small thoughts

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today just to talk about some stuff. You may remember me from such posts as “A Bit Of Work”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Lying on the couch, late at night, listening to Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand. Maybe I was sleeping a little. 

There’s a prominent part for the contrabassoon right at the beginning of the concerto. A lot of really low notes. He said at one time he thought about getting a contrabassoon, but he has kazoos, which are more his style.

Naturally, I got a mini-lecture on the music. The guy I live with said the concerto was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, an Austrian pianist who lost his right arm in the First World War. Wittgenstein first contacted the Austrian composer Josef Labor, who was blind, to have him write a piano concerto for the left hand. Paul’s brother was the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who considered Labor to be one of the greatest composers ever, though nowadays his music isn’t performed very often.

Of course I could have learned this online, though the guy I live with just knew it, and told me, like he does, all the time. His father was paralyzed on his right side, because of the Korean War, and yet was able to have a career in computer programming for the government, and so maybe you can see why he’s interested in this sort of historical fact.

He looked at me, lying next to him, after all the talk about the Wittgenstein brothers, pianist and philosopher, and said, “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life”. He knows a lot of Wittgenstein quotes, in German or English. I like English whenever possible.

This happened night before last, I think. Last night the guy I live with took a picture of what it’s like to sit at this laptop, even later at night, with Q.I. on the television and a pot of menudo cooking on the stove.

I’ve never had menudo. It’s one of the guy I live with’s favorite things, and he thinks it’s funny that some people say they don’t like it, as though he was going to offer them some. He used to buy a lot of licorice because his wife didn’t like it so he knew it would be there when he got home from work.

The days have been pretty nice, sunny, but sometimes the tiniest bit chilly. Here I am in one of my favorite spots in the yard.

This is a very pleasant warm spot. You can see a little bit of snow by the blue pot there.

Speaking of small thoughts, I have some snowdrop pictures, from the garden, in the frame, and in the upstairs bedroom.

This first one is really late. It should have flowered in November but the soil has been so cold, even frozen, which is pretty weird for here, that it’s been struggling.

‘Potter’s Prelude’

a mystery snowdrop

Some snowdrops flowering in the frame. The soil has frozen there, too, but thaws out during the day.

There are snowdrops being grown as houseplants here. I know how that sounds. It doesn’t affect me very much, because no one would look at me and think that I’m the one doing this, because I’m not. I have other interests. But here are the snowdrops.

The pots are too large. I’m not sure why he thought gallon pots would be a reasonable size, but this is how it is, for now.

The reasoning behind this is pretty simple, though not as “stunningly elegant” as the guy I live with said it was. This blog has described a number of “brilliant ideas” which turned out to be embarrassing failures, so I was skeptical.

Snowdrops can be expensive. You can pay well over a hundred dollars just for one bulb. No, really. The guy I live with hasn’t done that yet. If his wife were still here he would never even consider that, but she isn’t here, and so maybe he might consider spending that kind of money, especially if it was for a rare species.

So, say he did spend that much money for a single bulb. If it was planted out in the garden and died, he would be irked. Gardening is about the only hobby where you spend money and often have nothing to show for it the next year. I mean, if he collected coins, the coins would still be there in a couple of years. But plants die. I know because in the relatively brief time I’ve been here, a lot of plants have died. The guy I live with said he’s probably spent ten million dollars on dead plants. I think that’s an exaggeration, but I get the idea.

Instead of planting snowdrops out in the garden, they’re going to be planted in pots and grown in the upstairs bedroom their first year, so that they make good growth, and then next year, some time in August, maybe, the bulbs will be planted in pots (smaller pots) in the frames, until they begin to increase.

These pictures are only sort of in focus.

Galanthus transcaucasicus, the only snowdrop native to Iran. (Also found in Azerbaijan).

That’s the gardening stuff, and philosophical quote, for today. I’m not sure I can handle a lot of Wittgenstein, even though the guy I live with said that Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, quoted Wittgenstein from time to time. Well, once, anyway.

Whew, huh. Going on my evening walk came as a relief. We saw one of our neighbors, as we often do. Just waking up. 

It was a pretty good walk, as usual. The wind came up, which is unusual these days. The guy I live with has been complaining about the lack of air moving here for months, now, and when it got windy this afternoon, he said it was nice. On the way back, since we’d been talking about thoughts, very small ones, I had to stop and do some thinking of my own.


Until next time, then.


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26 Responses to small thoughts

  1. tonytomeo says:

    You certainly have odd flora there. Do you happen to know what species of pine is on the right in the third picture from the top? That blue spruce that your night-shift-working neighbor lives in is rad.

    • paridevita says:

      Uh, the guy I live with says he thinks you asked about that conifer before…. It was purchased online as Pinus pumila, which it definitely is not. Planted about 1988. It’s a mystery pine.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Oh, of course. When you put it that way, I remember that it was unknown.

      • paridevita says:

        As are many things here. Either they were incorrectly labeled when they arrived, or are just mysteries. Seedlings and such like.

      • tonytomeo says:

        When I grew citrus trees in the early 1990s, I requested an ‘Etrog’ citron from another grower to replace our only stock tree that had been damaged by the Big Chill of 1990. The new stock tree I got was grafted, which made it not kosher, which meant that it could not provide me with kosher cuttings. I was really annoyed. When I expressed my disappointment to the other grower, his response was that no one would know if the cutting grown trees were not kosher! Then, I was downright offended! I did not purchase stock trees from him after that, not only because he offended me so, but also because I did not trust the authenticity of his stock. Well, I know that most mislabeling is purely accidental. Someday, I will get a kosher ‘Etrog’ citron, and grow a whole bunch of them!

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with says that lots of labeling mistakes are accidental. Some got wrong labels decades ago, and that never gets corrected.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, I think that almost all are accidental. Most of us who grow such things have too many cultivars to not make mistakes. (However, grafting a citron is no accident!) We grew two distinctly different rhododendrons that were both known as ‘Chapeau’. They were both so cool, that we did not want to discontinue one of the other. Besides, we did not know which one was the real ‘Chapeau’.

      • paridevita says:

        If there’s a question, the only way you can know which is the true cultivar is either by having a written description of it, or have it verified by the person who introduced. Hence all the confusion.

      • tonytomeo says:

        The written description describes both ‘Chapeau’ that we grow, and the breeder who developed it passed away a very long time ago. Other growers have selected one or the other. We still have both.

      • paridevita says:

        That’s typical.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Somewhere, there is a verifiable clone of the original ‘Chapeau’ that we could get a picture of. I suspect that the ‘other’ is a sport of the original that someone introduced without documenting.

      • paridevita says:

        Also typical. Much easier with species.

      • tonytomeo says:

        However, yuccas are so promiscuous that it is sometimes difficult to determine who the parents are without documentation.

  2. Meow meow Mani yore home lookss so cozy an comfee. You an yore PawPaw have a lovelee place an so much land to roam on! LadyMew said shee leerned a lot reedin ’bout THE snowdropss an flowers. (Shee told mee her idea of gardenin iss to dig a hole, water it, throw seedss inn dirt, cover an then water an hope fore THE best!!! Mew mew mew…..
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. It is pretty cozy, though it does need some work now. The gut I live with has been distracted, lately, otherwise the work would get done. He was going to paint the house, without my help, last October, but …

  3. Nell says:

    That is a warm and pleasant-looking spot. Dogs who’ve lived here have been reliable guides to the best locations for having a nice sit outside between Halloween and Easter.

    I’m guessing TGYLW just got a snowdrop catalog? Thankfully I’m mostly over my craving for a nice patch of ‘Primrose Warburg’ or ‘Wendy’s Gold’ to keep winter aconites company. (That is, I’m over the dangerous phase, where it takes stern internal lectures to keep me from the fatal phone call or keystrokes that could put one bulb into my “care”. ). Now it’s a pleasant fantasy planting; just what Pinterest boards are good for!
    Poor ‘Potter’s Prelude’! Still, it looks healthy, so ojala it’s building up strength for that upcoming season that will let it live up to its name.

    Wittgensteiniana, huzzah! Some of Ludwig’s writing really embodied the ‘small thought that fills a life’ — pithy, paradoxical, persisting in memory. You’ve got a pretty good fren there, Mani, even if the cultural enrichment does disrupt your snoozing occasionally.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, there are some warm spots in the back yard, even on a chilly day. No snowdrop catalog. Yet. We have ‘Primrose’ and ‘Wendy’s’ here. They don’t do much. I can see yellow, so I know. ‘Potter’s Prelude’ has been in the side yard here for a while, but it’s too chilly there for it to flower at the right time, which should be November. It’s going to be moved this year. But probably into the frames. He’s interested in acquiring all the species, though, which is neither easy to do nor inexpensive. But since the snowdrops do so well in the framed, rather than being planted directly into the garden the first year, maybe they will increase, and he can share with botanic gardens. (He does that, if you didn’t know.) Thanks; the guy I live with can be a hoot, sometimes, especially when he’s obsessing about owls. Lol. The Wittgenstein business is something else entirely.

  4. That sweet owl looks as if she/he regards you as a neighbor too. I do believe that is a neighborly look being given off. Probably because you are a dog who takes time to think. What with the thinking and the listening to Ravel and the philosophic considerations, you, dear Mani, have upended my idea of purebred Border Collies. I had hitherto thought you dogs were of a rambunctious nature, buzzing about, all bodacious. My husband is quite taken by the late evening shot of watched pot, tv and computer, all from one spot. You have given him ideas for when we come to replace our kitchen. If you have any good bathroom shots, we’re replacing that too. I find it comforting to hear the guy you live with at last has a plan worked out to nurture snowdrops along. He can engage in that activity while you lie all characteristically in a warm spot in the sun. You know the way to live, Mani.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; though we purebred border collies actually can be rambunctious to the point where we get in trouble. Like being a velociraptor and stuff. Or snacking on rabbit poop, which makes You Know Who really annoyed, because we can get clostridium from that, and not be able to go to Day Care, and have to take antibiotics and have attapulgite squirted into our mouths (though that tastes pretty good). As you may recall, Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, was often very philosophical. I feel it necessary to continue that trend, sometimes anyway. The bathroom here, which I’ve been into, after meeting a Striped Kitty late at night, has no window. The floor needs to be retiled, and according to the guy I live with, the toilet is “possessed”. So maybe I won’t supply a picture of it. The thing about the kitchen is that the cupboard doors were originally very dark fake wood. The guy I live with endured that for some years, and then, tired of the oppressive darkness, in a rare unilateral decision (he and his wife discussed everything before doing something), he bought paint for the doors and painted them, so that they were light instead of dark. He eventually finished the wine.

  5. ceci says:

    Menudo…..there used to be a bar just outside Phoenix with wonderful menudo, haven’t thought of that for years. I wonder if there is a place around here that has any half as good. We haven’t had a hard freeze here yet, which makes me worry about bugs in the spring – it would be nice to have something to kill off a few mosquitos! Anyway, bulbs are showing lots of green, but not a snowdrop flower in sight!


    • paridevita says:

      There were snowdrops in flower at the guy I live with’s friend’s garden, today. He planted some there and some here, on the same day, but her garden has more sun in the winter. Might have something to do with the barn, which was built next door, blocking out the sun. I understand that posole is being made in the stove this evening. I can hear bubbling. Maybe a lot of carbs for You Know Who, since he has to cut down. Though the sugar content will be less because of the other things in the posole. (The menudo made here does not have posole in it.) The guy I live with said that he and his wife found this Mexican restaurant, called La Mex, tiny place, where, when you ordered something, what was brought to the table was nothing like what you get in a regular Mexican restaurant. The rice was the best he’s ever had. Home made refried beans. Homemade flan with a bit of Mexican brandy poured over it. And so on. They loved going there. He cried when the place closed.

  6. bittster says:

    Mani you look very thoughtful there, don’t overdo it.
    A lot of talk about snowdrops, and it seems like those boring little green nubs are absolutely not worth all the trouble people go through in growing them. I went around this afternoon and covered a couple of my own boring green nubs to get them ready for the real winter which is visiting tonight. Hopefully my Potter’s Prelude carries on as well as yours has, mine looks much sloppier and disheveled but hopefully that doesn’t effect its hardiness.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I try to seem as pensive as possible, in my motionless moments. Which are not all that many, really. There are squirrels to chase, you know. It’s supposed to snow here, tomorrow I think, and they say about five to eight inches. Fortunately it won’t get very cold and maybe the snow will be gone in a week, even with the new melt-proof snow being tested here, by the government. No snowdrops will be covered here; there are dozens upon dozens of green noses in the garden. Things will be fine. But it probably is a good idea to coddle newly-purchased snowdrops, and other expensive bulbs, in a covered frame for a couple of years. They increase much more quickly. In this rainless climate, anyway.

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