this and that

Greetings once again everyone; yes, it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to entertain and inform you, while the guy I live with is “lost in thought”. You may remember me from such delightful and wonderful posts as “The Abandoned House” and “A Close Call” among others. Here I am in a characteristic pose, after it stopped thundering. Characteristically out of focus, again, too.


That’s the drawing my mommy did of my uncle Pooka with the radar ears on the wall behind me. I never knew him. He was my mommy’s special baby until I showed up. I think you can see why.

“I’m tired”, the guy I live with said today, “of ‘subtropical moisture'”. I think he’s not really against anything subtropical per se, just the subtropical humidity and endless darkness. I don’t care for all the thunder, and am ready for snow. Of course it can still thunder when it’s snowing, which is really stupid, but a fact of life. I would remind the guy I live with that four inches of snow fell on September 3, 1961, which means that it could snow next week, but he’s still tired of “subtropical moisture” and the attendant darkness and probably can’t adjust to being tired of snow yet. It usually only takes one snowfall for him to be tired of it, whereas I can’t get enough of it.

So, he said this is “planting time”. Time, in other words, for the little seedlings to go out into the garden (“to their deaths”, my mommy would say), because it’s either now, or have to spend the whole winter outside in a pot, and risk either being eaten or frozen. That doesn’t sound like much fun at all.

This is Phlox griseola, ready to go out into the garden.


It’s going into this barren looking place.


Back in the old days, the guy I live with would separate the three seedlings and plant each one with a “widger”


but this time he just planted the whole pot, as it was. The reason he did this is because he said when he uses the widger he has to dig really deep holes for the long, long roots and as he’s planting he gets this idea that the little seedlings should be spread out some, so they don’t grow into each other, and when he does that, all of the seedlings die because he forgets to water them. After all that work.

In case you’re wondering, we wouldn’t be surprised if the garden received an inch or less of rain and snow from now until the end of the year, but it would be nice if it rained a little more. Minus the thunder.

Okay, well, I did title the post “this and that”, though I wondered why no one says “that and this”, and the guy I live with said that “this” usually refers to the nearest thing, like an object, under consideration, and that “that” is something different, even distant, which is also under consideration. I didn’t get it at first. This right here, and that over there. But it gives me an excuse to change subjects really quickly.

Cyclamen hederifolium is blooming in the shade garden. This, the guy I live with says, is a sign that autumn is very close. It’s also a sign of “not paying much attention to focusing”, but let’s pretend it is focused.  You can see the flowers in the upper right amongst the hellebore leaves and stuff, but what he wanted a picture of was the flower stalks which are right smack in the middle of the picture. He thinks this is exciting.


Now over to what used to be called “the enclosure”, but which the guy I live with now calls “Cindy’s garden”, because my mommy made it so she could sit out there and read, in a little private space. Of course I and my buddy Slipper were allowed in there. Well, after she died, the guy I live felt it needed more plants, and needed to look happier, and so he planted a bunch of other things in this little garden, including three plants of the rose ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. I don’t go in there very much any more.


Thanks to the “subtropical moisture”, the little garden is filled with the sweet scent of these roses, so the humidity does have some good points.

So then–to really impress you with his ability to focus–he was just standing outside this garden (it’s over on the right) and a hummingbird came up and tried to get him to leave, the way they do. That’s a hummingbird looking straight at him.


The hummingbird was probably interested in stuff like this.


I guess that’s a Salvia darcyi that decided to show up in the middle of things. The guy I live with wasted an awful lot of time today trying to figure out why people think that Salvia oresbia is a synonym and why it says that all the time. He wanted me to post the results of his research, but really, just because he was bored out of his mind today there’s no reason for him to share this boredom with other people.

Whatever, huh. Here’s another picture of me, wondering if the thunder has stopped, to make things more interesting. Again totally out of focus, but the guy I live with was lying on the floor pointing the camera out the window, which isn’t the sort of thing a normal person would do.

I’ll leave you with this. Until next time.


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16 Responses to this and that

  1. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I look at these pictures of handsome Chess & I can just feel the hot, moist (and possibly stinky) breath on my face — like subtropical moisture laced with love.

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Chess, your posts make my day. My border collie hates thunder and lightning too and runs round like a lunatic barking at it the whole time.

  3. Cliff Booker says:

    De … lightful.

  4. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    Good Morning, Chess. Very sorry to hear that the guy you live with has drifted off again. This must not be much fun for you—a true test for your undoubtedly remarkable forbearance. But us herding breeds are famous for our forbearance, among many other truly remarkable and astonishing traits, and so you do your ancestors proud. Maybe the guy you live with needs a nip on the butt, not that I’m suggesting that you ever do such thing. Such actions, although often warranted, are also often totally misconstrued by the individual receiving the nip, so probably best to refrain from that particular herding behavior in this case.

    We are also slogging through a spell of sub-tropical moisture. Another dreary, foggy day here good for little other than growing mushrooms. Thrifty Yankees in these parts have even been known to have mildew grow on their leather wallets. My grammy says she is tired of enduring this soup and wants to start enjoying some autumn weather. I also love the snow—quite frankly, I go a little crazy and I afterwards wonder if I have embarrassed myself in any way, but no one seems to treat me any differently so I guess my behavior wasn’t too over the top. Remaining appropriate in all situations is of utmost concern to me–it’s just the way I’m wired.

    My grammy is enchanted by the name ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. She is always on the lookout for what she calls “grateful roses”. She has no use for the prima donna types that sulk for attention and then swoon and fade when faced with the slightest adversity. There used to be a large depression along the front fence line that she has filled in with the skeletons of these dandies. Any rose around here has gotta be tough. She has about a dozen that have survived the cut but most of their names have been lost to the ages. She figures ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ is one name she could never forget, even with her rapidly diminishing capacity to remember new things, but that is an entirely different story altogether.

    Happy Labor Day to you and the guy you live with. It is a big holiday in our parts because it means we get the place we live in back to ourselves!

    • paridevita says:

      I do, um, nip the guy I live with from time to time. He needs it.
      Darlow’s Enigma is a musk rose, I guess (it’s an enigma) with zillions of flowers in the spring, and, best of all, a massive reblooming at this time of year.
      Of course, here, without the subtropical moisture its scent is not so pervasive.

      • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

        My grammy says she will be giving the Enigma a try. Most roses in these parts fold because of the rose diseases that love to incubate in our sub-tropical summer time moisture and our winters are rarely cold enough to give over-wintering spores a what for. As defeated and cynical as gardeners often sound, ironically they seem also (at least from my point of view) to be among the most foolishly optimistic people I have ever had the opportunity to observe.

      • paridevita says:

        The enigma apparently originated in a garden in Oregon. It is quite wonderful.

      • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

        Oh, and please be careful with that nipping thing…it can be a slippery slope, my friend.

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, I accidentally nipped someone a while back. But the guy I live with got chomped by a dog on the same day. It all evens out.

  5. Vivian Swift says:

    Darlow’s Enigma is a nice change of pace from the usual boring names that roses get. I have been trying to illustrate roses all week — ever notice how rose illustrations are usually as borings as their names? You should google “rose illustration” and see how long you can stay interested in the result. I finally gave up on the species rose…people who read my chapter on rose gardens will just have to imagine what a wild rose looks like. They are just too damn dull to paint.

    Now, border collies, there’s a fascinating subject for illustration.

    We heard on the news this morning that this is the first August that has come and gone without a hurricane hitting the US since 1961. We did not have one single thunderstorm here on Long Island ALL SUMMER and I am very sad. Dang. I do love a good storm.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says he has gardening friends on Long Island and we’re not moving there, even with the no thunderstorms thing. Because of the humidity.
      Though he says Planting Fields Arboretum was dazzling.

      About roses, I don’t know. Cuisse de Nymphe émue has a certain je ne sais quoi. Félicité et Perpétue. etc.

  6. Oh, Chess boy, heritage roses are my garden passion, which you’d know if you saw my garden, “Darlow’s Enigma,” the quotes denote a found rose of unknown origin. Of course, we know Jim Darlow found the rose growing in Oregon, but beyond that is dragon territory. I was surprised a musk rose can grow in snow territory, but turns out the thing grows in *Scandinavia,* whoo hoo. So happy amidst the thunder your nose has a distracting scent to sniff. Sweet story as to its placement, sweet rose. Sweetest of all is Chess, if your person but doth knew. I suspect he does.

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