slithering in the bindweed

Hello 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 greatest news from our garden, no matter how scary. You may remember me from such posts as “Slush Fun” and “The Expired Chicken”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic after-walk pose.14080110Both walks today were excellent, though the guy I live with says my toenails “could do with a good trimming”. I don’t like the sound of that. If I’d had to have had the surgery, they would have been trimmed then, but I didn’t, and they weren’t.

Here I am on my afternoon walk, heading home. The green is mostly from weeds. 14080111The guy I live with potted up (or, as they say in the UK, “potted on”) some plants for the plant sale to be held by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society next month, so he had something to do today.

He also got some bulbs in the mail, and before planting them, took some pictures. He said that with erythroniums it helps to know which side is down, or up, depending on how you look at it. I suppose this is because he planted some upside-down last fall, and had to dig them up and replant them. These are shown right side up, he says.

Erythronium tuolumnense

Erythronium tuolumnense

 

Eyrthronium citrinum

Eyrthronium citrinum

They call these “dog tooth violets”, which is pretty dumb, since they aren’t violets, though I do see a vague resemblance with the tooth business. Anyway, these got planted right side up this time. Whew, huh.

And I have some pictures of plants, too. I think I’ve already showed pictures of some of these, but why not show more, I say. Here’s the colony of Ipomopsis rubra. Not totally in focus, but still a colony.

14080103There was a little tiny Calliope hummingbird out in the garden, but it didn’t get its picture taken, because the guy I live with didn’t have his camera at the time, and then when he went to get it, the hummingbird was gone. Typical.

Here’s Sphaeralcea ‘Desert Sunset’ in one of its many color forms. There are oodles of sphaeralceas around the garden, front and back. 14080102And Penstemon richardsonii. The guy I live with told me he saw this growing out of cliff faces when he and my mommy visited the Columbia River Gorge. 14080101Agastache ‘Coronado Red’. 14080100

Okay, that’s all of the plant pictures. Now, judging by the title of my post, you might suspect that I have something really scary to talk about, and indeed I do. The guy I live with would point out that I was safe in my fort while all of this happened, but that doesn’t make it any less scary, if you ask me.

If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you may have noticed that we have what some people might think is an overabundance of rodents. Not any more. I don’t really want to say why, but today, while the guy I live with was out trying to take flower pictures, this creature slithered into view.14080108He knew what this was right away. I mean besides it being a snake. It’s a western yellow-bellied racer. Coluber constrictor is its scientific name.

It was not small.14080109Talk about getting a case of the creeps. I might not be able to go outside ever again. The guy I live with used to tell me stories about a much larger one that lived in the garden when my Grandpa Flurry and my Uncle Pooka were here, and nothing bad ever happened to them. That doesn’t make me feel any better.

I think I’ll stay in my fort as much as possible, and just wait for winter.14080107

 

Until next time, then.

 

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a wet afternoon

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest damp news from our rainy garden. You may remember me from such rain-related posts as “It Raineth Every Day” and “Waking Up To Rain”, among at least a few others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose, rather damp from my morning walk. The guy I live with says I look morose.14073003He said that I could have had to forage for food outside, in the rain, like other creatures do.14073002Well, I don’t have to do that, I guess, but I am worried that I won’t get to go on my afternoon walk, because it’s been raining, and raining a lot. Without any thunder, if you can believe that. I can’t.

You know how people say something and then you get all worried about what might happen, and then hardly anything happens, and things seem okay, and you feel really stupid for doing all this imagining about bad things that never happen? It was like that. They said it might rain two inches an hour for “several hours”, which I know could mean anything, but we were imagining all sorts of things, and all it did was rain all night long, and most of today.

This was the view from my fort, this morning.14073001Gardeners who live in climates where it rains fairly regularly might wonder what the trash cans and dish pans are doing out in the garden, like we’ve become weirdos or something. Well, I certainly haven’t become one, and the guy I live with said that the house plants, some of which were carried outside and are sitting on the patio right there, really like a good drink of rain water–the real thing–from time to time, so the rain was saved and poured onto the plants that didn’t get carried outside. The guy I live with said it was too much trouble to carry the big plants outside, and anyway, if he had, it would have stopped raining the minute he brought them outside. I guess there’s a rule about that.

And, of course, we have a movie for you. I suppose only people who live in places where it doesn’t do this all that often would make movies of such things. That’s the “Ming aralia”, Polyscias fruticosa, in front, there. A house plant.

It looks like it might stop raining in time for my afternoon walk. The guy I live with said he could make me a poncho out of a plastic trash bag if necessary, but I’d look really silly, even if no one was watching me. (That’s one of those “If a tree falls in the forest” things.)

What I’m worried about now is having to go out at Tinkle Time and stepping on a night crawler. I get the willies just thinking about it.

Maybe it won’t happen, after all.14073004

 

Until next time, then.

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the weather, again

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden, including, this time, news from the future (oooh). You may remember me from such posts as “Still More Weather” and “Guess The Weather”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in another characteristically weather-related pose. They say it’s going to rain a whole lot, with possible flooding and stuff. They say it might rain two inches an hour, for hours. I’d better get out my calculator. This is one of those “extremely rare” weather events, just like last year. I’m not sure if I believe anything any more. One thing I’m definitely sure of, and that’s how tired of storms I am. 14072902Our sky at about one in the afternoon, looking west. It really hasn’t rained all that much here this summer; it’s just looked like this all the time. 14072912The guy I live with, who did quite a bit of gardening today, or at least that’s what he said (I was napping), took some pictures after he clicked some dials and things on the camera that he’d never used before. The dials, I mean, not the camera. He said the dials and things are why these pictures are they way they are. (By the way, he says these are large files, and they can be clicked on, to embiggen.)

And, yes, I know, these are kind of the same pictures as all the others, but things don’t change all that much here.

the front garden. pure gravel, two feet deep.

the front garden. pure gravel, two feet deep.

the "way back" again. incidentally, those grasses are Melica ciliata, not silver beard grass like he thought. he knows nothing about grass identification.

the “way back” again. incidentally, those grasses are Melica ciliata, not silver beard grass like he thought. he knows nothing about grass identification.

looking the other way. the apple tree has pushed the fence to the east, and supposedly that will be fixed.

looking the other way. the apple tree has pushed the fence to the east, and supposedly that will be fixed.

the path to the place where the picture above this was taken; you could just follow the hose, like I do.

the path to the place where the picture above this was taken; you could just follow the hose, like I do.

part of the raised bed, made of sand and gravel, looking northwest

part of the raised bed, made of sand and gravel, looking northwest

sort of looking back the other way, but not really

Oh, and just to show that it hasn’t been totally cloudy and stormy every single minute for the last two months, like the guy I live with claims, we actually did have a sunset two nights ago, and here’s proof.14072909

 

Part of what gardening means here is transplanting teeny tiny little seedlings out into the garden or into troughs at this time of year. They mostly die, of course, so that’s why the guy I live with plants a lot of them.

Yesterday he planted some very teeny tiny seedlings into the trough. This is Penstemon pumilus. (Pumilus means “dwarf” in Latin, or “extremely tiny” in this case. Tiny seedlings of a dwarf penstemon are super tiny.) Apparently the camera insisted on focusing on the shale instead of the plant, but you get the idea, I think. 14072913Planting out at this time of year is okay if we get rain. Not so great if we don’t, of course. There’s a front coming from the west, remnants of the monsoon from Mexico, and a front coming from the east, which they call “upslope” because it’s heading east up the Continental Divide, which is about thirty miles west of us, and almost two miles higher.

looking northeast at about 3 p.m.

looking northeast at about 3 p.m.

So what happens, according to the guy I live with, is that the clouds get squeezed, like wringing out a wet towel, and we get rain. How much rain is what’s worrying me. It could be a foot of rain, some people say. I’ve never had to swim before, though the guy I live with, who can be extremely rude at times, says I’ll probably float.

Enough rain for the garden would be nice, but too much is too much, according to the guy I live with, who is, I’m sure you’ll agree, quite a philosopher. 14072911

 

Until next time, then.

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sprinkles

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, as well as what I consider to be some pretty dumb pictures, including pictures of stars, no less. You may remember me from such stellar posts as “There And Back Again” and “Time To Get Serious”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a fairly ridiculous pose. 14072608Here I am on a sunny morning right after my breakfast, and waiting to go on my walk. It seems to take forever to get ready to go, but eventually we go. I know my head is really bright and all; that’s a metaphor. Oh, and that is my hind leg, not someone else’s.

By the way. Leonardo da Vinci, the guy I live with is not. The ramp up the stairs didn’t work, because it was too steep. But he (not Leonardo; the guy I live with) says if I use my front legs and he holds my hips, I can make it up the stairs at bed time. It worked perfectly last night. 14072607It’s sunny in the morning here, and sunny on my morning walk, but we can see the clouds building up over the mountains, and by noon it’s totally dark and thundering. I don’t like that very much at all. I do like the coolness that it brings, but that’s not much of a trade, if you ask me.

It sprinkled all afternoon and all during the evening. That’s why my post is called “sprinkles”. The guy I live with thought that you might think of things like chocolate sprinkles, but I don’t mean those. I mean stuff like this:14072606Well, sometimes the clouds do go away around ten at night, and the guy I live with, for no reason I could think of, went out and took pictures of the sky. I should warn you that this part is going to be really boring. I decided just to post two pictures, fortunately for you, huh.

This is the “Big Dipper”. bd1And here’s Mars. The red dot. The guy I live with says there are “people who walk among us” who are from that planet, or even planets much farther away. (That’s the star Spica in Virgo, in the lower right.)mars3Okay, done with the boring part. Sorry about that. Now for some gardening.

We have a whole bunch of Ipomopsis rubra starting to bloom. They’re biennials. The guy I live with (who was fiddling with exposures or something when he took these pictures) says he’ll call the fire department next week and tell them not to worry.

One year there were 120 of these in bloom, but this year, “only” about half that. He hasn’t gotten the cycle down so that there are rosettes this year, for flowers next year. 14072601

14072602

Here’s a sphaeralcea in bud, probably S. fendleri, under the oriole feeder. There are so many orioles here, the guy I live with had to buy a whole bunch more grape jelly, and some oranges. 14072605And the Rocky Mountain bee plant, Cleome serrulata. To get these, which are annuals, all you do is toss seed onto the ground in late autumn, and up they come, by the zillion. (A zillion is a lot, if you didn’t know.) They form a huge root in a very short time, and grow six or seven feet tall if they’re happy. 14072604Well, that’s really all I have for tonight. Not much has been going on, because the guy I live with hasn’t felt like working out in the garden much, and you can bet I haven’t, not with all the thunder. It’s supposed to thunder all next week, too. Oh well. 14072609

 

Until next time, then.

 

 

 

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vexations

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the long-suffering purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden, and also to do a bit of complaining about the weather. You may remember me from such posts as “Gloomy Weather” and “Weather And Other Complaints”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically weather-related pose.14072402Not very much gardening has been going on lately, because the guy I live with says it’s “too dark and humid” to do much of anything, and I would agree. We’re both very good at doing nothing, if you didn’t know.

It thundered a lot today, again, and I had to have my dinner in my fort, which, really, wasn’t all that bad.

We do have some wildlife pictures, however. This new creature appeared on the screen door. They get brown when they get older.14072401The guy I live with has been trying to get pictures of the orioles, of which there are a lot in the back yard, but he says they’re very skittish, so he has to use the zoom on the point-and-shoot, and then blow it up, sort of.

These are females.

 

 

14072404

 

14072403Maybe some time he’ll get better pictures. They eat a lot of jelly.

Speaking of which, the guy I live with was all up in arms early this morning, because a squirrel was stealing all the grape jelly out of the other feeder, so he had to move it. He says he almost got hold of the squirrel’s tail. I don’t know what would happen if he did. He would probably have to wash his hands, though, before touching me or my food.

Squirrels really aren’t good for much of anything, and I certainly believe they don’t belong in containers.14072405What else? Oh, hey, I know. I have another movie for you tonight. It isn’t all just darkness and gloom here for day after day; sometimes it does rain, along with everything else.

(By the way, he tested this movie, like he does all of them, and said it skipped a little, but maybe it won’t do that for you. He replayed it, and it was okay.)

I guess that’s all I have. No flower pictures today, because the guy I live built a ramp for me to get up the stairs at bedtime. I haven’t tested it yet, but we think it will work. I’ll let you know.

Until next time, then.

14072406

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a pattern emerges

Greetings, salutations, and a sigh of relief, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie. You may remember me from such posts as “Before Dawn” and “Fixing Things”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic, but slightly traumatized, pose. I just came back from the doctor’s office.14072201You know how something looks bad, and after a while you start thinking that maybe it might not be so bad, and you say to yourself that you’re just saying that, to make yourself feel better and stuff? Well, my doctor looked at the sore on my side, after not having seen it for a while, and saw how much better it looked, and decided I didn’t need the surgery after all. Apparently the risk of anesthetizing an aging and overweight border collie, no matter how purebred, was greater than trying to operate on me, when things didn’t look as bad as they had at first.

So you can see how being overweight can have its excellent qualities. A pattern is emerging here.

The guy I live with says it really isn’t like that. I do have to go on a special diet and all that, but I’m home, and that’s what matters. I have another pill to take that tastes awful, but the guy I live with has pills that taste awful, so we’re even.

All of the imagining that the guy I live with did was completely wasted. He spends way too much time imagining what the future will be like, when it doesn’t even exist at all.

A couple of garden pictures might be appropriate here, since this is, after all, a gardening blog. I like to make it sound like it’s all about me (which it really is; just don’t tell him), but there is a garden out there.

Two pictures of the alkali sacaton, Sporobolus airoides, taken from the patio. Yes, this is part of my lawn. He forgot to move the hose, so it’s there too.14072202

14072203I have these big grasses in my lawn. Some people might think this is rather untidy. Life can be like that, too, so maybe this is another one of those metaphor things. Who knows?

 

Until next time, then.

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a slow day

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest and greatest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “‘There Will Be Mud'”, and “Nest-Building Time”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I am aware that the postcard, which was from Malaysia, has slipped off its magnet on the refrigerator. Things like that happen here. (It got fixed later.)14072008Hardly anything has been going on. It’s been thundering, of course, except for one day, and so I decided I needed to be fed by hand, which the guy I live with does. I even get a napkin. It’s too scary to put your face into a dog food bowl when it’s thundering.

The guy I live with says more things would happen if I got up earlier than 9:45 in the morning, but I see no reason to do that. I understand I have to get up early on Tuesday, and go somewhere, so I might not post tomorrow, but then the guy I live with said after that I can sleep in until noon if I want to.

The sphaeralceas have started to bloom here. They’re related to hollyhocks and stuff, but have fairly small flowers. They grow without any watering, here, and the guy I live with really likes them, which is why they’re all over the place. This picture could have been more in focus, I think. 14072006And the perennial pea, Lathyrus latifolius. The guy I live with has tried to grow ‘White Pearl’, a favorite of Gertrude Jekyll’s, but it’s never made it.14072005I wasn’t going to show this allium because the guy I live with can’t remember its name, and for a person with a “photographic memory” that’s pretty sad, but he says, in his defense, that he is entering his declining years, and so that’s what we get.14072004Some garden pictures to make the post more interesting. Or longer.

The main rock garden. Only part of it, really. The part that looks empty in the lower left actually isn’t; the plants there are just little. 14072003The “lawn”. The yellow thing at the top of the picture is a sock thistle feeder, because the fancy one blew down and got bent, and the guy I live with has to put on his “Leonardo Cap” to try to figure out how to fix it.

What he calls a lawn is a bunch of native grasses and stuff, with a strip of buffalo grass for my convenience. 14072002The back lawn. This is entirely for my personal use. The buffalo grass is filling in nicely, in the lower right. The patches haven’t filled in yet completely, as you can see; they were seeded later. Mount Lindo in the distance. Kind of one of those “zen view” things, where you get a brief glimpse of the far-off mountain. (It isn’t really that far away; less than five miles. It’s 7,814 feet high.)

The guy I live with says this is an intensely melancholy view, but only when we have a sunset, which we haven’t had since early May, I think. I also think he’s a melancholy person by nature, and has become especially so in the last five years. I, on the other hand, am a delight.

There’s the perennial pea on the left. 14072001Oh, and this. I almost forgot. The guy I live with got another thirsty mouse picture. He changes the water all the time, because I occasionally drink out of the bird bath too, and I wouldn’t want it to taste like mouse lips.14072007

 

I guess that’s all for today.

14072009

 

Until next time, then.

 

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