into the wilderness

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 “A Bit Of Work”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.I like to stand in the door like that; half in, and half out. The guy I live with said that Slipper, a purebred border collie who lived here before me, liked to do this too. It’s nice to feel icy wind on my face while my hindquarters are ultra toasty, but the guy I live with said it was too cold for me to do that and to come back inside.

The other day we had snowdrops in flower in the shade garden. And kind of a nice sunset.Then it snowed. The guy I live with said everyone around here was complaining because there hadn’t been much snow this winter. He hates snow and thinks people who complain about not having snow are just odd.

Every so often someone comes to the door, even though I try to viciously and loudly dissuade them from doing so (the guy I live with said split infinitives are okay), and what these people who come to the door do is try to talk the guy I live with into buying something. He never does. He hates it when people try to talk him into something; he says that’s been the story of his life, people trying to talk him into things (he’s never tried to talk anyone into liking classical music), and one thing they try to talk him into is liking snow. It never works.

Well, I like snow, and I don’t need to try to talk him into liking it. I know he likes me and so we go for walks in the snow, even when it’s really cold.

Today it was sixteen degrees, which is about minus nine Celsius, and eighty-eight percent humidity. The humidity made it feel very cold, but I liked it anyway.

There was a big hawk in the cottonwood, as usual. Almost in the center of the picture. People aren’t suppose to drive through the field, which is open space, but they do anyway.

If you think that looks cold, it’s because it is. Those are pinyons, Pinus edulis, on drip (which is weird because they don’t need to be watered at all here). Last autumn the cones were full of nuts. The guy I live with talked about taking them home and roasting them, but he said collecting them was a sticky business, and he didn’t have a bag to carry pine nuts in.

What I wanted to do, though, was do some exploring in the area behind where the guy I live with was standing when he took that picture. Like if he turned around, we could go into this area I’ve always wanted to check out.

The guy I live with said it was a wilderness. It’s by the creek, and so he said we could go down and wander around there. You can still see the hill. 

The hose thing you see looks like it’s part of a drip irrigation system for the trees on top of the hill in the picture I showed earlier. Kind of weird to see something like that in a wilderness.

It was fun to explore the wilderness but the guy I live with had a hard time following me because he’s the wrong height for wilderness exploration. I know I’ve seen Norm, the coyote, exploring in there too, in the summertime, while I was walking up by the hill.

The only other thing that’s been happening here is a lot of moaning and groaning about the seed mix the guy I live with has been using. For some reason, maybe he wasn’t paying attention when he did it, the mix is full of some kind of compost which has way too many wood chips in it. “What is it with wood chips?” he asked, and of course I had no answer.

The wood chips get all moldy and eventually they get this blue fungus. One time, about twenty-five years ago, the guy I live with got some “soil conditioner” and dug it into the soil, and even now when he digs into the soil in places where the conditioner was added there is all this fungus in the soil. Maybe it’s okay but it looks weird.

So anyway he tried to screen out the largest of the wood chips but it still left smaller wood chips. Now there’s talk of making a mix out of vermiculite, perlite, coarse sand, and not much else. Apparently that’s been done before and it was the most successful mix that has been made. “A whole lot better than mixes made with peat moss or wood chips.”

Another choice would be “decent garden soil”, that is, just the dirt, with perlite and some other things mixed in. The soil in the field would be perfect, but he might get into trouble digging there and taking the soil.

It will be interesting to see what happens. This is something the guy I live with totally obsesses about. I don’t find it all that fascinating but I do have to hear about it.

So that’s the latest news. It’s supposed to warm up again tomorrow. Maybe the snow will be gone in a couple of days, like “it should be”. 

Until next time, then.

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18 Responses to into the wilderness

  1. Mark Mazer says:

    There must be an extra bounce in your step this morning as a fellow Border Collie took best in group at the Westminister Dog Show last night.

  2. And, Mani, to make your step extra-extra bouncey, here’s parts of a theater review, in “Doggie Hamlet,” a play put on at Will Rogers State Historic Park two weeks ago. “To bark, perchance to bleat …”: “… the sheep, under the control of a sportily attired shepherd (Diane Cox), were lured in. The dogs, by far the most committed cast members, were brought to a far corner and tied near a tub of water … one dog was released at a time to maneuver the flock … The sight of these woolly darlings trying to gobble as much grass as possible while moving instinctively away from whichever control freak canine happened to be badgering them was enthralling … I found it difficult to look away from the leashed dogs, which were following the action in the field with eyes that were glistening with melodrama. They couldn’t wait to rejoin the action, but I was riveted by their avidity on the sidelines …Mostly, I envied the sheeps’ unfailing solidarity and the dogs’ total dedication to every moment. Although corralled into a human spectacle, they managed to transcend it by staying true to themselves.” (From the review of

    • paridevita says:

      I guess I need to meet some sheep. You might not believe this, because I’ve never met any, but I already know what they are, and what to do when I see them.

      • Barb K says:

        I believe it. Years ago a large cow wandered into my vegetable garden and even though all the other dogs fled in fear, one dog herded the cow home. And she was only 1/2 Border Collie!

      • paridevita says:

        It’s what we do. When I first showed up here I was of course distressed and bewildered. The guy I live with told me bedtime stories of the purebred border collies who lived here before me. He still tells me stories of them. He sings songs, too. Flurry, the first purebred border collie who lived here, thirty years ago, was taken to a herding trial when he was eleven months old, and herded sheep like nobody’s business even though he had never seen any before that. Moved them here, moved them there. He won a blue ribbon, “herding certified”. The herding trials stopped, though, with him, because Pooka, the second purebred border collie who lived here, got terribly carsick and so couldn’t ride to the trials. I personally think I would be super excellent at herding. Though hunting for voles is probably more fun. I almost saw one today.

  3. Nell says:

    Ah, wilderness!

    Tell TGYLW how impressed I am by the river of snowdrops.

    • paridevita says:

      I will. Of course they were under snow when I made the post, but now the snow is disappearing quickly. The forecast for tomorrow is sixty degrees and windy, so of course there’s snow in the forecast for Thursday.

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Are you aware of what Friday is?

  5. Dana Carlson says:

    Sampson, the doberman, here. Congratulations on chasing off the geese. I have to chase away crows and seagulls almost every day. I can’t imagine what I would do if I encountered a bunch of geese. I had to chase away a blue heron one day. I had to get very barky. The lady I live with told me to tell you that her Amaryllis bloomed beautifully, though it took “forever” and didn’t come out burgundy like it was supposed to. It was big and beautiful and pink. She seems to have a problem with pink. She’s very impressed with your snowdrops and is intrigued by this talk of yellow snowdrops. I sense hours of poking around the computer coming up. We will be freezing on Monday with a chance of snow. I’m glad my people have finally figured out that when I lean on them and shake like a leaf, they are supposed to put my coat on. Good luck with the voles!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; for some reason I haven’t seen a blue heron. Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, used to get to scare them all the time, when they were fishing in the canal I walk on the road of. I’ve seen the fish and they’re pretty big, so I don’t know why I don’t get to see herons. The amaryllis here, the one pictured a few posts ago, turned out to be a beautiful white one, and now the one from last year, which was red, is coming up. That one took almost forever to come up, but the leaves didn’t wither until early December, I think. I also think a coat sounds pretty good, though my personal coat is pretty thick. It’s snowing here, again. (Imagine the moaning and groaning, after such a nice day yesterday.)

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