falling back

Greetings and salutations everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you some moderately exciting news from our garden. You may remember me from such moderately exciting posts as “A Near Miss” and “Why A Duck?” among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically contemplative pose.14110201I’ve been feeling pretty darn good lately, thanks to all the in-home care and home cooking, but not very much has happened here that’s worth reporting on. I did get to bark at a few trick-or-treaters, and I wasn’t really happy about “falling back” today because of some weird daylight thing, so my dinner was an hour late by my tummy clock, but in the last couple of days something really major has taken place. I should say that it wouldn’t have been major if the guy I live with hadn’t done anything, but he’d been thinking about it for quite some time, and finally decided to do it. 14110203


14110204He decided that the big pinyon (Pinus edulis) had to go. It was one of my mommy’s favorite trees, but it was growing very strangely, branches twisting this way and that, and was getting pretty ugly. The guy I live with said it had been attacked by giant conifer aphids, before I came here, and has never been the same since. I don’t like the sound of giant conifer aphids, much; especially being attacked by them.

The tree also cast too much shade for the rest of the garden. It made the flagstone path it’s lying on really icy in the winter, and one time I slipped and fell.

He watched a video on how to cut down trees before cutting it down. It fell exactly where he thought it would. The neighbors are getting the wood, for campfires. There’s room for expansion of what used to be called “the pinyon garden” but I guess it won’t be called that now. There are other pinyons in the garden anyway, he says.

He apologized to the tree before he did anything.

You know that famous haiku by Masahide, Barn burned down/now I can see the moon, well, it’s kind of the same with us now, though not the moon part in this case. 14110205Anyway, that’s all for today. I guess there will be more gardening after all the sawing is done. 14110202


Until next time, then.

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14 Responses to falling back

  1. Oh my heavens, Chess, a chopped-down tree is major. It made you slip and fall – lawsuit! – it was deformed and ugly, there exist more pinyons for pinyon-viewing. The tree was apologized to. It will be utilized. The viewscape is now showing beautiful sky with gorgeous sunsets. In my opinion, the garden opened up now looks happier and breathes more. No wonder you look so happy in your concluding photo. The guy you live with made a good decision and carried it through. Plus, the Halloween trick-or-treaters haven’t returned after you barked them away, have they? Splendid work all around.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I did chase away all the trick-or-treaters, which kind of upset the guy I live with, because then he was stuck with an awful lots of Kit Kats and four bags of peanut butter cups. “The horror, the horror!” Guess what happens when there are Kit Kats and peanut butter cups in the house? Even when they’re hidden? So he gave the Kit Kats to a neighbor. But not the peanut butter cups. The garden is opened up. A lot. One of the things that characterizes Denver’s climate is sun. (Except last summer.) It’s very sunny here in the winter. Like it can be 15 degrees F outside and the sun is so warm I can lie on the patio and think nothing of it. If the wind isn’t blowing. Incidentally, most of the sawing was done by hand. People might be surprised at how much work here is done by hand, rather than by machine. He got a Fanno saw a couple of years ago and he says it’s totally excellent.

  2. The DJ we listen to on Sirius Radio The Loft says peanut butter cups are the devil’s work. I believe he had leftovers too. Next year, if you have the same situation, Chess, I’ll supply an address in California to which you can send the overage.
    We do most things around here by hand too, the way the goddess means it to happen.

    • paridevita says:

      I’ve never had peanut butter cups, because I can’t have chocolate. They sound good, though. There was one time when someone suggested “mini peanut butter cups” for baiting the Tin Cats, because mice really liked them, but even though the guy I live with bought some mini peanut butter cups, none ever got into the Tin Cat. I’m not sure why. The one thing that doesn’t get done by hand is leaf blowing. The guy I live with got dizzy trying to do that. (A joke, ha ha.) He uses an electric leaf blower. And a rake, of course, but sometimes only the leaf blower will work. Mostly the leaves get blown into one place, and then the wind blows them into another, so I don’t really see the point.

  3. Vivian says:

    What a view! Well worth a pinyon, I’d say. Chopping wood is my husband’s favorite thing to do and we’re almost out of Hurricane Sandy timber. I know that look in his eye, when he starts evaluating the maples in our small back woods, looking for something interesting to chop down. I know he’s found his target tree in need of “trimming” when he pours a glass of red wine and heads into the garage for the chain saw. And yes, his will is up to date. So happy to hear that you are all set from many long walks in the excellence of all manner of Winter weather. Me, not so much. but I’m getting there.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; it was pretty chilly this morning and so my walk, though not long, was excellent. The guy I live with is now sawing up the main trunk, using the Sawzall. He noticed, on a tool he’s had for ages, that there’s a button that says “Lo” and “Hi”, and switched the button to “Hi”, and discovered there was a difference between the two. Very good video on how to cut down a tree safely is here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj1d85CLDOQ

  4. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Wow! That’s quite a spectacular view that’s opened up!

    It’s interesting — I went to a native plant conference this past weekend, and one of the presenters talked about how Native Americans managed woods by burning and/or harvesting (to build things) and the amount of light that hit the forest floor was something like 100 candle ft., but the way we manage woods now (without burning or selective harvesting) allows only 10 candle ft. of light to hit the ground. That difference in light has a big impact on what can & will grow there.

    I found that interesting in part because I am pretty active with pruning my trees, not because I’ve been trained to do so but because it’s an instinctive reaction somehow. Partly aesthetic. And I do it by hand with this cheap little pruning saw that I bought years ago. I’m pretty sure I could fell anything with that saw (although getting it to fall where I want is an entirely different matter). And I always apologize to the tree when I prune it (thank it for putting up with me, basically).

    The discovery of the “Hi” button made me laugh. What other wondrous buttons are out there?

    • paridevita says:

      We do aim to be spectacular ….sometimes. “During the seventeenth century and into the eighteenth century the wild forest was considered unsafe for riding through; moreover no large native trees were planted in gardens—they were too much allied to the frightening forest.” (Graham Stuart Thomas, Trees in the Landscape.) Woods sound pretty scary to me. A Fanno pruning saw, by the way, costs a little over $20. Also have a Felco which is excellent too. Well, there’s the “Off” button, which might come in handy some time.

  5. SusanITPH says:

    You could replace the felled Pinyon with one of those nice dwarf varieties that Laporte sells. Just sayin’.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, there are so many dwarf pinyons in the garden already …… In fact, if you embiggen the picture, even though the focus is pretty blurry, you can see no less than four dwarf pinyons (one, admittedly, a single-leaf pinyon) just to the left of the trough. Those four dark blobs. (The tallest one is Pinus monophylla ‘Whoopy’.) There’s also an unhappy one in the trough itself. And also another one off to the left, which probably isn’t visible. Can also see that the Tecoma ‘Orange Jubilee’ got slightly frost-damaged on one side.

  6. You are looking great, Chess, and I am so happy to see that. Sometimes it is a hard decision to cut down a tree, especially one with sentiment attached, but sometimes it has to be done. Especially if it casts icy shade that makes a good dog slip and fall.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; it should make the flagstone there a lot safer. I went to the Bad Place today to have blood drawn, to test the levels of my anti-seizure med, and then got a plain cheeseburger on the way back. I hardly ever get things like that. It was good. The guy I live with says this is a good test for the well-being of a purebred border collie. When I was sick, a little while ago, I wouldn’t eat one, and he knew there was something seriously wrong. Just like right before my buddy Slipper was diagnosed with liver cancer, he wouldn’t touch his plain cheeseburger, and so I got two. (So, three of them in the last four and a half years.) The doctor also looked at my broken toenail and suggested it be soaked in epsom salts. Which, incidentally, the plumeria here got, because it was looking sickly, and it put on a whole bunch of new leaves almost immediately.

  7. Ann Grant says:

    I just found your blog and signed up. I nearly fell out of bed laughing last night at some of your entries. Chess’, I mean. I also garden, or at least try to, along the Front Range. I love the cyclamens.. I actually didn’t realize they were hardy here. Right now I live on the Plains east of town. This spring I’ll be moving into town, with a hopefully more moderate exposure.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we try to be amusing, though today was not particularly amusing for me, except for the plain cheeseburger at the end. I will say that, since I had to fast before having blood drawn, the guy I live with fasted in solidarity.
      There are lots of cool plants we can grow here, but we think gardening is a happier activity if you grow plants adapted to the climate. That means different stuff from what lots of people try to grow.

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