gray day, with drays

Greetings and salutations everyone; once again it is I, Chess the totally purebred border collie, here to entertain and inform you, since the guy I live with is incapable of doing either, it seems.  You may remember me from such enjoyable posts as “Where We Live” and “As Above, So Below” among many others.

I have something funny to report. At least I thought it was funny. Here I am thinking it was funny.


There was something the guy I live with did not know. I almost laughed, except border collies, as a rule, do not laugh. We might snicker, but we rarely laugh. Something he did not know. Can you believe it?

Well, first of all, the day wasn’t entirely gray, there was some sun this morning, but we did quite a bit of napping (one reason I’m so fond of the guy I live with; he knows when a nap is in order), and then, a box of bulbs came in the mail, and he spent several hours making labels and planting bulbs with his Swedish rock gardening trowel. In fact, the bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society showed a picture of Reginald Farrer with a trowel exactly like the guy I live with’s Swedish one, so he figured he was in good hands, planting away.

So he planted and planted, and then planted some more, and when he was all done, he decided, for no reason I could think of, to take pictures of the squirrel nests in the yard. This one is way up in the honey locust.


This one is in the maple he says he’s going to cut down, “eventually”.


And then one in the apple tree, in the way back.


Squirrel nests (this is the part he didn’t know) are called drays, or dreys (the Oxford English Dictionary prefers the first spelling), and he thinks they’re called that because of the sticks dragged up into the tree, since one etymology of the word is from some old Teutonic word meaning dragging sticks behind you. Whatever. He learned something. The yard is full of drays.

“So that”, he said out loud, “is where Earl, Merle, and Pearl come from.” I knew they spent a lot of time in the trees, and figured that was obvious, but the guy I live with can be slow on the uptake sometimes. Admittedly, he was distracted planting bulbs today.

Then later it started to pour rain, and we thought the whole rain thing had started all over again, but it stopped. He took a picture of Colchicum cilicium. In fact, this is at least the second time he’s done this. He posted pictures of colchicums, or naked ladies last year, and believe it or not got the name of the white colchicum partly right that time. I just write down what he says, so that’s why it’s not always right. Like I have time to check everything he says. 091801

Anyway there it is.

I think I better go now, before the guy I live with learns something else, and makes me tell you that, too.

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19 Responses to gray day, with drays

  1. Susan ITPH says:

    We very much like Colchicum pictures here. Including mislabeled ones.

  2. Oh, your smiling photo, Chess, I can look at it all day. So beguiling. Do you know the word ensorcel? You’ve ensorcelled me.
    Writing of words, Chess, your person’s learning the word “dray” and its meaning has tilted my world. “Dray” is a fine word, and I’m happy to learn it. Thus stimulated, I looked up my favorite garden word “duff,” the debris which a garden deposits on its floor. Love “duff,” the word “duff.” But in checking out my lovely word I find neither the Concise Oxford Dictionary handy to me nor the Oxford Dictionaries Online offer the definition for which I look. The unwieldy two-volume Oxford, while theoretically available, is waaay across the room. It will take me until tomorrow morning to work up the energy to consult it. For tonight, in opposition to your person’s process, I have learned I do not know what I thought I knew. I am not even semi-correct.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says there are three kinds of duff. (Besides the beer, of course.) You might want to write these down if you play Scrabble.
      One with a lot of organic matter is called mull, and one with very little is called mor. A duff in between these two is called moder.

      • paridevita says:

        Oh, P.S. The guy I live with mostly uses The New Shorter O.E.D., two big volumes. He says it has “all the words in it”, which I didn’t understand until I realized those were the words he uses when he sits on a cactus and stuff like that.

  3. The photo of you made me laugh, Chess. Yes, I did L.O.L. For real.

    I should have photographed some colchicums today.

    Also I am reminded I need to order some more bulbs.

  4. Karen says:

    What a beautiful shot of the Colchicum.

  5. Vivian Swift says:

    Squirrel nests are very cozy which I am glad to know, since it gets very cold in Winter on the shores of the Long Island Sound and I worry about the little varmints. I read that some enterprising Ph.D. candidate went out and field-tested squirrel nest coziness and found them to be on average 83 degrees F. The guy I live with keeps the house at 65 degrees in Winter so I would love to know how to build my own squirrel nest.

    So those are colchicums. I saw some at the Planting Fields two weeks ago and thought they were crocuses. Yes, I thought it was odd to have crocuses blooming in late Summer but not being a gardener helps me not pay close attention to would-be crocuses.

    I will come back and look at that sweet happy DoG face today in-between writing on deadline (the second-worst kind of writing there is) to cheer me up. At least I’m not writing Amish romance epic poetry (the very very worst kind of writing there is). Whew.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, both colchicums and crocuses start to bloom at this time of year. Colchicums have six stamens and crocuses three. Hopefully we’ll have zillions of crocus pictures in the next three or four months.
      The guy I live with used to write on deadline, too. He can write a thousand words in two hours. He talks much more than that in real life.
      He also keeps the house at 55 degrees F (about 12.8C) during the winter, and the back door is almost always open, except at night when we’re asleep, of course.

  6. petabunn says:

    I can see by your smiling face that you are laughing on the inside Chess. Very interesting to see that squirrels make nests in trees. I had never really thought about it as we don’t have squirrels here, as they say you live and learn.

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