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, including, this time, news from the future (oooh). You may remember me from such posts as “Still More Weather” and “Guess The Weather”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in another characteristically weather-related pose. They say it’s going to rain a whole lot, with possible flooding and stuff. They say it might rain two inches an hour, for hours. I’d better get out my calculator. This is one of those “extremely rare” weather events, just like last year. I’m not sure if I believe anything any more. One thing I’m definitely sure of, and that’s how tired of storms I am. Our sky at about one in the afternoon, looking west. It really hasn’t rained all that much here this summer; it’s just looked like this all the time. The guy I live with, who did quite a bit of gardening today, or at least that’s what he said (I was napping), took some pictures after he clicked some dials and things on the camera that he’d never used before. The dials, I mean, not the camera. He said the dials and things are why these pictures are they way they are. (By the way, he says these are large files, and they can be clicked on, to embiggen.)
And, yes, I know, these are kind of the same pictures as all the others, but things don’t change all that much here.
Oh, and just to show that it hasn’t been totally cloudy and stormy every single minute for the last two months, like the guy I live with claims, we actually did have a sunset two nights ago, and here’s proof.
Part of what gardening means here is transplanting teeny tiny little seedlings out into the garden or into troughs at this time of year. They mostly die, of course, so that’s why the guy I live with plants a lot of them.
Yesterday he planted some very teeny tiny seedlings into the trough. This is Penstemon pumilus. (Pumilus means “dwarf” in Latin, or “extremely tiny” in this case. Tiny seedlings of a dwarf penstemon are super tiny.) Apparently the camera insisted on focusing on the shale instead of the plant, but you get the idea, I think. Planting out at this time of year is okay if we get rain. Not so great if we don’t, of course. There’s a front coming from the west, remnants of the monsoon from Mexico, and a front coming from the east, which they call “upslope” because it’s heading east up the Continental Divide, which is about thirty miles west of us, and almost two miles higher.
So what happens, according to the guy I live with, is that the clouds get squeezed, like wringing out a wet towel, and we get rain. How much rain is what’s worrying me. It could be a foot of rain, some people say. I’ve never had to swim before, though the guy I live with, who can be extremely rude at times, says I’ll probably float.
Enough rain for the garden would be nice, but too much is too much, according to the guy I live with, who is, I’m sure you’ll agree, quite a philosopher.
Until next time, then.
We rarely get summer monsoons from Mexico, Chess, but when we do the weather turns *muy tropical* and we get a drencher. Happened Sunday. Five minutes’ intense rain here, five minutes in time there, accompanied by sotto voce thunder. So one-half of your weather travels to you from our way. Sounds as though you will experience clashing storm systems directly overhead. Be brave, dear dog.
Fiddling with the camera dials helps, but the viewer clearly can see that your garden, Chess, is one year more mature and that the guy you live with had a plan for loveliness in mind all along.
Happy that you finally saw a summer sunset. As for the rest, settle down with a particularly fine chew toy and nap. You can get through what’s coming; we all understand you are a dog of considerable inner resources.
Thanks. The guy I live with says there might not be a huge amount of thunder to go along with the things to come. Sometimes there isn’t. (He says that back in “the old days”, it often rained without thundering.) Most of the garden looks the way it did when I showed up here, except for the buffalo grass in the “way back”, the new cactus garden in front, and the big sand piles (pictures 6 and 7). Incidentally, the guy I live with says that if it rains a lot, then the plants in ordinary garden soil might get as much rain as the plants in the sand piles have been enjoying all summer. (This isn’t something that you’ll read in a lot of gardening books, but all the rain on the sand piles trickles down to the roots, but rain on the heavier soil only soaks in an inch or less. Not all plants are adapted to the sand piles, of course, but the ones that are have been very happy with only a little rain. So maybe all of the plants will get to enjoy some rain.) The dial business suggests to me that the guy I live with still hasn’t read all the instructions on the point-and-shoot.
Thank you for the sand tip. I LOVE reading here what a lot of garden books don’t tell you! And about that “too much is too much” observation from The Guy You Live With, I think that’s very Zen. It reminds me of my favorite Bruce Springsteen line from The Rising (album) : “Everything is everything”, although I am not at all fond of “It is what it is.”
And oh my sweet dog, that first picture of you certainly says everything we need to know about how a pure bred border collie feels on a stormy weather day. But they do say that greatest literature comes from countries with the worst weather. (I think it’s either the English or Bostonians who say that.) And, as you are from the land of the perpetual icy mist, I’d say that goes for dogs, too.
Thanks; the weather turned out not to be what they said it would be, at all. We got at least an inch (2.5cm) of gentle rain overnight, and I got to go on my walk in mist and drizzle. Being a purebred border collie, I can tell you that that was of surpassing excellence. No thunder, no sirens going off, just mist and drizzle. The creek is right at the top of its banks, though.
The guy I live with’s favorite phrase is from Buckaroo Banzai: “No matter where you go, there you are.”
You may know the mantra om mani padme hum. It basically translates into jewel (mani) and padme (lotus). The other two syllables are what you might call “power syllables” in Sanskrit. They don’t have any literal meaning. Well, “drainage” and “well-drained soil” are like that, though without (I almost wrote “drained of”) any meaning at all. They communicate nothing. (He’s on kind of a rampage about this.) The image that these words create, assuming they create an image, is of water draining away from plant roots. Plants would die. The phrase “moist, but well-drained” refers to a waterfall.
What is really meant (I mean, if communication is the intent) is one of several scenarios.
One, the soil is insufficiently aerated for anything to grow in it. This can be remedied by digging stuff into it, thereby creating pockets of air, providing oxygen for roots. The need for oxygenated soil differs from species to species.
Two, the climate is such that there is too much rain for the plant to handle, either during its growing season, or its dormant season, and more aeration is needed. Otherwise, oxygen is driven from the soil carbon dioxide starts accumulating, and roots die of asphyxiation (something like that), and rot.
Three, and this is the only one that the guy I live with cares about at all, the soil is sufficiently oxygenated, and therefore permeable to rain, so that all the water goes right to the roots of the plant.
It’s raining more, now that I’m back from my walk.
Love your dog and your agaves! I wish I lived somewhere where mine could stay outside year round.
Thanks. The guy I live with wishes he lived somewhere where he could grow dozens of agave species outside, but then, it would be too hot for yours truly, wouldn’t it?