the flags

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to tell you about something odd that I found. You may remember me from such posts as “Another Weird Day”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic, sun-drenched pose.You can see how well I’m guarding against flying things, which have been the bane of my existence this summer. Things trying to sting me, things landing on me, like grasshoppers; things flying everywhere.

It’s still hot and very dry, but there are colchicums in flower. This one is Colchicum autumnale ‘Nancy Lindsay’. The phone didn’t capture the color properly, and I know this isn’t in focus.
Oh, I’m supposed to say that Nancy Lindsay was also responsible for introducing roses like ‘Gloire de Guilan’, which we have in our garden, and the continually-misspelled ‘Rose de Resht’, which the guy I live with used to grow. There’s a chaper devoted to her in Graham Stuart Thomas’s Cuttings from my Garden Notebooks, which the guy I live with says is pretty enjoyable, and now available very inexpensively.
And this is Colchicum laetum.
There are lots of others, but they’re being eaten by grasshoppers.

I don’t like grasshoppers, because, as I’ve said before, they land on me, and I really loathe being landed on.
This is just one of the many.
The grasshoppers are really doing a number on the garden, as they say, but since it’s been so very dry, that’s to be expected.

Even though I totally dislike grasshoppers, I’m aware that I live in a house full of pleasant memories before my time, and there are things like this, downstairs.
And, though I’m sure this has been shown before, I’m going to do it again, to help with the narrative, I guess you might say.
The guy I live with’s wife did this, in acrylic. It’s in our living room and I see it every day.

Anyway, to continue with the grasshopper theme, the guy I live with ordered some plants, and they’re sitting out on the patio, waiting for colder weather, and fewer grasshoppers, before they’re going to be planted.
There are kind of a lot of plants on the patio, waiting to be planted. Not to be cynical or anything, but they’re also waiting for the guy I live with to figure out where they will go.
(Incidentally, the word “cynical” comes from the Greek word for “dog”, which I’m.)

Speaking of such things, we purebred border collies really dislike weirdness. I like to have breakfast, and dinner, and go on walks, and spend time in the garden. I like snacks, cuddles, sleeping on the ancient couch, and lying in bed late at night watching “Q.I.” with the guy I live with, but I really don’t like coming across anything weird.
But yesterday, I did.
I saw the flags.

We were just walking along, on my evening walk, when we saw someone coming toward us, with a dog, so the guy I live with said to go across the creek (it’s dry), and there’s a special place where it’s easy to walk across, and I know that place really well, so we went across the creek, and all of a sudden there were these white flags.
I was super weirded out. There weren’t any flags there the last time we walked on that side of the creek.
Here I am inspecting the flags, very cautiously, which is what you do when you encounter something like this.
You can see that there’s a line of them.
This was so totally weird I didn’t know what to do.

The guy I live with looked at the flags. There was a circle of white paint around the flags, and in the middle of each circle was what the guy I live with said was a tiny juniper. He also said that this was right where they mow, which just added to the weirdness.
I guess someone thinks that a line of junipers in the field might be excellent. (The guy I live with said they could also be miniature Arizona cypresses.)
Oh, if you’re wondering why the area I’m standing in is green, and the other parts are brown, it’s because those other parts were just mowed recently, though there are places where it was mowed a while ago and they’re still brown, as you’ll see later.

Well, okay, enough of all of that.
Here’s a picture of the moon.
And, naturally, we have some owl pictures. I tried to get the owl, but the guy I live with said not to.
I scared it, though, and it flew into this tree, where it had a companion.
The guy I live with said they were looking at me, and not favorably.

So that’s been my last few days. Gardening, grasshoppers, and total weirdness.

Until next time, then.

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an even more incredible thing

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to tell you about an even more incredible thing. You may remember me from such incredible posts as “Strange Encounters”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Checking the garden for bees, of which there are a lot.This is me again, if you couldn’t tell, checking for more bees.
The guy I live with says that “checking for bees” is pretty silly, because there are a lot of flying things in the garden. But I do think they need to be checked for, anyway. You never know what you might find.
I was the one who found the vole tunnels, after all.

I have to do most of the work around here. I don’t dig holes for plants, or deadhead things, but I do go on my patrols, and make sure that squirrels know their place.
The guy I live with hasn’t had much motivation this year, for a variety of reasons, like still being a little weak from the therapy two years ago, being dehydrated a lot, the awful smell from next door, and the constant heat. (Today it was only 88 degrees F–31.1C–so a little cooler.)
And the smoke. It was pretty smoky today.

Anyway, since this is sort of a gardening blog, I thought it would be a good idea to show some more pictures. These weren’t taken with the phone, but with the point-and-shoot, so they might look different.
I’m not sure that you can see in this picture how smoky it was today.But maybe you can in this one.
We can’t even see the foothills.

The sphaeralceas, which is what that big thing is in the picture above, have been flowering all summer, no matter how dry it’s been. Japanese beetles are eating some of the flowers. (This picture isn’t hugely in focus.)
There are a couple of new sedums in the garden, and this is one of them.
I know there’s a bunch of dead stuff there. There’s a bunch of dead stuff everywhere. Getting rid of that isn’t my job.
This is what that aster I showed you last time really looks like, color-wise.
This is an artemisia from Kazakhstan. The guy I live with doesn’t know what species, but it’s remained green and healthy despite never being watered. It flowered earlier this year. The leaves smell pretty nice.
This is Eriogonum corymbosum, a shrub.
And what I think is a totally weird picture showing plants in the “rain garden” (a pile of gravel intended to catch any rain that might fall, which has turned out to be a joke) illuminated by the setting sun.
Ephedra equisetina and E. monosperma, stalks of Allium pskemense, and so forth.

So now to the incredible thing.
You know how we walk down the coyote path in the evening, and see owls at the end of the path, well, yesterday evening, I think, there was an owl across the field, sitting on one of the many beat-up chainlink fences in this neighborhood. (Ours is, too. The guy I live with says it’s because of overweight raccoons climbing the fences, but I’m not so sure.)
He took a picture of the owl, but it showed too much junk in the back yard behind the fence, and so he deleted the picture.
He saw one of his neighbors who lives near the end of the path, and pointed out the owl to him.
His neighbor said that that very morning there were six owls in the trees in his back yard.
Six owls. Pretty incredible indeed.
The guy I live with said that would have made a great picture. Unfortunately he isn’t what they call a “morning person”, and neither am I. We like staying up late, when it’s nice and cool. Maybe we’ll see them all together this autumn.

We saw just one owl last evening. Didn’t see any this evening.
Of course I thought I could get it.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me thinking I could have gotten the owl.

Until next time, then.

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