more or less

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

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I’m daydreaming in my Kitchen Fort, with the swamp cooler running.
It’s not as hot as it has been, though I guess this week won’t be cool, just not totally blazing hot. Or at least I hope it won’t.
The guy I live with said we’ve run out of sugar for the hummingbirds, which is mildly ironic since I understand they’re mostly leaving for the south right now. There was some complaining about having to go to the store.

I talked about the North American Monsoon in my last post, and there are a lot of hardy plants that would do well here, and serve the hummingbirds, like penstemons and agastaches, but they would need extra watering here, so that’s pretty much out of the question, unless it becomes necessary to install an irrigation system. The way things are going, it might be.
Still, Salvia darcyi is flowering now. It does need extra water now and then. You can tell just by looking at the leaves.
Very close by, is Hesperaloe campanulata. I showed a picture of this earlier, but I’m going to show one again, taken today, because we learned something.
This picture was taken at about ten in the morning.
The guy I live with read the monograph on the genus Hesperaloe, and it turns out that the flowers open at night, for pollination by bats or hawkmoths (we have both of those here), and then the next day, some time around noon, the flowers close into a tubular shape, for pollination by hummingbirds later that day.
Pretty cool, huh?

Both of these plants are native to Nuevo León in Mexico. That’s kind of cool, too.

Speaking of cool, but in a different sense, last weekend wasn’t very hot. We had a ninety percent chance of heavy rain this weekend and were under a flash flood watch; the guy I live with made sure the storm drain grate across the street was cleared a couple of days ago, and he pointed out the other, blocked grate to his neighbor, who cleaned that one out. You know, just in case.
It didn’t happen. This has been a theme this summer. Predictions of lots of rain, followed by nothing.

There was no heavy rain. He said he was “more or less disappointed”. More because he kind of liked the idea of a “tropical downpour”, but less because the idea of flooding is not very attractive.
The creek behind the house has flooded a couple of times since the guy I live with and his wife moved here, almost up to the fence in back, and one time the creek flowed over the canal and cut right through the bank on the north side. It was a real mess. They had to come in with equipment to repair that.
Other parts of the Denver metro area had heavy rain, and flooding.

But this did happen, on Saturday, and again on Sunday:

The guy I live with was content with that, even though he was hoping (and at the same time not hoping) for more.
We don’t get all day rain, or rain at night, or wake up to rain, or anything like that; the guy I live with said that used to happen here, a long time ago, but not any more.

So that was the last couple of days. There was a lot of scary thunder and I was glad that my Upstairs Fort felt so cozy and safe.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me in the newly-mowed and very green field.

Until next time, then.

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at loose ends

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today just to make a post for little or no purpose. You may remember me from such similarly-themed posts as “Just Another Post”, among at least a few others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
There was a magpie in the tree. I couldn’t figure out what it was saying, but it was pretty raucous.
We saw a whole flock of magpies on one of my walks, a few days ago. The guy I live with said there used to be magpies here pretty regularly, but not so much any more, so it was kind of cool to see all of them.

Talking about birds, but much littler ones, we’ve been getting a lot of hummingbirds lately. This is a broad-tailed hummingbird, but we’ve also had black-chinned and maybe even a calliope.
The guy I live with changes the sugar water every day, but now we’re running out of sugar.

We don’t have many plants for them right now, though there’s a zauschneria flowering in the front yard, and Salvia darcyi, too, but most of the plants whose flowers attract hummingbirds need more water than they get here, because they’re adapted to flowering when the monsoon comes, in places like southern Arizona and New Mexico, and northern Mexico.
We are getting a little bit of that monsoon rain, but not much in the last several days.

The rain we had was enough to cause this salvia, Salvia greggii ‘Grenadine’, to start flowering. The color here is a little off; it’s more like, well, grenadine.On our walk the other morning, the guy I live with said that the canal looked really nice, the way it curved and everything, and the light.
The guy I live with said he was “at loose ends” today, which is a phrase I’d never heard before, but I could tell what it meant just by watching him. He couldn’t think of anything interesting to do.
He scrubbed parts of the kitchen floor, pulled some weeds in the garden, read a little, cut a few mats out of my coat, and maybe a few other things, but I could tell he wasn’t having a really great day.

This happens every so often.
The obvious reason for this is that there are days when he really misses his wife, and all the little things they did together, like going for walks at night at this time of year and looking for katydids with a flashlight, or just sitting at home watching The Simpsons. When they first met they would go to the movies a lot, too.

The other reason for this listless behavior is the weather. The guy I live with says it’s oppressive. I would have to agree.
It’s looked like this for days, now. Like rain, but hot (over ninety degrees F every day), and nothing happening. Sometimes it thunders, and I have to go to my Upstairs Fort for a while. And then we get ten drops of rain.
That’s a flicker in the top of the tree. It probably doesn’t care about the weather, and isn’t lonely, even though it’s by itself; just doing the things that flickers do.
The guy I live with said flickers don’t have all the emotional issues and silly ideas that humans do, and that’s why they can sit alone at the tops of trees and be perfectly content.
I don’t have all that stuff, either, though I don’t like thunder or firecrackers, but I do have a Kitchen Fort and an Upstairs Fort for those things, as well as a live-in chef who knows how much I like salmon, so I’m all set.

I also have the ancient couch, in the living room. The guy I live with hogs it in the afternoon, when he takes a nap, sometimes, but I know it’s main purpose is to make me happy, as you can see here.

Until next time, then.


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