a smoky day

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden on this very smoky day. You may remember me from such smoke-related posts as “Shedding Light”, among at least a few others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I like lying by the back door.I often just fall asleep here. It turns out to be a nice place to lie. You can see the non-slippery rugs the guy I live with bought for Chess. He decided to keep them in the kitchen, just in case. You can also see that my hindquarters have a lot of mats. They’re being worked on, slowly. Trimmed and stuff. I hate being brushed.

If you didn’t see the picture of all the goldfinches at the feeder, posted on Facebook, here it is. He went out and bought another feeder and so now the goldfinches have disappeared. Maybe they don’t like all the smoke in the air.

I guess we’ve mostly recovered from the hailstorm last Tuesday. The guy I live with said the roof looks okay, but he really doesn’t know what to do. Most of his neighbors aren’t getting new roofs. He said he’s had a very hard time making decisions, since his wife died, and sometimes does nothing. It was good that he knew it was right to get me, though, of course.

The other day he said he was going to save up for a bunch of repairs to the house, or maybe take out a loan, and then we were going to move. I rolled my eyes when I heard that. Though living in a place where there aren’t so many storms might be nice. “Maybe with sun more than once every ten days in summer, too”, he said. I like it cooler.

I wondered if he might not benefit from some Rescue Remedy and maybe even a Thundershirt. This has been a very anxious summer for him. He’s a worrywart. (His wife was the opposite; she thought his worrying was stupid, which of course made him a little cross, but he misses hearing that calm voice.) We purebred border collies tend to worry about things, too, and I don’t like thunder and lightning at all, so I’m not really being critical.

He spends a lot of time looking at the radar (he’s kind of a nut, if you didn’t know), watching Endeavour over and over again, and also Q.I. I can tell when he’s watching Q.I. because he laughs so much. It must be a funny show.

Last Saturday they predicted bad storms again but instead it just poured rain. We got about half an inch of rain, which might help the garden recover. The storm drain across the street was completely blocked by leaves.

Anyway the garden doesn’t look so terrible unless you get really close to the plants. Some of the trees are in pretty bad shape. But he said the storm of 1991 stripped bark from the trees. The cercocarpus next to the house has almost no leaves. Probably too late for them to grow back and it might affect the plant’s ability to make sugars to prepare for cold in the winter. I guess we’ll see. Me, on patrol. The mountain ninebark, Physocarpus monogynus, has almost no leaves, too. We didn’t do much in the garden today because of all the smoke.

Oh, well, he did decide to toss the tomato plants. They were so pathetic it was painful to look at them. There were some tomatoes but they’d been battered by hail. So the plants were thrown into the garden. He said showing pictures of them would just be sad.

I guess if we grew a lot of vegetables they would be grown under a structure like the bulb frames, covered with hardware cloth.

It was an okay day, I guess, even though not much got done. I decided to enliven it a little by going on a snake hunt. “An illegal snake hunt”, the guy I live with said. Hunting snakes is a bad thing. But I like to do it anyway. He said I missed the really big one out in the corner of the yard. I did dispatch a large one a while back, and he was extremely angry with me. I got a lecture.

This one wasn’t very big at all. It was a Plains Garter Snake, Thamnophis radix. They’re completely harmless, except if you’re a mouse.

Here I am, hot on the trail of the snake. Maybe you can see the agaves in the fence behind the desert willow I’m looking under. The agaves are fenced to protect me from getting jabbed. I’m not supposed to be in the garden. Still looking. Meanwhile, the guy I live with was looking for it too. He said it was under the agaves, and heading west. That’s me in the lower right, looking. You can see its striped tail in this picture. 

I was still looking over here. Eventually the guy I live with undid the hose so he could water the side yard, and I got more interested in that. Hoses and snakes are kind of alike.

So that was our day. They say it’s supposed to be less smoky tomorrow. It might even rain.

Until next time, then.





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and then it happened

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Under The Arbor”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. As you can see, I look a lot less calm than I did in my last post. There’s a reason for that, which the movies I’m presenting tonight will demonstrate.

The forecast was for rain. The guy I live with said he wouldn’t mind rain. This is what we got instead:

You can see a trash bag float down the street here.

The garden is in pretty bad shape, but a lot of the mess is from leaves from neighbors’ trees. The forecast calls for even worse weather later this week. That makes him pretty nervous to think about, but when the storm actually happened here he was on the phone talking about it, and then made the movies. He says sometimes things aren’t as terrible as he imagines them to be when he thinks about them happening in the future. 

The apple tree doesn’t look so great. It was the first thing the guy I live with planted here. There was a row of six of them, but either they died or were removed, and just this one remains. He said he’ll probably cut it down now; it’s got fire blight, and the squirrels bite into the apples and drop them on the ground. A couple of the purebred border collies who lived here would snack on apples from time to time, but that’s all.

(You can also see that the camera lens got wet.)I still went on my evening walk. It was pretty different. The street flooded. Water poured into the field, carrying a lot of stuff with it. The guy I live with said he hopes this is the last storm that comes over our little neighborhood this summer, but maybe that’s not so likely. He also said that all the bulbs were underground; a sensible place to be. 

Until next time, then.






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