willows and owls and mystery eggs

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you a post largely about me, so you can be assured of its total excellence. You may remember me from such about-me posts as “Most Improved”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
The guy I live with, who, if you ask me, was trying to be too bossy, said for me to open my eyes, and un-retract my ears, so I did one of those things. 

I guess that made him happy. Some other things didn’t.

It snowed. And I don’t mean just snowed. We got over a foot of snow. You can imagine the complaining and whining and colorful language when that happened, but I really liked it, and ran around the back yard just to show the guy I live with how much I like snow.
And my walks have been excellently snowy. 

Maybe you can see a few leaves on top of the snow there. The weather forecast called for a high wind warning, with wind gusts up to ninety miles per hour (about a hundred and forty-five kilometers per hour), which sounded like a lot of miles per hour to me, but the guy I live with said that that wasn’t really excessive for here, that it happened quite a bit “back in the old days”, but that this wasn’t the old days, and there would be hardly any wind, and he was right.
In fact, he said that the weather website right now said we were having wind gusts up to eighteen miles per hour, but really the air was dead still, like it almost always is. Creepily so, according to the guy I live with.

Anyway, when it started snowing, we were walking along the canal road, and the owls were there, in the willow tree. The guy I live with posted owl pictures on Facebook but these might be even better. Both owls are in each picture. A couple of days before that, I scared a hawk who was eating something on the ground. When we came back that evening, there was almost nothing left of what the hawk was eating.

The sunsets have been pretty good, when it wasn’t snowing, I mean. These are mostly jet contrails, and the guy I live with said he thought they were sort of cool.The point-and-shoot camera does a fairly good job of moon pictures, though not as good as the other cameras, which he doesn’t take on our walks. He can hold the point-and-shoot, after calibrating it I guess, and just hold it in his right hand, with the leash in his left hand, and, you know, shoot pictures. Eventually maybe I’ll take over picture-taking, but not right now.

So just this morning I decided to walk a different way, which we’ve gone on before but don’t do a lot. That’s the canal on the right; the bank isn’t as high, here.And there was another egg. I was going to get a serious case of the creeps, but the guy I live with said the egg was obviously frozen now, and that probably nothing horrible would hatch out of it. I certainly hope not. I know dragons are green; I’ve seen them on the television.

Well, so, that was the last few days. Not everything is happening outside. This started to happen. I wasn’t sure I like it all that much.

After all of that, then there were these:

It is that time of year again, you know. It comes around pretty regularly now. The guy I live with is often sad, but he said one thing that would cheer him up, and the whole kitchen, in fact, were some packets of turkey gravy. I didn’t really understand this, though I figured it had something to do with eating, which always cheers me up, so I got that part, but he said no, his wife liked to have these packets in the pantry, “just in case”. Like if there was a gravy emergency or something.
It wasn’t about the gravy; it was about just seeing the packets in the pantry. So he went on a turkey-gravy-packet hunting expedition like the day before Thanksgiving. He said if he didn’t return that someone else would take care of me. I knew he was just being funny. But it was a successful hunt; right brand of turkey gravy, now sitting in the pantry the way it always did, when his wife was here. 

He said it actually made pretty good gravy.

And he bought himself a couple of other things. One was this sansevieria. He’s decided he’s going to get into sansevierias and that there will be more in the house, eventually.You can see that someone (no mentioning who) runs to the window all the time, to guard the house and front yard and driveway and sidewalk and street and stuff, has pushed the green marble table top way over; the guy I live with has to push it back all the time.

He also got this, just to be extra-sentimental like with the packets of gravy:

He sat on the couch the other night, looking at the book, while I lay on what I call “my end” of the couch.  This picture makes my rear end look bigger than it is, but that’s okay, because you can tell how cozy things are.

Well, that’s pretty much it for today. No gardening, of course, unless you count watering pots and looking at the sansevieria. It’s supposed to warm up this week but the guy I live with says that probably won’t get rid of all the snow. Some wind would, but it just isn’t windy here any more; not the way it used to be. “Whatever”, he said, which I guess is our motto. Or at least one of them.

Until next time, then.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

two hundred snowdrops

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you up to date on the many fascinating happenings in our house and garden. You may remember me from such similarly-themed posts as “One Hundred Snowdrops”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Then like half a second later, with me still posing characteristically, some snow slid off the open frame on the right.

I guess it would be superfluous to mention that it snowed here.  But allow me to take you back in time, to a few days earlier.

The water started flowing in the canal again. It’s been shut off four times now. (It’s off now, for the rest of the season. Maybe.)The ducks went back into the canal. The guy I live with said there was a phrase about ducks taking to water, and that made sense.There was even a bizarre object in the canal. The guy I live with suggested that it might be a Mystery Egg.There was something in the southern sky, too. We see this every now and then, though not when it’s snowing. The guy I live with said we’d never try this, unless he became a spy, and had to do this because he was being chased by evil agents. He might just hide, instead.

And there have been sunsets. This is the time of year for the best ones. The wind comes off the mountains in just a certain way. 

The best sunset picture got posted on Facebook, but I think I should show it here. The guy I live with really likes this picture. It was just pure luck that everything and everyone came together here.

Well, anyway, it snowed. But first, it rained. It can rain in November, and sometimes does. It’s about as common as seeing Mystery Eggs. And then, that night, the rain froze, or at least some of it did. (The macro feature on the point-and-shoot doesn’t always work very well.)And then it snowed.

That’s my tail, there, in the picture below, if you couldn’t tell. It’s too great a tail to be cropped out of the picture.The willows are really photogenic at this time of year. I know I show a lot of pictures of them, but they’re pretty cool.There were strange tracks in the canal, too. Tracks in the slush. 

Then the next day it was nicer. The sun came out. 

So that’s the weather here. Back and forth. Or up and down.

A week or so ago the guy I live with read about a snowdrop sale, and so he decided to order some. Two hundred of them, if you can believe that.
And they arrived in the mail. The bulbs looked pretty good, with flowering shoots emerging, but with no roots at all, and that’s a problem, here. The snowdrops should already have formed roots by now, if they were in the ground, and roots are more important than shoots, so he decided to plant them in nursery pots, of which he happened to have a lot of, because the chances of the bulbs forming roots when it’s this cold are not so great.
It’s different from other bulbs, because these snowdrops would be up in less than six weeks. And the guy I live with explained something about cryoprotective sugars, which are a product of photosynthesis, which pretty much requires roots to function.

This turned out to be one of those plans that sounded better than in theory. It was a huge amount of work; the guy I live with’s hips and knees are really achy and sore from the hormone therapy, and there was a lot of colorful language, especially when he tried to get up after all the planting.

But it all got done, and hopefully the snowdrops are busy making roots. (They were soaked in water for a couple of hours before being planted.)
If everything goes according to plan, like it almost never does, the bulbs will be planted out next spring. Maybe even “in the green”. They look like green onions then. You can imagine the fun of planting two hundred green onion things.
He told his friend that most of them were going in her garden. If this all works, I mean. The last time he got bulk snowdrops, like the post I mentioned right at the beginning, only some of them came up, and I think none has survived. These are just Galanthus elwesii which is easy to grow here, so maybe starting with good roots is the key.

While he was struggling with that, he took a picture of the view from the upstairs bedroom window, where the snowdrops are. (Cyclamen, too.) That’s the shed roof, covered with snow.

And then just a little while ago, today, he took a picture of a snowdrop in the Snowdrop Frame. It’s “ridiculously late” this year, but there hasn’t been any rain, and that dip down to 0° in October probably didn’t help.

Galanthus reginae-olgae ‘Cambridge’

It doesn’t really matter that this autumn-flowering snowdrop is so late. What matters is that this was originally one bulb, and it’s been increasing very nicely. I think there are even more bulbs than the ones whose shoots you can see.

Well, that really is it for today.

Until next time, then.


Posted in Uncategorized | 31 Comments