sad little mysteries

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Selling Insurance”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.17012101I look busy, don’t I? It’s been kind of chilly this week, and the snow hasn’t melted, which annoys someone else who lives here to no end, but there’s not much that can be done about it.

There was an “issue”, you might say, with one of the old down pillows on this bed. It kind of exploded, and there were feathers everywhere. It wasn’t my fault, of course. So in that picture I’m making sure that the other pillows don’t explode. The guy I live with said they weren’t down, which was weird, because they are up on the bed, but….well, as you can see, even purebred border collies can have a sense of humor.

Today, even though it was chilly, the guy I live with spent some time trying to get macro pictures of birds. This was with a new lens he got. He finally figured out how to change the shutter speed on the camera, but hasn’t yet figured out how to focus on the birds in the squirrel-proof bird feeder rather than the cage itself. Depth of field or something. But at least he figured out that one thing. “One step at a time”, is what he said. dsc_1786

dsc_1786-2Those chew marks are from the squirrels, trying to get to the feeder, which they can’t do.

A lot of bird-feeding goes on here, as I guess it does elsewhere. There are some dried ears of corn in the squirrel-wheel thing out in the “way back”. It’s this kind of wheel where you attach ears of corn and the squirrels can whirl around on the wheel while eating corn. But I guess, with this thing, they are pretty much total idiots because the corn hasn’t been totally devoured like it was in the past. There was this other feeder, with a lid that the squirrels could lift up, and the guy I live with actually had to show the squirrels how to do that, and at least one figured it out, and you could hear the lid being lifted constantly, but the other squirrels didn’t want to learn how to lift the lid, like that was hard or something, so they tried to chew into the feeder, and destroyed it.

The project in the studio downstairs is almost finished. A few pictures which were tacked to the wall need to be framed, and then that will be it. Some things were thrown away; everything else was cleaned. He took pictures so everything could go back the way it was, because it would look better than if he re-did everything. There’s only one picture of the guy I live with above the picture of North America on the right, with Slipper and Chess, because he didn’t put up all the pictures. He says bunches of pictures of him would look weird. The empty part of the wall to the left of the wolf is where the framed pictures will go. They’re on the drawing table right now. img_1768This is the view out of the window, looking west. Maybe I said earlier that the window was deliberately left dirty, to help filter the sunlight. If I didn’t, that’s why the window is dirty. The guy I live with made that arrangement of birch branches. 17012102Anyway, while he was cleaning down in the studio (I didn’t help), he looked in all the little boxes and tins. There are a lot of them. He calls them “sad little mysteries”, which, well, for obvious reasons, seems appropriate to me.

This is what he found in one of the tins. Lots of packets of seeds. 17012103On top of the seed packets was this little plastic thing. It’s for sowing seeds; you put the seeds in the top by unscrewing it, and then the top rotates so you can control the number of seeds that are dispensed.17012105I think this came from some place like Garden Talk, a long time ago.

Most of the seed packets had dates on them, like 1994. That makes them pretty old. Not as old as the guy I live with, but pretty old. He didn’t know why the packets were stored away; maybe they were forgotten. At one time there was a cutting garden here, where the enclosure is now. Most of the packets were from Hudson or The Fragrant Path, and they had seeds which would have been appropriate for a cutting garden.

I didn’t know that seeds that old could still be viable, but they can. It depends on what. Like, members of the pea family, and others which have impermeable seed coats can be viable for decades. This is one of the packets. I hear that we call this Caesalpinia gilliesii now. The “desert bird-of-paradise”, which comes from Argentina and Uruguay, not really in deserts, but it’s grown in gardens in Arizona, and also grown here.17012107Being a member of the pea family, there are a couple of things about it. One is that container-grown plants are often very difficult to get established because the roots are growing around and around in the pot. That’s why, he says, people have a hard time getting redbuds to grow here, even though they do grow here. The redbud that was planted here never made it, because of that. So these will be potted in deep pots, for the roots to go down, instead of around. The other thing is that it’s a pea, so naturally the guy I live with nicked the edges of all the seeds, put them in a dish of hot water, and then put the seeds into a wet coffee filter and then into a plastic bag, three nights ago. As an experiment.

And look what happened.17012106It isn’t exactly magic, but it seemed to me that it was. If all of these grow (there are more seeds), and the plants don’t die after they’re planted out into the garden, we’ll have a dozen desert bird-of-paradise bushes in our garden. Besides the two that are already here.

Pretty cool, huh?

That’s all I have for today. I know it was a lot, but I think at least some of it was interesting.dsc_1731

Until next time, then.


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6 Responses to sad little mysteries

  1. Barb K says:

    It was all interesting, and kind of wonderful too. And even a mystery concerning pillows and why they explode…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; yes, I don’t know why pillows just explode, but apparently they do. The guy I live with says that a corner of the pillow was chewed, but that can hardly be right.

  2. Cliff Booker says:

    Always interesting, often nostalgic, usually heartwarming, we enjoy them all. Many thanks to you both (and Cindy) for being so beautiful.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; you know the guy I live with said that the lady of the house’s brother (who also passed away, a few years ago) said that that wolf drawing was the first drawing she ever did, without any instructions. The guy I live with said that instead of the room feeling like a morgue it now feels like the rest of the house. I guess there’s no pressing need to get rid of the stuff down there, since we don’t need the extra room. “If you don’t have to do something, it probably doesn’t need to be done”, he said. Such wisdom. I guess the upstairs room will be painted next, since the snow isn’t melting here, and there’s nothing to do outside. The guy I live with said that “back in the old days” snow wouldn’t lie on the ground for days on end, but it does now. Imagine the complaining.

  3. Down pillows give hostage to canine fortune, down pillows are an issue waiting to explode. Tell that to the guy you live with. He should understand, given that those seeds were just waiting (years) for his presence and careful – not to say obsessive – attention to germinate. They too were hostages to fortune, awaiting the nick of a sharp razor and a dish of hot water. I agree the room looks spiffy in the new paint. One step at a time. Yesterday I took lots of steps, Mani, marching around, and I think you as a border collie would have enjoyed being along for the exercise. Quite a few dogs were in attendance, all of them well-behaved. The knit blanket would have been a perfect wrap around my shoulders on the walk, just the color. I love the light in the last shot, lovely low-winter-sun light enveloping a dog surveying his snowy domain.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with says that painting is a lot of fun. Especially the little fiddly parts. Down pillows do have a tendency to explode. Usually in the washing machine. I know when that happens, because of the language used. But there are no more down pillows here; that was the last one. The seeds are nicked with what the guy I live with thinks is the best of all gardening knives, an Opinel. They’re very sharp. This one. The blanket, or as he would call it, the afghan, is one of those things left over from “before”. Before I came here. There are a couple of them; one is gray or some color like that. I really like the bed, but we haven’t yet worked out me sleeping in the bed at night, because I tend to jump up in the middle of the night and bark at things that need barking at. I sleep in my upstairs fort, which is very close to the bed, and I like that, too. The guy I live with assures me that when I get older we’ll both sleep in the bed, and things will be very good.

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