after the snow

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you totally up to date on the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “Another New Toy”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. As you can see, my life can sometimes verge on the extremely rough. I didn’t have a pillow. Well, it snowed here. It wasn’t a lot of snow but it did get cold enough that a lot of trees and shrubs will have brown or dried-up leaves this autumn, instead of color. That does happen here sometimes. There weren’t all that many leaves anyway, because of the hail in August.

One strange thing when it was all gloomy (even gloomier than the last four months have been), and about to snow was that the clock radio picked up the local classical music station. It had stopped doing that for some reason. The guy I live with said that when dogs are left home alone, they like to have the radio on, especially if the radio was always on when they were left alone. It felt unpleasant to have a bunch of static coming from the clock radio. And so the guy I live with splurged a bit and bought an internet radio, and now everything comes in crystal clear. I can even listen to the BBC if I want to.

It snowed, and then it warmed up right away. The sun even came out. The guy I live with said he wasn’t sure what to do.

Of course he got over it when the crocuses began to flower the day after it snowed. These are Crocus speciosus, the easiest to grow and possibly most beautiful of all the autumn-flowering crocuses. They have seeded all over the garden. 

The white form of Crocus speciosus. (This picture was taken with the point-and-shoot; the rest were taken with the “big camera’).Crocus pulchellus. This is a form called ‘Inspiration’. And Crocus hadriaticus ‘Annabelle’. This has slightly larger flowers than regular hadriaticus. That is saffron there, but not the best quality. That comes from the saffron crocus, C. sativusThe guy I live with says that our gardening year really begins at this time of year, which a lot of people find very odd (one reason why he says it). There are a lot fewer storms at this time of year, and so things are calmer, both outside and in.

It’s not supposed to be below freezing for at least a week now. The last shipment of bulbs arrived last week, and all of them have been potted up (the English would say “potted on”, I guess) and are snug in the large bulb frame.The idea here is that since the bulbs arrived a bit late in the year, they might have trouble growing roots into the surrounding soil if they were planted directly into the garden. The frame is covered with two layers of opaque plastic so it doesn’t get so terribly cold inside the frame. You can see that one colchicum is sort of flowering now.

The guy I live with has been moping quite a bit, lately. His mom’s house is mostly empty now, and people are looking at it, maybe going to buy it, and that makes him feel very odd. Soon it won’t be a place for him to go to, any more.

He found this book at his mom’s house. He never read it, and said he was not going to read it to me. 

He gets sad sometimes, these days, and maybe the inscription inside will show why.He said this is the way it goes when you find things in a house that never used to be empty.

In other news, we’ve been working on me sleeping in the bed at night. There was one night when I didn’t want to get into my upstairs fort at bedtime, I forget why, and so the guy I live with said there was plenty of room on the bed, and we purebred border collies are generally very clean, so I tried it. The first couple of nights were a bit difficult for me, but now I’ve gotten used to it, I think; it is very pleasant to sleep in the bed in the cozy upstairs bedroom.

A few nights ago we both fell asleep on the bed before official bed time, and then the guy I live with got me up for Tinkle Time, about a quarter to one in the morning, and I went out, and came back in, and the guy I live with said I had been sprayed and I had to go into the bathtub and be shampooed. That wasn’t a whole lot of fun. There was a striped kitty in the yard next to ours, so I didn’t get totally sprayed, the way you can get.

We’ve been looking for the muskrat, too. The guy I live with said we had seen it nine times, as we walked along the canal road, but he never could get the camera out in time.

This is me, looking for the muskrat. Its house is on the opposite bank of the canal, right across from where I’m standing. You can sort of see where it is. Kind of like beach front property.

We would just see ripples like this.On our walk this morning I disturbed a really big hawk. This afternoon, finally, we did see the muskrat, and there are pictures to prove it. You can see its head there, if you really look. 


That’s about all I have for today. 

Until next time, then.




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26 Responses to after the snow

  1. Barb K says:

    You look so clean and angelic in that first photo, but then I read about baths at 1 AM. This is not something I ever enjoyed, and I don’t imagine anyone in your house did either. That Annabelle crocus is very lovely with the veining. Is it hard to grow? I had some people come by and look at my yard the other day. It was a surprise and the garden is not at its best with large crowds of poorly grown plants at the end of a rough summer. Some crocuses like yours would have prettied up the scene. It’s hard to look at things like the book that reminds TGYLW of happier times, when he was unaware of the bad things on their way. I’m sorry.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I often feel angelic. The guy I live with sometimes disagrees. He had something to say after my bath, when I was all dried off, and got into bed, and still had, oh, you know, a scent about me. However he doesn’t mind a faint smell of skunk. I think you were looking at Crocus pulchellus ‘Inspiration’, with the veining. Pulchellus is very easy to grow and you can get it from bulb brokers. But ‘Inspiration’ came from Odyssey Bulbs. A lot of stuff in the garden comes from there. Yes, thanks, this has been a difficult time for the guy I live with, but the new internet radio has made him pretty happy, like sometimes little things can do.

      • Barb K says:

        Oh yes I lost track of the captions. They’re all beautiful but I’m very fond of veining. I like Pandora radio a lot because it has introduced me to music I would never have otherwise heard. Had to pay to get rid of the ads, though, which were obnoxious.

      • paridevita says:

        I suppose the pictures could have been captioned but sometimes that throws off where the pictures go, in the blog. Like WordPress wants to put the captioned pictures first. Then a bunch of HTML stuff has to be done. The guy I live with hesitated a bit about the radio because it was $150. A Grace Digital Mondo. But he said he wasn’t happy leaving me here without the radio on, that there had always been a radio on when the purebred border collies who lived here before me were left alone, and so there was that continuity things which was important. The radio sits on the dresser (which is ancient, of course) which you can’t see but is a few feet from the end of the bed. The wi-fi wouldn’t work there, so a signal extender was purchased (another $40); that’s in the living room behind one of the rattan tables.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    That is sad to sell a home that had always been there. Not too long ago, my Pa had to sell his grandparents’ home in Sunnyvale. No one had ever known them not being there. It really is weird to think of another family living there now. I suppose the process starts all over. Hopefully they will not be the sort who moves in, makes a buck, and then moves on. Maybe they will also stay there forever, or at least until their grandchildren sell it. My Pa is in San Jose today, on his way back home from emptying out his uncle’s home in Long Beach. Emptying the home was not as difficult because it was not a home that my Pa grew up with. However, it contained a few artifacts that my Pa probably did not want to remove from his uncle’s home.

    • paridevita says:

      It is very strange. The guy I live with talks to his sister almost every day, and they talk about how they feel about the house being almost empty, and people walking through it, looking at it.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Border collies, terriers and their relatives are fortunate that they do not mind such losses. Is it because you all think that you can go back any time you want to?

      • paridevita says:

        I don’t know. The guy I live with said he wouldn’t talk to me about this, much, because of what happened here, when the previous purebred border collies lived here, and his wife died.

  3. ceci says:

    Just discovered your blog and I am enjoying reading the archives…..thanks to Mani and the guy he lives with for sharing so much of your lives.


    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. We’re glad you enjoy the blog.

      • ceci says:

        I just read the September 2017 entry that mentions Henry Mitchell, who got me started with gardening through his Earthman columns in my (then) local paper. So beautifully written, and he so loved his dogs; when a dog would destroy a plant (surely this doesn’t happen at your house, but it does at mine, occasionally), H.M. would say that if one is to have the overwhelming joy of a dog, there is sometimes a cost (this is a paraphrase, too lazy to look it up – but what a great truth!).


      • paridevita says:

        Yes, the guy I live with said Henry Mitchell was excellent because he liked dogs. And because he was excellent in general. I regret to say that purebred border collies have indeed wiped out plants here, but they were tiny puppies at the time, and there were squirrels around.

  4. Mark Mazer says:

    “we’ve been working on me sleeping in the bed at night”
    Careful Mani. Sphincter and undertail trimming ahead.

    Fondly, Fred the Giant.

  5. Dana Carlson says:

    Oh dear, you must find out more about Tulip! My peeps were given a signed copy of RIn Tin Tin and I resisted until I was forced to appreciate it. My Dog Tulip sounds significant to your peeps, and it’s written by EM Forster. Who was prescient, If you didn’t know. Your crocuses are amazing! We have all kinds of bulbs shooting up new growth here in the Pacific Northwest, which is freaky. The lady I live with thinks they will all wind up frozen.

    • paridevita says:

      Sometimes the bulbs here do get frozen, then more flowers come up later. We also have “personal greenhouses” which can be set out. And then there are the two bulb frames. (The basic plan there is to get the bulbs to increase before they’re planted out, so if some die, there will be ones left over. Hopefully.) I don’t know about Tulip. Maybe some time.

  6. Tracy Perez says:

    I hope the new radio makes up for no pillow.

  7. EDWARD F, MORROW says:

    You should encourage the guy you live with to read “My Dog Tulip”, it’s a good book. The book (written by J.R. Ackerly, who, buy the way, worked at the BBC) is a wonderful story that will make the guy you live with even more appreciative of you, Mani.

  8. Nell says:

    Thanks for the chance to meet the muskrat, at long last!
    That hawk you startled has the longest wings I’ve ever seen. Wow. Makes our resident sharp-shinned hawk look like a pudgy little wannabe.I
    A new radio and comfy bed make it much easier to accept the slide into winter, er, true beginning of the gardening year.

    • paridevita says:

      The new radio is pretty nice. We are now thinking that there are actually two muskrats. Yesterday evening it definitely looked like there were two of them. Mr. and Mrs. Muskrat, I guess. They are really fast swimmers and so it’s hard to get pictures of them, because they hear the guy I live with walking on the canal road (I’m much lighter-footed, of course). Probably a red-tailed hawk. They are kind of huge.

  9. Uh, Mani, under no circumstances should the guy you live with read That Book. Counsel him so. Thank you for introducing us to the muskrat, a larger creature than I expected. My ambition is to get Crocus speciosus to strew around in our yard as it does in yours. Sirius Radio XM on Sundays plays a session run by Shree, That’s Me, Rama Lama Ding Dong (David Johansen). For three hours, we listen to everything – Broadway tunes, sixties folk, old style jazz, Chicago blues. Memphis Minnie, Hoagie Carmichael, Chet Baker, Billy Joe Shaver. Last Sunday the evident theme was autumn. I will say only that the musical offerings left me feeling much the same way as your guy and your sister feel about an empty house. Usually the music is more upbeat, like listening to the radio from amidst comfy white bedding, all blissed out.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, I might do that. In any case he has a few books to read. The pile was getting kind of big before he got new reading glasses. There’s one pretty big muskrat, about a foot long less the tail, and we think one smaller one. This morning we saw the smaller one swimming under water, going really fast, like it was on important business. Maybe it heard the phone ringing.

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