invasion of the pods

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news. You may remember me from such posts as “It’s Raining Flowers” and “The Mysteries Of Life”, among other delights.

It’s been drizzling and raining and misting, with, believe it or not, very little thunder. I don’t really trust this weather. The guy I live with says I’m being silly because border collies come from the border between England and Scotland and I should like this weather, but I only like the part where it doesn’t thunder. Here I am not trusting the weather.


We got so wet on our morning walk that the guy I live with had to change into a new pair of pants. I don’t wear pants.

You can see how damp it’s been just by looking at the wood on the patio cover.


The moss in the troughs has been turning green, after being brown and dry all summer. The guy I live with thinks this is very exciting.



Some Orostachys spinosa, too, along with some still-brown moss.


By the way, the little pieces of granite you see between the clumps of moss in the lower right, below, are pieces of rotten granite, called grus, if you need another word for Scrabble.


So that’s the moss. I’m also supposed to show this picture of the seed head of Clematis hirsutissima.


Kind of creepy, huh.

Anyway, now to our top story. The invasion of the pods. Namely, the pods falling from the honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). The guy I live with finds this constant rain of pods to be quite annoying. In fact he even said that. “You know”, he said, staring at the ground, “I find the constant rain of pods to be quite annoying.”




These are green ones, of course. The squirrels are eating the seeds and dropping the pods all day long. When I was little, my buddy Slipper showed me that the brown, ripe pods were quite tasty, and we spent many a happy hour lying on the lawn chewing locust pods. The guy I live with said it was undignified for purebred border collies, cousins in fact, to be lolling on the ground gnawing away at brown, dried pods like a couple of yokels.

The guy I live with says, without intending a pun, for me to quote Bean (Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles): “a tree well laden with dry pods, rattling with every fitful movement of the air, makes a rather weird sound in the dusk.” The tree rarely has enough pods left by the time they’re completely dry.

The invasion has just begun. The guy I live with says the pods are increased by raking. Like, if five hundred fall tomorrow, and he rakes them up, this will make a thousand more appear in the tree. I’m not so sure I believe this.

I don’t chew pods any more. After my buddy Slipper died, I stopped chewing pods. Maybe it was more fun chewing them together, and making the guy I live with look at us with disapproval. He was especially irked when we brought them inside, though there was a rule about pod chewing in bed. Since my buddy Slipper slept at the foot of the bed, on the floor, he would sometimes chew a pod or two in the middle of the night, having snuck them in earlier. The guy I live with would wake up to the crunching noise, and say “No pod chewing in the middle of the night”, and Slipper would stop, at least until he thought the guy I live with had fallen asleep, and then he’d start chewing them again. He could be really naughty sometimes.

So, I won’t be helping to clean them up.



That’s all for tonight. I guess you know what the guy I live with will be doing for a while. Or just sitting inside complaining about what he has to do.

Until next time, then.

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19 Responses to invasion of the pods

  1. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    Dear Chess—that guy you live with seems to have perfected that focusing thing. Got some mighty fine resolution there in those images. All except for the one of you. What’s with that?

    • paridevita says:

      The reason for the unfocused pictures of me is that I dislike having my picture taken. The guy I live with didn’t realize the camera was sending this death-ray beam into my eyes, until he finally noticed it, and turned it off. But what he does is just stick the camera in front of my face and start clicking. Otherwise, if I see him making gestures like he’s about to take my picture, all focusing and stuff, I walk away.

  2. Susan ITPH says:

    I feel your pod pain. I’m seriously considering having the tree injected next spring to drop the immature pods so I don’t have to deal with yet another fall of brown pods everywhere. I wonder has Chess ever considered getting another border collie buddy?

    • paridevita says:

      We tried the buddy business.
      There was this rescue dog, a border collie like me, but I think not from working parents, who came to the house and chomped on me for two days, even though I tried my best to make friends the second day. The rescue dog was sent away.
      We talked about it some, after that, and we decided it would just be the two of us until we were parted. He spends most of his time with me anyway. I’m used to having humans around, since my mommy stayed at home, and I’m set in my ways and don’t much like other dogs any more.
      About the pods, I think we should just let them develop, so the guy I live with can get some exercise. In places where he can’t rake them up, he has this “grabber deal” that lets him pick them up without bending over and then getting all light headed. We wouldn’t want that, would we?

      • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

        I hope I’m not over-stepping here, as there is nothing that horrifies me more than the possibility of being inappropriate, but you and the guy you live with need a purebred border collie puppy. From working parents, of course. Preferably a relation. Just sayin’…

      • paridevita says:

        There was some talk of that. No puppies ever materialized. Then the guy I live with just spaced it out, like he does practically everything else. …

      • Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

        It all has to do with keeping the thread, the import of which often becomes apparent only after it is too late.

  3. The clematis seed head looks like a spider that would weave a deranged web, one better not encountered in the night garden.
    Your portrait photo, Chess, I believe shows a dog living with stress. I prime my doggies’ drinking water with Rescue Remedy, but you look like the stuff should be applied directly to your tongue. Doggie massage is good too. Your person could rub and knead instead of raking the pods. Out here we have wisteria pods, and they shoot off the tree with a sound akin to rifle fire. Now that is really annoying because in season the noise is constant, although not as sustained as the sound of machine guns fired by SEALs training their newest BUDs class. Perhaps the time I have to massage Shredder and Petey is time saved from having the sort of garden in which pods lay as mulch. Ask your person to consider the concept. Less raking, more cuddling.

    • paridevita says:

      I get lots of cuddles; in fact, the guy I live with considered writing adventure stories about a border collie named Captain Cuddles.
      I also get Rescue Remedy. And, above all, I know how to look pathetic. My buddy Slipper taught me that. (He also taught me how to howl like a banshee when the guy I live with leaves the house without me. He says it’s really embarrassing. And, of course, utterly undignified for a purebred border collie.)
      We have a wisteria here. It’s called “Aunt Dee” and the guy I live with says it reminds him of a place called Mayberry. It’s never bloomed, but eventually he says it will. He’s trying to make a tree out of it, which is slightly preposterous.

  4. Cool clematis seedhead!

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Chess you are looking wonderful as always, and the guy you live with’s photo’s are great today. I am glad I don’t have to put up with any PODS in my yard, I think they would drive me nuts.

  6. petabunn says:

    Hi Chess, it’s me the cross Border Collie named Molly. I like the photo of you today, I think you have a good look of not trusting the weather. More great photos, I especially like the green moss, I am also very impressed that you play scrabble. The seed head of the clematis is fantastic, does your guy collect the seeds?

    • paridevita says:

      Weather is not to be trusted in general. Though we went for out walk in the rain just now, and the guy I live with had to dry me off with a towel. Towel cuddles.
      My mommy and the guy I live with used to play Scrabble all the time. She would get mad when he called himself “Mr. Scrabble”, and so he had to let her win once in a while.
      The seeds are usually viable for just a short time. He might try to sow these in a more clematis-friendly part of the garden.

      • petabunn says:

        Towel cuddles, what a lucky guy you have. I don’t like cuddles so my person misses out and I don’t like to admit it but I don’t like getting my feet wet so I really try to avoid rain if it ever happens here. I know I am a disgrace…

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, that’s disgraceful. The more stuff you track into the house, the better the time you had. You should see the kitchen floor here today ….

  7. Vivian Swift says:

    Does Rescue Remedy work on humans? I’m looking for a low-calorie non-hangovery alternative to a big stonking vodka tonic.

    Oh, I loved the story of Slipper smuggling pods into the house for a good chew in the middle of the night. I do that with Oreos and the guy I live with has the same reaction as the guy you live with. Hmmmm…makes me think I should work on my pathetic look to get some leeway in the crunchy-snacking-at-midnight department.

    Moss. For their mysterious ways and their resistance to domestication I’ve read that mosses are the cats of the botanical world. (I really should go look up the exact quote. It’s very cute and memorable because, you know, I’m a cat person and all.)

    • paridevita says:

      The Rescue Remedy I get is R.R. For Pets. There is a human version too.
      Moss is really great. The guy I live with says that George Schenk’s book Moss Gardening is one of the most delightful, and probably best written, gardening book around. The mosses that the guy I live with grows are native mosses which can stay bone dry all summer.

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