sad little mysteries

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 “Selling Insurance”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.17012101I look busy, don’t I? It’s been kind of chilly this week, and the snow hasn’t melted, which annoys someone else who lives here to no end, but there’s not much that can be done about it.

There was an “issue”, you might say, with one of the old down pillows on this bed. It kind of exploded, and there were feathers everywhere. It wasn’t my fault, of course. So in that picture I’m making sure that the other pillows don’t explode. The guy I live with said they weren’t down, which was weird, because they are up on the bed, but….well, as you can see, even purebred border collies can have a sense of humor.

Today, even though it was chilly, the guy I live with spent some time trying to get macro pictures of birds. This was with a new lens he got. He finally figured out how to change the shutter speed on the camera, but hasn’t yet figured out how to focus on the birds in the squirrel-proof bird feeder rather than the cage itself. Depth of field or something. But at least he figured out that one thing. “One step at a time”, is what he said. dsc_1786

dsc_1786-2Those chew marks are from the squirrels, trying to get to the feeder, which they can’t do.

A lot of bird-feeding goes on here, as I guess it does elsewhere. There are some dried ears of corn in the squirrel-wheel thing out in the “way back”. It’s this kind of wheel where you attach ears of corn and the squirrels can whirl around on the wheel while eating corn. But I guess, with this thing, they are pretty much total idiots because the corn hasn’t been totally devoured like it was in the past. There was this other feeder, with a lid that the squirrels could lift up, and the guy I live with actually had to show the squirrels how to do that, and at least one figured it out, and you could hear the lid being lifted constantly, but the other squirrels didn’t want to learn how to lift the lid, like that was hard or something, so they tried to chew into the feeder, and destroyed it.

The project in the studio downstairs is almost finished. A few pictures which were tacked to the wall need to be framed, and then that will be it. Some things were thrown away; everything else was cleaned. He took pictures so everything could go back the way it was, because it would look better than if he re-did everything. There’s only one picture of the guy I live with above the picture of North America on the right, with Slipper and Chess, because he didn’t put up all the pictures. He says bunches of pictures of him would look weird. The empty part of the wall to the left of the wolf is where the framed pictures will go. They’re on the drawing table right now. img_1768This is the view out of the window, looking west. Maybe I said earlier that the window was deliberately left dirty, to help filter the sunlight. If I didn’t, that’s why the window is dirty. The guy I live with made that arrangement of birch branches. 17012102Anyway, while he was cleaning down in the studio (I didn’t help), he looked in all the little boxes and tins. There are a lot of them. He calls them “sad little mysteries”, which, well, for obvious reasons, seems appropriate to me.

This is what he found in one of the tins. Lots of packets of seeds. 17012103On top of the seed packets was this little plastic thing. It’s for sowing seeds; you put the seeds in the top by unscrewing it, and then the top rotates so you can control the number of seeds that are dispensed.17012105I think this came from some place like Garden Talk, a long time ago.

Most of the seed packets had dates on them, like 1994. That makes them pretty old. Not as old as the guy I live with, but pretty old. He didn’t know why the packets were stored away; maybe they were forgotten. At one time there was a cutting garden here, where the enclosure is now. Most of the packets were from Hudson or The Fragrant Path, and they had seeds which would have been appropriate for a cutting garden.

I didn’t know that seeds that old could still be viable, but they can. It depends on what. Like, members of the pea family, and others which have impermeable seed coats can be viable for decades. This is one of the packets. I hear that we call this Caesalpinia gilliesii now. The “desert bird-of-paradise”, which comes from Argentina and Uruguay, not really in deserts, but it’s grown in gardens in Arizona, and also grown here.17012107Being a member of the pea family, there are a couple of things about it. One is that container-grown plants are often very difficult to get established because the roots are growing around and around in the pot. That’s why, he says, people have a hard time getting redbuds to grow here, even though they do grow here. The redbud that was planted here never made it, because of that. So these will be potted in deep pots, for the roots to go down, instead of around. The other thing is that it’s a pea, so naturally the guy I live with nicked the edges of all the seeds, put them in a dish of hot water, and then put the seeds into a wet coffee filter and then into a plastic bag, three nights ago. As an experiment.

And look what happened.17012106It isn’t exactly magic, but it seemed to me that it was. If all of these grow (there are more seeds), and the plants don’t die after they’re planted out into the garden, we’ll have a dozen desert bird-of-paradise bushes in our garden. Besides the two that are already here.

Pretty cool, huh?

That’s all I have for today. I know it was a lot, but I think at least some of it was interesting.dsc_1731

Until next time, then.


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a bit of work

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 “Most Improved”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Pretending not to look at the cabinet that holds the biscuits. 17011302Here I am actually looking at the cabinet. I know the floor in front of the stove is a bit dirty, but I don’t do floors or windows.17011303

17011304I did eventually get a biscuit, if you were starting to worry.

Things have been happening. I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true. The guy I live with decided to start painting again, and so he got some paint samples, painted the walls to see what the samples looked like, then got more paint samples, and then more. Eventually he said that he was going to spend as much on paint samples as on actual paint, and so it might be more rational just to pick a color, and go with that.

The first room to be painted was the studio, downstairs. We hardly ever go in there. And the guy I live with said that was a problem; the room seemed more like a tomb, or something, and it should look happier. It was a happy room years ago, and should still be one. He used Benjamin Moore “Cotton Tail” for the walls, a very pale yellow.

There was a lot of vacuuming, to begin with. I heard him say something about eight years’ worth of dust down there, as well as other stuff. It looks a lot better now.img_1707These are some dried arrangements, sitting by the window temporarily. roomThe milkweed one is pretty interesting. I guess it was sprayed with something called “fixative”, years ago. There’s a lot of art supplies and things like that, in this room.milkweedOne of the art supply things was gnawed. Mice got in here some years ago and tried to eat this eraser. It does sort of look like cheese. img_1717There’s a collection of tarot card decks. I guess the artwork was thought to be cool, and so decks were collected, and put in these shelves. Boxes, really. They had to go back just like they were before the wall was painted, of course. img_1716Then there was a whole bunch of fretting about “the orchid case”. It used to have orchids in it, long ago, which is why there are still lights and a thermometer, before it was brought downstairs and filled up with all sorts of things. img_1715


img_1713It was top-heavy. The guy I live with was certain it would fall over, and he would be very distressed about that. So he attached it to the wall, and decided not to try to paint behind it. That seemed sensible to me.

I hear the work is almost done, except for reattaching the posters and mounting the drawings back on the wall.

Meanwhile, these came in the mail. 17011301The guy I live with wasn’t going to order any seeds except vegetables this year, but decided to get a few other seeds anyway. The green-and-yellow labels for importing seeds never came, despite a couple of emails sent, so he just gave up. Maybe he’ll try again later.

So the abronia seeds, and some penstemon seeds, were sown in the usual manner. The seeds are sprinkled on top of this mix, which is stuff in one of the trash cans you sometimes see here, in pictures of the patio.There’s water in this dishpan, so the soil-less mix can soak up water. 17011305The seeds were covered with fine gravel, called “squeegee” around here, and then they were put into the new bulb frame. Since the bulb frame doesn’t have any bulbs in it yet, it’s a seed frame. 17011307Pretty fascinating, huh.

I guess that’s it for today. You can see the result of all the wind we had a couple of days ago; the snow is mostly gone. 17011306

Until next time, then.







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