the bed hog

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you up to date on what’s been happening here, which is really not much at all. You may remember me from such posts as “A Wintry Mix”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. You may be able to see that it was snowing today.It wasn’t very cold; above freezing, actually, but the snow means that the snowdrops and other flowers will be put on hold for another couple of weeks.
It’s always snowed here in winter, but the snow usually melted “back in the old days”. In the last several years, it hasn’t. The snow just stays on the ground.
And the paths in the garden get pretty icy. The guy I live with says it’s “hot paws racing out to bark at squirrels”, which is probably accurate.
You might not be able to see just how icy this path is, under the snow.
But you can definitely see how icy the flagstone is. This sort of thing doesn’t happen here all that often.It’s slippery, for sure. The guy I live with keeps telling me to be careful, and I saw how cautious he was when he went out to fill the bird feeders.

One of the feeders is under the arbor, on one side of it, really, and just today the guy I live with looked up, and saw this:
He just stood there for a while, looking at it, then took the picture you see. He said he wasn’t sure if he’d ever noticed that little lantern before. He probably had, but it came as a surprise anyway.

I know he’s been down in the dumps, lately. He’s been having trouble with his ear, and went to the doctor yesterday. He got some antibiotic drops; when he lies on the bed with the drops in his ear, I lie next to him, because I can tell how unhappy he is.
He’s going to have to go to an “audiologist”, which I thought meant he was going to go shopping for a new hi-fi, but that’s not it at all.

It’s not really that, though, just part of it. He’s been missing his wife, a lot, lately. Some people might say unkind things about that, the way they do, especially after all these years have passed, but that’s how things are. Something must have triggered it.
He hasn’t been able to see his friend for a while, though they talk on the phone quite a bit. He hurt his back shoveling the neighbors’ walks and driveways, and then this ear thing started last week. So there’s been a lot of staying at home, which suits me just fine.
If you ask me, which people don’t usually do, it’s because of being under the weather, which he hasn’t been, much, for years, and so it reminds him of the times when things like this happened and his wife was here.

But he does have me. And that’s a big deal, for him. Even though he’s been telling me I’m a “bed hog” in the last few days. Can you believe it? A bed hog.
I didn’t think there were all that many rules here, but it turns out that I’m expected to sleep parallel to the length of the bed, and not across it.
My excuse is that there are so many toys on the bed I can only fit one way, but the guy I live with just moves the toys and says there’s plenty of room “over here”.
And also (this part I understand), if I sleep right next to him, it’s toastier, and I get the full benefit of being able to sleep at least partly under the nice wool blanket the guy I live with got to make the bedroom even cozier. I can also see the TV better, when “Q.I.” is on. (It stands for “quite interesting”, if you didn’t know, and I can hear the guy I live with laughing, even though he watches the same episodes over and over again.)
He also says that even though I’ve never seen a sheep, I have an affinity with them, and so, by extension, with a blanket made of wool.

Well, so, anyway, I do have some plant news. Look at the seedlings of the buffalo gourd now.
Obviously some transplanting will be necessary pretty soon.
I don’t know why some of the seedlings are yellow, though maybe it’s a nitrogen deficiency.
(The seedlings in the rearmost pot are Amsonia tomentosa.)

Our walks have been pretty nice. I haven’t had to wear my boots because it hasn’t been so cold.
The willows, like you can see in the first picture and in this one, are quite photogenic at this time of year.
I’ll leave you with a blurry picture of me, on my walk just this evening.

Until next time, then.

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birds and stuff

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today just to talk about birds and stuff. You may remember me from such posts as “Potting Soil”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. You can see how hectic things around here are, right now.
It didn’t snow yesterday, like they said it might, but today was kind of chilly and so not much melting took place. They say by Friday it will be in the sixties, so maybe there will be more melting this week.
The guy I live with had to wear his YakTrax on our walk this evening. I don’t want him to fall down, so I was glad he wore them.

Now for the gardening news. Well, not really gardening, but kind of sort of.
The guy I live with got some seeds of the buffalo gourd, Cucurbita foetidissima, from a friend, and read up on how to germinate the seeds. One scholarly paper said the seeds germinated best at seventy degrees (twenty-one C) in the dark, so he sowed seeds in two pots, covered the pots, put them in a propagator on top of a heating mat, covered the propagator with a dark towel, and look what happened:
The guy I live with was fairly excited. We had this plant in the back garden, but one year it just disappeared. Maybe someone ate it. (Not me.)
I guess this seedling will have to be transplanted so it can get some chlorophyll.

So that was the gardening.

Now I’m going to show some pictures of my walks. I haven’t had to wear my boots because the snow hasn’t been too cold; the morning walks have been pretty pleasant, actually.
We saw a hawk the other day. Probably a red-tailed hawk. We see them a lot; they’re pretty big.
And guess what? The owls are back. We started hearing them again about a week ago.
This one is starting to hoot. They get all puffed up and sort of lean out, and hoot.
Here’s the other one. It was farther away; the point-and-shoot doesn’t really focus at that distance. Of course I wanted to get closer, to see if I could grab it. The guy I live with said no way.
The owls and hawks are probably interested in things like voles. Rabbits, for sure, but I think voles as well. I know I like to hunt for voles. The guy I live with tells me not to hurt them, but sometimes I get carried away, and he gets upset. He says that voles and rabbits (I like to chase them, too) have enough to worry about.
You can see their tunnels here.
They sometimes make tunnels that go all the way into peoples’ back yards, if there are bird feeders there, so they can get any seeds that might have been spilled.
The winter after his wife died, voles got into the garden and destroyed a third of what was the Long Border, and so that summer he removed all the plants in the border, and started over with what we have now.
It is my job to keep voles out of our garden, which I do admirably well, but there are a lot of them living in the field. I like to look for their tunnels, usually near the creek.

The guy I live with took a picture of the garden from the upstairs bedroom window, through the screen.
That’s Mount Lindo in the distance, over the shed. It’s 7,814 feet (2,382 meters) high, and about five miles (eight km) away.

There have been some nice sunsets, too.
As we walked farther down the field, the sunset got redder.
Yesterday he took a picture of the willows at the end of our walk, where we have to turn around.
This was where the owls lived last year. We haven’t see them in these trees for a while.

I guess that will do it for tonight.

Until next time, then.

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