an icky day

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to bring you the latest news from our garden, even if it isn’t much. You may remember me from such spectacularly delightful posts as “Inching Toward Spring” and “More Weirdness”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.14032403

Well, it’s spring, and so, along with spring, come the complaints. Not from me, of course, because I like almost everything. It snowed a little yesterday.

If you look closely, you can see the opuntia pads standing more or less upright, which means they’re filling with water, which is a sign of spring. “As is the snow”, the guy I live with says to add. (The Havahart trap in back isn’t set; it’s just there to be scary.) 14032401Today, according to the guy I live with, for whom everything has to be totally perfect, of course, the day was “icky” because it was cold (below freezing) for most of the day, and he wanted to go out and fiddle around in the garden, but couldn’t, because it was icky.

Well, whatever, huh. I took naps all day in the living room, so I didn’t much care about the icky day.

And of course he felt icky, too, because he spent most of last night getting up and releasing mice caught in the Tin Cat. One was even there when we got up this morning for my breakfast. I was sound asleep during all this mouse releasing, “snoring loudly” according to the guy I live with, though at least once I woke up because he was complaining about the mice coming into the house after all the “mouseproofing” he’d done.

I thought “mouseproofing” meant that no mice, oh, never mind. There are two Tin Cats in the house now.

Some gardening now. Corydalis angustifolia, which is scenting the rock garden with vanilla, kind of like vanilla cake, which I could really go for right now. A big piece, with some ice cream on top. I won’t get any just because I mention it, but with the things I have to put up with, you’d expect I would. The focus here is weird, but the guy I live with reminded me that it was an icky day today.14032404The other thing that’s gone on in the last couple of days is that he’s spent quite a bit of time uploading my mommy’s pictures to his Photobucket. Over 2600 pictures, including a whole lot of pictures of purebred border collies, including puppies. I’m in there too, so the collection is really excellent. And a lot of my mommy’s watercolors are there.

If you want to look at the pictures, they’re here. My mommy took a few pictures of plants the guy I live with wanted her to take pictures of, but most of these are pictures she wanted to take. Some have been posted on this blog, naturally.

One picture he found is of a watercolor my mommy was working on in the months before she died. When he offered the Hunt Institute some of her watercolors (they took some and declined others), they accepted this unfinished watercolor of Yucca harrimaniae.

It was sitting on the easel, just as she left it, like everything else downstairs, but eventually the guy I live with decided he should give it up, so now it’s in the Hunt. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sorry the day was so icky for the guy I live with, and I bet if it had rained instead of just being cold he wouldn’t’ve complained so much, but rain in spring hardly ever happens here, these days, so it was just icky and I had to hear about it for most of the day, until it turned nice later.

Tomorrow, a big pile of pea gravel is being delivered, so the guy I live with can get some exercise. I won’t be helping, because that’s not in my job description. I’ll watch, though.

I guess that’s all for today. 14032402


Until next time, then.

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20 Responses to an icky day

  1. For a purebred border collie who spent the day napping, you give us splendid detail. In order: A portrait of Chess looking excellent; landscape from a strange and enticing other planet; a wonderful corydalis augustifolia. I know heliotrope alba scents the air with vanilla, but I did not know about this corydalis; the unfinished yucca watercolor which certainly deserves to be in the Hunt Institute and would grace any wall on which it hung; and lastly a very sweet visitor who looks as though Something for which he did not bargain is about to happen.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; the guy I live with does admit that mice are cute. They also stink. Worse than cats. However, the mouse repellent, or should I say semi-repellent, makes the garage smell nice, and all the gross areas have been cleaned up. But um, you know, all the spilled rice from the other day, is sitting in a trash bag out on the back patio and there’s already a hole chewed in it, so the guy I live with will have to put it in another bag for Trash Day (“the most glorious day of the week”) which is tomorrow. It is a strange other planet, here. The guy I live with gets kind of huffy when people talk about Denver as though it were in Pennsylvania, because apparently people think that if it snows here, which it obviously does, it must be the same. It isn’t. It’s the main reason why the pictures in Photobucket show a garden that’s changed beyond recognition in some parts. The green lawn and Long Border are gone; the guy I live with said they looked “too generic or something”, and he likes the new look better.

  2. Susan ITPH says:

    I think it’s time you seriously considered getting a cat.

    • paridevita says:

      We can’t really get a cat. The guy I live with can threaten it, but, well, there are stories about cats in the neighborhood here that even I don’t want to tell. See, we don’t live in the city itself, but way out on the western fringe, you might say. The guy I live with still insists that he’s smarter than a mouse, and so I’ll give him some time to prove it. He says he’s going to get a python this summer. I can just see garden visitors walking around and all of a sudden coming upon the garden python. The guy I live with knows CPR, by the way.

  3. Vivian Swift says:

    That illustration of the Yucca is pure joy. I can already see the artist’s intention of insinuating the moth in the composition as a comment on the patterning and palate of the fleurs and the viney swirly things. Looking at the picture in this state is a tutorial on how to create a botanical illustration that goes beyond the genre. More than just superb technicality, this picture has wit and narrative (see: moth, patterns, etc.). If I were to go to the Hunt Institute, would the curators let me examine all their Chess’s Mommy originals?

    • paridevita says:

      We don’t know the answer to the last question, but maybe they do there, at The Hunt. There are 11 or 13 of her watercolors there, and out of 29,000 plus accessions, hers are the only ones in watercolor pencil. (People always ask the guy I live with what “watercolor pencil” means, as if he knew.) Some of the watercolors were on exhibit when The Hunt did a show called “What We Collect” a while back. My mommy was entirely self-taught, and super ticked off at the guy I live with when he got the contract for the penstemon book and said watercolors by my mommy. (He didn’t phrase it that way of course.) She had done hardly any watercoloring so had to teach herself really quickly, which was problematic for a procrastinatrix. But anyway I guess she did, and the yucca drawing, she said, was her attempt at going for a gold medal at Kew in 2009.

  4. Kim Bone says:

    Bob: Would you be interested/willing to work along side Kelly Grummons on Saturday extolling the virtues of COLDHARDYCACTUS? At the Cactus Succulent Society Sale. Only from 10ish to noonish…I want to go to this:

    I’m sure he’ll let me, but rather have it covered.

    Never hurts to ask…

  5. melanie says:

    I heard a forecast of 57f and possible rain on Thursday, Chess. You’ll have more mud for your walks.

    • paridevita says:

      Mud is excellent. It’s especially excellent to track in when the carpet has just been shampooed. Honestly, I don’t know why people don’t wait until after the mud dries up to shampoo carpets. At least the guy I live with has a carpet shampooer. It’s because he got angry at an inanimate object, which he admits was very stupid. There was this old Kirby, and one of the turner-on deals was broken, and so you had to tap it with your foot to get it going—so he says, vacuums are scary—and he got really mad at the vacuum cleaner and broke it, and my mommy got exasperated with him, and so he felt sheepish, and the next day they went down to the Kirby place and she got to test drive one of the new Sentrias. It was almost like the first time she saw Sugar, the miniature horse at Timberline, and you could like see the cartoon hearts flying up in the air; well, she was enchanted with this self-propelled vacuum cleaner which practically sucked the paint off the walls, and so the guy I live with learned an expensive lesson about getting mad at inanimate objects. He bought the shampoo attachment later and now can shampoo any time he wants. Like, before mud gets tracked in, and then after. And, of course, after is also before, for the next time. It’s a philosophical thing, you know.

  6. Tracey says:

    Chess, your mommy was a Renaissance woman! I looked at her gorgeous photos in dropbox – they are almost as good as her illustrations. Your yard does look very different, and the pure-bred border collies in the photos look oddly thinner- it must be a trick of the camera.

    I suspect that there are too many coyotes in the neighborhood for the guy you live with to get a cat. However, what if he borrows/fosters a terrier of some kind? After reading about the python problem with Florida, I’d stay away from them. You can lounge around and watch a Jack Russell loaner go nuts over the rodents.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with asked his neighbor if he could rent Lola, whose this little yappy thing who drives me crazy. She’s gross. But apparently she’s willing to work, which shows the difference between a purebred border collie and other breeds. I do know how to herd, but I stopped doing that when I retired. There are coyotes here, and, well, take it from there. We do look thinner, don’t we? There’s a story behind my current size. Eight months after my mommy died, my buddy Slipper was diagnosed with liver cancer. He fought it bravely for four months, but there were times when he wouldn’t eat, and so the guy I live with concocted all these things for him to eat. Puree of hot dogs, cheese, and hardboiled eggs. Regular food drizzled with sardine juice. Rice soaked in chicken fat. That sort of thing. Sometimes my buddy Slipper didn’t feel well enough to eat, and so I was able, due to my lightning speed, to take care of the leftovers. Even a few years earlier, the guy I live with called me the “garden fatty”, which my mommy thought was kind of insulting, but I have always had a tendency to gain weight. And anyway, look who’s talking. She did an amazing job with the Olympus camera. It ran on four D-cell batteries. Oh, by the way, and I know I do ramble, there were two Tin Cats in the house last night, and a Havahart, all baited with peanut butter, and all empty this morning. The guy I live with, who read Sherlock Holmes (“whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”), noted the connection between a miceless night and the fact that the door was closed almost all day long.

  7. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I love the moth in the unfinished painting. The unfinished-ness of it is exquisitely sad, palpably connected to life somehow. Hard to describe, but I suspect you know what I mean.

    It was snowing sideways here today. But the ground was too warm for it to stick, so it only stuck to bushes and looked like that fake spray-on snow that’s used at Christmas. The snow only lasted a little while. The wind is still wicked — I wore my heaviest winter coat, and a hat underneath the hood, and gloves, when I walked the dogs I live with, and I was still cold. Even so, I noticed that borage (blue flowers) is sprouting in the pots outside. I think “they” are saying it will hit 70 next week.

    Happy to hear about vanilla smelling corydalis. I got an e-mail that my blue ones will be shipped April 21. Looking forward to it. I have visions of everything I ordered arriving the same day & I’ll be overwhelmed with stuff to plant. A nice sort of dilemma. Meanwhile, I’m indulging in solar lights — a recent obsession. Last year, I found solar Japanese lanterns & hung a bunch of different colored ones in the trees where I could see them from the house. One day a neighbor stopped & said she’d been meaning to tell me how much she enjoyed seeing the lanterns lit up at night. That made me happy. And now my husband’s foot has healed enough so he can drive himself around, so I will be hitting the road to attend to river (anti-dam) issues. A more conflicted dilemma (because I want to be working in the yard here AND I want to be there doing that stuff).

    • paridevita says:

      There are solar lights here. You can probably see them in some of the pictures. (The things that aren’t standing up straight.) The copper ones came from the Smith & Hawken store here, when it was closing, and now we wish we had more. I like them because stuff is easier to see, though I can still see a lot more in the dark than the guy I live with can. There are also cheap plastic ones which add to the general atmosphere of class in the garden. The unfinished moth. There were three in the painting, maybe, when it was delivered to The Hunt. One of those stupid metaphors, huh.

  8. Kim Bone says:

    Nice! Mussels and Frites!

  9. petabunn says:

    Great Chess pose today! I started looking at your mum’s pics ut it will take me days but I am always impressed with any you post. It is always sad when you talk about your mum but then it is joyous too for all the wonderful things she did and was. I was also impressed by the corydalis angustifolia and looked it up, we love the smell of vanilla here. Loved the last pic of your cute little visitor, yes I know they are smelly but only when you have a crowd.

    • paridevita says:

      It would take days to look at all the pictures, which is what happened when the guy I live with tried to find things to post, so he figured just post all of them, but in Photobucket. You might notice, if you look through them how many there are of me and my buddy Slipper. Speaking of mice ….well, wait until the next post.

  10. Miss Kitty says:

    Hi Chess . . . icky is a great word. So is yucky, cause that is exactly how we’d describe our weather. The last four nights temps have been running in the low 20’s mixed in with cold rainy days. Not all appreciated here in NC. But, they (we’re never quite sure who that is) said spring like weather should be appearing any day now. Hope is ever eternal. We were delighted to see that the guy you live with shared more pictures from your Mommy. And the painting? Oh, Chess, even in its unfinished state it’s beautiful. Your Mommy was a mighty talented lady and that she was self taught, marvelous. My gal once worked in an art gallery and decided to take some painting lessons one summer. Needless to say, it’s a good thing she recognized that painting was not her creative outlet and she was better with a shovel, wheelbarrow and 3 ½ acres of land. As we looked at the photographs (we especially enjoyed the purebread border collie puppy hanging out with his buddy), we came to the realization that your Mommy had a great eye for composition. That innate ability to see something, capture it and transfer that vision to multiple art forms. Yes, she surely did that very very well. O.K., it’s time for me to catch up on Mouse Movies and the other interesting activities of your life. My gal is busy devising a way to keep the squirrels away from the suet cakes. Seems to me an inordinate amount of time is spent dealing with rodents . . . don’t you agree? Y’all stay warm, safe and dry.

    • paridevita says:

      The suet cakes here either hang from a very long chain, from the one big tree here, or are completely armored. There was a post some time back about that, how Earl the Squirrel got mad at the new armor around the feeder and peed all over it while the guy I live with was watching him. We kind of think this’ll be a rainless spring. They mostly have been in this century. Dry, dry, dry, big pile of snow, dry, dry, dry, until summer comes, and then it’s dark with rainless thunderstorms every day. I probably told this story several times, but will tell it again. There was this one time, when the guy I live with and my mommy were at an art museum, and she was standing really close to the painting, describing how the artist had put the paint on the canvas, and she turned around and discovered she’d drawn a crowd. She was very embarrassed, but they wanted her to keep talking. She snuck away, and dragged the guy I live with along with her.

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