Hello everyone; it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, a guy who likes long walks in the park, plenty of cuddles, and an endless supply of food, here to tell you about the latest news in the garden. You may remember me from such posts as “No Snow Today” and “The Rainy Season”, among so many, many others. We’re approaching 450 posts since the guy I live with started this just last April. That’s a lot of talking.
Here I am in a characteristic pose. Unfocused as usual. I’m wondering why I’m not getting a biscuit after our long walk this morning. (I got one, in case you started to worry.)
This morning we went on a very long walk, in search of the late-blooming rabbitbrush. No one seems to believe the guy I live with that there is such a thing. My mommy didn’t believe half the stuff he told her, and he said she was believing about five times more than she should, but then, she liked him a lot. And it’s true, we could have just walked next door, but that would have taken all the fun out of it for me, and, if you didn’t know, things pretty much are all about me. Or at least they should be.
Here I am walking along the Turkey Creek Canyon Canal. Our house is to the south (right) of this. I’m walking toward the east. Well, I would be, wouldn’t I?
Some time around now, the water gets shut off. It’s still flowing, as you can see. There are fish and crawdads in it. Not in this picture, though. This is the sluice, where we turn around. There was a farm house here at one time; they used the water. This is me again. Now we’re walking down the path that the coyotes, Norm and Celeste, started, but which I made much better for walking, by walking on it a lot. Now we’re headed to the southwest. The path follows the creek, which is on the left, between me and the cottonwood. There’s no water in it now. Anyway, I’m headed toward the willows in the distance there. Into the willows.
Out of the willows, and now under the big willow. It’s kind of creepy. A very quiet place. The end of the path, and more big willows. The reason you don’t see me is that I’ve already turned around. Time for a sniffing detour.Here’s our house. The blue one. You can see all the drays in the trees. If you look really closely, you can see the late-blooming rabbitbrush. Maybe you can see it better now.Looking into our garden. You can see the new sand pile.
A sniffing detour in the long grass on the way home. This was a really great walk. Back in front, and the late-blooming rabbitbrush next door. I guess we call this Ericameria nauseosa, which isn’t a very promising name. I think this was the one they planned to extract rubber from during the Second World War, hence the other name, “rubber rabbitbrush”. The guy I live with doesn’t know why these bloom so late, because the older one in our front yard blooms at the regular rabbitbrush time. Like September.
Well, that’s really it for today. Oh, well, one more thing. This is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. I think the guy I live with is way too lenient with rodents. That’s my fort on the left. I don’t ring the bell to go out like my grandpa Flurry did, because the back door is almost always open. We came pretty close to having a house guest, here. Until next time, then.
Looks like you had a great walk, Chess! Ulani did not get a walk today, as we are having sleet, diving temperatures, and then snow. It’s not nice. Look out for those squirrels. They’ll take over the place in an instant!
It was really great, thank you. My walks are almost always good. Sometimes we have to turn around when it thunders. Or if my paws start to ice up. That’s no fun, getting ice in your paws.
It doesn’t sleet here, but temperatures do dive, and it does snow, of course, but we still go on our walks. We border collies like to get soaking wet and freezing cold. My mommy bought ponchos for the first two border collies who lived here, but either the poncho doesn’t fit me or they were slimmer than I am, which is hard to believe, but anyway I go poncholess. There are plenty of towels here for me to dry off on, and, as you might suspect, the carpet.
That was a long, interesting walk this morning, looks like the start of a nice weather day. Looks like you were thoroughly enjoying yourself Chess. And that elusive late flowering rabbit brush, thank goodness for the neighbour.
An excellent walk, thank you. The weather people said “patchy fog” for today. Earlier they said “freezing drizzle” for tomorrow. The guy I live with wonders why they don’t predict an invasion of flamingoes, too. Just as likely.
About the rabbitbrush. The guy I live with planted two in our back yard, the ones you saw first, and four next door. The ones next door are doing better than his are. He finds this irksome.
(Not nearly as irksome as the change from daylight savings time for me, but that’s another story.)
Two out of three of the dogs I live with ring the bell (a windchime, actually) to go out. I don’t understand why the third one doesn’t ring it. He just stands facing the door until we see him & let him out. I guess he has a lot of faith in us.
I’ve never seen that kind of rabbitbrush before. A lot of things (azaleas, blueberry bushes, paw paw seedlings, Dutchman’s pipevine) seem to be rabbitbrush to the evil bunnies.
When we lived in Flint and had fox squirrels, we named one squirrel Ms. Moldy (because she was mangy). Ms. Moldy would scratch on our old-fashioned aluminum door when she wanted a peanut. I was charmed by this. Until the day I was visiting a neighbor one block over, and Ms. Moldy scratched on her door wanting food, too. Gaming the system, she was. I still gave her peanuts, though.
Squirrels are not given peanuts here. They almost never eat them, but bury them instead. The guy I live with says the Peterson Field Guide says many of the buried nuts are never retrieved, as he can well attest by digging up zillions of peanuts given to the squirrels by his neighbor. That’s why there are all the cages visible in so many pictures. He doesn’t want his bulbs dug up. (They get dug up anyway.)
I guess this is the extreme western edge of the range of the fox squirrel. The Albert’s squirrel is more common elsewhere in Colorado.
The guy I live with occasionally takes pot shots at them (and rabbits too) with his weapon of choice, a squirt gun.
The secret to feeding them peanuts is to squeeze the shell enough to crack it. They tend not to bury nuts with cracked shells but will eat them right there (at least that’s what ours did).
But I don’t really recommend feeding them like I did — they got tame enough to take peanuts from my hand, but I was squirrel-bit once when a male (the same one that tried to pee on me) got a little overly eager to get the peanut. I stopped being so squirrel friendly the day I went out to chase a squirrel away from digging in a newly planted planter . . . and it ran toward me rather than away from me.
They seem to be fairly tame here. Time to declare Martial Law. The guy I live with declared Martial Law a couple of times when we had been naughty. I forget what we did. My buddy Slipper looked at me and whispered “Martial law doesn’t mean anything, he’s all talk.” And we discovered that was true.
I’ve also heard tell of the gesture with the index finger. Shaking the index finger at us, or just pointing it vigorously. “The Finger of Instruction, in the Attitude of Correction.” (Like something from William Blake.) Once again it meant nothing.
That really is a glorious rabbitbrush, Chess…hard to believe your neighbor’s is bigger (or better in some other way)? When I first moved to CO I called all of them “sagebrush”, haha. Soon I learned. –Speaking of rodentia, I have a pair of tassel-eared Abert’s squirrels visiting the feeders this year. I suspect the burly fox squirrels will drive them away eventually, but they are interesting to watch. The demons of the squirrel world, black as coal.
It’s very annoying to the guy I live with that plants in someone else’s yard look better. True, he did buy them and plant them, but still.
At least we don’t have gophers, huh.
Catching up on my reading, just saw the photos of the magpie from yesterday. Oh, I love magpies and I’ve never seen one here on the shore of the Long Island Sound and I wasn’t sure they still existed in the U.S. When I go to France I can’t wait to see the magpies, and their strut and stunning iridescent green tail feathers. Magpies have the looks that you’d expect from a nightingale, which is an altogether disappointingly small, dull, brown bird.
There is also a marked similarity between the markings of a magpie and of a purebred border collie. And a killer whale. Now, if they could breed a tuxedo squirrel, THAT would be worth any amount of peanuts to me. How hard could it be?
Magpies are fairly magnificent, though if they build a nest in your yard, and raise young there, it makes for a very noisy place.
There is also a similarity between purebred border collies and skunks. Always dressed up.
I too, have late blooming rabbitbrush in my northern Colorado garden. Just blooming its head off right now….
The guy I live with thinks this is quite peculiar. It suggests to him that this is different from the typical “albicaulis” type “big blue rabbitbrush” found in nurseries, that maybe it comes from a lower latitude, say southern New Mexico. In any case it’s pretty wonderful to have something in full bloom in November.