exotic bird day

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to thrill you and chill you with the latest, most exciting, most riveting, most interesting post it’s possible to make. You may remember me from such exciting and riveting posts as “Little Red Elephants” and “Revenge Of The Rodents”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic nose. I mean pose.14112308I guess things have been going okay with me; the guy I live with doesn’t seem too hugely worried anyway. It warmed up a whole bunch and then cooled off, and then warmed up, and then cooled off again. It snowed a little today. The guy I live with said “One hundred and nineteen flakes”, as if he could count that fast. And then the sun came out.

Some cutting down of things went on yesterday, and the day before, too. He says he gets dizzy sometimes, leaning over and cutting back plants, and could use an assistant, but he has to stick with his imaginary one. You know, Tania, the one who never shows up.

This is what the “new view” looks like with almost everything cut back. About the same as before, really. 14112303A new rock garden is going where the pinyon stump is. Some time in the future, I understand. And all the plants that were planted to take up space are going to be moved, to make room for “cooler plants”, which I guess makes sense.

And so, to celebrate the new view, or something, we had some very exotic birds land in the garden, and they started to eat stuff off the ground. I’m not allowed to do that, though I still do, sometimes. My grandpa Flurry was a big one for eating bird seed, which the guy I live with said was a very low thing for a purebred, herding certified border collie to do, but he did it anyway. 14112302In other news, the guy I live with made his seed-sowing mix yesterday. It’s just peat moss, perlite, and sand, with some Turface (calcined clay) thrown in, too. At first he said he was going to screen the peat moss, which he does for making troughs, but he decided not to. The mix goes into a (clean) trash can and sits out on the patio, making it look like stuff is done around here. This is for seed sown in pots and left outdoors, which isn’t much of anything resembling work, if you ask me. Exactly how much work is it to leave something outdoors? 14112305Other things do resemble work, and come with instructions, which the guy I live with paid no attention to (typical) and wondered “why the stupid iris seeds didn’t germinate”, but after he read the instructions, and decided they “weren’t technical enough”, which is why he couldn’t understand them, he did some studying (for once), and figured out what the instructions were trying to tell him. Slicing into the seed embryo with a razor blade and things like that.

So, in a way, this isn’t “what happens when you follow the instructions” so much as it is “what happens when you figure stuff out for yourself”. Whatever. You should have heard all the hoopla when four seeds of Iris lycotis germinated yesterday. The seed was collected in northwestern Iran about fifteen years ago; a climate similar to the one here. They were placed on damp filter paper, which he happened to have some of. (Well, it started out dry, but I think you know what I mean.)

Iris lycotis (JJA 590.801)

Iris lycotis (JJA 590.801)

You might think, “Iris, huh”, but it’s not that way at all. Here’s a publicity photo of Iris lycotis from our garden, just to remind you. It is a big deal.lycotis1Let’s see now. Oh, I have a picture of the way the sky looked today, before it snowed those 119 flakes. 14112304And a picture of me doing one of the things I do best. If it looks like that 4×4 on the left is leaning a bit, that’s because it is. The camera lens does distort a little here, but the post is still leaning. It was pushed a little to the north when we had huge piles of snow on top of the patio cover, winter of 2006-07. The guy I live with braced it, some. That was the winter that the patio slab on the right cracked in four places, because there weren’t any expansion joints included.

The heated birdbath is very important to the birds. The birdbath hasn’t frozen much in the last couple of nights, though. 14112307Now that really is all. You know I’m going to have to hear about iris seeds for a long time to come, but I guess it gives the guy I live with something to do. 14112306

Until next time, then.

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mountain wave

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest and most fascinating news from our garden that I can. You may remember me from such fascinating posts as “Something From Nothing”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14111902I’d just gotten scratched behind the ears, which always feels good. I’ve been feeling rather excellent lately, and the weather has changed to the point where I can lie out on the patio rug in the evening, taking everything in.

Yesterday there was a mountain wave. That’s a name for a cloud formation. It generally means that there’s a wind blowing, sometimes a chinook, and the wind was very pleasant. The snow is evaporating, and also melting, pretty quickly. 14111901There’s still snow on the ground, as you can see. The guy I live with, who is notorious for not following instructions, says that’s you’re not supposed to take pictures looking into the sun, but he does it anyway. Sort of looking into the sun, anyway.14111906A little to the left, and look how interesting things get.14111907We did a little walking around to see what suffered during our seventy-degree drop in temperature (in Celsius, say from +17C to -23C). The geraniums in pots, or pelargoniums in pots if you like, don’t look so good.14111904The cypressus, Cupressus montana, looks fine. The guy I live with says this is from Baja California, which is way too weird for me. Maybe “looks fine for now” is a more reasonable thing to say. Winter hasn’t even started yet, really. 14111905Most of the plants in the new sand pile look fairly good. I know you’re not supposed to look at plants during the winter, or say anything about their survival until next June or so, but we say stuff, and look at things, too.14111908We walked around the garden, and then that was done. Not everything is super happy, that’s for sure, but most things look okay.14111909One thing that did happen today was the arrival, in the mail, of a lot of old seed. The guy I live with says some of it still might be viable, and so he’s going to sow it, and see what happens. Gardeners who ordered seed from Czech collectors might recognize this little packet, made out of cigarette paper. He was somewhat moved when he saw this, reminiscent of happy days, now long past. 14111910It’s true that twenty-eight-year-old seed might not be viable, but a lot of species from harsh climates have seed that stays viable for a very long time. We’ll see, huh.

So, I was going to say that that was our day, but then later on something fairly dramatic, not to mention scary, happened. The guy I live with had taken a picture of a cloud he thought was interesting14111913and came back inside to look at the picture on the computer, when he heard a sort of low whistling, like in The Adventure of the Speckled Band, but he knew what it was.

Pretty scary, huh?14111911

14111912So the owls are back. I say “owls” because there was a second one, off to the left (south), making the low hooting sound. I don’t know where they went.

Now that really is it. Since I’ve lost a bunch of weight, I’ll try hard not to be carried off by an owl, which would make the guy I live with very sad, though he said that an owl “couldn’t possibly lift me”, which I guess is okay, though slightly rude.14111903

 

Until next time, then.

 

 

 

 

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mostly white

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our very white garden. You may remember me from such white-oriented posts as “The White Stuff” and “A Snow Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic, slightly snow-bedizened pose.14111504I bet you can tell, just from the title of today’s post, not to mention from my picture above, that it’s snowing here. It’s been snowing all day long. This is really the only time that we have day-long precipitation, when it snows. Once in a very long while it rains all day here, but that’s pretty rare indeed.

The guy I live with says that now that the big pinyon is gone (which he still feels kind of weird about cutting down), it looks like the shed has a smokestack, but that’s a feeder full of thistle seed. The shed is pretty cozy, with a dirt floor, but I’m glad I can stay inside when it’s cold. The evergreen you see to the right of the shed is a pinyon, by the way. 14111505I’m doing much better. I thought I should say that. Apparently I just had an episode that freaked out the guy I live with a whole lot. We went for walks in the snow today, but I could tell that he was glad it wasn’t an hour-long walk like some have been.

I did want to show what has happened to the pie pumpkin that was left out on the patio table. We both knew this would happen. 14111501The The guy I live with stuck his head out of the sliding glass door (after opening it, of course), and told the squirrel not to make a mess. Like that did any good.14111503I don’t know if I’ve talked about this wrought-iron furniture before. It was the guy I live with’s grandmother’s, and was originally white, then got painted green, and then black, and gradually the paint peeled away, showing all three colors, and my mommy said to leave it that way, that it gave it some class. That’s her stuff on the table. The guy I live with sows seed on the table, with the pots in a dishpan full of water, even in weather like this. Sometimes he starts a fire in the charcoal grill, to warm his hands, or (more likely) just to be different, but usually the seeds are sown outside, so as not to make a mess in the house, and then the pots are put on the shelves on the patio, unless there’s no snow, and then they can be put into the seed frames.

And incidentally, my mommy would save the seeds from the pie pumpkins, and roast them in the oven, and then salt them. They were really good. I know.

I’m not sure what the guy I live with is going to do if this turns out to be a long winter, with snow on the ground for months. He says he’s going to “think a lot”, which makes me a little uneasy. Most of the gardening takes the form of seed sowing and things like that. Sometimes he reads about gardening. But I’m feeling much better, and I guess that’s the most important thing. The cold weather makes my coat extremely soft.

I guess that’s it for today. 14111502

 

Until next time, then.

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below average

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. I might talk about myself a little, too. You may remember me from such posts as “A Rare Visitor” and “Caught On Film”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14111404The guy I live with said I should look cheerier, even though I’m kind of under the weather with the usual digestive thing, inflammatory something, and the guy I live with is worried that I might not last much longer. He worries about me a lot, which I understand completely. He talked to the doctor’s office briefly, and that made him feel a little better, until he started freaking out again. Nothing has happened to me all day long, but he doesn’t seem to be able to grasp that.

I had a nice dinner of 93 percent lean ground beef, rice soaked in chicken stock (low salt), and custom-steamed pumpkin and some Greek yogurt for dessert.  How’s this for cheery?14111401If you’re wondering about the piece of blue tape on the pantry door behind me, well, it’s to keep it closed (doesn’t work) until the guy I live with fixes the latch that holds the door shut. He has so many things to think about that he says he might need another brain. Like when people get an extra hard drive for their computers, I guess.

Oh, and about the ground beef. Someone told him that it was bad for me, but the guy I live with looked it up and the ASPCA website says senior dogs, which I’m one of, should have protein to help build muscle mass and stuff. He listens to other people way more than he should. Or maybe it isn’t that, it’s just that he remembers everything. Or something.

Anyway, as you may know, it got very cold here, very suddenly. It was okay for walking in, though. No gardening happened, for sure.

The guy I live with says we are below average for this time of year. I think he should speak for himself.

celsius on the left

celsius on the left

It warmed up some today, and so the guy I live with put up the rest of the bird feeders and filled them with seed. Then he realized that a couple of them were in the wrong place.14111403Hardly anything else happened today. He saw a red-breasted nuthatch but didn’t take its picture, and tried to take a picture of the downy woodpecker, but that didn’t come out, and there was a magpie on the suet feeder, but a flicker chased it away.

Eventually the sun started to go down.14111406The things hanging down from the honey locust are chains that hold bird feeders. Every so often the guy I live with hits his head on one of the feeders; that’s pretty funny.

Speaking of the sun, get this: the guy I live with told me that we live on this gigantic round ball called “Earth”, and that it’s constantly turning, and that the sun is stationary. I started to get scared but the guy I live with said not to worry. I know about my back yard, and the front, and the sidewalks, and the field I go out into for my walks, and riding to the doctor’s, and also a place we went once where a plain cheeseburger for me came in through the car window somehow, and he said that, really, if we focus on that part, we don’t need to worry about the rest so much.

I guess I can sleep tonight. The guy I live with said he would tuck extra covers over me if I started to worry about being this tiny black-and-white speck on this huge turning ball.

I guess that’s it. I think I could talk about myself for hours, but the guy I live with says this is probably enough, for today. 14111405

 

Until next time, then.

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do squirrels eat pizza?

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here today to answer the burning question, “Do squirrels eat pizza?” You may remember me from other such informative posts as “A Pattern Emerges” and “Wildlife Showcase”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14111001You may indeed wonder about the title of today’s post. The guy I live with has been tidying up the garden in order to get it ready for winter (that’s me watching, in the picture above), and there was all this commotion on the north side of the house, in a place where there usually isn’t much commotion at all. (Look to the left of the wren house.)14111005

14111006“Do squirrels eat pizza?” the guy I live with asked me. I know I like pizza, so why wouldn’t squirrels?14111002There was someone else interested in the pizza, too.14111004

 

14111003And, in fact, yesterday, the cat was seen to be eating a slice of pizza on the garage roof next door, to the south.

What I wanted to know was if things like slices of pizza lying around are a common feature of this neighborhood. I guess they are, according to the guy I live with, who says weird things happen all the time. I never find any pizza lying on the ground, on my walks, though.

In non-pizza-related news, the snowdrop opened some more today.snowdropIt’s not open now, though, because the weather kind of changed today.14111007I hope you enjoyed this brief but informative post. If anyone ever asks if squirrels eat pizza, you know what the answer is now.14111008

 

Until next time, then.

 

 

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time for a change

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, who is busy readying the garden for a change in the weather. You may remember me from such change-oriented posts as “A Change Of Pace” and “Change In The Weather”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically pensive pose.14110904Well, things have been pretty much the same for a long time now, and the guy I live with says that things being the same is one of the ways to define sheer excellence, so long as the things are okay, and things have been okay. A turkey got smoked yesterday. This doesn’t happen very often. I got some; it was good. 14110903But now they say we’re going to get snow and a low of 9 degrees, which is minus 12.78 celsius, if you measure that way. That’s not really all that cold for us; I can still go for my walks and stuff, but we might not have all the doors and windows open for a while.

Some protective teepees were made to cover things that needed covering. They don’t really need covering, of course, but it makes the guy I live with feel better, you know, like he’s actually doing something, instead of just sitting here helplessly in the face of what he claims will be “awful weather”. IMG_2394_edited-1It isn’t all that unusual for it to get cold this early, though our serious cold usually happens right before Christmas, and when the guy I live with worked outside in telephone repair, that was the coldest time of all, and there was a lot of traffic on the icy streets, people doing last-minute shopping, which he says he doesn’t miss at all, though my mommy was at home, waiting for him, so I’m not sure that everything he says is all that true.

Like the business about Daylight Savings time. I still don’t get why my dinner has to be so late, since I know what the angle of the sun means, and my tummy clock is ticking. He says we go through this every year, but that doesn’t seem right to me.

The reason for the teepees is that he’s been waiting for the snowdrop, Galanthus reginae-olgae ‘Cambridge’, to flower, but it’s been growing very slowly. “Nothing is happening”, according to the guy I live with, but, in fact, a couple of weeks ago there wasn’t anything there, and he thought he’d misplaced the snowdrop, and was getting old and losing his mind, because he remembers everything, but couldn’t remember where the snowdrop was, which was unfortunate, since it was a gift.

But then one day he saw the green poking up. This is what it looked like today. 14110901The guy I live with says the snowdrop was named for Queen Olga of Greece, who was born in Russia, and who married George the First of Greece, who was born in Denmark. That’s almost as bad as the Daylight Savings business.

Anyway, this snowdrop is to snowdrops as autumn-flowering crocuses are to crocuses. It’ll get a teepee for sure.

While he was out in the side yard (the side yard that’s on the north side of the house, so, the shade garden) he noticed this. Another teepee will go here. 14110902The label says Galanthus elwesii, so he said this was variety monostictus, but he could be wrong.

You might well ask how this snowdrop went unnoticed when there has been a daily pilgrimage out to Queen Olga’s snowdrop, but it did.

Sometime things go unnoticed here. I’ve noticed that a lot, which is why I’ll leave you with a picture of me trying to be noticed. 14110905

 

Until next time, then.

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up on the rooftop

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Baffled Again”, and “Turkey Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic, though rather be-leafed, pose. 14110701I was just lying here, minding my own business, when the guy I live with decided to clean out the gutters using his new electric leaf-blower, and, as you can see, leaves went everywhere, including on me.

Other than being covered with leaves, I’m feeling pretty good, and, in fact, have made it down the stairs from my bedroom four days in a row. The guy I live with was there in case I fell, but this is a big deal, considering that I had to be helped downstairs for several weeks. I’ve lost about eleven pounds, too.

So while the guy I live with was up on the roof, he thought it would be a brilliant idea to take some pictures of our back yard. I must say it was better that he had the idea while he was on the roof, rather than down on the ground, with the ladder put away. Here are the pictures.

This one is looking south-southwest. 14110703This one is looking west-northwest, sort of. The roof is in the lower right corner. 14110702Looking slightly north of due west, toward Mount Morrison. The green thing on the left is the “desert bamboo” (really a kind of privet), Fontanesia fortunei. It doesn’t have fall color, really. The cottonwood is out in the field, by the creek. And the patio cover that my mommy built. She measured and measured, and then cut, and then the guy I live with helped her lift it into place, with ropes and stuff, and it just dropped into place. 14110705A little later, looking more like due west. That’s Mount Falcon at the far right of the four peaks; 7851 ft high (2393 m). Behind the leafless honey locust, and the Austrian pine in our neighbor’s yard, is Mount Lindo, 7817 ft  high (2383 m). The peaks are about five miles away. You can also barely see cars on US Highway 285 in the middle of the picture (not the cars across the field there). We can always hear the sound of cars and trucks on the highway, but tune it out, mostly. 14110704Some pictures were taken when the guy I live with was on the ground, too, since the garden is changing some. They say it’s supposed to snow next week, which I think is pretty exciting.

I understand that a new rock garden will be made in the area to the left. That probably means a pile of pea gravel and sand, and not much else. The flagstone path looks a lot wider and longer now that the pinyon is gone. My mommy designed it. 14110706What you see if you walk to the end of the flagstone and look toward the shed. The path is just dirt. I like that kind the best. 14110707What you’d see if you turned your head to the right. And then took a picture, I mean. If the new fence looks slanted, well, um, that’s because it is. The guy I live with didn’t realize the new section was slanted until he was all finished, and then stood back and looked at it, and said “My goodness, it’s slanted.” Okay, those weren’t the real words he used, but you get the idea. My mommy, who built the arbor there, would have made him do the whole thing over. 14110708If you happened to come by the garden, and go through the fence on the north side, this is what you would see.

That’s the ‘Grace’ hybrid smoke bush showing color. Really, there are two of them. The guy I live with calls them “the two graces”, because he has such an inventive mind. 14110709And then the “way back”. The guy I live with has been fixing the fence my mommy built. That center section should get fixed tomorrow. I probably forgot to mention that this is the time of year when the guy I live with does stuff.

Regular purple smoke bush on the left. Those arching lines on the right are from the deer grass, Muhlenbergia rigens14110710Oh, I have a flower to show you. A crocus, again.

Crocus dispathaceus

Crocus dispathaceus

That’s all I have for today. I got some Brie earlier this afternoon, and that was excellent, even though I kind of doubt that it was “the most expensive Brie on the planet”. The guy I live with went out and got some epsom salts today, and he says I’m going to soak my sore toe in it. That’s what he says, anyway.14110301

 

Until next time, then.

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