a snow day

Greetings and salutations, everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the most interesting and exciting news in the garden today. You may remember me from such posts as “One Thing Follows Another” and “The Happy Elephant”, among so many others.

Here I am in a completely ridiculous pose. The guy I live with said to look serious, and so what does he do but make me look like a hound dog instead of the purebred border collie which I definitely am. I’m not sure how I hurt my lip, but I did. I sometimes do stuff, and get cuts and things. So does the guy I live with, though he gets more, because he’s much less coordinated. Much less.


It’s snowing today. I was lying upside down and totally warm and cozy on my soft Pottery Barn sheets and the guy I live with said to get up because it was snowing, and he knows how much I like weather like that, but I was awfully warm and cozy. I finally did get up, as you’ll see.




The guy I live with bought a paper shredder and has been shredding documents for the last couple of days. It was really noisy and all papery and stuff. There were bank statements back to 1984, and after he decided they weren’t worth anything, like he couldn’t go on Antiques Roadshow and say look what I found in a dumpster and are they worth millions, he shredded them all. It made him extremely sad to look through all these things, but he said the shredding was enjoyable. He must equate enjoyable with making a lot of noise. He made a mess, too, which I can relate to. Afterwards there were five and a half trash bags full of shredded paper.

Anyway, that’s why I didn’t post in the last couple of days. It was too noisy.

We went on our walk in the snow anyway. Well, not “anyway”, we always go, which the guy I live with keeps saying, though I don’t always believe it. The walk was excellent. This is me on my walk. You can see that it’s snowing.


Here I am looking at something. I already forget what it was.


Along the canal. There are a pair of ducks, or should I say there is a pair, I don’t know, but, whatever, there are ducks here. Not in this picture, though. Mallards, a boy and girl.

I was wondering just the other day if they call them ducks because they duck, but I’ve never seen a duck duck, just fly away if I do scary things like look at them too closely.


There’s water in the canal still. It comes from the mountains and isn’t very warm.


There are willows here. The guy I live with doesn’t know which kind. He says maybe Salix exigua, the coyote willow, which would make sense because sometimes we see Norm and Celeste out here. Or what they’ve found for dinner.


Hops, which is native to here, grows in the willows. The guy I live with said this was the best companion plant for rabbitbrush but maybe it was too subtle. He can be very subtle indeed. He keeps saying he’s going to make bread using a hops starter but he never does, which is typical.


The canal past the sluice. The white thing at the bottom of the picture is part of the sluice. The canal goes east, somewhere. The guy I live with says there’s a grove, or flock, or herd, of Rosa arkansana just out of the picture, and maybe one day he’ll collect some hips and try to grow some from seed. One day.


So we turn around here and go back the way we came, and then head down the creek path. I had to make a detour here. I forget why.


Looks pretty wintry, doesn’t it? But it’s not very cold. At least to me.


The willows. The other willows were willows too, like the ones you just saw if you were paying attention, which humans rarely do, you know, but when I talk about “the willows”, I mean these. Though the trees are willows too. The guy I live with says Salix amygaloides (like a peach), but he doesn’t know everything. My mommy said he did, but he had her fooled, or maybe what really happened is that she liked to say he knew everything because it made him feel like he did know everything, when in fact he didn’t.

The creek is on the left, by the way.


See the shorter willows on the right? They snap back like a whip, and the guy I live with got whacked on the back of the hand pretty badly the other day. It was kind of funny. I know he didn’t think so. But it was.

112115Oh, one other thing. A big deal to the guy I live with. See those green and yellow things under the other camera?



Those are the seed import permit labels. The guy I live with got his permit to import seed, and he’s all excited, even though he doesn’t know what to import. Or really, he knows what he wants, but actually doing something is another story altogether.

He applied once before and nothing happened, and though he thinks people who believe in government conspiracies are “half a bubble off plumb”, he wondered why everyone else got one and he didn’t, but now he has one, and he feels better, even though he may do nothing now that he has the permit. That’s the seed list of the Scottish Rock Garden Club under the camera, so there is some incentive.

That’s a vintage diner-style honey jar on the right, and those chickens are the salt and pepper shakers the guy I live with told my mommy they should get, even though she didn’t think they needed them, and he explained the “need versus want” thing again, like he always did, and they weren’t expensive anyway, and a few weeks later, while they were sitting on the lazy susan the way they are now, she said he was right after all. He knew there was a moral to that but didn’t say anything.

I guess that’s really all. There could be more, considering it’s just early afternoon, but if there turns out to be, I’ll post it tomorrow or the next day and pretend like it just happened. It’s still snowing, too.

Until next time, then.

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12 Responses to a snow day

  1. Tracey says:

    Glad to see you are active and enjoying the snow – I was worried because you didn’t post for a few days. Chess, tell the guy you live with to do what I do – bring your shredding to Home Depot or to a free shredding fest. This frees him up to take you on long walks and to build more dirt piles.

    The snow where you live is beautiful. We are having a warm, dry fall here in NYC. The leaves have finally changed color and are falling all over.

    • paridevita says:

      He says he’s done with shredding for the year.
      The snow is okay. It isn’t so cold that my paws ice up, which makes me want to turn around and go home, though he does help with that, by cleaning out my paw pads. There wasn’t nearly as much snow as they predicted; probably a good thing.

  2. An excellent entry. Hops growing wild? Why does that surprise me so much?

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. About the hops, Weber in Colorado Flora Eastern Slope says “This is a distinctly native race of the species, having been found fossilized in the Oligocene formation at Florissant.”

  3. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    There’s so much to enjoy in this entry, so I guess it was worth waiting for.

    I find the photo of the birds in the tree very compelling — not as compelling as those of you, Chess, but compelling nonetheless.

    One thing I like about snow is that it records traces of what’s been there — foot prints of dogs & birds & people.

    A fiber artist who lives in my area works with dog hair. She spins it into yarn & then embroiders portraits of the dog the hair came from, which I think is very cool. She has also knit sweaters from the yarn, and she says a person doesn’t want to wear the sweater unless it really cold (20 degrees or less) because dog ‘wool’ is the warmest one she’s ever worked with. Also very cool.

    I like the subtlety of hops in rabbitbrush.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Um, the guy I live with says if there’s an address to which he can send dog hair, why then, he will. Just kidding of course.
      What he does, or my mommy used to do and so he sort of does now, is use dog hair, of which of course there really isn’t all that much except in his imagination, for nesting material. You make like a stand or something, and put dog hair, or pieces of rags, etc., out for birds to make nests out of.
      Personally I think a black-and-white nest would look unspeakably elegant.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        I guess I failed to connect the dots (I do that a lot, I fear) re: the warmth of dog hair. I’d always wondered how warm they kept the dogs I live with — since they don’t type or talk, I just had to wonder, until I heard the fiber artist talk about how it was the warmest of all. It made me feel good to know they kept warm, but maybe we should be making booties for their feet from their own hair, to keep the snow & ice out!

        I have to remove the house sparrow nests from the bluebird boxes (because I’m a responsible bluebird landlord), and I’ve find all kinds of weird & interesting things in the nests. One nest had a small faded blue artificial flower in it, and a strand of light blue yarn (blue theme — I can relate) and the red cellophane strip from a pack of cigarettes. Once I found a beautiful blue jay feather stuck in the nest just so. I sent it to Vivian because she likes blue jays. A black and white nest would be very elegant, but I’d hope it wouldn’t be a house sparrow’s nest.

      • paridevita says:

        This is why I like to go on long walks in the snow and cold, dragging the guy I live with along behind me.
        Tinsel from “abandoned” (to be charitable) old Christmas trees is another excellent nesting material.

  4. Your place and surrounding area look magical in the snow, Chess. I can see you like walking and exploring in the cold stuff. How do you bear the heat of a Colorado summer?

    We’ve returned from Away, very appreciative of your providing our doggie fix, Chess. We could watch our two on Kennel Cam, but camera placement was remote from the small dog playroom and the film frequently froze. Plus, Petie and Shredder do not play to the camera. While you do not either, Chess, we appreciate your cooperation with the guy you live with when he takes photos. Please tell him he is a talented photographer and thank him for sharing. Your blog makes Away seem like home.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. I don’t like hot weather at all. I keep telling the guy I live with that we should move to Scotland, maybe to a cottage in the Highlands.

      Home is the best. There’s a lot to be said for it.

  5. Knicky Twigs says:

    Absolutely lovely!

    • paridevita says:

      It was a little too bright for the guy I live with, and so he had to wear a pair of prescription safety dark glasses he got in 1993. The frames are all twisted because they melted sitting on the dashboard once, on a hot summer day, so he looks kind of silly wearing them, and he can barely see, so he lets me lead the way.

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