dry grass

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, your popular host, here to bring you the latest news from our very dry and crispy garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Mostly Roasting Again”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. It had finally cooled off at night and I was taking it pretty easy, as you can see. We stay up until midnight every night. The guy I live with said that when Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, got really old, he would stay up late so that the upstairs bedroom would be cooled off by the fan in the window, and Chess would be more comfortable. I certainly prefer going to bed in my upstairs fort when it’s cooler.

The guy I live with keeps talking about getting an air conditioner or maybe something called a “swamp cooler”, but the fans do a pretty good job. He said that people never used to have air conditioning back in the last century, but that now they do, though fresh air is always better.

Yesterday the forecast called for heavy rain. It was extremely dark here and the guy I live with got very hopeful, though really he wished the heavy rain would fall on the wildfire in southern Colorado. It rained for about two minutes.

Another thing that was pretty annoying were the firecrackers. There was a total ban on fireworks of any kind, but we heard a lot of them. The guy I live with said that people can be real jerks at times. I hate fireworks, and thunder, too. He said that all the purebred border collies who lived here felt the same way about both things, but that didn’t make me feel a whole lot better.

The thunder and fireworks made me so frightened that I went into my upstairs fort, but the guy I live with said it was too hot up there, because it wasn’t late at night when the room was cool, and he thought maybe I needed to have a fort downstairs in the basement. We’ve been taking afternoon naps in the basement because it’s so cool there.

So he thought about this for a little bit and got Chess’s old fort down from the rafters in the garage. It had been modified some to let Chess get in without much effort, but it needed to be cleaned. It sat on the patio for part of the day. Then he decided not to use it, and said he was going to throw it away.

I could tell by the way he was acting that this idea of throwing away Chess’s fort kind of disturbed him, and said the fort should go back up in the rafters.

He said that he could imagine what people would say about this, and give him all sorts of advice. People who had absolutely no idea what he was thinking, or feeling.

He then said that he was the one who got to talk about this, and make the decisions, and that if other people offered advice they needed to be quiet and just listen instead. It would be a first, for sure. (He even quoted La Rochefoucauld: “Nothing is so freely given as advice”.) The fort was purchased when Chess showed up here, in 2002, because he was trained to enjoy a fort, and he would sleep in it, and get very angry when Slipper, his older cousin, tried to go into the fort to sneak something out of it, like a toy.

And so the old fort could just sit up in the rafters, and every so often he’d just look up at it, and think of Chess in his fort, and then think of me all cozy and safe in my fort, like continuity of purebred border collies or something like that. I thought Chess sounded kind of spoiled with his specially-modified fort and soft Pottery Barn sheets to sleep on at night, though I do also sleep on the bed during the day, sometimes, and I guess some people would think that I’m even more spoiled because I have an upstairs fort as well as the kitchen fort, but I don’t sleep on the bed at night, so maybe that cancels things out. (I like my fort better, if you were wondering.)

So that was the news, as far as it related to me. I might have been able to post some pictures of the new ducklings paddling in the canal, but so far we haven’t gotten any. The grasses and stuff have really overgrown the canal banks this year and so it’s hard to see if there are ducklings there, but the guy I live with said he saw at least three a couple of days ago, with their mother, swimming down the canal.

I have some garden pictures, too. It hasn’t rained here in a very long time though every now and then a sprinkler is set, so things don’t look incredibly awful. Just very dry.The guy I live with said he would like to grow more grasses, but finding ones which will tolerate the garden conditions is not easy at all. In this picture you can see Achnatherum calamagrostis, at the back (the big one flopped after the last hail and has a “corset”), and the native A. scribneri, on the right. It’s much less showy. And in front there’s a lot of bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), also native. I think this seed strain is from eastern Oregon or Washington, but the grass is native here, too. He really likes this grass. Here’s a view of the bluebunch from a different angle.And of the seed heads. These are okay for me. What I mean by “okay” is that the awns of some grasses can get into my coat, and work down into my skin. That sounds pretty creepy to me. The guy I live with said that Flurry, the first purebred border collie who lived here, had to go to the doctor after an awn got in his leg, so it’s important to know which grasses do that, and which don’t. In fact he even made a display of grasses, with their awns, and the scientific names of the grasses, which he took to the doctor’s office some years ago.

The only other things I have are pictures of our walk this evening. No one shot off firecrackers so it was a good walk. Most of the grass here is dry. Super crispy, even. I have this idea that firecrackers and dry grass don’t mix all that well.

This is the hill I walk around. Sometimes I walk over it. The guy I live with says it’s an artificial hill, which is think is just plain weird. It used to be a wooded area until it was “developed”, which in this case sounds like another word for ruinedThere was one prickly poppy in flower. The guy I live with has tried to grow these in the garden, but they never transplant well from nursery-potted plants. Maybe just sowing seed directly into the soil would be the thing to do. I’ve mentioned red ants before, because there are several ant piles (I guess that’s what they’re called) right in the middle of where I walk. The guy I live with said not to stop right over them, because the ants might crawl on me. I really hate things crawling on me, and I suppose you might feel the same way. The ants also bite. They always seem so busy. I guess if you had someone standing over you while you had work to do you might feel like biting, too.That really is all I have. Oh, except for the bats. There were bats over the field, and our back yard, this evening. Maybe you can see them here.I know this has been a really wordy post but I think it was also interesting. I hope you agree. Here’s a picture of me walking in the dry grass in the field, past our garden. 

Until next time, then.

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12 Responses to dry grass

  1. Janna says:

    Hi Mani,
    Your first picture of you in your characteristic pose made me smile… Although I zoomed in and was alarmed that I couldn’t see you nose… I’m also alarmed about an invasive plant that I wonder if you could ask the guy you live with about… Poison Hemlock… seems to be everywhere I look these days…and tall..and scary… Taking over even the high country… Almost as scary as fireworks and thunder… What to do? I need a fort like yours…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; there’s a lot of hemlock here and I always get pulled away from it when I’m on my walks. The guy I live with always thought it was wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace until he really looked at it and realized it was something pretty evil. It isn’t allowed in the garden and gets dug up right away and he throws it in the trash, wearing gloves of course.

  2. Hi Mani,
    My Niece and Nephew who are Chesapeake bay retrievers live in Davis, CA Their Dad said that the 4th of July was like a war zone with fire crackers going off all night. His dogs although used for hunting, were very scared. Fire crackers are not allowed there either. I expected a big fire here, but we had a pretty safe 4th. Not bad at all. Dry grass everywhere here. Wishing for rain too, but that is rare in the Summer here. We get clouds, but nothing happens. In fact yesterday it was cloudy. I enjoyed the cooler temperature and got a lot done outside. I hope you have a nice weekend.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. It looks like I’m going to be roasting hot for quite some time. Temperatures in the 90s with no rain in the forecast. I hate firecrackers and so does he. Back when he was a kid (a very long time ago) no one was allowed to have them.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    When I lived in town years ago, I rented a two bedroom home that actually had a third bedroom. Privet, the mixed breed terrier, had a small ‘doghouse’ in the parlor that was his third bedroom. Do you know what a doghouse is? It is probably better if you do not. Anyway, it was where Privet slept much of the time, until he came to wake me up and sleep in my bunk in the morning. It is difficult to understand the logic of that technique, but I did not question Privet much. He was, after all, a terrier. I have not lived in that home since 2006, but Privet’s bedroom came with me when I left. I suppose that someday, when I settle down, it can be Rhody’s room. I think that Privet would like to know that it is still in use. He liked it so much. When the weather got warm, I removed the roof, placed a broiler pan across the top, and put a block of ice on the pan so that Privet had air conditioning. It does not get very warm in town, but it got warm enough for Privet to enjoy his air conditioning. Anyway, I suppose it might seem silly to some that Privet’s old bedroom is still around; but it seems to me that those who do not get it are missing out on something. They do not know what it is like to have known someone like Privet.

    • paridevita says:

      So many people don’t understand this at all. I am wearing Slipper’s old collar partly because the guy I live with hasn’t found the perfect collar—they have to be red because they’ve always been red—and also because it was Slipper’s collar. Not everything is like that, but some things are. Just look at how different the garden was, back in the old days. https://paridevita.com/2013/06/04/then-and-now/

      • tonytomeo says:

        Well, it certainly was pretty, but it was almost too pretty. I mean, it takes a lot of work to maintain a garden like that. It is also difficult to avoid change in a garden. In my own garden, I like growing copies of the same plants that I grew when I was a little kid. However, I must sometimes make copies of them, and then pull up the old ones. They just do not last forever. Trees last for a very long time, and my first incense cedar happens to survive at my parents’ old home, but I know that the home will eventually be replaced by a monster home, and the tree will get cut down. That would be okay. It is how things happen here. I think that gardens are easier to change than the perfect collar.

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, it took a huge amount of work, and even more watering. Of course it rained some, back then.

      • Lisa says:

        At least you got your own name. When my grandmother died her brother took her dog (I have no idea how to spell the name, it was pronounced like “Shh-nuks”), and the dog became “Skippy” because he had a collar with that name already! It’s hard to believe that’s the same yard. What impresses me the most though is that the man you live with would voluntarily have multiple purebred Border Collies at the same time! Isn’t one enough trouble?

      • paridevita says:

        There were three purebred border collies here at one time, but Flurry was so ancient all he did was walk around slowly and growl at Chess. That’s the story I hear, anyway. I also heard that when Chess first came here he stretched his little tummy on the green grass. He’d never seen or felt anything like that before. The guy I live with said he knows someone who names every day they have the same name, but with numbers. It might be simpler just to use the numbers.

  4. While I’m enlightened enough to appreciate the first garden incarnation, I really really really like its reincarnation. I will read nothing – nothing! – further about the place being miserable. The nettle poppy looks a cousin to our native Romneya Coulterii. Mani, Chess was spoiled beyond belief, and it was a huge part of his lovable charm. You are a different sort of dog – okay, a *bit* spoiled – with your own wonderful sort of charm. I think we can all tell exactly how you feel in characteristic pose while taking it pretty easy.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that romneyas have been planted here more than once. There was an article in Sunset Magazine years ago that said they were hardy for all zones, and one time he grew some from seed (without smoke; leaving the seeds outside over winter did the trick), and gave the plants to DBG where they lived for at least a couple of years. But they are really hard to get going as potted plants. The same thing is true of the prickly poppies, and there are a lot of attractive species. (The one pictured got mowed over which is why it’s so small.) They probably do better from seed sown right into the ground, and he said he’d try that this winter. We might disagree on the definition of “spoiled” versus “roughing it”. There’s no air conditioning here and so I’m totally at the mercy of the elements. It’s been over ninety degrees here every day since, well, since it started to get hot. Like pretty much forever. We did take a nap down in the cool basement this afternoon but when we came back upstairs at dinner time I’m pretty sure that “roughing it” would be a good description.

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