in the snow

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to tell you the news from our garden. You may remember me from such delightful and informative posts as “A Partly Sad Story” and “Three Percent Humidity”, among so many others.

Here I am out in the garden, squinting because the snow is kind of bright.



There really isn’t much to say today, but I bet I can make it sound like there is. Like when someone asked Yeats how he came to write a particular poem, and he responded “I made it out of a mouthful of air”, which is really great, and so maybe I can do the same thing.

First, though, I get to make fun of the guy I live with, at least some. You know the Tin Cat,

the Tin Cat

the Tin Cat

well, before I started taken phenobarbital (which I’m doing really well on, thank you), every time a mouse was “detained” in the Tin Cat I would completely freak out. Now I just sleep through it and it’s the guy I live with who gets awakened in the middle of the night by a mouse screaming for help. (The guy I live with spilled coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor and didn’t clean them up properly, which is what you see on the floor. Pretty disgraceful, I must say.)

So he gets up, carries the Tin Cat out to the garage, through the kitchen door

the kitchen door, with Palmer Cox drawing

the kitchen door, with Palmer Cox drawing

and lets the mouse (or sometimes mice) out into the garage, which is pretty chilly, but he leaves the kitchen door open, and so where do the mice run, but right over him with their tickly little feet and back into the warm kitchen. Makes you wonder who’s smarter, huh.

So, well, anyway, now for some garden stuff. Here’s Daphne × transatlantica ‘Summer Ice’ still blooming away.


Maybe not that interesting. ‘Alba Everblooming’ is also blooming, like the name would suggest. But what is interesting is that Gentiana verna is still blooming, and just look at the picture.



Pretty cool, in more ways than one. The gentian is very blue.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, the big metal chicken still hasn’t flown away. It doesn’t quite add the class to the garden that a purebred border collie does, but it does give it a certain something. He also found the metal dragonfly that he thought had disappeared, too. You can see it next to the chicken, just sitting there because he’s still fixing the fence on which it was mounted. The sickle (the handle thing) underneath is super-vintage. Like, really old.



I’m almost done. Here’s a little group of photos featuring me, to make this post really exceptional. In case you were wondering if your rock garden would be improved by having a purebred border collie in it, you can see the answer is yes, totally. This is me walking down the paths. My tongue might be stuck out in the first one, but you can see what the garden looks like today. I stay on the paths, of course. They were partly made by my Uncle Pooka, and then by my buddy Slipper.







We had an okay day today, though today does mark four and a half years since my mommy left us.  So I thought I’d show a picture. That really is the guy I live with on the right. They were at the Renaissance fair.



Anyway, that’s all there is for today. I hope you enjoyed all the pictures of me as much as I enjoyed making them. The guy I live with says posts with nothing but pictures of me might be pretty boring. I can hardly see how that could be true. But the gentian picture was good, too.

Until next time, then.

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14 Responses to in the snow

  1. Thea says:

    Oh, I’m in love with the Palmer Cox drawing, Chess! You give us so many photos to look at, all charming. Of course, the intense blue gentian against the bright snow. And the chicken, oh what a chicken. Do you know, Chess, about the Chicken belonging to The Bloggess? I’ve never considered you and The Bloggess had much in common, but I see I am wrong. I also like how the snow delineates the beautiful clean pathway with its sinuous lines and gives depth to the garden. Depth is so hard to capture through a lens. My far and mid landscape photos come out dishearteningly flat.

    Great photos of you, Chess dog. They show you so serious about wending your way.

    The photo of your people, Chess, so sweet and poignant. Beautiful people to live with a beautiful pure-bread Border Collie. Your mummy’s smile is so relaxed into happiness. She would have been, I’m sure, a delight to know. As we said back in the day at Renaissance Fairs in Laguna Beach, “a real trip.” (Why, yes, Timothy Leary lived down the block; why do you ask?)

    • paridevita says:

      My mommy made a little frame for the Palmer Cox and then tacked it to the kitchen door.
      The guy I live with sort of knows who the Bloggess is and possibly checked out the website to see if a big metal chicken would help de-serious the garden here some. Believe it or not some people think the guy I live with doesn’t take things seriously enough. Things like gardening.
      He says to emphasize the fact that this is a medium big metal chicken, as shown in the post when he got it and not a large big metal chicken, just to keep things in “tasteful proportion”.
      We border collies are very much all about paths and direction. Most of the paths here were created by border collies before me, but I did improve on the path along the creek which I show me walking on from time to time; it was originally a coyote path but is now much better. I’m not quite the pathomaniac that my grandpa Flurry was; he refused to leave a path for any reason when he was on a walk, and he would never look around, because it was distracting.
      The guy I live with sort of knows where Laguna Beach is. He went to San Juan Capistrano mission once, because people said that swallows return there; he only remembers being bored. And to Fallbrook where relatives lived and raised peacocks. At that time Orange County was this distant place way off to the east, on the other side of the San Gabriel River, with hardly anything there except Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. He went to Disneyland right after it opened because everybody else did. His favorite place was Tomorrowland. (His favorite place of all though was in the other direction: the La Brea Tar Pits.)

  2. petabunn says:

    The gentian picture was more than good, what a brilliant plant and sitting in the snow like that, what can I say… As always brilliant pictures of you Chess, as I usually say there can never be too many pictures of you and I am impressed that you actually found the path amongst the snow. Your guy and your mommy, beautiful, what a lucky boy you are…

    • paridevita says:

      Well thank you. I am very good at following paths. The one we walk on was originally made by coyotes and I improved on it.
      The guy I live with says that the gentian doesn’t know it’s blooming at the wrong time of the year. It was grown from Czech seed some time in the mid 1990s, and had been very happy here except for a certain incident where someone whose name shall be mentionless accidentally weeded out half of it. But it recovered.

  3. The photo of those two happy humans brings more than one tear to my eyes.

    We had a live trap mouse situation in our old house. Allan would catch them in the trap and rake them down the gravel road and across the street and let them loose. He even made a video about it.

    I always suspected the same mice where the ones I would see running down the wall the next evening while we were watching telly. (They lived in the eaves, and had a secret route behind the bookcase to get to the cat food dish. They came through a hole in the ceiling that had important wires running through it. (We did live in a ramshackle little house.) I was afraid to fill in the whole for fear they would chew through the big power line wire.

    • paridevita says:

      Cute video. The guy I live with doesn’t kill things, and has found the Tin Cat to be very effective, partly because he uses fresh ground peanut butter from the health food store, which I can verify is really, really good. The first thing he tried, because someone suggested it, was mini peanut butter cups, but for reasons he refuses to divulge, the peanut butter cups did not last as long as they ought to have.
      In fact he has a paper plate out in the garage with the same peanut butter and the heels of loaves of bread because he says the heels are too thick to make toast, and a sandwich with heels, or one regular slice and a heel, is just “too weird for words”.
      Please do not ask me how I know there is bread and peanut butter out in the garage.
      The guy I live with says that living where we do, it’s impossible to keep mice out entirely, so that’s why he puts food out in the garage for them. They do smell rather awful, though. About as bad as a cat, in my opinion.
      We occasionally have pack rats, too.

      • We used peanut butter, too! A friend who moved to Big Timber, Montana (and has a website called Yummy Montana) had pack rats and found it terribly disconcerting.

      • paridevita says:

        Pack rats can be. There was an incident with a box of dog biscuits left in the garage overnight, and the next morning, only a small chewed hole explained why the box was empty.

  4. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    Chess, your presence truly brings out the beauty of the guy’s garden–no other yard art needed. PS–my dad has a flock of young chickens which free range in my grammy’s garden. Nice concept, you would think, as their eggs are not only delicious but truly beautiful, but the sad reality is that it is no longer possible to walk outside even briefly and not come back in with chicken poop on one’s shoes. My grammy is pretty close to putting an end to the free range days…

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, there would be poop. The guy I live with suggested to my mommy, back in the days when there was a terrible infestation of grasshoppers (as if all infestations aren’t terrible), that they get guinea fowl. At the time, my grandpa Flurry, who was Herding Certified with a blue ribbon and everything, was still active, and my mommy pointed out that the combination of guinea fowl and a Herding Certified border collie might not be a happy one.

  5. pamit says:

    Great picture of the two of you. I’m reminded of a line from a Richard Thompson song, Cooksferry Queen – “pre-Raphaelite curls in her hair” – appropriate for that RenFair setting. Thanks for showing this photo.

  6. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Palmer Cox has caught the evilness of bunnies in his drawing — the rabbit toting off plants from someone’s garden!

    Love the perfect little circle in the snow that the gentian emerged through. That blue against the white snow is just too, too perfect.

    Your mommy looks so happy & content in the photo. The guy you live with is squinting sort of like you in the photo at the beginning. A nice full-circle sort of balance.

    I read this earlier today, and then went shopping (with 3 dogs, it seems like I’m always buying dog food!). When I went past the Christmas candy at Target, I saw some Christmas Reese’s cups and started chuckling, thinking about the mysterious disappearing mouse bait. I’m not sure if I was laughing with you or at you. Probably both.

    • paridevita says:

      He says peanut butter cups are good, no doubt about it. I’ve never had any, because the guy I live with says “border collies can’t have chocolate”, which sounds to me like something made up by a chocolate hog.
      A friend called my mommy the happiest person she had ever known. It was because she had me, of course, and my equally purebred cousin Slipper.

      The gentian is beautiful, but weird, because it’s a flower of spring. Oh ….maybe this is an autumn-blooming aberration, which the guy I live with can take cuttings of and make a fortune.

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