again, a crisis

Hello everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden. If there isn’t any news, I post anyway, sometimes. You may remember me from such newsworthy, not to mention noteworthy, posts as “Guarding The Fort” and “Winter Creeps Onward”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. You can see what I’ve been doing. 14021507“The paws tell all”, says the guy I live with, who’s going through a crisis. Yes, again. This time, not a horticultural one, but a personal one. It’s been almost five years since my mommy left us, and he thinks he should be doing something, “instead of just sitting here”.

Well, the crisis will pass in a couple of days, like all the other crises have, and he’ll realize that “just sitting here” is what he was, like, meant to do. I don’t think people are meant to do things, but I’ll let him think that. At least he has a purebred border collie to keep him on the steady path. I have some fromager d’affinois to look forward to later today, and then another walk. Life is pretty excellent here. All this other stuff just seems like a waste of energy to me.

Anyway, back to reality, if only just for a while. It started out all warm and windy this morning, and the guy I live with looked out the window and said “Chinook!”, which made him happy, because the warm wind, pouring down off the highest part of the Continental Divide, west of us, melts snow and ice within hours.

As we went on our walk, though, the weather changed. The wind shifted to the north. Or, what I mean to say is, it was coming from the west, then started coming from the north. 14021501


14021502We saw bunches of geese. 14021505





14021506And the temperature dropped twenty degrees. You should have heard the guy I live with complain. Something about how if they predict the weather, why not actually predict it instead of just pretending to predict it? I stopped listening when he started in on this.

So we came home, and he went out and took pictures of snowdrops. The French scare cat got in on the action. Though I should point out that I think this isn’t a real French scare cat, but rather a faux one. The real ones, which we also have, come with les yeux verts, you know. 140212510 14021512 14021511 14021509 14021508Well …..he has snowdrops blooming, so isn’t that okay?

“They’re a little late, really…”

This is the sort of thing I have to put up with.

Oh, something else. This is pretty cool, but at the same time, scary. A hawk flew into our back yard yesterday morning. The guy I live with tried to get excellent hawk pictures, but the paths were so icy he had to try to take pictures while at the same time not slipping and breaking the camera, not to mention a leg or anything. He looked at the Cornell website and decided this was a juvenile Cooper’s hawk.14021401

14021403 14021402


14021404I think that’s all for today. The guy I live with has a notepad where he writes down stuff, so it doesn’t slip his mind, because things tend to, but sometimes he forgets to write down whatever he wants to remember, so things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, anyway.14021503

Until next time, then.


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28 Responses to again, a crisis

  1. New Leaf says:

    Now Chess, I don’t mean to be harsh, but I think men of a certain age are allowed to complain…I think it’s called being crotchety–now not all the time–but just every once in a while. I’ve known a few old dogs like that, too, and I try to be understanding and I hope you will be, too. I think sometimes they are hurting a little. Hugs and pets, N.L.

    PS: I really like those hawk photos that he took–they may not be most excellent, but they are very good. I hope you enjoyed your walk despite having to listen to the complaining.

    • paridevita says:

      The walk was great, and pretty muddy too, thank you.
      The hawk pictures are a first, for him. He says hawks know when he’s about to take their picture, and he snuck, sliding on ice all the while, very quietly, pretending to be a tree or something, right up to the hawk.

  2. petabunn says:

    Great post today Chess. Who’d believe snow yesterday, all gone today. Unfortunate about having muddy paws after your walk but you enjoyed yourself and there was plenty to see. Lots of snowdrops coming up in the garden, they are beautiful. Great shots of the hawk, those bunnies and mice had better keep a low profile. Go get your fromage, are you having biscuits with it? Enjoy.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with forgot to buy crackers, which is what some people who speak English but don’t live here call biscuits, he says. He likes a certain kind (Milton’s), and didn’t get any. I don’t really care because the cheese by itself is really good. Here’s the thing, though. It was too chilly this morning to do any sort of gardening, and the guy I live with was all put out about it, and so about noon he said it was time for a nap, and so we napped for quite a while, and when we woke up, the sun was out and everything was nice. I know there’s a moral there.

      • petabunn says:

        Couldn’t quite figure out the expression on your face this morning however as I just came back I realised you had a seductive look, was that to get more fromage. I forgot to mention that I looked at the anxious gardener site you pointed out and just had a second look. It’s worth you looking again just to see all the amazing photos he took in Berlin Zoo. Thanks for that Chess.

      • paridevita says:

        Sure. I did get some fromager d’affinois, thank you very much. It’s really good, kind of like cool, frothy, buttery, cheesy cream. The guy I live with says we can’t have an anteater even though they’re totally cool, because ants spread the seeds of cyclamen, crocus, snowdrops, etc., by a process called myrmecochory (dispersal by ants, the chory part being dispersal, so you’ll so like anemochory, dispersal by wind, etc.), and the anteater is a Myrmecophaga, so it wouldn’t work out. But they are neat looking. So’s the ibex. It’s a nice blog, worth looking back through.

  3. Oh, Chess, your portrait photo shows you looking so *puppy,* so cute, even though we know you for the mature and sophisticate purebred border collie you are.
    Cooper’s hawks are cool. We have one in our back yard – actually more a *strip* yard – sitting atop one of the poles holding Buff Beauty rose. The hawk flies down from his hiding place in our pittosporum tree. The strip holds a burbling fountain for a water source. On the other side of the wall, in addition to *lots* of rose bushes, grow many native California plants soon to be joined by more. The hawk seems pretty happy. We were astonished when he (?) first appeared and still are each time he allows sight of him. Thank your guy for risking limb to snap the photos.
    Please point out to your person that for a guy who sits there he accomplishes much. Chief and most important among his doings is providing an adorable purebred border collie with walks, second-tier Pottery Barn sheets, fromager d’affinois, biscuits, rugs on which to lie, toys, and an online voice and presence. We are all grateful, Chess.

    • paridevita says:

      There was a Buff Beauty in the garden here, once upon a time. It brings back memories for the guy I live with. I guess if you live anywhere near San Diego then Las Pilitas is the place to go for natives. The guy I live with would say to tell them “hi”. There are quite a few plants from there, here. (Isn’t my English a treat?) I know, the guy I live with really does a lot, mostly for me, but sometimes he thinks he should be doing something. Climbing Mount Everest, maybe, if it isn’t too late to learn mountain climbing. He says there’s someone named “Jennifer” who’s “single now”, and that the prices of homes in Globe, Arizona, are quite reasonable.

      • As I write this, Chess, it is 81 degrees in Globe, AZ.
        Quite a few plants from Las Pilitas in our yard, and more after we stop by next week.

      • paridevita says:

        81 sounds nice and toasty. In fact, Globe seems like Denver without the awful winters, traffic, and urban sprawl. I don’t want to move, so we’re not going to. But years ago the guy I live with and my mommy talked about moving, and how much they’d miss the places they went to, so they didn’t move then. Now he rarely goes to any of those places. The guy I live with has been ordering from Las Pilitas for a long time. He got two Purshia glandulosa there (out of the two they had in stock). He looked for that plant for years, finally found it, and, amazingly enough, the plants are still alive.

  4. Susan Hunter says:

    Its about time for Cooper’s hawks to be pairing off and starting a nest. This young lady is possibly looking for a mate and a nice tall cottonwood to live in. Mostly they eat small birds and pigeons, but aren’t above having a tasty rodent either. They are very territorial, so if near a nest, beware. Coops have adapted to suburbia very well-lots to eat, mature trees and not many enemies. As you found out, you can get close unless they are breeding/nesting. Can you tell I think they are very cool?

    • paridevita says:

      They are pretty cool. I wonder if they would take over one of the many drays in the trees around here. The guy I live with says, without going into much detail, that the shade garden has evidence of two less doves or pigeons than there were a week or so ago. I don’t go in there so I wouldn’t know.

  5. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Hey, Chess! Are you a good car dog? Sounds like it’s time for a road trip — a short one, to shake off the doldrums. Or not. Personally, I think there is great genius in staying put. Plants have that genius (sort of; then again, they have a genius for dispersion). Thoreau had that genius — he took the time to notice things, like plants and birds and stuff. Dogs and cats seem to find something of interest while doing the same ole, same ole — I think maybe it’s because they understand there’s always a hawk or something new to see or smell. “Show me a day when the world wasn’t new” says a magnet I have on my refrigerator. I still think I’d like to read a book on microclimates by a guy and his dog. yep.

    • paridevita says:

      As I said to Tracey, the guy I live with is going to Fort Collins some time next month (March, already!), and he has said something about taking me up to the mountains this summer, though there can be thunder and lightning there. The guy I live with has the early symptoms of spring fever. The trouble with getting it, here, and that you’re all feverish one day, and the next day you wake up and there’s a foot of snow on the ground, and it’s April or May, and you wonder how this can be, but it can be. Still, it’s almost spring. As it turns out, I’m an excellent car dog, because I have a Ruff Rider Roadie, a harness which is attached to the back headrest with a carabiner, and I can sit in the back seat with both windows open and stick my head out either one.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        Well, I was thinking more along the lines of someplace the guy you live with keeps intending to go . . . someday. For me, it’s Angel Mounds, about 1-1/2 hrs. west of us, and then across the Ohio River to the John James Audubon State Park. (I started out to go there several years ago, but my car went kablooey about 6 miles down the interstate & I spent the rest of the day buying a new car, so it’s still on my ‘someday’ list). Someplace that’s enlightened enough to allow dogs, of course.

      • paridevita says:

        He was saying we might go up to Loveland Pass this summer. I don’t know if dogs are allowed, or if I would need oxygen…..

  6. Tracey says:

    Chess, it sounds as though your guy has the February doldrums. Over the years, I have learned NEVER to make a major life decision in February but to hold off until March. I think the guy you live with should take a day trip to someplace fun just to get out of the house. I know that it will involve leaving you along for awhile, but he can always bring you a treat.

    If he needs a project, he should be aware of the new Common Core and STEM requirements for American school children. The kids are now being expected to read many more non-fiction books and the emphasis is on science. Maybe the guy you live with could do some type of plant book written for kids and narrated by a really cute border collie (complete with photos). If it does well, he could do a series. As a librarian, I’ve had to give kids many poorly written books on plants – all pictures, no text; overly complicated text; dull writing style – so a well-written, informative book with an appealing voice would sell well to libraries, schools, and parents.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with, and my mommy, though about doing illustrated books featuring a guess what kind of dog. His name was going to be Mister Offlesoft. Titles were planned. “Mister Offlesoft Takes a Holiday”, “Mister Offlesoft Solves a Mystery”, and so on. He does go to Boulder every so often, and leaves me at home, to guard the house, and now he says he’s driving to Fort Collins next month, and I can’t go. (The reason I don’t get to go is that he claims my bulk would take up room otherwise reserved for plants. What a thing to say, huh.)

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        One time when my husband & I were walking our 3 dogs, a woman was walking toward us pushing her toddler-aged son in a stroller. I heard her ask him if he knew what kind of dogs they were. He pulled the binky out of his mouth and said, “Soft doggies.” and popped the binky back in. Best answer, EVER.

        I can easily envision the type of books Tracie is talking about. There’s a puppy photo of you in the “A Potpourri” post that has Chess in yellow with lines radiating around it, like the sun. I can absolutely see that as a book cover. I would buy that book, just based on that photo. But to have text by an exceptional border collie would be amazing. In fact, whenever I am trying to learn about something new, I look for a good book on the subject written for 5-6 grade level because that’s usually the basic information I need at the start. Microclimates is something I want to learn more about.

      • paridevita says:

        I agree that I’m completely adorable in that picture. Of all the pictures my mommy took, most of them are of purebred border collies. Hard to believe, but true. The guy I live with would say that a microclimate is a part of the garden where, because of certain factors, it’s much warmer, or cooler. Different. Like at the angle of two walls. They’ve understood this for centuries in the British Isles, tucking plants into corners, tender climbers on walls, and so forth. People don’t believe this (which is their problem, I guess), but there are places along the Front Range in Colorado which are closer to zone 8 than zone 5, because the cold air drains away. Places on slopes, for instance, in the foothills. Those are microclimates. And snow cover, or lack of it, can make it difference. Snow cover is not necessarily good, depending on what you’re growing. But think of the difference between the soil temperature, under a pile of snow, versus the air temperature, above the snow. Soft doggies, very cute.

  7. Vivian Swift says:

    It’s a sad time of year, and worse if you are missing a mommy. But purebred border collies have Viking souls, and the love of a purebred border collie is warrior love, and will not be defeated by time or Winter. Hang in there.

    I too would read a book written by a very excellent gardening purebred border collie.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, something really great happened just now. The guy I live with got out the hose. He had to mist some seed pots on the patio. Very, very exciting. I tried to help but he said he didn’t need any.

  8. The comments on this post are even more revealing than the post. The hawk photos are great and so focused!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The hawk stayed in the tree in the field today. So it got up to 64F (17.7C) here today, and this evening’s forecast? Snow, of course. And tomorrow is supposed to be about the same as today. The guy I live with was complaining that even though it got that warm today, there’s still a bunch of snow in the garden.

      • We are having 65 mph winds tonight. The excitement continues.

      • paridevita says:

        They’re talking 75 mph winds in the foothills tonight, here. Helps to melt the snow, anyway, but a lot of trash tend to blow into our yard. Oh, we have a wind story. This is completely true, like all the others. One time, it was really windy (and 75 mph isn’t super windy, for here), and in the morning, the guy I live with found a big box with a cake in it, in the front yard. It was decorated, and said “Congratulations Renee” on it. Poor Renee, she never got her cake. My mommy tasted the cake and said it was good but slightly stale, probably from having been blown from wherever it was blown from. They put the cake out on the compost pile they used to have, and squirrels ate it all. Mostly what blows into the yard are plastic grocery bags. “Never any cash”, says the guy I live with. Plastic grocery bags flapping in the tree tops are a common sight in this neighborhood.

      • That story takes the cake for wind stories!

      • paridevita says:

        What a set up. Yes, it took the cake, very funny indeed. The guy I live with’s sense of humor is really going to be tested today, I say, because he didn’t get to sleep until after midnight, because of the wind, and the mice, and I decided we had to get up at 5:30. No, that’s can’t be right, since it’s 5:38 now. More like 5:15. Good thing he has coffee. He had to get up around midnight to make sure that the green bucket he got for Christmas was still on the bench where he left it, instead of in Kansas. It was there, even though it wasn’t full of stuff to make it heavy. Maybe there’s a cake in the yard this morning.

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