small wonder

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to tell you all about the latest news from our garden, on this, the birthday of Reginald Farrer (1880-1920), the “father of modern rock gardening”. You may remember me from such memorable posts as “Naming Names” and “A Gloomy Evening”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I was deeply suspicious of the camera’s flash going off, it being evening and all, but the flash didn’t go off. Or on. I’m not sure which it is, I guess. The guy I live with must be a camera wizard. I know I look all pink and stuff, but I’m really not. 14021705I don’t have much for today, partly because the guy I live with didn’t get much sleep last night. It was so windy the house was shaking. He said I was snoring through the whole thing, including the “dozen times, at least” that he had to get up and release a mouse caught in the Tin Cat. And then I decided we needed to get up at 5:15 this morning, for reasons known only to me. And I’m not telling. You can figure it out for yourself, I think.

The guy I live with did manage to get a picture of the moonset early this morning. It was much colder this morning than we thought it would be, and things were frozen a little at moonset. You do say moonset, don’t you? I mean, there’s sunset, so isn’t there moonset?14021702The guy I live with looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, and there is a word moonset, and it means exactly what I thought it did. So there. Moonset.

He raked some, today, and sowed some more seed, but spent most of the day napping, which he said was all my fault, though I got to nap too, so I didn’t hold it against him, saying it was my fault that he had to take a nap. He also said the mice were coming into the kitchen using some new way, and was going to spend the day looking for the new way, but the nap took priority, I guess. I bet it’s the same mouse getting into the Tin Cat every time, and filling up on peanut butter before it makes enough noise that the guy I live with gets out of bed and goes down into the kitchen to release it. At least we aren’t getting a cat.

Anyway, the nap prevented him from reading passages from Farrer’s English Rock Garden to me, which was fine with me.

A little later on, he spied something in one of the raised beds.14021703It was a bit battered from last night’s wind, and the freezing cold morning, but he was happy about it nonetheless. He was much less happy discovering that some other crocuses had been nibbled by the rabbit. You might say he was hopping mad. He sprayed some anti-rabbit spray and put down more chicken wire. But, anyway, the crocus was blooming. This is Crocus korolkowii ‘Black Eyed Beauty’. 14021704You can see a little damage from freezing weather there, but the guy I live with said “Whatever”, and I guess that was that. There are crocuses in bloom here, now.

I guess I’d better go now. The wind is up again, and someone has to hold down things.14021701

Until next time, then.


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22 Responses to small wonder

  1. Linda Meyer says:

    So excited, Chess, to see the photo of the crocus, since I saw mine for the first time today and wondered if it had been there before and I missed it. I now have two kittens who are taking up a lot of my time, i know you are not fond of cats, but these two are sure cute – but not, of course, as cute as you.

    • paridevita says:

      Kittens would crawl all over me, like fuzzy bugs, and bat at me, and attack my tail. At least I’m pretty sure they would. And the way things go around here, they probably wouldn’t really be expected to catch mice, just loll around and purr and wait to pounce on unsuspecting me. There was a crocus in bloom a couple of days ago but it was eaten. It’s that time of year, again. Finally.

  2. Ah, cute fort photo, Chess! such a lovable dog you are.
    The crocus does pass the “whatever” test, “whatever” summing up my own approach to gardening. The black eye is at once subtle and spectacular.
    My own dog, Petey, has taken of late to stomping on my sleeping body and giving kisses AT 1:30 IN THE FREAKING MORNING. Chess, can you offer insight on this behavior? If I pet him, Petey settles down, which is great for him, but I can’t get to sleep again.
    Hmm, “hopping mad.”

    • paridevita says:

      I don’t know about 1:30 in the morning. Maybe there’s something new going on. Like, we have a rooster in our neighborhood, and I can hear him crowing. No, really, we have a rooster. Maybe something like that has happened. Something that humans don’t notice, since they don’t notice a lot, compared to what dogs notice. We’re sensitive, you know.

  3. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Lovely moon shot. It looks like it’s being tickled by the tree. We had thunder here today, which makes one of the dogs I live with (Daisy) very nervous. But I was happy it was rain rather than snow. Looks like you do a most excellent job holding down your fort.

    • paridevita says:

      Thunder is indeed scary. The guy I live with puts my Thundershirt on me, sometimes, and gives me Rescue Remedy for pets. He doesn’t like thunder, either, though; partly because it frightens border collies, and partly because, ages ago, he climbed telephone poles for a living, if you can believe that. It’s funny that he does a lot more for me, when I’m frightened, or not feeling well, than he does for himself. It rained here last night, for a few minutes, and then the wind came up (they’re predicting 75 mph, 121 kph, winds tonight….mere breezes by Colorado standards, if you include the mountains anyway….), and a little snow. It does look like the moon is being tickled. I didn’t notice that until the picture was posted.

  4. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    I’ve heard it said that mint repels mice–whether it’s spearmint or peppermint they never seem to say. And I hate it when people seem to think that there is no need for making the distinction. There are rodent repelling mint sachets available but my grammy has taken it to the next logical (cheaper) level and planted mints (spear and pepper) around the foundation of the manor house. And she has placed dried mint branches in the attic and basement. Preliminary results are promising….so far.

    • paridevita says:

      Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and another mint. What it reminds the guy I live with of, is Uncle Wiggily and the Peppermint. There are a bunch of Uncle Wiggily books here, that were the guy I live with’s mom’s, and my mommy liked illustrated children’s books, so that’s why they’re here. He remembers reading about peppermint there. It scared the bear, when the bear drank the peppermint juice he’d obtained for Nurse Jane. Sorry, I got carried away. During one of his many Weird Horticultural Phases, the guy I live with planted a bunch of mints, like Bowles’ Wooly, and Egyptian Tea, and so maybe this summer he can try out a mint anti-mouse recipe. Meanwhile, he thinks the mice are coming into the house through a secret hole in the corner of the living room, and suggested I stay up all night with a flashlight, and report back in the morning. He changed his mind when I gave him one of my looks.

      • Vivian Swift says:

        Last week I was talking with a friend about a sticky situation involving a mutual acquaintance and when I got tired of thinking about it I said, “Oh well, it’s best if we stay away from that tar baby.” She looked at me funny, and then I remembered that she’s only 28. So I had to tell her about Uncle Wiggly and the Tar Baby. Later, I remembered that it was Br’er Rabbit, not Uncle Wiggly, who had the fight with the tar baby. Like, Duh. Even odder than mixing up my rabbits is the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever in my life brought up the tar baby in conversation, and I have no idea why it appeared in my brain on February 11, 2014, but now I know that I must either update my pop-culture references or stick to chatting with people my own age.

        I love the names of those mints. I am adding a bed of mints to my three-acre hypothetical garden. Thanks for the inspiration.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with told me that when he was really little, he loved the way the dialect was written in the Uncle Remus books, to the point where the librarian said it was time for him to look at other books now. Don’t forget the Himalayan Siliver mint, too.

  5. Hopping mad!! Hee hee.

    I so admire the way the guy you live with remembers the exact names of his bulbs.

    • paridevita says:

      I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you promise not to tell anyone. He sticks labels in the ground, and reads them. There was a time when he told my mommy the garden was going to be “All Czech and stuff”, with no labels, since the Czechs eschew them, mostly, but then he realized, after slicing through a few expensive bulbs whose positions were unmarked, that labels might be a good idea after all.

      • What an elegant solution. We have so much rain our labels get washed away.

      • paridevita says:

        You kind of stick the labels way down into the ground, and write on them with pencil, which, in this frightfully sunny climate, is the only thing that lasts. Though, one time, the guy I live with says, when my Uncle Pooka was a puppy, he thought it would be really cute to pull all the labels out of the ground with his little puppy teeth and pile them in one part of the garden. There is also the problem of stepping on the labels and snapping them off, which is one reason to bury them deeply. But then, if the ground is frozen, that makes them hard to remove. The guy I live with was able to memorize thousands of plants names in our garden, until he entered his Declining Years, at which point he discovered that trying even to remember what day it was took too much brain power. Maybe a computerized map would do the trick. They have something like that on the DBG website.

      • I can remember some pretty exotic plant names but not the bulbs. I think because they come and go.

      • paridevita says:

        Bulbs come and go here, too. The guy I live with thought some of them weren’t hardy, which is why they disappeared. If he had asked me, the Observant One, I would have told them that bulbs disappear because they’re edible.

      • The edibility is why many of my jobs lack crocuses.

      • paridevita says:

        Rabbits will eat anything. The guy I live with once saw one holding a cholla joint like a corn cob. And they’ll chew agaves right down to the ground. He says they use the spines to pick their teeth. Dasylirion are a favorite, too; the center is like a big pineapple for them. Deer Off and Rabbit Stopper seem to work fairly well, non toxic, but you have to actually get out and spray it, he says, instead of just thinking about spraying it. He says doing stuff usually takes less effort and causes less stress than thinking about doing stuff, but he rarely follows his own advice. I’ve learned to ignore most of it.

  6. Vivian Swift says:

    After commenting here I looked up the Br’er Rabbit story about the tar baby to refresh my memory on the whole tale. Come to find out, “tar baby” has a very iffy reputation in American English. Who knew? In the end,tho, John McWorter has written (in the New Republic) that the term “tar baby” is not racist except to those who say so merely because it sounds racist and that it’s still a very useful metaphor for a maddeningly agglutinative problem, and what John McWorter has to say about Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue is good enough for me. His latest article in the New Republic is: Let’s Stop Pretending that French is an Important Language”. The fact that the only foreign language I speak is French proves how out of touch I am with the 21st century.

    But Chess, if The Guy You Live With wants to take the comment down, that’s OK with me.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with does not understand racism at all. He and my mommy used to talk about it, some, because it seemed so bizarre to them. Maybe it’s the way people are brought up; he doesn’t know. He worked with people of different skin colors when he worked for the phone company, and all he can say about it is that he worked with people of different skin colors. They were his coworkers and friends. He and my mommy would often be the only people of European ancestry when the went to pho restaurants, or Masalaa restaurant, and they thought it was cool, to be in such a different environment. Like, for instance, the guy I live with hinted that his next purebred border collie was going to be a red-and-white girl. It was going to be a girl because the guy I live with thought I’d like a girl better. He didn’t get one, for long-story-type reasons. But if he had gotten one, it would still be a purebred border collie. Or a tricolor, or a merle. If there doesn’t seem to be any reason for something, it’s probably stupid. French is an important language. All languages are important. One time the guy I live with and my mommy were in a pasticerria in Ottawa, pigging out, and the suggestion was made that the two of them travel some time to Montreal, which wasn’t very far away (probably still isn’t), and he turned to her and said something like “The thought of a huge French speaking city just a few hours away is very exciting”, which it was.

  7. Tracey says:


    We had more snow this morning. The crocus is a reminder that someday spring may come. It is the color of the sun, indeed. I have yet to see any red-tail hawks in the forest across the street- they are probably vacationing in Florida.

    This is a weird suggestion, but while my neighbors have mice in my apartment building, I do not. Apparently the mice smell the cats. Perhaps the guy you live with could get some pee-soaked used cat litter and leave it around it key areas where the rodents could smell it. That might be more effective than the Tin Cat, which lacks an odor.

    • paridevita says:

      I might just starting peeing all over the place, myself. The guy I live with would probably disapprove, though. Um, the Tin Cat, does not lack an odor. The guy I live with does wash it, from time to time. Using the non-food sponge. (He and my mommy would have disagreements about whether people should have two sponges or one.) He now claims that he found the secret entrance and the problem has been solved. I don’t gamble, but if I did, I might make a wager on that one. It was almost 60F here. (61F is 16C; 82F is 28C) Eight (8) percent humidity. Windy. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, I think.

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