Yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to delight and amaze you, as only a purebred border collie, whose parents were working dogs, can possibly do.
You may remember me from such posts as “Serious Talk About Lawns” and “Going To California” among so many, many others. As you can see, I talk almost as much as the guy I live with does. The difference is that what I say is interesting.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.
Okay, well, there’s the focusing issue again, but with three whole pictures of me, I can hardly complain too much. The sun was shining into the kitchen which is why things look the way they do.
Today was the day it was supposed to snow. It was predicted to start around ten last night, and even though I slept really well, as usual, I insisted on getting up at 5:30 this morning to go out and play in the snow I hoped had fallen, and then drag the guy I live with through the snow before the sun came up. He whines a lot when we do that. It was almost like waiting for Santa Claus, which I and my buddy Slipper used to do on Christmas Eve. We’d listen for the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof, and had a hard time sleeping, doing all that listening. My grandpa Flurry was the big listener, though; he would listen for this, and listen for that, and even though we don’t have a chimney in the house, I’m sure if Santa had showed up my grandpa Flurry would have nipped him.
It didn’t snow at all. Not even one flake. It never looked like it was going to snow, which made the guy I live with wonder why the TV people he watched got all excited about this storm that was about to descend on the city, since nothing happened. He says the TV people never get excited when nothing is about to happen, which is strange, because we both like days where nothing happens.
Like today. The guy I live with had to take a nap at about nine in the morning, which he said makes for an excellent start to the day, but you don’t get much gardening done if you’re napping. He did manage to drag himself outside and cut down some dead stuff, and took one whole picture, this time of Crocus cartwrightianus ‘Halloween’.
So, one flower picture, to three of me. Not a bad ratio.
I was disappointed that it didn’t snow today. It would have melted by tomorrow, but winter, which the guy I live with says is coming fairly soon, is my favorite season. Except for the opera. The guy I live with insists on listening to operas during the winter. All that shrieking. A lot of times he even does it when we take our afternoon nap, which is good for me since I’m asleep when all this racket is going on. Sometimes there isn’t opera but other music, which is occasionally tolerable.
He finds it difficult to read when there’s music on, and so sometimes instead he reads, and then takes a nap afterwards. There isn’t room for both of us on the couch, so I sleep under the living room window, just in case I have to get up and bark like crazy when people come to the door. That’s one of my jobs around here. It doesn’t pay anything. It’s its own reward.
Oh, the reading. You know how he sometimes quotes Henry Mitchell
who was one of the first garden writers he came across whose writing he truly enjoyed, well, he isn’t reading this now, but I’ll show you something weird, or maybe just serendipitous.
What he has been reading, and very slowly (but not moving his lips or anything), is this.
Landscape as in land scape (just like the dust jacket photograph), not something done around a house, and planted trees, as well. A landscape gardening book, in other words. “Quite delightful” says the guy I live with, who knows delightful when he sees it, since he lives with me, after all.
There’s something else about this book that’s interesting, too.
The guy I live with says it’s sad that libraries are getting rid of their books, for reasons unknown to him, but maybe this one is in good hands for now.
I think that’s all for tonight. There really isn’t much going on, which is typical for this time of year. I mean there’s stuff blooming, which he could have taken pictures of but didn’t (too much napping), and there’s work to be done (but not by me), but things have slowed down a lot. They never come to a complete stop, unless tons of snow falls, but even then, the guy I live with is looking at seed trays and sowing seeds and writing labels and things like that. It’s really boring for me when he does that, but he likes sowing seed. Anything that makes him happy must be good.
Until next time, then.
Henry Mitchell is a truly great garden writer. One of my favourites. I would like to reread all his books.
Definitely. I think Henry Mitchell On Gardening is taken from The Essential Earthman and One Man’s Garden, so there are not enough of his books around. He should have written fifty.
Yes, Chess, “Anything that makes him happy must be good.” He’ll take more photographs of you, which is good, and will make me happy. Three good pics today, a bonus day for those of us who are Chess fans. (All of us, right?)
On quiet days – most days – when I’m a volunteer at San Diego Floral Association, I rummage among the hundreds of books in our library. Thousands, actually. I especially like the ones I come across with an owner’s signature or book plate or donation label. Best find: William Robinson, the great proponent of the wild garden. We have a full bound set of his magazines on the subject.
Today I received my copy of the Heritage Roses New Zealand Journal. In it is an article by David Stone, “A Journey Through Roses,” personal reflections from Mottisfond Abbey. Stone was selected by Graham Stuart Thomas as Head Gardener, a post he served in for three decades. He ends the memoir, “I prepare to leave for home. My path will take me past a bed of Graham Thomas. I will probably wish him ‘Goodnight.'”
The guy I live with is a big fan of GST. Something about a life filled with gardening, instead of the usual obsessions or horrors. Or that’s the way he made it seem, which is probably good enough. Trees in the Landscape is an exceptional example of this. No ranting about chemicals, the innate superiority of native plants, water conservation, invasive plants, sustainability, the necessity of growing “edibles” in preparation for the apocalypse, etc., etc. Just trees, in the landscape.
Around here we get plenty of weather that never materializes. I think they hype the weather because it is good for business, you know the ole’ Stay Tuned and Buy From Our Sponsors. Only weathermen and lawyers can be completely wrong and still keep their jobs.
Some rain might be nice here, though I personally prefer snow and cold. The guy I live with likes rain better–but not in the winter time, which he says marks the end of the world.
What a delightful surprise — seeing Henry Mitchell’s own hand in the book he gave. I discovered him this past winter and loved his writing in One Man’s Garden. Chess might like to hear you read some Henry Mitchell aloud to him. Or maybe not.
Try The Essential Earthman too. H.M. donated his gardening books to the Tenley-Friendship Library in D.C. http://www.dclibrary.org/node/739
The proper ratio of Chess to flower photos made me very happy on this gray day (and that’s a good thing).
I’ve been thinking about landscaping (lots of emphasis on how the mulch looks) vs. gardening (emphasis on the plant) vs. landscape (rhythm of seasons & a certain serendipity). Moving here seems to have somehow moved me from the gardening category to the landscape category, with the ironic twist of requiring tons (literally) more mulch than the gardening did (but I don’t care how it looks — impossible for chickens to mess it up).
I checked my library for some of the books that have been mentioned in this blog and found they had none by Thomas or ??? — any of the others (names escape me). I wondered if they’d ever had them but purged them or just never had them. Since libraries are generally space-limited, they have to purge books to make room for new ones*, and they generally purge books that haven’t been checked out in a long time, even if they are something that some of us would consider a classic. I order used books from Amazon, and like the guy you live with I’ve gotten several that have been withdrawn from libraries across the country, which always makes me a little sad. But I’ve never had such a wonderful thing as the Henry Mitchell book. My happiness at the proper Chess to flower ratio of photos is tinged with extreme envy at that serendipity.
*I’ve worked in more libraries than bird stores.
No, well, the guy I live with might talk about books some more. He and my mommy loved books, and the house is filled with them. He gave away almost his entire library after she died, but kept his books on gardening and music.
He got GST’s Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos from ABE Books for less than the cost of the postage. He doesn’t want to know how much his books are going for, since the watercolors are where they should be now, and that’s all that matters.
Mulch here means gravel. Everything else just blows away.
Yep. We’re readers, too — occupational hazard: we’re both teachers. we had a ton of books when we moved (literally). Had to buy a house that would accommodate. The most recent book that fits my current landscape mood is Mark Hirsch’s “That Tree” — he photographed the same tree 365 days in a row . . . and it wasn’t even his tree. Every photo relates the tree to the environment (the sky, or the fields around it) in a different way. One of my favorite shots is the one with his dog in the foreground, panting, and the distant tree is framed by the dog’s mouth. That’s primarily how I see the things in my yard now. One of the things I saw in my yard today was a crawdad (or crayfish). We live in a karst system, with water underneath us, and so we have crawdads. Several years ago we had one who hung out under the bench in front of the house. We named him Walter (although I have no idea whether it was really a male). He was only around for a year. Even though there are holes in several places in the yard, I haven’t seen a ‘dad for quite a while. Until today. I guess that was my serendipity.
Something similar was done here. https://paridevita.com/2012/10/18/cottonwood/ It was originally intended to be a PowerPoint thing, but that turned out to be too much trouble.
We have crawdads here, in the canal. Females would be crawmoms, of course…