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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Citrus and stuff

In my eagerness to get to the oasis early yesterday morning, I left Alpine without my precious camera. That so traumatized me, that I didn't get much work done. My sister brought the camera from town today and I'm a happy camper. I will NEVER do that again. Never, ever!

The little cold front brought a few migrants with it, but I have hardly any hummingbirds. The least I think I've had in years, even when it's the middle of winter.

I've always loved citrus trees and have had one growing in the guesthouse for 34  years. And about 12 years ago I planted one in my house. It has a big green orange on it, as I write this.

My late husband built me a greenhouse where I grew an orange tree. I don't remember, but I think it froze in there and we eventually scrapped the greenhouse altogether.

Now, since I've learned certain swallowtail butterflies will only lay eggs in citrus, I'm determined to grow some outdoors. I ordered a native Ptelea trifoliata (Hoptree or Wafer Ash) that's of the citrus family. I plan to buy a Kumquat tree too. I will probably grow the latter in a pot and take it inside during winters. Additionally, I plan to plant seeds in pots and put them out when they outgrow their pots during springtimes. If they die in the ensuing winters, I'll replace them with more the next spring. That's my plan anyway. I'm gung-ho to grow citrus outdoors for the butterflies.

 I saw my first ever Giant Swallowtail larva today at a neighbor's, a couple of miles from here. In their small greenhouse with my long lens, I couldn't get far enough back for a sharp photo, and didn't have any other lens with me. It's a really cool larva, as larvae go.

These neighbors grow their citrus in a greenhouse that they heat  in the winter and open up in summer, but I'd rather move my future citrus inside with my nice little pump dolly (that my husband made for me to move the big gas pumps around on), than to hassle with a greenhouse again.

The recent rains have covered much of the landscape with flowers. I especially like these pink ones. I don't know what they're called.

My gambusia's eat mosquito larva and keep the oasis free of mosquitos. Here are a couple of photos of them doing their jobs.

And I managed to get some work done today, too. I painted the viewing blind and finally don't feel quite so ashamed of it. When I win the lottery, I'll have a lovely new one built.

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