One of the drawbacks to doing nothing day after day is that time seems to go by extremely slowly. I find this strange, because when I had a job, and went on vacation, I often did nothing, and time went by so fast that it seemed like I had had no vacation at all. There is nothing hanging over me (except the property tax bill, which hasn’t come yet), so I get to experience winter moment by moment by frozen, still, quiet moment.
I had reached a stage in which the contest between man and mouse, that is, who is the more intelligent of the two, seemed to have resolved itself in my favor. What a relief. I always thought I was smarter than a mouse. I put the Tin Cat, with the peanut butter, out in the garage, and hadn’t noticed any signs of mice in the kitchen. A little of the peanut butter was being eaten every night.
Some of the bread I buy (when I don’t bake my own) has heels too big for the toaster, and since I loathe throwing away food, putting it in the garage for the mice seemed like the logical thing to do. I set it half in the Tin Cat, so the lid wouldn’t fall on anyone during their midnight snacking. There were little nibbled areas in the bread every morning, so I knew that my plan was working; the mice were in the garage and not in the kitchen.
This morning, though, I noticed a new, ominous trend. One whole piece of bread has disappeared. Is one mouse strong enough to move a piece of bread? I don’t think so. Maybe an army of them? Or, to quote Dorothy Parker, “what fresh hell is this?”
This is how my life goes. Surrounded by snow that won’t go away, surrounded by hungry rodents. And yet, on our walk yesterday, instead of feeling trapped in an endless winter, I felt a twinge of spring. Maybe it’s right around the corner ….
And now for some pulsatillas. Not too many things more beautiful than these, even though they do seed all over the place here. There is one that I truly covet, the beautiful form known as ‘Budapest Blue’. This is sort of close.
Some species have more tubular, less open flowers. I once grew, from seed, two species of pulsatilla, one from Sublin’s Lake, one from Death Lake, in Central Asia. They sounded totally cool, but the seedlings died. They could have turned out like the one below, though, which is less exciting than some others.
One of the European species is said to be extremely difficult to grow. I tried Pulsatilla alpina subsp. apiifolia from seed (the seed is said to be very short lived), gave up, and figured that was the end. I even removed the “tails” from the seed which some people say contains a germination inhibitor.
Then one day this carrot-looking thing appeared in the garden. It grew and grew, and eventually did this.
Last, and definitely not least, the native Pulsatilla patens, called “crocus” in some parts of the west. I had this plant in the garden once, and killed it trying to transplant it. Digging them up is certain death for the plant.
These pictures were taken at Plainview, Colorado, in March. I had an ear infection and the wind was blowing, so I just stood around while Cindy took these pictures of plants growing under recently-burned ponderosas. I am very good at just standing around. Charred twigs and juvenile cones are visible in the photographs.
I think I could stare at that last image for hours! (of course the fact that I’m on cold meds might have something to do with that).
Ah, cold meds, I remember those. High blood pressure, which I inherited, doesn’t mix with them, so I have to rely on zinc.
The plants were growing right where the ponderosas give way to the plains; in fact just opposite Rocky Flats, where the wind can blow so hard you have to hold onto the steering wheel for dear life if you’re driving. I should go collect some seed this year.
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