teakettle on the roof

Greetings and salutations everyone; it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, once again, here to tell you the latest news from the garden, on this, our 500th post. You may remember me from such outstanding and delightful posts as “Show And Tell” and “Life With A Nut, Part Two”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. 14020301The guy I live with says he’s going to fix that funny little spot in the carpet, where he accidentally ripped part of it off the stairs, when he was painting. He painted some, today, too.

He hasn’t gotten very much sleep lately, and the reason for this, he says (I was snoring, so I didn’t notice), is that he’s had to get up several times during the night and release mice caught in the Tin Cat in the kitchen. He was pretty upset that there were mice in the kitchen, suddenly, after years of having a miceless kitchen, but then, lately, they were there, and he couldn’t figure out why.

Last night he saw one walk into the kitchen from the living room, which is the opposite direction he thought mice would be walking in, since they’d most likely be getting into the kitchen from a non-living-room type area, like say the garage or outdoors. So he spent about an hour down in the laundry room looking for holes from the crawl space into the laundry room. He couldn’t find any, and so his frustration increased. I could tell.

Then, on a whim, he looked in the downstairs closet, and noticed that the door to the crawl space was wide open. “You know”, he said, “there seems to be a direct correlation between the time I went into the crawl space to look for a box, and the appearance of mice in the kitchen.” I thought about it, too, and decided he was right.

So he fixed that problem.

Oh, and speaking of being down in the laundry room, there is this happening. Agave toumeyana var. bella, from year-old seed, sown on the twenty-third of January. 14020302

Well, if you read the title of today’s post first, like some people do, you may wonder what the connection is between the teakettle and the roof. I’ll tell you now.

Because the sun can’t get to the gutter over the driveway, water has been dripping down onto the driveway, and then freezing, creating what the guy I live with said was a “death trap”. I know about cuddles, and breakfast and dinner, and going for walks, and biscuits, and sleeping on soft Pottery Barn sheets, but I didn’t know what a “death trap” was, and didn’t much like the sound of it, until he explained that it was the ice I slipped on yesterday. (I’m okay.)

He got on the ladder and started chipping away at the ice in the gutter, with a rock hammer. He wore goggles.

This is the driveway. 14020303Then it suddenly occurred to him that instead of chipping away at the ice, he could just pour hot water on it. That’s where the teakettle comes in. It worked, of course.

The guy I live with says that, ever since the turn of the century, the concrete has been spalling, and that, well, basically, the driveway is falling apart. So long as he can drive on it, I don’t think he’ll do anything about the spalling, but he says it shows what winters have been like in the last dozen years.

This is what spalling looks like.14020304

What else? Oh, remember I said something about painting, well, he got a can of paint and was going to paint the kitchen cabinets, instead of washing them, but he got the wrong color of paint and so he didn’t do much painting. The color he got was for the baseboard trim. He felt pretty smug about having written down all the colors of paint for all the different areas of the house, but he said, rather profoundly I thought, that if you write down the wrong thing it doesn’t do much good.

One thing was pretty funny, though. He washed out the paint brush in the sink and, when he was done, he realized that he’d been leaning against the wet paint on the cabinet door below. It’s really too bad that purebred border collies don’t know how to use digital cameras, because a picture of that would have added a certain something to this post, don’t you think?

The other thing he said was that he has to go out this week to have his taxes done, and that when they’re done we might have to move to a place called Guadalajara and he might have to change his name. I don’t know where Guadalajara is. I like it here, except for the thunder.

Also, the guy I live with spent some time contemplating astragalus seeds today. If this sounds really boring to you, that’s because it is. Astragalus is the largest genus of flowering plants, not counting orchids, and there are a lot of them worth growing in the rock garden. He had a whole bunch, a while back, but now they’re gone, and so he wanted some more.

What you do, he said, is nick the seed, opposite the hilum (the part where the seed attaches to the seed pod, like if you looked at a kidney bean, the white part), so that water can enter the otherwise impervious seed coat. That sounds like a whole lot of fun to me. My paws don’t work that way, fortunately. 14020305That’s a large sewing needle, and a penny. He looked at these seeds for quite a long time, and then said something, and put them back in the packet.

Another method is to “scarify” the seed using something like sandpaper. He’s tried that, and says the seed just gets ground to dust. Well, it would, wouldn’t it?

The easiest way to get astragalus plants, he says, is simply to sow them in pots outdoors, and let the cold, of which we have plenty, crack the seed coats, like nature intended. Since it’s the easiest way, he’s decided to do that. Eventually, of course.

I guess that really is all for today.


Until next time, then.

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22 Responses to teakettle on the roof

  1. Susan ITPH says:

    John Stireman likes to carve a divot in half of a clothes pin to hold the Astragalus seed in place and then drag them individually across the sandpaper. Works pretty well.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with has tries all sorts of sandpaper-related activities. He says you don’t really need to do any sandpapering if you sow the seed outside. Sowing directly is best, regardless of what method used. Astragalus, oxytropis, ebenus, hedysarum, and lupines, all the same.

  2. Linda Meyer says:

    I could not find my sandpaper, so took some sand that i had and rubbes the seeds around in it . Chess do you think that will work? Then i sowed the seed in the garden .

    • paridevita says:

      I don’t know about nicking and sowing now, as opposed to nicking and sowing in the spring. The nicking is supposed to bypass the natural action of frost, to crack the seed coat, so I don’t know.

  3. Oh, Chess, I’m just back from yoga class, and your pose looks like I feel right now. Have you just sighed out, “Namaste”? I hear there is a practice for dogs called doga, but I don’t know if it has migrated to Colorado yet.
    The guy you live with’s teakettle solution is ingenious, the paintbrush cleaning not so much. The good news is you are saved from the deathtrap.

    • paridevita says:

      No, I was just watching the guy I live with do something. I forget what. It’s supposed to snow, hugely, tonight and tomorrow, and I guess, forever, so the ice will be covered up.

  4. Tracey says:

    We just got 8 inches of snow last night so you have my sympathies.More is due tonight. It’s nice to know that TGYLW is doing his best to make sure that you don’t slip. Have you tried herding the mice, Chess? It might be quieter than the trap.

    This is a dumb question, I know, but can you use regular paint on cabinets, or does it have to be a special kind.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that I’m too busy snoring to be any good with mice. It’s just that they tray to get out of the Tin Cat by jiggling the ramp they walked in on, and it’s metal, so it makes noise. It’s probably the same mouse every time, anyway. He used Benjamin Moore Natura for the entire house. It doesn’t have any compounds that smell and give us headaches. He got semi-gloss this time instead of eggshell; it’s said to be easier to wash. Once he starts painting, he doesn’t stop for a while. The Christmas after my mommy died, it was really bleak here, and that’s when he started painting. He painted the p*pc*rn ceiling in the living room, using a special roller, and that was a real mess. He couldn’t say the actual word out loud because my buddy Slipper would freak out and wait for the machine to be brought out, so he could have p*pc*rn. He painted for months, and then stopped, but I think he’s starting again. My buddy Slipper licked some paint and the guy I live with was really upset, but my buddy Slipper said it was pretty tasty.

  5. Kim Bone says:

    Be nice to meander through, Guadalajara via public transportation and or foot, to go see Orozco’s ‘man of fire’ mural…sigh, the sights and sounds of Guadalajara on this frozen day.

  6. Kim Bone says:

    Alas; we must settle for, Chess snoring and the jiggle of the tin cat.

  7. Vivian Swift says:

    Raise High the Roof Beam! 500th post!

    I promise, as long as you keep writing, I will keep reading.

  8. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I ditto Vivian: congratulations of the writing of the 500. Keep writing so’s I have something good to read (and have photos of exceptional dogs to admire)

  9. That is really funny about where the mice were coming from.

    • paridevita says:

      Funny but true. Surprising what leaving a door open will do. Oh, well, when my mommy and the guy I live with moved in to the house here, the light at the top of the stairs, in the ceiling behind a panel, didn’t work, and the guy I live with told my mommy that he’d have to go up into the attic and rewire everything, which he could do, but he didn’t like the idea of going into the attic, what with the insulation and all, so the light stayed not working for years. Then one day he decided to fix it, and got the ladder and climbed up and opened the panel behind which the light was. He worked up there for a while and then climbed back down the ladder and turned the light on to show my mommy what incredible skill he had, working with electricity. “How’d you fix it?” she asked. “Oh, I changed the light bulb”, he said.

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