the abandoned house

Here I am, Chess the purebred border collie, ready to entertain and delight you once again. You may remember me from such wonderful posts as “Stinker’s Revenge” and “Drip Drop Drip Drop”.

Here I am in a characteristic pose, about to eat a biscuit, and at the same time hoping I don’t hear thunder. I’ve been hiding downstairs all day and really should go back down there. It’s cooler, too. That’s my “fetch ‘n’ cuddle” behind me, and that’s the guy I live with’s ancient rattan furniture. Older than him, even. Like, really, really old.


The sky has been dark and scary all day. The guy I live with says it will probably look like this every day until October. Sometimes living in Denver is like being around a person who constantly talks about the same thing. The same thing every day, day after day. There hasn’t been any rain at all, except some sprinkles, for a very long time.


Anyway, and you might find this funny, someone told the guy I live with that people think the house here is abandoned, because the front yard looks like this.


He didn’t take a very good picture, but my mommy said the garden wasn’t very photogenic, and she took all the pictures then. Those aren’t weeds in the lower left corner; they’re seedlings of Penstemon brandegei, the big green thing above it. The dark curvy branches are the desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, which I’ll get to in a minute. The ocotillo is front of it is probably dead, but there are so many plants in the garden that are probably dead that the guy I live with doesn’t even worry about it. It’s architectural, or so he says.

The guy I live with says people say this about the house all the time, and they think the house is abandoned because, first of all, there aren’t any cars parked in the driveway or on the street (the car is in the garage), and second of all, there isn’t any half-dead green grass in the front yard. The front garden has not been irrigated since 1987.

The guy I live with says that the people who have the half-dead green lawns are the first ones to start whining when watering restrictions are put in place, and the first ones to whine that it doesn’t rain here, and then when it does rain, they start whining about that, too. They also whine about the cost of water, which, here, is four tenths of a cent a gallon. The guy I live with says people can be weird.

Here’s the new front garden, with me looking out at it. He’s been watering that, so the cactus get a chance to root before it gets cold, and that’s why you can see a hose.


And here’s the path leading from the front into the back yard. Holodiscus dumosus is just “going over” as the guy I live with says they say. That’s an oak on the right, Quercus undulata.


It’s really dry here. The guy I live with likes it that way, and also he likes the decrepit feeling that the whole garden has, sort of like an estate that’s gone downhill, the house that trick-or-treaters always avoid at Halloween. It’s so decrepit beyond where the path turns that none of the pictures turned out.  He says the camera didn’t have a decrepit filter on it, but I think he just took crummy pictures. You’ll just have to imagine it.

Before I go back downstairs I’m supposed to show some flowers of the desert willow. This is one of the guy I live with’s favorite plants; the flowers are scented of violets at night. One of the desert willows here still hasn’t leafed out, even though it’s alive. The guy I live with says this is being extra smart. Like me.

This is a flower from one of the desert willows in the front yard. That’s a bee butt, if you didn’t know.


Lastly, the “red” one in the back yard.


Oh, wait. He says to show the greasewood. This is very exciting indeed. Maybe this is why people think the house is abandoned. The level of horticultural excitement here, I mean.


I hope you found this edifying. That’s all for today.

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10 Responses to the abandoned house

  1. Diane says:

    Thanks, Chess. BTW, I think your front yard is quite attractive!

  2. Loree says:

    Wow…love the front yard and new cactus bed shots…kind makes me think of my front garden, or at least the Portland version. I do wonder what our neighbors say…

    • paridevita says:

      I bet in Portland they aren’t as weird about lawns as they are here. An analogy would be planting mango trees in Minneapolis, and then hoping it never got cold, and complaining when it did.
      It is raining here, a little, right now, but not enough to keep lawns green. I understand that most suburban developments here require a green lawn in the front yard.

  3. Cliff Booker says:

    Edifying indeed!!!

  4. Vivian Swift says:

    It’s been 97 degrees with 90 per cent humidity here on Long Island for the past week. The forecast is for thunderstorms tonight and I’ve promised myself that I am going to dance in the rain. In Winter this kind of heat is impossible to remember, same as now when I can not for the life of me imagine ever wearing a sweater again.

    The front garden looks museum quality. I’ve been looking for five minutes and I don’t see a hose, but the mid-century architecture of chez vous is killer. That’s what they say in Paris instead of awesome: “killer”. What shade of blue is that? I hope it has a poetic name, like Aztec Regret Blue, or Border Collie’s Dream of January.

    The cute doggy in the window doesn’t hurt in upping the awesomeness of the landscape, either.

    • paridevita says:

      I would die with 90 percent humidity. Just fade away and die. Die like a sponge.
      The hose is right next to the front stoop. Or porch.

      The paint …story about the paint. I told my wife the house needed to be painted and waited for twenty years for her to make up her mind what color it should be. Finally, one day I said I was going to get house paint and she insisted on going along and picked out the paint.
      I never finished painting, and the area around the window never got re-painted.
      The screen door is original. Ultra-tacky aluminum, like the window frames. The screen door used to have a screen, which is why it’s still called a screen door, but one of the dogs burst it out trying to stick his head through it to bark at someone coming up the walk.
      Wait til I take pictures of the whole front yard….

  5. Justin says:

    When I took my front lawn last summer my next door neighbor just stared at me the whole time not saying a word. I think he is still upset.

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