after the frost

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the excellent purebred border collie, here to amaze you with true tales of life at the extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado. You may remember me from such posts as “Après Moi, Le Drainage” and “The Grape Bush”, among other excellent posts.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I look grumpy because the guy I live with was ignoring my desperate pleas for a biscuit, and so I collapsed on the kitchen floor in utter despair. He took my picture, and then gave me a biscuit, so I know this works.



They said it would freeze last night, and so the guy I live with brought all the plants back inside again, but there was barely any frost at all, so he said this was work for nothing again, though I bet some of the plants on the cart would have frozen. The reason the plants are on the cart isn’t because they can be taken in and out of the garage, it’s because he put them on the cart and never took them off. And, like planted them, or arranged them artistically in their pots, in the garden.

The one plant that was wrecked (“naturally”, the guy I live with said) was the Salvia darcyi he could see from the kitchen window.


The grape vine was nipped too.



The grape vine is the native grape, Vitis riparia, which is all over the garden, the seeds having been pooped out by birds I guess. That’s the kitchen window on the right, so being able to see out of it must not be as important as the guy I live with thinks it is.

There used to be a regular grape vine, I forget which kind, growing all over the patio cover and it always had a huge crop of grapes. Copper colored “tomato worms” would eat the leaves and one time my mommy and the guy I live with were eating lunch out on the patio and a caterpillar plopped right down on their lunch. The guy I live with, when he was little, used to grow tomatoes and always had this fear that he would find a tomato worm in his glass of milk. It never happened, though it would have been funny. My mommy said he must have been a weird child, but he said it was just because he remembered the funny stuff you think when you’re little.

They also used to sit out on the patio during the evening at grape time, when there were huge clusters hanging down, like some Art Nouveau drawing, and raccoons would sit on top of the patio cover, happily eating grapes, their stomachs hanging through the lattice. In the morning the patio was covered with purple grape skins. Speaking of grapes, one time, on my mommy’s birthday, the guy I live with brought home two bottles of champagne, real French champagne, the kind they liked, which I don’t like because the fizziness is scary and gets up my nose. They were just sitting there at night, with a fire in the chiminea, when suddenly my mommy disappeared, and the guy I live with sat there, staring at the fire, for quite a long time.

After a while he realized he was sitting there alone, and that my mommy was in the bathroom because she really liked champagne and it was cold and fizzy and good, but she’d gotten carried away since it was her birthday. He’d had one glass of champagne, but the two bottles were empty.

She was sick the next day too, and vowed never to drink champagne again, and would get really mad at the guy I live with when he told the story to other people, which he did all the time, because it was really funny.

He doesn’t sit out on the patio any more.

Here are some other pictures that probably mean something to the guy I live with. Greene’s mountain ash, Sorbus scopulina.


And a daphne loaded with buds. I guess this is Daphne × transatlantica, maybe ‘Summer Ice’. It could still bloom later this year.



I thought this would be the end of what I had to say today, but later on, the guy I live with was out in the rock garden, moving along on his hands and knees, the way he does a lot. I came out to see what was going on. I walked right up to him, and he had the camera.



That’s my nose, if you couldn’t tell. The guy I live with was looking at cyclamen. Of course. He’s completely obsessed by them, as I said before, which is good, though seeing him crawling along the ground, looking at little tiny plants, is quite a sight. I should learn to use the camera.

Cyclamen cilicium again. This was sown by ants.



The white form. This is brand new in the garden.



He took a bunch of pictures of cyclamen leaves, and I’m supposed to show them, even though I’m pretty sure we went through this once before. That’s what you get when someone is obsessed with something, I guess.








I think I see a little bird poop on a leaf, there. Well, what can you do? We have birds here.

That’s about it. I hope you enjoyed my grape stories. Grapes are supposed to be bad for dogs, but my buddy Slipper liked them. Only if they were peeled, though. He was kind of spoiled.

I’ll sign off now. Until next time, then.

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10 Responses to after the frost

  1. “… she really liked champagne and it was cold and fizzy and good…” Seems Hemingway might have known a border collie, purebred.

    I myself have been known to down cold, fizzy and good champagne. Especially appreciate a rose. A particular Schramsberg pairs well with buttered popcorn. I usually have the two on my birthday. Is popcorn one of your snacks, Chess?

    So happy we’ve been treated to pics of the salvia when it was happy. Here, our salvia is green year round. Does salvia for you *spring back in Spring*? Yummy, yummy cyclamen leaves. Thank you for showing.

    Final question: have you already shown the Foo Dogs? I love all things foo.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that Hemingway said that magnums aren’t as good as regular bottles because they take longer to cool.
      I rarely have popcorn. My buddy Slipper went wild every time noisy appliances were operated, like the vacuum cleaner, but when he learned what the air popcorn popper did, that is, what it made, he would stand, being much bigger than I am, with his elbows on the counter and a loving expression on his face, directed to the popper as it whirled the popcorn around. No one could say the word in the house because Slipper’s ears would go up and he would rush up into the kitchen and wait for it.
      My mommy strained the melted butter, which the guy I live with thought was finicky, because his idea of the treat was really “popcorned butter”, which she thought was gross. He’d say popcorn is only good if it’s totally soggy with butter, and so salty that he’d have to take his blood pressure afterwards, and both my buddy Slipper and I agreed.
      There’s a Thai dessert that you make with sweet rice, coconut cream, sugar, and salt, and we really liked that too.
      The salvia does come back. It undergoes what the guy I live with tells me is called “consequential dormancy” (instead of “predictive dormancy” which is where leaves turn color to prepare for falling off), and even though it got its rear end frozen clean off, it’ll come back because it’s been forced into dormancy. or at least to think about it, since the lower parts are still okay.
      I’ll remind him to take a picture of the Foo dogs when he’s feeling sentimental, which as you can tell is hardly ever.

  2. Really good close up plant photos (and the nose!!), worth crawling around for.
    Also you brought back a good memory of a salty sweet Thai coconut ice cream….

  3. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    I never realized that cyclamen could grow in a temperate zone garden. I thought they only came in pots from the supermarket. Live and learn, yet again. Super-buttered, super-salted popcorn is the perfect accompaniment to expensive champagne–the champagne helps keep the arteries clear and the popcorn helps to prevent a hangover. I just made that up on the spot, but my grammy says she’s gonna try it tonite and get back to me, if I go out and buy her the champagne, that is, which is not about to happen, since I got carded the last time I tried that so now the guy at the packie knows I’m not old enough to buy champagne. But super-buttered popcorn washed down with expensive champagne, sitting out on the patio, strikes me as a lovely commemorative to a lost loved one.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with and my mommy used to have discussions about one food canceling out another. He would say if he ate an icky salad one night, he could have a cheeseburger the next. She said it didn’t work that way.
      The cyclamen in florist’s shops are Cyclamen persicum, which isn’t hardy here, and the wild plants (including the wild persicum) are much smaller. There are several species which are hardy here.

  4. Vivian Swift says:

    I just read Friday’s post and I must say that that photo of Chess on the sofa makes him look like a Renaissance prince.

    And this one is an exquisite short story about time and memory and gardens and loss with a killer title. Wow. I read this blog always as a tribute to a great love and ou and the guy you live with do that special lady and several noble old dogs proud.

  5. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    A most excellent extreme close up.

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