wildlife showcase

Hello everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, here to bring you the latest and greatest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Show And Tell” and “After The Solstice”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. That’s a big pine cone there on the left, by the way. There’s a collection of pine cones here. 14061703There isn’t much to report today, except that it was really, really hot, and I had to go to the Bad Place to have a sore on my side looked at. The guy I live with thinks I got an awn of foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum; not listed in Weber), or regular barley (Hordeum vulgare), or some kind of foxtail, in my side, and it got sore, but now I have an ointment and stuff. The guy I live with says that for someone who doesn’t do much, I lead a very exciting life.

Anyway, the biggest deal besides me having to go for a ride is that the guy I live with says we have black-chinned hummingbirds now, and he got all excited when he was out with the camera and one flew to the Penstemon centranthifolius. This isn’t a really good black-chinned hummingbird picture, but it proves we have them. The guy I live with says this reminded him of “The Doubtful Guest” by Edward Gorey, but I guess you’ll have to judge for yourself. 14061702The reason why this picture got taken was that he was out inspecting his lawnmowers. That’s right, plural. You know how everyone talks about “sustainability” and things like that, well, these are like the ultimate in sustainable lawnmowers. They work for free, make no noise at all, and cause no pollution.  It makes the guy I live with feel all green and progressive and stuff like that. The lawnmower might be hard to see here.14061705See it now? Not only sustainable, but little. 14061704Closer up.14061706The thing is, the lawnmowers cut down the grass, adding fertilizer as they go, and then, especially if it’s buffalo grass (which this isn’t), it sends out new runners within a couple of days, so the lawnmowers actually help the grass to spread. It’s this symbiotic relationship, and besides, the little lawnmowers are pretty cute.

I guess it make sense, right? Grass was meant to be eaten by someone. I even like a snack sometimes, even though I get criticized for “acting like a cow”.

Here’s one of the sustainable lawnmowers working on some weeds.14061711And remember the baby robins? They left the nest. 14061708They still rely on their parents for food, so the babies follow their parents around, when they’re hungry. I follow the guy I live with around when I’m hungry, so I get that part. 14061709One last wildlife picture. This is Pearl, eating sunflower seeds. 14061710That’s it for today. One of the good things about this climate is that even though it gets really hot during the day, it cools off nicely at night. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for bed.14061712

Until next time, then.




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8 Responses to wildlife showcase

  1. Susan ITPH says:

    Well, the high was 58F here today, so it won’t be blazing hot for long if what we have comes your way. I like your lawnmowers. If only they didn’t dig tunnels and eat other non-lawn items.

    • paridevita says:

      Doesn’t seem that the weather will get cooler here all next week, though they say high 70s for tomorrow, and that means a scary day for purebred border collies, maybe. The lawnmowers don’t do a huge amount of damage to plants we don’t want damaged, because so many of the plants are in cages. Oh, and a spray like Rabbit Stopper, smells like cinnamon, works quite well. Burrows are forbidden here. Burrows can be dug outside the fence, in very soft creek-bottom loam, and the grass is high enough that there’s plenty of cover; that’s the arrangement, in theory.

  2. Vivian Swift says:

    Chess, you know I come here for the DoG, but I must say that the woodland creatures are well worth the pixels. And I love it when we have to Find Waldo Bunny! I did not scroll down until I had figured out where was those little bunny ears. Fun!

    And yes yes yes — that IS the Doubtful Guest, proving that his wings are not “penguin” after all, but of the very useful “hummingbird” variety. Does he show signs of leaving?

    • paridevita says:

      Isn’t that funny how much the hummingbird looks like the Doubtful Guest? It’s been here for two successive days, and can stay a while longer, maybe to get its picture taken in a more focused sort of way. All of Gorey’s books are here, of course. The bunnies are pretty cute, indeed. They don’t live in the garden, but sneak through the chain link fence in back. Through, or under. Nothing to be done about that, since a regular wooden fence can’t be placed there, on account of the flood plain.

  3. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Chess, I hope the guy you live with takes you for rides in the car that don’t end up at the Bad Place, at least sometimes. A day or two after your post about taking antibiotics, I took Daisy to the Bad Place because she’d been sick & lethargic, and now she’s on antibiotics and ‘liver support’ pills (milk thistle) for a month. She’s back to her energetic self.

    We have a couple of those lawn mowers, too. One that is “so little, it’s little.” And we have a couple of juvenile squirrels who a wreaking havoc — knocking over statues, etc. This morning I found a potted plant knocked down, the pot broken, and the plant lying a foot or so away. I am not amused. I also noticed that SOMEthing has eaten back one of my Amelanchier shrubs again (2nd time), so I guess it’s time to start thinking about making a cage for it, huh?

    I’m almost to the point of leaving the “thinking about it” phase and jumping into the “acting on it” phase of trying buffalo grass here.

    • paridevita says:

      I think I have gone for a ride that didn’t end at the Bad Place, but I forget where I went. I’m on a different antibiotic now, because of the sore on my side. The foxtail is really bad this year, and the guy I live with says it’s because no one listens to him. (Well, can you blame them?) He says if people just let the grass grow, instead of mowing it “for looks” or “to keep down the weeds”, the grass (smooth brome)itself would fill in all the empty places, and actually keep down the weeds, and prevent foxtail from sowing itself everywhere. Cages are okay. Graham Stuart Thomas’s Trees in the Landscape (get the edition published by Jonathan Cape; it has more pictures), a book, by the way, which is not about trees in the garden, shows illustrations of tree guards used for centuries, so caging plants isn’t ungardeny. There are different varieties of buffalo grass for different parts of North America; check the Sharp Bros. or Stock Seed websites. Lots of info there. The seed comes treated with potassium nitrate, for quicker germination maybe, and it’s blue. Not really seed, but burs, with seed inside. You can also get “regular” buffalo grass seed, not treated, but germination is slow. Plugs are also possible. The lawnmowers will definitely enjoy munching on the plug tops, and the grass responds quickly.

  4. Tracey says:

    Chess, you are one lucky dog. Baby robins, bunnies, happy squirrels. What a bucolic existence! I hope that the wound heals quickly. Your photos are a reminder that it is possible to lead a happy, simpler (albeit cactus-full) life outside of a big city.

    • paridevita says:

      And yet we are quite close to the Big City, which has definite advantages. DBG is fifteen miles (24km) away. The houses you see pictured sometimes are the last houses, really, before the foothills start. I feel extremely bucolic, most days. This morning I didn’t want to eat my breakfast, which the guy I live with says was a bad sign, though I did eat when he fed it to me by hand (it could be the antibiotic I’m taking), and, according to him, I completely failed the I-have-no-appetite act when a piece of bologna from Whole Foods was dangled in front of my lips.

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