the new way

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 latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “A Chilly Interlude”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.I know this is a bit subtle. We purebred border collies can be awfully subtle at times. Even unassuming. On the other hand, I am right in the center of the picture.

Anyway. A couple of things.  One was the sunset last night. (But wait until you see this evening’s.)And the other, I think on the same walk, took the form of an unexpected encounter. The guy I live with had a hard time keeping me calm. So that was those two things. We also saw a coyote but the pictures are of it hiding behind a bunch of underbrush and impossible to see.

The guy I live with is irked with the weather. He’s always irked about it, one way or the other, but lately, extra-irked. It was fifty-eight degrees here today. (About fourteen Celsius.) And it’s supposed to be that warm next Thursday and Friday. But tomorrow night the low is supposed to be five. At least there isn’t a prediction of baseball-sized hail. That’s why he likes winter here, “awful though it may be”, better than summer.

It’s warm but the soil is frozen a little way down and so not much is happening. A few crocus (Crocus laevigatus) were dug up today, planted in a plastic pot, and set in the Snowdrop Frame because the guy I live with said they were getting mashed where they were, but he did plant them on my Personal Hill. I think you can see where they were dug up.I guess next year everything is going to be hugely mulched to keep the soil from freezing. Just with leaves and stuff. My Personal Hill is going to be planted with thymes. The soil doesn’t freeze here very often but it has this winter, and there’s been a lot of complaining. There’s always complaining, of course, but I mean a lot, this time.

It even rained here. For maybe ten minutes. The guy I live with said we can still say it doesn’t rain here in the wintertime, and if people get confused we can say, “It rains as much in Denver in the wintertime as it snows in Malibu in the wintertime.” He said no one talks about buying a snow shovel after they move to Malibu. (I mean if he knew someone who had moved there.) So we can say it doesn’t rain here in the wintertime.

But the soil is frozen. At least in most places in the garden. It’s isn’t on the north side of the house, because there are a bunch of leaves on the soil, which is good because other things are happening there.

The guy I live with said these might all be ”Theresa Stone’ which is an especially early one, every year, even if it gets cold later. Or maybe we should say it flowers reliably just after the first of the year. He sometimes spells the name “Teresa” because that’s how his second girlfriend, in second grade, spelled her name. She kissed him on the playground of Patrick Henry Elementary in Long Beach, California, and so he remembers that. She wore glasses and lived on Hackett Avenue. He walked her home one time, but maybe she moved away after that. (“Not because of it”, the guy I live with said.) The image of walking home with Teresa is still vivid and has an aura of loss about it. But he did move away, to a place where they had snow in the winter instead of rain.

I do digress, don’t I?

The “way back” got most of the raked-up leaves and yet there isn’t much of anything planted there. Geranium macrorrhizum, a bunch of “heirloom” daffodils, and a few other things. So a couple of days ago we started going a new way on our walks. It was really only new to me.

We crossed the frontage road by the highway, since the landscape maintenance crew had left all the ice-melting stuff on the sidewalk and the guy I live with didn’t want me walking on it for hundreds of feet, and there wasn’t any on the sidewalk on the other side, and so we went down that sidewalk and then turned right, which is to the east, before we got to the highway, and walked down this little road. The guy I live with said that Flurry and Pooka used to walk down here, and then turn around at the end, and walk home.

This is looking west, of course. I say “of course” because that’s Mount Morrison, with Red Rocks. So we’ve gone down the little road and turned around. 

The guy I live with said that when they used to walk here, and that would have been back in the last century, there would almost always be large hawks on top of the utility poles. There was one there on our walk but it got scared away. Probably by me. Then we made a movie of my evening walk. It’s kind of long, and windy, but we walk at a brisk pace, and it’s available in High Definition if you click on that. I like walking fast sometimes. I had to look at a piece of black plastic on my way up to the canal road, otherwise it’s just us walking.  Except when we stop and point the camera at the sunset, and it takes a little time to adjust to the light, well, I hope you’ll agree that it’s a pretty impressive effect.


Until next time, then.







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18 Responses to the new way

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Rhody likes to play with kitties too.

  2. Yes, you and the guy you live with walk a brisk walk, Mani. Were those “giddyup” directionals I heard? Did you learn their meaning at Doggy Day Care? This was a new walk to you, and yet I see no sniff investigation, no exercise of curiosity. Our dogs do sniff investigation all the time on neighborhood walks. Of course, there are lots of dogs around whose presence must be found out and assessed. Maybe no other dogs walk your walk, hmm? That might be, because I think you are an especially well-loved and well-cared for dog. I look forward to thyme planting on your personal hill. When I’ve tried the technique, thymes look more patchy than covering, but I like the idea. The snowdrops look energetic and vibrant. Looks like you live nearer Red Rock than I thought. Or maybe that’s the zoom lens? In a different kind of theatre on Friday night we heard Ramblin’ Jack Elliott do a set and tell stories about such folks as cowboys, bluesmen and Woody Guthrie. Iconic, just like border collies are iconic. Thank you for the video.

    • paridevita says:

      You’re welcome; we’re about six miles from Red Rocks as the crow flies. I guess those were instructions to me but I get used to them; the walk on the film was a walk we go on all the time, and there’s plenty to sniff, for sure. Down the canal road, around, then back, then to the right, and around, and then up to the canal road again. The new way is down the canal road, then across, and along, and then to the right, down, then turn around, back the way we came, across, then over to trail that leads back to where we go around, and so forth. I’m not sure many dogs go down this new way because all you can do is go down and then turn around. The guy I live with said that along the left on the picture showing the new way (with Mt. Morrison in the background) there used to be “the bunny tree”, where Pooka saw baby bunnies for the first time and always stopped to look for them afterwards. We couldn’t have made a film there because the noise from the highway would have been deafening in the movie. The camera magnifies the noise. You can see the highway if you embiggen the picture. It’s snowing here now and so we’ll talk about thymes later.

  3. Barb K says:

    Well you walk along at a pretty good clip, Mani .You don’t seem distracted by smells. That must be a good border collie trait. They use their eyes a lot. We were stared at by a border collie the other day and it even made me squirm a little. Do you stare, Mani? My girls are all herky-jerky because they have to sniff EVERYTHING even though we were always just there the day before. Sometimes they pull me in different directions, but not too hard. I hope that cat, smelly or not, didn’t go near the coyote.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, the guy I live with said I must have heard a noise, because usually I weave back and forth and (the guy I live with’s least favorite maneuver) sometimes suddenly race back to a place we already walked by. On the other hand my tail isn’t tucked in the way it sometimes is when I hear loud noises on my walks. Trucks coming down from the mountains, or dumpsters being filled. Things like that. I think I’ve had staring contests with the guy I live with but I lost, because he had staring contests with Chess and so more practice. He said Pooka was a big starer too and would sit at the kitchen table opposite him and just stare.

  4. bittster says:

    I was hoping there would be snowdrops, not on your hill of course, but somewhere in the yard.
    I’m surprised the soil doesn’t freeze. That’s not how I imagine your area and it makes me so much less optimistic about the plants which you grow which I’d like to try. We are locked in ice here, not much walking going on at all, although you did an excellent job of it.

    • paridevita says:

      There’s a pretty thick mulch of oak leaves (Gambel’s oak, a scrub oak) on the north side of the house. Not really intentionally; it just happened. Seems like everywhere else the soil is frozen. Not at the top, which is where it’s usually frozen when it gets cold (the top half inch, say, because of contact with snow), but deeper, like the snow from last month melted into the ground and froze. We just went out and checked. The soil is not frozen where the new hollies were planted (mulch is 6 inches deep, at least), but seems to be frozen around the birch (the Mahonia repens is native and doesn’t care). The mulch helps. This has so far been a very gentle winter for plants—despite people here telling us to water the garden in the middle of January, which will never happen here—the plants are dormant—but the snowdrops that flower now and earlier are probably happier in the Snowdrop Frame. When they get bigger maybe they can be chipped or twin-scaled and some can be put out in the garden.

      • bittster says:

        Things are still remarkably dormant here as well. I was worried the late fall and up and down early weather would bring things on a little earlier, but now things are safely under a mulch of snow. Oak leaves would be better, but you get what you get I guess.
        chipping and twin scaling. He’s getting serious isn’t he?

      • paridevita says:

        The snowdrops that are probably ‘Theresa Stone’ have been up for weeks now. As it has been ever since the year after it was planted (2000). But it might be a mistake to plant some of the new ones out in the garden, not because they might die, but because they might not flower and just sulk. There’s been twin-scaling talk here for a number of years now. That, and building a fancy greenhouse like someone we know. Lots of talk.

  5. That is a cute kitty.

    Your sunsets are indeed spectacular !

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with said he thought he’d seen that kitty a few years ago, here and there in the field, and then hadn’t seen it for a while, and now did again. He said I would like living with cats. I think I might disagree.

  6. PS. I like digressions.

    • paridevita says:

      Things remind him of other things. Mostly, things remind me of my breakfast or my dinner. Whether I’ve had it or not. Walking down the frontage road for the first time, with me, brought back a lot of memories, and it wasn’t easy for him, but we did it anyway.

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