the drop-in

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani 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 “Nothing Again Nothing”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. 17021201Well, there’s been a whole bunch of stuff going on lately, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. Most of it has involved painting. Painting, painting, and then more painting. I don’t help at all, if you wanted to know.

But before that, there was some construction. img_1996You’ll notice that this thing, which is a “snowdrop frame”, looks quite a bit like this other thing img_1998                but in fact the second thing is just a “bulb frame”, which right now has a bunch of seed-pots in it, instead of bulbs.

The “snowdrop” frame is for the early-flowering snowdrops, because this past year they didn’t get enough water and sun at the right time, in order to flower in November, and the guy I live with, who is kind of a nut, after all, decided to build this smaller frame, move the November-flowering snowdrops into it, and maybe propagate the bulbs. There’s this process called “twin-scaling” that he said he might try. Later, of course.

This is one of the November-flowering ones, which is actually flowering now. It’s been flowering for over a month, but “should” have been flowering earlier. I’ve mentioned these before, because they have such a ridiculous name. Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus Hiemalis Group.dsc_1988There are a lot of regular, that is, flowering at the right time of the year, snowdrops here now. dsc_1996This is a slightly different picture from the one the guy I live with posted on Facebook. After it was posted, someone said that snowdrops all look alike. But, in fact, the species in the genus Galanthus are all readily distinguishable from each other simply by looking at them. You don’t need a hand lens to tell one species from another. This is pretty rare in botany.

There are a lot of selections and hybrids in snowdrops, and one of these has been flowering here for a while. The guy I live with says it has “very long outers”, which is kind of funny.



So that’s part of what’s been going on here.

When the guy I live with was painting, upstairs, he found more packets of seeds. All really old, like at least twenty years old, but he thought he might sow them anyway. Some of the seeds are pretty large.

These are seeds of the Mexican buckeye, Ungnadia speciosa, which probably isn’t hardy here (since one planted here died in its first winter), but he said why not try it anyway.17021204These are seeds of Sapindus drummondii, the western soapberry. They’re not really in focus, of course.17021205I’m not sure how these will be sown, but I guess we’ll find out later, won’t we?

The guy I live with painted all day today. First there was furniture to move, and then the vacuum, which I don’t like much, had to be brought up to clean the place where the furniture, mostly bookshelves, stood, then there was painting, and then everything was moved back.

I still got to go on my walks. It was a little colder today than yesterday; yesterday it was seventy-five degrees (about twenty-two Celsius); it cooled off during the night, and even rained for a minute or two, but the birdbath didn’t have any ice in it this morning.

This is the field, looking southwest, late this afternoon. We walk along the trail made by Norm and Celeste, the coyotes, on the afternoon walk. The trail curves around by the fences, on the left.17021202I guess that’s all for today. The painting is mostly done, so I’m not sure what other project will be started next, but there will probably be something.17021203

Until next time, then.



Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

ice isn’t nice

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

Here I am in a characteristic pose. This was taken a couple of days ago after I played in the mud all day. This is the second time there’s been a lot of mud. Mud is excellent, if you didn’t know. And the carpet is muddier than the last time I showed a picture of it, even though it was cleaned afterwards.poseThere isn’t any mud today. Something happened last night and the whole garden is covered with a thin film of ice. “Ice isn’t nice”, he said. The guy I live with said that sort of thing happens “back east”, but not here, and yet I could tell that wasn’t completely true because there was ice here. 17020203He almost fell in the street this morning while I was pulling him along, on my walk. He said it wasn’t my fault. Then on the canal road there was an unleashed dog that came up kind of close to me, with its hackles up. The guy I live with picked me up in his arms, so I would be safe, and then said stuff to the other dog.

The morning walk wasn’t so great, but at least I got to go on it.

Then a little later the bird feeders had to be filled, and I decided to be a super-velociraptor, and got yelled at for trying to knock down the guy I live with, which I wasn’t really doing, but he said with all the evasive action he had to do, I might have.

This is me after being lectured for being a velociraptor on an icy day.17020204It wasn’t really all that interesting a lecture, and I wasn’t really totally in trouble. I have discovered that if I look like this during one of these lectures, the lecture isn’t as long as it might be otherwise.

Speaking of lectures, the guy I live with has decided to do some again, and so he and his friend are going to Oregon (he pointed to where it was) later this year to talk about various kinds of seed germination. Maybe people in the audience can learn from my expression so that his talk is shorter than most.

Seeds are being nicked, and pictures are being taken. This technique, he said, is one a lot of people know, but it’s part of the talk, to illustrate something or other.

He nicked seed of Caesalpinia repens a couple of nights ago. He uses the watchmaker’s loupe, which has been here for quite a while, and his Opinel knife. See the green there? That’s what you nick down to. dsc_1889This is what happened a couple of days later. The seeds are in a wet coffee filter. Just like the seeds of Caesalpinia gilliesii I showed a while ago. 17020207That’s not all. This is a sclerocactus seed germinating, using a similar process.dsc_1842So that’s been going on.

It’s supposed to warm up again, in the next few days, and the guy I live with said that the ice-covered snowdrops on the north side of the house might get to flower. This is the first winter in a long time (“forever”, I guess) that there haven’t been any snowdrops in flower in January. 17020206The guy I live with says this isn’t a great sign and that the world as we know it might be coming to an end. He decided to build another bulb frame, this time just for early flowering snowdrops, which these aren’t (these are ‘Theresa Stone’…maybe; the label was crushed when the fence next to them was built), because the weather hasn’t been doing what it should, and, oh, you know, things like that.

The new bulb frame, which will be smaller than the first one but look a lot like it, is going here.17020205I understand that this is pretty much the exact opposite of the kind of garden pictures you see on blogs and in books. It doesn’t even look much like a part of anyone’s garden, does it? Well, it’s part of ours, along the north border, where not much grows because of the lilacs and New Mexican privets, and the neighbor’s tree. The soil, as a result, is very dry. This was the first part of the garden to be dug, about thirty years ago, and it’s never been satisfactory.

“At least, now, there will be something in that space”, is what he said, after I gave him one of those wondering looks. And it doesn’t cost a whole lot to build the frames. The only thing so far is that he left the can of paint he was going to use out in the garage; the paint froze and was wrecked. He said that gave him an excuse to go to the paint store, which he likes doing.

My evening walk was a lot less eventful because the guy I live with wore his regular shoes but put the YakTrax on them. His friend gave him those. (His feet aren’t that small; the YakTrax stretch.)17020202I guess Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, talked about this wrought-iron furniture and why it looks the way it does. Maybe I should recap; it’s old. It was originally painted white, then green, and then black. It’s become like this over the years, and the guy I live with’s late wife liked it this way; she said it gave the furniture a certain quality, and so that’s why it hasn’t be repainted. It’s not much fun to paint, and the guy I live with says if you have a perfectly rational reason why you don’t do something, then, definitely, you don’t do anything.

It’s probably time for me to let you go now, on this icy day.17020201

Until next time, then.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments