seven percent humidity

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, two going on three, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you up to date on the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Before The Deep Freeze”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Yes, endlessly waiting for a biscuit. Maybe you can tell by looking at my post title that it’s dry here. The guy I live with said that people think of Denver as being snowy in the winter, but it’s often like this, too. It was sixty-one degrees Fahrenheit here today (which is sixteen degrees Celsius), and dry.

Incidentally, the guy I live with said that there are two Fahrenheit temperatures which, when reversed, are Celsius. 61°F equals 16°C; 82°F equals 28°C. Or vice versa. The stuff you learn here. (He also says that writing out the numbers is the preferred way of doing it if you have a picky editor.)

Okay then. Back to me, now, for a bit. Last night on our walk I sort of freaked out about something that the guy I live with couldn’t see at all. But it was there. After he took the picture he had to walk up to it to see what it was. See if you can see it. I didn’t think so. We purebred border collies have excellent night vision. It’s that white spot almost in the center; a plastic grocery bag flapping in the wind. The guy I live with said they’d banned those bags in some states but that here they haven’t, and they catch in branches and flap all winter. A bit scary.

Today we walked on, and looked at, the bluegrass growing in the field behind the houses, taken today. I guess the grass got there by seeding itself, but look how green it is, in December. It never gets watered, of course, and is in quite a bit of shade. But it is kind of strange to see the grass so happy and green when not only is it super dry, but it hasn’t rained or snowed very much at all since the beginning of spring. I like this picture of the back yard, looking northwest; you can see the apartment buildings which are beyond the canal road we walk on. The guy I live with says that usually he would have been all against them building apartments there, where before there was an empty field (at one time with horses in it), and where walks were taken (and where Pooka got sprayed by a skunk), but there were also dirt bikes there, day after day, racing all around, and the noise so was annoying that having apartment houses built there came as a relief. The guy I live with says that he also likes seeing Christmas decorations on some of the balconies.

The branches of the Russian hawthorn, Crataegus ambigua, always look kind of different, especially when lit by the afternoon sun. It’s a really twisty tree. (Partly because it’s been pruned that way.)Coming home from our evening walk, the guy I live with stopped and looked over at the foothills. The big tree on the left is the cottonwood behind our house. He often stops and stands here, looking, for quite some time. Since I make him stop and wait for me as I investigate important stuff, I guess it’s okay.

You probably can’t see the ducks in this picture, but they’re there, flying over the trees in the middle of the picture. They fly to the southeast, maybe to the big reservoir (Chatfield) to the south of us.There are hundreds and hundreds of ducks, flying in the twilight. Some of them fly together; some fly alone. I kind of wanted to do something else, but we had to watch the ducks, instead. 

The guy I live with finally stopped taking pictures, and we went home. It was pretty exhausting, let me tell you.

I’ll leave you now, with another picture of me, also in a characteristic pose. It might look uncomfortable but it isn’t.

Until next time, then.


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another change

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 this evening to show you pictures of the sunset, as well as some other things. You may remember me from such posts as “The Ugly Garden”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.  I got a new toy.This picture was taken this evening. The toy isn’t really as big as it looks; some odd camera thing. The guy I live with got me three new toys a few days ago, because he said there were some which needed to be replaced, because they had been “chewed out of all recognition”. I’m not sure who by.

Last night a bunch of paper was burned in the chiminea as it was snowing. I talked about that yesterday. There was even a wood fire, but the guy I live with put that out after the paper was all burned. There were times when he just happened to glance at the poetry and prose printed on the paper, and suddenly feared this might be a mistake. He kept putting paper in, as it snowed.

But this morning things were completely different.Maybe you can see, in the bird bath, that it didn’t even freeze last night, and the snow had all melted. The weather here can be weird.

The guy I live with went to the store, and when he came back, there was a ladybug on the Yucca rupicola. The guy I live with told me that ladybugs bite, and so I give them a wide berth. That’s easy to do, because ladybugs are little.I had my dinner, which was very delicious, as it always is, and then I had a biscuit, which I decided to eat out in the back yard, because it was so nice. Biscuits in bed is even better, maybe times a million better, but out in the back yard is good too.Then we went on our walk. There was an awful lot of me just standing around while pictures were taken, but the guy I live with said it would probably be a nice sunset, and it was. He posted a picture on Facebook but these will show up much better, as you can see. The sunset was even more spectacular than the pictures show. There was a dry wind blowing, too, which made it a really nice evening.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is something pretty different. I guess talking about different things is turning into this month’s theme, and this isn’t something you might associate with the activity around here, and yet, in its own way, it is.

The guy I live with is into paperwhites. You know, cultivars of Narcissus papyraceus. Since he likes growing a lot of bulbs it might not come as a huge surprise that he also grows bulbs indoors.

You might enjoy these somberly-lit pictures of paperwhites in pots. (The bucket full of gravel was for filling the pots.)

These are pots of the really common paperwhite, called ‘Ziva’, and also of some different ones, ‘Nir’, ‘Inbal’, and ‘Ariel’. Some people don’t care for the fragrance but the guy I live with says “Pfft”, which he says a lot, anyway.

Naturally, there’s some weird experimenting which might not have any point to it. Some of the bulbs were just planted in pots of gravel and watered, which is the usual method, but when they flower and don’t get fed it sets them back. Others were planted in the soil-less mix used for everything, with the idea that the paperwhites could be fed more easily, and used year after year.

Since they don’t get any nutrients if they’re just grown in gravel and watered, most people throw away the bulbs, which the guy I live with said was fairly senseless. The bulbs from last year aren’t going to flower this year because they didn’t get any food last year, but at least they’re still alive. They’ll get fed when the foliage starts to fade. And then if growing them in soil-less mix works, that’s the way it will be done from now on. All that atmospheric lighting–I know, here I go again, but we purebred border collies can be easily distracted–comes from a fairly unusual source.This lamp came from his grandparents. It sat on a desk in the hallway, in their house in Los Angeles. On the same table sat a Model 302 desk telephone, the kind with the heavy receiver and metal dial. The guy I live with says that the only thing lacking from his memory of the desk, lamp, and phone was Humphrey Bogart sitting at the desk, talking on the phone, writing something in a notepad.

Thanks to the “miracle of the internet”, the guy I live with did a search on this kind of lamp, and it was made by Moe Brothers Lighting, probably in 1951. So it’s, and I know this will be super hard to believe, as old as the guy I live with. The only difference is that the lamp still works perfectly.

That really does wrap it up for tonight. I hope you enjoyed the sunset pictures, and, of course, the pictures of me.

Until next time, then.




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