Sunday after the snow

Greeting and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the most up-to-date news in the garden, except maybe today when I’m a couple of days late, but since you didn’t know it until now, it might still seem up-to-date. You may remember me from such posts as “It Raineth Every Day” and “A Change Of Pace”, among others.

Here I am not wanting to have my picture taken.


The guy I live with suggested I give today’s post this title because he thought of it. I know, that sounds strange. Just because you think of something doesn’t mean it’s worth sharing. He said he remembered getting mad at my mommy (he never stays mad for more than a few minutes) for throwing away the dust jacket on his old copy of Henry Miller’s Sunday After The War, and so, as he would say, “hence the title”. I guess. He also got mad when she accidentally broke the ashtray he had from the “21” Club, shades of Grace Kelly and Rear Window. His grandfather went there once, at least, and that’s how he got an ashtray from a place he’ll never go. She was all sorry and everything; just as sorry as he was when he chipped her polar bear sculpture.

That probably wasn’t very interesting. What was interesting is that it snowed the other night.


It wasn’t quite a winter wonderland by the time the sun filled the garden, but I liked it. Border collies love snow.


It melted shortly after that, but not much gardening happened that day.

Today, I decided to get up with what the guy I live with said was “getting up with the chickens”, which didn’t make much sense until the neighborhood rooster started crowing. Yes, there’s a rooster. It crows all day long. I don’t understand why there’s a rooster in the neighborhood, or why they call it “crowing” instead of “roostering”. Continuing with this fascinating train of thought, you might be amused to know that the guy I live with only realized last year why they call them “roosters”, because of course they roost, but then he wondered why they don’t call hens roosters, since they roost too. The guy I live with’s usual explanation, that life is strange, will probably do here, huh.

Anyway, this is what being up with the chickens is like, on a cool cloudy morning.


He took a few garden pictures, like last time, but they mostly came out “less subfusc” than he had anticipated. Here’s what the guy I live with insists is a lawn, not as subfusc as he had hoped it would be; taken about 5:30 in the morning. His new fence in the background.


Meanwhile, the guy I live with has been pondering the “postmodern garden exemplified by plantings kept to a minimum”, or so he says. It could just be that he’s losing his mind. I noticed on our walk the other afternoon that he had put on two different shoes, and somehow I didn’t think that would qualify as, you know, a Statement.

Nor is this. The guy I live with spent a lot of time sawing, and digging, and things like that, and when I came out to look what he was doing, this is what greeted me.


For one thing, you wouldn’t believe what this back border looked like ten years ago, before the guy I live with got all postmodern on it, but in truth, there are a lot of new plants here which you just can’t see. Mostly native grasses he grew from seed, and things like that. (You’ll probably wonder what I mean by “things like that”, but I don’t know; I only know it’s not all native grasses.)

So today, he added two poles to the Pole Garden. We don’t call it that, but if you weren’t really paying attention when the guy I live with showed pictures of owls sitting in the garden, we would say they sat on poles in the Pole Garden. You know how people say that gardens are “designed to be read”, well, this one isn’t. It has a definite purpose. It may look odd, but in reality, it’s completely utilitarian.

“And ornamental, of course.” Yes, very ornamental.


Whatever he says, huh. I learned that look from my mommy, who did the same thing when the guy I live with said stuff.

You can probably suspect where I learned to ramble on about not much of anything. At least you got to see two pictures of me. (Two rather cute pictures, if I do say so myself, which of course I do.) It started to rain and I got to go on my walk in the rain, and got completely soaking, so it was excellent. It’s supposed to snow a little tonight, too, which is equally excellent.

Until next time, then.

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20 Responses to Sunday after the snow

  1. Thea says:

    Why, Chess, is that you looking all askance through narrow eyes? Your repertoire has more range than previously shown, I think. And FYI the casting eyes upward in disbelieve has more of the angelic about it.
    Majestic shot of the moon, mystical and mysterious, the same moon I posed under in Full Moon Yoga on the Beach. Border collies of the purebred sort probably prefer snow to sand, I imagine.
    Thanks to this blog and its commenters, I will have you know, Chess, I am pushed into a reread of Beverley Nichols, God help me first to last. Covers are a delight and what’s inside is funny and indisputably the work of a gardener. As are the shots of lawn and border you have shared with *your* readers, Chess.

    • paridevita says:

      I dared not suggest that I looked angelic, because that might appear too immodest, but I rather do, don’t I? My mommy did call me “Momma’s Little Angel” for a reason, you know.
      I hear that sand is hot, and can burn one’s paws.
      The guy I live with mostly rereads Graham Stuart Thomas. Mostly Three Gardens, which he’s read maybe thirty times. When he read about “the excellent packeted parsley sauce” he wondered what sort of English thing that could be, and a friend of my mommy’s who lives in England sent some. He doesn’t sit out in the garden “complete with boiled egg, toast and marmalade”, but you may get the idea of why he finds this book so attractive. It gives the sense of living in a world filled with gardening, not bothered by the horrific news of every day. The guy I live with knows all too well how horrific the world can be and thinks that gardening, or any other gentle pastime, “eases the pain of living”.
      It snowed here a little. Not enough to make it delightful for purebred border collies, but enough for the guy I live with, who doesn’t much care for snow.
      He might read the Beverley Nichols book that’s here, if he can find it. There are a lot of books in the house, thousands in fact, mostly my mommy’s. (He gave away most of his.) In fact, to go on, like I do, when the guy I live with first asked my mommy out he told her his idea of a good time was sitting at home reading, and she said that was hers too, so he got the idea they were m.f.e.o., as they say.

  2. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I’m a little dizzy from the postmodern post and posts (poles), but not so much that I didn’t enjoy the photos of you, Chess. And the moon. And the snow. We have roosters in the ‘hood, too, and I like them. The hens used to come keep me company while I weeded, and I found their soft clucking very companionable. But then our next door neighbor complained to the chicken owner because they were “messing up her mulch” and they got their wings clipped and they visit me no more.

    • paridevita says:

      Chickens messing up mulch. Hard to picture somehow.
      About the pole garden, which does serve an owlish purpose, the guy I live with says to get or check out from the library The New English Garden, or look at this website and scroll down to where it takes about sampling the breathtaking photographs, or look here where there are also images, or here
      et cetera.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        I was going to write and tell you I understand that the poles are for the birds — the neighbor in back of us put his vegetable garden right up against our property line — and he has poles in it, which the birds use. I was going to tell you that the only time I’d ever seen a red shouldered hawk, it was sitting on one of those poles. But since I procrastinated, I can say that today I saw a red-shouldered hawk sitting in the big hackberry tree in the middle of our backyard. Stunning. The branch that it was on was right across from my birdfeeder, which I didn’t like so much, but I understand hawks have to eat, too.

        Reading your excellent blog has helped me understand the revision my gardening has been going through since we moved here (10-1/2 yrs. ago). I’ve decided that “Contemporary Hedonism” would be the perfect description of my style. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain — except I also approach gardening as a full-contact sport, which occasionally results in painful cuts & bruises.

        I also just ordered Mary Oliver’s latest book, “Dog Songs” — a book of poems about … dogs. I’m sure you will agree that is a most excellent subject for all writing (and photography/painting/drawing).

      • paridevita says:

        There are quite a few dog songs which have originated here. The people we border collies have lived with wanted to imagine that we were singing the songs, and we liked to let them think that.
        Hawks and owls do have to eat. Here, they eat a lot.

      • Vivian Swift says:

        I’m going to remember “contemporary hedonism” when I ever get around to designing my own garden.

      • paridevita says:

        We prefer “postmodern hedonism” around here. …

  3. Lucie K. says:

    Chess: Your posts continue to keep me in stitches, which helps to ease my suffering. Thank goodness for cheerful beings like you…

  4. Love B. Nichols.

    Am putting Three Gardens on my winter reading list as it sounds excellent.

    Love the photo of Chess casting his eyes to heaven.

  5. goddessof57 says:

    Hello Bob and Chess, I have recently stumbled across your blog and wanted to say thank you, I so enjoy reading you.
    I live with a 4 year old border collie, Pippa. She is quite frustrated at times that I prefer to spending of my spare time in the garden rather than take her interesting places to run. Coming from sheep farm stock, she loves to live life at full tilt. She pays no heed to her personal safety and is currently recovering from her first cruciate ligament repair and awaiting her second. It is difficult for her to comprehend why she is now confined to the lead or the deck when there are blackbirds and the occasional cat to be routed from the garden…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, and Ow. My uncle Pooka, whom I never knew, had to have that surgery, with the ligament replaced by a Kevlar one.
      The guy I live with has Achilles tendinitis and he says it hurts a lot, but he’s old, and whiny.
      Farm stock is the best, as I can attest.

  6. petabunn says:

    Hi Chess, great photos of you and the garden in your recent posts. I have been too distracted (obsessed) with the weather and the fires here to reallly concentrate on anything, thus no recent comments from me. It was lovely to see snow in this last one and the photos of you very calming. In fact I always leave one on my desk top each time as it is relaxing in a way for me to look at your gorgeous expressive face. Today I have the first one, very serene, but it was a tough decision as the other one was so angelic. Thanks for your terrific posts

    • paridevita says:

      Thank you very much. I won’t tell the guy I live with that I have a “gorgeous expressive face” because he’ll think it went to my head. Which kind of literally it did.
      We had terrible fires here in Colorado earlier this year, down south. (Colorado is 1/8 the size of NSW.) Then terrible floods, up north. Can’t get away from it, I guess.

  7. Vivian Swift says:

    I just reserved Three Gardens from the library. I trust that Mr. Graham Stuart Thomas won’t mind that I am borrowing the book rather than buying it, since I know how thin-skined authors are when someone tells them that they read a library copy of their book or, WORSE, bought their book at a second-hand book store (and it’s amazing how many people volunteer this information). Mr. Graham Stuart thomas seems to have been born rich, so I assume he writes books as a hobby; I also assume that he has somewhat ceased to be, so I hope I am not giving offense to one who is pushing up daisies (a gardener’s work is never done).

    As Thea noted, Chess, your *range* of expression continues to inspire, amuse, and delight. Thanks for the photos of s-n-o-w. Reminds me to be grateful for a mere 50-degree nip in the air today here on the shores of the Long Island Sound.

    • paridevita says:

      It’s the late Mr. Thomas, and, no, I think he wrote books to make money. (Unlike the guy I live with.) He also had a career in horticulture (also unlike the guy I live with), described in the book. I’m sure he won’t mind it being a library book, because the guy I live with says real writers just care about being read. Doubt he would be offended in the slightest.
      It’s 60 here now. (Almost 16C. The reason I know that, aside from the fact that the guy I live with, when he was writing books, had to know both systems. Here’s a mnemonic: 16C is 61F; 28C is 82F.)
      I do have an amazing range of expressions, don’t I? I amaze even myself. I lead an expressive life.

  8. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    Life, through the eyes of a pure bred border collie, from working stock (of course), is certainly nothing less than amazing.

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