shedding light

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 up to date on the news from our house and garden. You may remember me from such posts as “The Fast Learner”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Not hugely in focus, I know, but the cabinet containing the biscuits is over my left shoulder, so that’s why I look the way I do. Things here lately have been, oh, how shall I describe them? Let’s say ultra-weird.

You may recall that a few weeks ago we were plagued and mystified by an awful smell, the source of which neither of us could locate, and then it suddenly went away, well, now there are two large mysterious stains on the living room carpet.

The guy I live with noticed them about ten days ago, when they were not very large, but they were there. Some people mentioned me in relation to the stains, which was unkind, of course, because I don’t do things like that, and besides, without going into any detail, the guy I live with is more than familiar with such things. The stains have no smell. What they may be is that some burned incense fell on the floor and was mixed with water, and is sort of dyeing the carpet.

He’s been shampooing, spraying, soaking, blotting, yelling, cursing, every day since then. Every time he does something the stains get larger. They’ve gotten down to the base of the carpet and when the carpet is soaked, the carpet apparently wicks the stain to the surface again. Lately he’s been using the wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the water (it makes a horrific noise), hoping that eventually, the stuff at the bottom of the carpet will be completely vacuumed up.

This was what the front door one looked like this morning.After it was shampooed, scrubbed, and vacuumed.A few hours of drying later.The guy I live with said he just might go crazy.

Then there’s me. The guy I live with said I had a lot of mats on my hindquarters and they had to be “dealt with”, otherwise people will think I’m not well-cared-for.Not only do I have to have the mats cut out, one by one, I have to be brushed, which I don’t care for a lot. The guy I live with says what people usually say at this time of year, that he’s brushed so much hair off me he could make another dog. It’s a really dumb thing to say, but he still said it.

He’s been having a lot of trouble with his eyes, all sticky and burning and blurry, which makes looking at the computer difficult. These eye allergies. The air is filled with smoke from wildfires, too. You can see it in this picture, looking east, taken on my evening walk. A funny thing happened on our walk, I think this morning. The guy I live with was talking about going to the store, like he does sometimes, and he suddenly realized that “the grocery store” was a place where groceries are stored. He always associated the word “store” with “shop”, because when you go to the store, you shop.

He felt really stupid and stopped talking.

But not for long.

I forgot to mention (maybe you can see how my mind works here) that about a week ago we found a drone in the “way back”. When he told people about it, the guy I live with really wanted to say it had government markings and a spy camera, but of course it was just a toy drone. It was hung on the back fence in case whoever lost it walked by, in the field, but it’s still there.People said he should try to get it flying again, but I guess you don’t just wave a magic wand and make it fly, and besides, a drone isn’t “a valuable addition to our modern lifestyle”.

Anyway …it’s been extremely dry here. The guy I live with watered almost the whole garden last week (not the front yard, which never gets watered), because the plants were looking distressed. They look better now. (The pole, which used to hold a solar lamp, does need to be straightened; I’ll mention that to you know who, tomorrow.)Some asters, Aster oblongifolius, are flowering now. They’ve also seeded all over the place, which is not a bad thing.The plants which were re-potted using the “super genius” method are doing really well. Some plants were planted earlier, then dug up and re-potted, because they were wilting every single day. The guy I live with says to say that this method is working, too; roots are growing out of the tightly bound root balls.Right in the middle there you can maybe see two ‘Big Bazooka’ agastaches. The guy I live with was emailing a friend about how he thought the hummingbirds had left, and as soon as he sent the email he looked outside and there was a black-chinned hummingbird visiting the Big Bazookas. He got his camera but the hummingbird flew away. Naturally.

These are selections of Agastache cana, which has foliage that, according to the guy I live with, smells like old-fashioned bubble gum. He’s so old that he remembers Bazooka bubble gum, with the Bazooka Joe comic inside. Some people call A. cana “Dubble Bubble mint”, which is a different bubble gum, originally made by Fleer, which he also remembers. I guess both brands are still made. The guy I live with used to chew gum when he was a kid. And blow bubbles, sometimes. I don’t chew gum, so none of this makes any sense at all to me.

There are some other selections of Agastache cana there, too; ones called ‘Sonoran Sunset’, which the guy I live with says is a funny name, “even fanciful”, since the plant is native to western Texas, which is nowhere near the Sonoran Desert. (The type locality of A. cana, if you wanted to know, is Hueco Tanks, near El Paso; Chihuahuan Desert.)

The plants are being watered every day. They like that. Even when planted in the garden they need a lot more water than some people say they do; they get lots of rain from the monsoon in their native habitat. They’re usually grown here with drip irrigation or lots of watering. Neither of those things is going to happen here, of course. In fact these have been grown here before, and died of drought.

So, with the carpet stains, and the eye allergies (including a lot of complaining about people burning wood at this time of year), and being ruthlessly brushed, I’ve had to put up with a lot, lately. I spend most of my time lying on the patio. There’s plenty to look at, and guard, if necessary.I know this has been another rambling post. We purebred border collies are easily distracted, because we’re so intense, you know.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the smoky sunset we had tonight, and then another picture of me. Without going on about how the guy I live with constantly goes on about the correct spelling of the word “smoky”. Or anything else, really.

This is the sunset:This is me (if you didn’t know). By the way, I suppose I’ve said this before, the bell was put up for purebred border collies who lived here before me so that they could ring the bell if they wanted to go out. They really did that. But the back door has been left open (except at night) for the last eight years, so I don’t have to ring the bell when I want to go out. I just go.

Until next time, then.


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7 Responses to shedding light

  1. Barb K says:

    I think they should market a stain colored carpet, don’t you? Perhaps there could be a subtle pattern so things would really blend. I have often wondered about your pale carpet. I’m going to have to seek out some Agastache cana. I just got a very nice aurantiaca called Coronado that is beautiful but it doesn’t smell like bubble gum. Oh, and smoke? Those of us lucky enough to live in S. Oregon exist in a murky haze of falling ash, enjoying the sun only in the early morning and late afternoon as a blood red ball. The rest of the time it’s invisible. Not to whine of course. There is SE Texas.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with is very irritated indeed. The stains are larger today, after shampooing last night. The carpet looked beautifully clean last night. The carpet is really a pale steel blue, and was installed in January of 2010. It should have been hardwood floors, but instead was carpet. The way things happen. I guess we might have to call in a professional cleaning service. The Agastache cana most readily available is probably Sonoran Sunset. You used to be able to get wild-collected seed, but not any more, I guess. The guy I live with has been telling me how smoky it is on the west coast. It’s not that smoky here, but we do notice it. And then we have a neighbor who burns wood almost every night, and cardboard, and whatever. He went on a “sniffing tour” a couple of nights ago but couldn’t find the source.

  2. mjkeane says:

    Sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with multiple aggravations, Mani. Life is like that sometimes. A few extra biscuits might help soften the blow….
    I wonder if the rug has a sooty mold and the cleaning with water is encouraging growth. Perhaps someone wearing shoes or boots brought it in from outdoors . Not you, of course. Never! Maybe you guys could try a heavy-duty baking soda dusting for a few days, followed by dry vacuuming… or consult a botanist or chemist to analyze the carpet threads for spores.
    I grow agastache here specifically to attract hummingbirds. If I happen to be in the garden when they come for their snack, they’ll buzz me to leave! They apparently have no appreciation of shared space.
    Hair matt removal is a drag. But another biscuit opportunity if you play your cards right!

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says it’s nothing like that, but more like some kind of liquid stain. It has no odor. We generally don’t get molds or fungus here because it’s so dry; it was ninety-some degrees yesterday and seven percent humidity. The carpet dries quickly after being shampooed. It is making him slightly crazy, though. We haven’t been able to go outside much because of all the smoke. It’s really windy right now so maybe some of the smoke will blow away.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, there’s a broad-tailed hummingbird at the Big Bazookas right now.

  3. When the guy you live with, Mani, plants agastache, sounds like he gives hostages to fortune. Although the watered garden looks gorgeous. I too am about to give in and give the native border a good soaking drink which plants show signs of needing. BTW, I just now appreciate your title from two posts back, “Epimedium Rare” ::chortle::. At this point in your ongoing carpet stain saga, I would have gone back to the first idea of wood flooring. With random placement of doggy rugs, of course. Do update us on removal progress. You look all excellently noble lying on the patio and over the threshold, Mani. Are you observing the sunset? Here “smoky” would mean an extra vivid sunset; I find yours delicately pretty. That is a lot of smoke, though.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. No sunset here this evening; only smoke. We can’t even see the foothills. The guy I live with said to blame something called “the jet stream”. No rain in the forecast, either. Yes, hardwood floors. This house came with carpet, and there was always talk of wood flooring, but it never was put in, and not even considered when the old, very dirty carpet was replaced back in 2010. There has been some talk of watering the back yard more. Water here is extremely cheap. ($.004 a gallon.) I like to play in the sprinkler so the guy I live with says he can only water when I’m not here. Which is pretty unfair if you ask me. To the point where, if I’m on my walk and I see a sprinkler going, I pull the guy I live with over to it so I can at least run through the sprinkler once or twice. I did that in the little industrial park to the northeast of us but I’m no longer allowed to because they spread pesticides all over.

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