a potpourri

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, feeling quite fine thank you, and here to bring you the latest news from the garden. And maybe something more. You may remember me from such posts as “On A Rampage” and “Stinker’s Revenge”, among others.

Here I am in an uncharacteristically serious pose. Not quite in focus, I know, but I didn’t want my picture taken. I wanted a biscuit. (I got one, of course.)


Everything checked out fine, as far as I’m concerned anyway. I had a moment of terror around midnight last night, because there was a mouse caught in the Tin Cat downstairs in the kitchen. The guy I live with went downstairs to let the mouse out, into the garage, and there were three mice in the Tin Cat. Talk about scary. They make a lot of noise when they get trapped in the Tin Cat.

The guy I live with spent most of the day putting up another section of fence, and so not much actual gardening was done today. We went on our walks, but didn’t take our usual afternoon nap, so the guy I live with says he might take two naps tomorrow.

He did notice this crocus, which he says is Crocus kotschyanus HKEP 9317, and it’s supposed to be exciting. We can all be excited for him, I guess.


Well, that would be it for today, but the guy I live with suggested that I could make the post interesting (like he would know how, huh) by including some older pictures. When I realized he meant pictures of me, though, I knew he was on to something.

This is the view from the farm where I was born. That’s Pikes Peak. (You don’t use an apostrophe with Pikes any more, for reasons I don’t understand, or, really, care about.) I was in the car, sitting on my mommy’s lap, when the guy I live with suggested she take this picture. A few miles down the road I threw up all over my mommy. The guy I live with thought it was hysterical, because my buddy Slipper did the same thing a couple of years earlier.


Backing up just a little, here I am on the farm. I’m the one who looks alert.


Here I am again, on the left.


Here I am several months later. I think you can tell it’s me.


Here’s my buddy Slipper looking at the turtle my mommy and the guy I live with used to have.


Here he is eating raspberries. My mommy taught both of us to pick our own raspberries.


Here are some colchicums.


This is Aquilegia glandulosa. The guy I live with says the flower is four inches (10 cm) across.


Now some more of my mommy’s watercolors. Columbines, of course. (Just the details, not the whole drawings.)




Now some pictures of the cabinet where my mommy kept stuff she collected. I think it helps tell what kind of a person she was, besides someone who loved me. You can tell she liked bugs, too.


We don’t go down into this room very much any more. I sometimes go down there when it’s thundering, or when it gets really hot, but otherwise, everything just gathers dust. The guy I live with said he might vacuum down there some time.

Well, I hope you enjoyed all these pictures. Thanks to everyone who expressed their concern over me. I think I’m just fine now.

Until next time then.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to a potpourri

  1. petabunn says:

    Well done Chess, you got your biscuit and you posted some more fantastic pictures. There can never be enough pictures of you Chess and those beautiful watercolours, I know I’ve said it before, what a waste taking your mommy so early.
    A beautiful Aquilegia, I didn’t know they grew so large, I’m impressed.
    You should tell your guy to get one of those plastic humane mousetraps because the mice just walk through the tunnel and then they are trapped and it doesn’t make any noise. My person used to free the mice outside and on a couple of occasions the mouse actually beat her getting back into the house. She learned her lesson and began driving them down the road before letting them out. We live in bushland so it wasn’t like they were going to run into someone elses house.
    Glad you are back fighting fit again. Such a cute puppy who grew into such a handsome lad.

    • paridevita says:

      I agree, I was cute, and thank you very much. The Tin Cat works pretty well but the mice make a very scary noise rattling around in it. It’s true that there is a likelihood (say, once hundred percent) that it catches the same mice over and over again, but there’s also a paper plate with peanut butter out in the garage.
      Aquilegia glandulosa’s flower is huge. It didn’t like growing in a garden with hot summers. Seed was wild collected, but not by the guy I live with. From the Altai, I think.
      A mouse just ran across the kitchen floor. I know this sounds slightly third world, but we kind of live out in the country.

  2. Terrific news on the health front, Chess. Outside the confines of HIPPA as I am, with you placed inside, I trust you as a reliable narrator.
    Aquilegia glandulosa, wow. We were at the big San Diego native plant sale today and saw several aquilegia, but nothing like this. As for the crocus, with a name such as it bears, it has little choice but to be exciting.
    The delicacy and coloring of the water-colored Columbines are remarkable. Such talent displayed.
    Perhaps it’s a shakiness hangover from yesterday’s event, but I am touched by today’s post — the photographs, the watercolors, the cabinet of curiosities, most of all Puppy and Fully Mature Chess. Bravo, fine dog.

    • paridevita says:

      Why thank you. There really wasn’t much interesting to show today except the new scratches and gashes on the guy I live with’s arms. He even went to the health food store, to get biscuits for me, and his elbow was bleeding. What with patches of dried blood all over his arms and his forehead he must have looked quite a sight indeed. He ignores all that stuff. Partly because he’s getting old, and partly because gardening, he says, is a struggle.

      Oh. A friend of my mommy’s said that border collies tend to seizures, which I certainly didn’t know, and that we deal with phenobarbital quite well. I mostly lie around all day anyway. Maybe everyone should.

      The drawings, by the way, are watercolor pencil. Of the 29,000 plus accessions in the Hunt, my mommy’s are the only ones in watercolor pencil. (Watercolors, but in pencil form. You still dip them in water.)

  3. Knicky Twigs says:

    Potpourri indeed! I have enjoyed the glimpses into your mommy’s realm. She was a very talented woman, and a character too (you can just tell!) Oh, and your puppy pictures are adorable. Glad to hear the goofballs are working. Do you get spiders in the fall where you live? Your mommy may have liked the spiders. We’ve had huge webs with huge spiders in the garden this year. They seem bigger than before.

    • paridevita says:

      Why yes, we have spiders. Way too many for the guy I live with’s sense of composure. The huge, and I mean huge, wood spider along the canal road has disappeared, but if my mommy were still here she and the guy I live with would be having serious discussions about the potential new house pet.
      He always gave in on everything, except her getting a motorcycle and irises with ruffles. Oh, and maybe daylilies too.
      And especially whether or not you can smoke a salmon and a turkey at the same time in the same smoker. The guy I live with was really ticked off and had to throw away the sourest-tasting turkey on the planet.
      Oh, and which pickles are better, Claussen or Ba-Taampte. And boxed macaroni and cheese versus real macaroni and cheese. And whether or not a whole can of Thai green curry paste was too much for a dish of Thai green curry. “I’m afraid of my food”, I heard my mommy say…. Whether or not hot water froze faster than cold when filling the ice cube tray. Whether or not nuts should go into the guy I live with’s homemade brownies. Whether or not you had mayonnaise or melted butter with artichokes. Whether or not It Happened One Night was as good as The Philadelphia Story. Whether or not the east coast was better than the west coast. Whether or not the guy I live with was as funny as he thought he was. Which is a better season, summer or winter.
      That sort of thing. Oh, I know, this was about spiders. I got carried away.

  4. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    So happy to hear everything is ok (even though I knew it would be: you’re too exceptional to be sick). Puppy pictures have given me puppy lust. Pretty much all puppy pictures do that to me. Even though 2 out of 3 of our pups barfed in the car on the way home from the breeder. Sammy’s breeder made a special fleece blanket that she rubbed on his parents & littermates so he’d have their scent. I thought that was so sweet, but I made the mistake of putting it down on the back seat, thinking it would comfort him. He barfed all over it before we got out of their driveway. Then he pooped all over it for good measure. It went into the washer as soon as we got home, and there went all the comforting smells. Despite that slightly problematic start, Sammy is an exceptional dog, too.

    That gigantic blue Aquilegia glandulosa is giving me columbine lust, too. Not all columbines do that to me.

    Your mommy had a lot of cool stuff around to inspire her. I’m writing this with a day of the dead Katrina next to my computer.

  5. Kim Bone says:

    Nice ‘red’ tinged beard.

  6. Vivian Swift says:

    CuteCuteCuteness, thy name is Monsieur Baby Boarder Collie. I also like the mind-meld gaze (wif ears) look on the pre-biscuit photo of Aged Chess. A fine example of growing old with dignity and irresistableness.

    Thank you for the info on the watercolor pencils. I was wondering how Chess’s mom got such a delicate effect in those botanical illustrations. And considering that working in color was not her first choice it’s amazing that the values are so subtle — those browns are poetic. For someone who felt more at home in black and white she got a lot of nuance out of blues and greens.

    I recognize owl feathers on the desk, and pheasant and stellar jay…but what is the green one? Magpie?

    • paridevita says:

      Could be magpie. My mommy got stuff from all over.
      The watercolor pencils are mostly Derwent. I think you use a wet brush on them. I don’t know. I know that out of 29,000 plus accessions in the Hunt, hers are probably the only drawings in watercolor pencil.
      Some of the first attempts were made with fugitive colors, which she didn’t know about at the time. So, like, you can buy a bunch of watercolors, and one or two colors will be fugitive. She finally got a book which told her which colors are fugitive, and which are not.
      The guy I live with doesn’t go down into the very cozy room too often; he gets heartsick and has to go back upstairs. Everything is as she left it, except for boxes of bugs that went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, some jewelry that went to the guy I live with’s niece and some of her friends, and the drawing of Yucca harrimaniae that was one third finished and sitting on the easel, but the Hunt wanted that….they wanted one of her drawings that was one-third finished….and so it’s gone.
      There are some things you do even if they’re scary, like go to the Bad Place to get stuck with needles, and some things you don’t do. The guy I live with climbed telephone poles before I came here, and he says sometimes that was scary but he did it anyway, but spending time downstairs in my mommy’s room is too much for him. It’s really dusty, too.
      If you look at the picture of me and my buddy Slipper in her room in “And Yet Another Crisis” you’ll see what looks like a coffee can with a slide on it, which is exactly what it is. She made a slide viewer out of a coffee can and a lightbulb and could project the slide onto a grid, I think, and draw off that.
      I never got drawn even though I was her favorite, maybe because she said I was “walleyed”.
      I kind of ramble, don’t I?

Comments are closed.