minty fresh

The mint is blooming like crazygonuts, and it’s been absolutely filled with insects enjoying the sweetness. It was mega sunny (not to mention swelteringly hot) yesterday, but we managed to get a little bit of decent footage.

You really can’t get the sense of just how many insects are in this area unless you’re actually here, but trust me when I say there are dozens at any given moment. Possibly over a hundred!

I took some close-up shots of some of the insects. I’m not sure what any of them are for certain.

Some sort of wasp?

unidentified insect on the mint

A moth?

unidentified insect on the mint

A very delicate blue butterfly?
EDIT: Identified! Summer Azure Celastrina neglecta

unidentified insect on the mint

A fly? Bee?
EDIT: possibly a Bot Fly

unidentified insect on the mint

This might be the same guy from a different angle:

unidentified insect on the mint

A bee:
EDIT: identified! Yellow Jacket Wasp

unidentified insect on the mint

And I think this one might be a Great Black Wasp (Katydid Killer):

unidentified insect on the mint

I can’t fathom how skinny this thing is:

unidentified insect on the mint

If anyone knows what any of these insects are, I’d love to know.

Lots more photos at Flickr.

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jive potatoes!

I spent almost all day today out in the back garden, which I’ve been neglecting while focusing on the front and driveway-side perennial gardens. The fence-side bed where I have corn and potatoes growing (also marigolds) was really looking weed-infested and the potato plants were all faded and ready to be pulled out. You can see in this photo from last week that it was pretty overgrown:

fence-side bed

And now, after today’s hard work, ta-da!

fence-side veg bed

As I pulled out the wilted potato plants, I gathered a few potatoes, leaving some (those buried deeper) in the ground for later harvest. From what I’ve read/heard, you can leave potatoes in the ground for quite awhile and they’ll be the same when you pull them out later. I also harvested a few ears of the Tom Thumb Popcorn I planted, which is tiny and adorable (and needs to dry for a month or so before it’ll be ready for popping, according to what I’ve read). The potatoes are theoretically Desiree and Red Gold, though I think that some of the taters I grew last year might have spawned some, too.

potatoes and tom thumb popcorn

What a haul! Karl got inspired and created a mega delicious dinner from some of these potatoes. Back in my undergrad days, my pal Moses used to make a dish called Jive Potatoes and we made a variation on that dish tonight. First, I sliced the potatoes pretty thin (you could also chop them into chunks, but thinner slices cook faster) and then Karl tossed them with olive oil, oregano, minced garlic (not fresh, alas, as my garlic isn’t ready yet), and some general Italian seasoning.

mixing

mixing face!

ready for the grill

After it was all mixed, Karl fashioned a pouch from aluminum foil (we didn’t have any of those ready-made pouches around the house) and put that on the grill. After awhile (20 minutes? I forgot to keep track), Karl determined that they were ready and pulled the pouch off the grill.

after being grilled

after being grilled

plating

delicious jive potatoes

SO delicious! I dipped mine in ranch and Karl seasoned his with pepper (he likes things VERY peppery, to the point where it makes me sneezy). I highly recommend this dish, which was made all the more enjoyable by having grown the potatoes myself.

The mint that has taken over a small patch by the AC unit is in full bloom, and I seem to have two different varieties, one with slightly purplish blossoms:

mint

and a taller variety with white blossoms that the bees really seem to be enamored with:

mint

bee on mint

I haven’t made mojitos yet this summer but I definitely have more than enough mint. Anyone have a good mojito recipe?

More photos at Flickr.

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