words of wisdom

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “What On Earth…” and “I Don’t Get It”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Looking quite serious. 14021301Some things happened in the last couple of days, but mostly they involved the guy I live with complaining about the lack of sun, and the cold. One terrifying thing happened. A squirrel walked into my living room. I had to hide in the upstairs closet. The guy I live with yelled at the squirrel and it ran back outside. It took me a while to come out of the closet, though. “Some guard dog”, the guy I live with said, but I’m retired, and besides, squirrels in my living room are scary.

Now the weather has turned nice; sunny, windy, and about 60 degrees (not quite 16C), and so the guy I live with is doing what he does at this time of year.14021306He said, and this is where the words of wisdom come in, that winter is too long, and too cold. I live with a very deep thinker indeed.

He made a fancy cage for some seeds he sowed directly into the new sand pile today. Seeds of the dwarf sand verbena, Abronia nana, to be precise. I think the cage makes the entire sand pile come alive. You know, like, artistically and stuff.14021305Well, speaking of long cold winters, this past winter….and, yes, we know it’s not over by a long shot….has been the coldest here since 1991, which was before I was born, so I just have to take the guy I live with’s word for it.

So, why, he asked me just a little while ago, is Sedum booleanum still “very much alive”? One of the stems, at the top, is broken, but otherwise things are fine. 14021304The guy I live with looked this one up, which he can do just sitting at the laptop, and it was described in 1995, coming from Nuevo León, growing on gypsum hillsides at 1340 meters, which even I know isn’t that high.

“How come this is hardy?” he asked me, and when I didn’t answer, he then said “If this is hardy, why isn’t everything else that grows around it also hardy?” I know the answer to that question, and it’s “Because it doesn’t work that way”, which I admit is pretty deep, and also vaguely mysterious. Why doesn’t it?

“It just doesn’t”, is his standard answer.

Okay, well, there isn’t much else to say. Titanopsis calcarea is blooming again. The guy I live with often gets excited by one flower on a plant. He says that if it didn’t get so cold here the plant would have blooming all this time, meaning since the last time I showed a picture of it. 14021302That’s really about it. I hope the sun and wind will melt all the slush in the garden pretty soon.

Oh, the snowdrops. Must mention the snowdrops. I’ll show those, then let you go.14021303


Until next time, then.


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22 Responses to words of wisdom

  1. What is the percentage of squirrel rabies in your area? Squirrel in the house, I would be checking for mouth foam. You did well to hide in the upstairs closet, I think. I’m sure the guy you live with was wearing heavy boots during the incident, and that gave him immunity to rabid rodent bites. Your portrait photo, I’m guessing, was snapped after the great squirrel scare, thus accounting for your expressing.
    I do agree a wire cage on a sand pile gives life to a sand pile, banishing the bleak.
    Such a great snowdrop photo, blooms so fragile against the snow.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, the guy I live with looked this up, since I don’t want to know anything at all about rabies (I get shots for it, though), and squirrels have never been found to have rabies in Colorado. There are two cages on the sand pile (pinned with landscape fabric pins), which you might say doubles the art. You can’t see, maybe, that the cages have tops, made out of chicken wire. The guy I live with is an artist with hardware cloth and chicken wire. The snow is so slushy now it might even be completely gone in a couple of days. There’s lot of mud to track into the house, too. I don’t know if you were reading my blog then, but I said once that you measure how good a time you had by how much you track into the house. I think snowdrops are probably really tough. Imagine having to sit outside on the north side of the house all winter. Brrr.

  2. Janet in Virginia says:

    Chess, I am grateful for the snowdrops. Thanks for including them.

    • paridevita says:

      Sure. The guy I live with is kind of a nut about snowdrops. He buys expensive ones because he thinks it makes him an Englishman or something. They started blooming about three weeks ago, before the last round of super-cold weather, and now they’re back. He ordered a yellow one (yellow instead of green on the flower) this year, and it cost a lot. Just one bulb. If we lived in England, which by the way I kind of think we ought to, we could buy lots of snowdrops. http://www.colesbournegardens.org.uk/sales/snowdrop-sales-2014.html It’s worth noting, too, that Colesbourne allows dogs, including purebred border collies, which shows how advanced they are.

  3. petabunn says:

    That is a thank goodness it’s gone look on your face Chess and I don’t blame you for hiding in the closet, worse than having a mouse run past you. I had a huntsman spider run past me the other night on the timber floor and I was asleep but I knew it passed me and I got to follow it’s trail. Mummy’s not very happy because it appears she brought some from the old house here, one in the car and this one that must have hitched a ride in a box, groan she loathes them. I was suprised when you said the temp was 16C there with snow all around when it was 16 here this morning. Weather is strange. Nice that you had sun to get out in the garden. I love those snowdrops and popping through the snow is just… can’t find the word…beautiful will have to do.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, ick, a huntsman spider? Now, my mommy would have looked this up and said “Cool” and tried to get the guy I live with to look at the picture, but unsuccessfully. She kept pestering him to let her keep a pet tarantula …… but the guy I live with said that one day the pet tarantula would be gone and found later, flattened, with tire tracks on its body. The weather here in winter goes up and down, and right now it’s up, so the snow should be gone fairly quickly, though the guy I live with will probably start complaining about the “new, melt-proof snow” which he claims the government has been secretly testing in his garden. Snowdrops are utterly delightful. Partly because they bloom at this time of year (though they started a few weeks ago), and partly because they do so well in the little shade garden here, but maybe most of all because the Britons are so crazy about them, he thinks that a very endearing trait. Not to the extent of swiping them from gardens, which sometimes happens if you looked at the Colesbourne website, but otherwise very endearing indeed.

      • petabunn says:

        Just looked at Colesbourne, what a sensational place, now have that bookmarked for future viewing.

      • paridevita says:

        And note that they allow dogs. How enlightened. I think I would do well in the U.K., what with all the mist and fog. The guy I live with dotes on the sun, but maybe if there weren’t so much snow here, he wouldn’t feel that way. By the way, the guy I live with doesn’t look at other blogs as much as he’d like to, but this one is nice. http://theanxiousgardener.com/

  4. Tracey says:

    Chess, you look stunned. I think that squirrel wants to be your pal, and that is why he came in the house. He has obviously been watching you through the window. You do look traumatized.

    The snowdrops are beautiful. We just had eight inches of snow and nothing is coming through that. The snowdrops are a reminder that spring will come someday.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with, who says he knows almost everything, claims that the rodent who invaded my personal space could smell the peanut butter in the Tin Cat, and wanted some. Nothing seems to attract rodents more than peanut butter. He says that the act of enticing smaller rodents into the Tin Cat has turned into an open invitation for all the rodents in the state, which are descending on our garden in record numbers. The snowdrops are nice. There are some in the back yard, that just appeared there, I think, and they smell like honey, sometimes. For us, they’re a sign that the three snowiest months of the year are right around the corner. One time, my mommy wrote an article called “A Zen View of Spring”, based on the famous brief view of the ocean in a slit in the courtyard wall of a monk’s house; you walked through the courtyard and got a brief glimpse of the ocean, then kept walking to the house itself. (Took this from A Pattern Language, one of the most wonderful books ever written.) Well, anyway, she wrote this article, and in it she described how spring in Denver was like getting these brief glimpses in between snowfalls, it’s never that the snow stops and then it’s spring, it just keeps snowing and snowing until it’s summer, so we take pleasure in these really transitory images of spring. Because, you know, we pretty much have to. So the guy I live with likes snowdrops a lot.

  5. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    A sort of valentine, about a dog and the guy he lives with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jfS2rybDOg

    • Vivian Swift says:

      Very nice. I’m glad it had a happy ending…ever since I saw Old Yeller when I was six years old (on a black and white TV) I’m always anxious when I hear/see/read a dog story. Dogs should live forever.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with thinks that too, but, well, I know it doesn’t happen, because I was with my buddy Slipper when he left us. That’s why I live strictly in the moment. (Though always thinking about dinner time and my walks.)

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, very cool.

  6. melanie says:

    You would love it at my house, Chess. It snowed 3 inches (surprise!!) last night. Fresh snow for my Toby to roll around in. You’d never know that he was born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico. My snow won’t be gone until May and I’m only 30 minutes west of your house.

  7. Vivian Swift says:

    A very happy Valentine’s Day to you, Chess, and all Chess-related life forms.

    I know why you guy’s Sedum booleanum are thriving in your backyard. What you have there is a micro-climate.

    I learned about micro-climates by visiting gardens in England. They are crazy for micro-climates there. Put up a wall, and you’ve got a micro-climate (which explains how they can grow grapefruit at the Chelsea Physic Garden).

    It’s either that, or it’s a micro-nation you got going on in your backyard. Micro-nations are tons of fun. I am especially fond of the one offshore from the UK called the Principality of Sealand. It’s a very micro nation, yet it inspired a serious discussion in the E.U. over the right of artificial islands to self-deternination. (If you DO have a micro-nation with its own micro-climate, Chess, I hope you put your face on the money.)

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with says they have something called “wall fruit” in the UK. If we were to be a micro-nation, the guy I live with would print lots of money, and then be rich, because he says that’s how it works. What Valentine’s Day reminds the guy I live with of, besides Some Like It Hot and Marilyn Monroe, and that it was my mommy’s third favorite holiday (after Christmas and Halloween), is one time there was a family in the neighborhood where the guy I live with grew up, and the kids baked a cake for their parents, and the youngest boy, maybe six years old, decorated the cake, and it said, “Happy V.D.” on it. Completely true story.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        Pineapple — they liked to grow pineapple in pineapple-ariums (which they learned from the Dutch). So I’ve heard.

      • paridevita says:

        Probably cheaper to buy pineapples. The guy I live with, for instance, went out hunting today, came back with biscuits, a wedge of Fromager d’affinois (which he promises he’ll share), some bananas (my buddy Slipper and my grandpa Flurry both loved bananas, but me, not so much), and some blueberries. Much simpler than having an arium of any kind.

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