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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the kitchen cricket

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today with all sorts of interesting things. You may remember me from such similarly-themed posts as “The Engine Rabbit”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically horticultural pose.
I’m checking the garden for voles, which I think have moved into the garden.
The guy I live with is very much against having voles in the garden, I mean like super-extra-totally against, but, well without going into any detail, he knows I’ll take care of them. We purebred border collies dislike voles intensely. I don’t know why; we just do.
This is me again, going to another part of the garden, to check again.
It’s been super dry here, and so the guy I live with has been watering, a little. Maybe you can see how dry the garden is.
And look at the field. They mowed it just a few days ago. You can actually see the mower off in the distance.
With the watering in the garden, things are changing here. I mean, things always change, which is kind of weird, since I like things staying the same, but we can see the changes with just twenty minutes’ worth of watering.

We can also tell that the seasons are changing. It’s still way too hot every day, but the nights are cooler. September and October are very difficult months, emotionally, for the guy I live with, even after all these years, but we are looking forward to cooler daytime temperatures, eventually.

The cowpen daisies (Verbesina encelioides) like a little bit of watering, depending on the soil they’re growing in. Soil types, texture and stuff, make a big difference in how plants grow and endure drought, but not many people talk about that sort of thing except to go on about organic matter, which isn’t what we’re talking about here.
They have a kind of chocolate smell, according to the guy I live with. I’m not allowed to have chocolate.

The main garden in back (not the “way back”) has lots of Aster oblongifolius flowering now. (We don’t have time to type Symphyo whatever.)
They’re purpler than the picture shows.
This aster is native to areas farther east, so it’s one of the very few plants native east of the 100th meridian in our garden. It’s also native to Colorado, in the extreme southeastern part of the state, near the New Mexico and also Oklahoma state lines. The guy I live with has never been there. He says it would involve a several-hour drive through basically nothing, just to get there to look at asters.
When the guy I live with and his wife got Slipper, a purebred border collie who lived here before me, and Chess’s first cousin, they drove out to eastern Colorado, to a place where there were no trees within sight in any direction.
Colorado, if you didn’t know, is actually three regions. The eastern plains, which are called plains for a good reason (though there is a wooded area to the southeast of us called “The Black Forest”), and then the mountains, and then the “rimrock country” and other places, out in the western part.
We live pretty much right where the mountains stop and the plains start, but not really on the plains, like where Denver is. We live surrounded by what they call “outwash mesas”; there’s a mesa within walking distance of our house. (If you want to get a better idea, see Chess’s post “Where We Live”.)

Sedum ‘Matrona’ has been attracting hundreds and hundreds of bees. The plants have been getting a little extra water, since they’re growing next to my Private Lawn (which is buffalo grass).
The colchicums have started to flower, too. They’re being devoured by the zillions of grasshoppers in our garden. I don’t like grasshoppers, because they land on me.
This is ‘Innocence’, the guy I live with’s favorite, maybe.
Let’s see…what else?
Oh, there was another visitor on the patio, but much less large than our last one. The guy I live with said this was the caterpillar of the Achemon sphinx, Eumorpha achemon.
I thought it was pretty scary.
One of the moths flew into the kitchen last summer. The guy I live with went to a lot of trouble to catch it, and then he released it out onto the patio. I caught it and ate it.
He was pretty upset with me, but I think that was because he’s never tried moths.

And then there’s the cricket. We have a cricket in our kitchen. It’s really loud. I suppose if I saw the cricket hopping around, I would try it, too.
You never really know what’s good until you try it. Lots of protein, I guess.

And now I have two fairly unbelievable things.

The first is that I have some owl pictures. I know, right? Owls? Hard to believe we have owl pictures and are going to show them, but we are.
They’re down at the very end of my walk, in the evenings. So not as close by as they were last year.
Then, yesterday evening, there was one, I think it was looking into the kitchen of the house we walk by, because we could hear that there was someone there. It was just looking and looking.
The guy I live with got its attention, and it looked at us.
Then just this evening, there was one on the fence that marks the end of the field, and the beginning of someone’s property. (I guess the guy I live with knows the people who own this property now.)
The other unbelievable thing, and this is pretty unbelievable, is that we are getting very close to our thousandth post. No, really. One thousand posts. We’ll let you know when it happens.
That’s something to think about.

Until next time, then.



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