Greetings and salutations, everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from the garden. You may remember me from such startlingly excellent posts as “N.D.Y.” and “Things From Afar”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.Today’s post is more of a weather report than anything else. You might say it’s a little chilly here. In fact….well, just look at the gutter he didn’t get to. That little shelf, by the way, is a nesting shelf my mommy made. Birds use it to make nests. The grape vine (Vitis riparia, the native grape, sown by a bird) has to be held up by a rope because there was chicken wire wrapped around the downspout for the grape, but the downspout blew apart last winter, because of freezing, and so he had to fix it, and the grape vine had to be removed, and he just hung it like this until he thinks of something else to do with it.
It’s pretty cold, and everything is covered with snow. The guy I live with says we have to endure this so that we can have water to drink. And of course so people can water their lawns. The guy I live with doesn’t have a lawn to water any more. Technically, of course, it could just snow in the mountains and we’d still have water, but it never seems to work that way. So I guess, if you look at it that way, this is all a good thing, though he says it could still be warmer.
The pine on the left, by the way, was supposed to be Pinus pumila, the dwarf Siberian pine, but it isn’t. It’s something else. Still a pine, though. The other conifers aren’t pines. Oh, there’s one in the cage there, but you can’t see it, so that really doesn’t count.
The guy I live with claims it’s more fun to look at seedlings in the house than stand outside freezing. I like standing outside, but there’s an awful lot to be said for central heating. His picture of the baby cactus could have been more in focus, if you ask me. These are seedlings of Echinocereus coccineus, and were germinated without using GA-3, which he says it’s important to say. It must be, then.
And the “big deal of the week”, Calochortus gunnisonii. I showed pictures of the stratified seeds germinating in “Of Seeds And Soil”, a week ago, I think. And now here they are, coming up. There are actually more there than the picture shows. It’s kind of hard to believe that stuff like this really works, but it does.
The seeds were stratified for about a month, which breaks down the abscisic acid, the germination inhibitor, and then the seeds germinate. It doesn’t always work this elegantly, he says.
I think he really needs a greenhouse. You can also sow the seeds outside in November, and they come up the following spring, “like nobody’s business”, which is a funny way to put it, but anyway, once they come up, then the bunnies graze on them, and the guy I live with gets mad, and yet does nothing except spray Deer Off, which works, but of course since he forgot to do it before the little bulb sprouts were eaten, it doesn’t work as well as you’d think.
Anyway, that’s the gardening part of the post. All indoors.
I got to go on both of my walks, because the guy I live with is indifferent to cold, and he likes me well enough to take my on my walk even when it’s chilly. This is how chilly it was when we walked. (And you can see how chilly it was last night, too.) It was too cold for ice to get in my paws. That part was okay. I thought the weather today was refreshing.
Until next time, then.
Oh, Chess in the snow, Chess with snow on his nose! You look, dear dog, as if you are practicing being one with the Comedy of it all.
You might suggest to the guy you live with, Chess, that he scare up a calendar and write on its pages necessary garden chores around their due date. His technique with seeds IS too elegant to sacrifice to deer appetite. Alternatively, he could start practicing yoga to become more mindful. This is what I recommend to my husband, who, strangely, doesn’t listen.
So onto the next five hundred —
We don’t have deer here. In our neighborhood, I mean. We have a herd of elk, but I haven’t seen them for a while now. They were scary. I flipped out when I saw one right beyond the fence. We have rabbits, which are even worse. Well, one rabbit, but there are also hawks and owls and coyotes. What he does, though, is put cages around the calochortus. There is a place out in the way back that I’ve never talked about before, called “Rancho Mariposa”, a small calochortus ranch, where all the bulbs are in cages, one cage to a species. The seed was sown directly and then cages put around them, and labels and gardening stuff like that. He figured he would sow seeds, like nature does, just in the dirt and stuff, and one day he’d go out there and there would be calochortuses blooming all over the place. The ranch is mostly filled with weeds and we don’t really know if there are any calochortuses in there, though the guy I live with says there ought to be. Even if there aren’t, it’s fun to pretend there are, and even more fun to say we have a calochortus ranch when most people don’t.
I am impressed; I am so not indifferent to cold. It’s 25 here right now, pretty unusual.
The guy I live with is indifferent to cold partly because he’s indifferent to a lot of stuff now, for possibly obvious reasons, but mostly because he worked outside for fifteen years and got used to standing out in cold weather, that sort of thing. I like cold weather. The guy I live with says I’m built for it, which is slightly rude.
Makes sense for both reasons.
Yeah. The guy I live with has a red, heavy down parka which keeps him really warm, though he only wears it when it gets really cold. He’s had it for twenty five years, and when he has a beard, which isn’t always, but now it’s white of course, guess who he looks like when he wears the parka?
You could title this last photo “Mug with Jugs”. Very artsy.
Artsy is us, that’s for sure. You can see, though, that there was snow on my nose in the first picture, too. Melted snow, really.
And I was feeling like a bag lady because I still wear my favorite Winter coat that’s a mere 19 years old and brown and has not aged well. Eight years ago I finally bought a new coat because here on Long Island it is not “delightfully eccentric” to wear shabby clothes; it just makes you look poor. Poor doesn’t go over big on the Isle of Longue. But I only wear it on formal occasions (and I avoid formal occasions with the same zeal with which I despise the Kardashians). Good thing I got a dog — she’s a mitigating factor when I step out in this hideous weather wrapped in my ugly brown comfort zone.
On my To Do list for today: I must find out the difference between a conifer and a pine. And, once, I used to know what the difference was between hardwood and softwood, but I’ve forgotten it now so I might as well brush up on that, too.
Pines are conifers (cone-bearing), but not all conifers are pines. If you want really detailed information, look at http://www.conifers.org/ which has practically everything. The guy I live with just sewed patches on two of his pairs of jeans, so he could still wear them. That’s why he had a sewing needle handy for the picture with the seeds. He also says he knows who the Kardashians are, and that the word “longue” has funny associations. “Chaise longue” somehow became “chaise lounge”, something you would lounge on, I guess. I’ve never seen one.
I love your squinty-eyed snow face, Chess. And the little baby cacti delight me — although visions of future blogs wherein you describe how you can’t walk anywhere in the yard without being poked by cactus needles dance in my head.
One of my husband’s colleagues can’t get out of her driveway because it was lined with evergreens/conifers/pines, and those trees were toppled in Tuesday’s ice storm (thank you, Ms. Nika). I thought to myself, “Mhmm! Chess was just talking about how those trees fare worse in ice & snow storms.”
Even though the snow & ice is debilitating, I still find amazing beauty in it. And I appreciate the cold because it’s killing off things that have thrived far too well in the last few very mild winters, like mosquitos and emerald ash borers (although Jim Robbins, author of “The Man Who Planted Trees” (shameless name-dropping) told me it hasn’t been nearly cold enough to kill off the pine beetle that’s killing trees out west). My across the street neighbor was telling me that he’s notice the last couple of summers that many of the fish he catches have parasites, and it’s due to the mild winters. I guess that’s a long way of saying I appreciate this weather as balance and check.
I heard a ruckus outside our kitchen window earlier today & looked out to find starlings pecking away at lily bulbs that had heaved out of the ground. That’s a first.
We don’t have ice storms here. They had a terrible one in Slovenia, though. The guy I live with thinks that snow and cold is tiresome, but I like it. He insisted, this morning, that we wait until it “warmed up” (that is, went from nine below zero, F, to one below zero) before I could go on my walk. I thought that was kind of silly. The guy I live with said that one below sounded warmer than nine below.
Apparently it needs to be -25 F (without wind chill) for 2 to 3 weeks to kill the mountain pine beetle larva. I don’t think I’ve ever been in that much cold, nor do I want to be.
The guy I live with said that a long time ago, back in 1990 or 1991, it was –27 or something cold like that, and he went out and brushed his hand against a pine, and the needles shattered like glass. It doesn’t get that cold here very often. Fortunately.