with fish I suspected were ill. And I showed him the angels, pointing out the symptoms and telling him my suspicions. He didn't seem too concerned, said he'd keep them in their own tank if he needed to. But now I feel like it would be have better had I just euthanized them instead.

19 July 2021

So here's the surprise

Yesterday, Precious laid eggs again.
This time on a narrow crypt balansae leaf.
One that already has a few holes in it from somebody trying to eat it. So not only did she miss the edge sometimes, but also made her pass over the gap, so eggs kept falling. Then Miss Beautiful, in attendance, would dart down to grab (and eat it).
It's been amusing to watch Precious try every angle to get eggs on the leaf-
turning sideways to try and lay them on the narrow edge, 
or upside down to put them underneath, when she ran out of top surface. I don't know if those stuck!
I used to feel a bit sad watching them go through all this, knowing they'll never see the process to completion. Do they wonder why it isn't working, when they have a partner now? Do they feel disappointed the eggs don't hatch. Well, now I think: hey at least they have something to do, other than eat, sleep, and drift in circles. Maybe it feels purposeful, even though they never get fry.
Miss Beautiful sure is in fine color again. Her tail fin is almost completely healed, from the tear it got when I netted her out to add her companions a month ago. But can also see the red streak on edge of body is back, and worse. I'm dreading it really is viral septicemia.