approaching the equinox

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today on what will probably be the last post of this summer. You may remember me from such posts as “Autumnal Equinox”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. 

You can see how well I guard the house from this position.

Kind of a lot has happened since my last post. A lot for us, anyway. The guy I live with and his friend went to the Chatfield Arboretum, which is part of Denver Botanic Gardens, and is sort of close to where we live.
I have some pictures, even though I didn’t get to go.

They also have animals there. This goat had an itch on its tummy, and was scratching itself on the wooden hay-holding thing.

The animals are very well-cared-for. Rather like me.

Here are some more pictures of that willow sculpture I showed a while ago. It’s called “One Fell Swoop”, and it looks kind of scary. The guy I live with said it was cool. 

I guess he’s been in kind of a peculiar mood lately, and there are reasons for that, I suppose.
For one thing, he said he was going to change my name to Runcible G. Codd (the purebred border collie). I think Mani is a perfectly good name, though both of us get annoyed when people pronounce it like “Manny”. It’s Sanskrit, and it means jewel, which I certainly am. But he said Runcible G. Codd was maybe more like me and my personality. I of course completely disagree.
But we’ve been going through a bunch of changes this year. Some little, some majorly huge. 

This is in the majorly huge department. We’re getting a new roof.

The guy I live with put this off for years, especially after his wife died. There was a hailstorm a few months after she died, and he didn’t get a roof then (though the storm missed the house by two blocks, the way storms do), and then there was one in 2014, and two last year. (Only one from the year they moved in, 1985, until 2009, so that says something.)
He felt bad about putting this off, because he usually doesn’t put things off, but did with this, but now we have a new roof and new gutters. The old gutters, especially were really leaky.

Now it will probably never rain again.
One thing, though, just possibly, there will be less fretting when the next severe storm heads our way. There were several this summer, in fact, every time the temperature went below ninety degrees (F) we were under a severe thunderstorm watch, or warning. Maybe this will be the weather of the future, blazingly hot for weeks on end, and then on the one day that it cools off, violent weather headed right toward us.
The guy I live with pretty much detests the weather here, these days, but he said “Here we are, anyway.”

There are some native plants in flower, despite the pretty much endless heat and drought (though it did rain a bit a few days ago). This is Aster ericoides, by the canal. 

For some reason, no one mowed along the canal like they usually do. 

So many things have been different this year, it’s becoming hard to keep up. But the colchicums are still flowering, like they do every year.

Dick Trotter

Rosy Dawn



World Champion’s Cup

And the cyclamen are starting, too. This is a special color form of Cyclamen hederifolium. It’s growing in the upstairs bedroom for now. (It was going to be planted this year but things happened, you know.)

Well I guess that’s it. It’s not as hot as it has been, and that’s nice, and I’m going to ignore the guy I live with if he keeps up this Runcible G. Codd silliness, because we purebred border collies are usually very serious, and this is just too much.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me, showing just how dry things are here. 

Until next time, then.

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35 Responses to approaching the equinox

  1. Nell Lancaster (z6b Va) says:

    Congratulations to TGYLW on the new roof/gutters! We also are overdue for that same thing, and in fact can’t get insurance on the house until we face up to that big bill. It’s not going to get any cheaper as time goes by, but…

    TGYLW is needling you with this Runcible G. Codd nonsense, and it sounds as if you’re just as fond of needling as I am, i.e., not at all. Has he read you The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear?

    It’s getting dry again here; the county has issued a burn ban. I got spoiled by the unusual wetness of 11 of the last 12 months. The rain might return in spades at any time, though, what with the record (new normal) number of storms developing in the tropics right now. Ou sont les gentle soakers d’antan?

    • paridevita says:

      Well he hasn’t read me anything about pussycats, for sure, but he did say that all the purebred border collies who have lived here have had to suffer with various assumed names. He calls me The Noodle (as in naughty noodle) from time to time, too.
      We so rarely have gentle rain, or, really any rain that soaks into the soil, these days, that we just resort to watering. Or watching plants dies, and a record number have died here this summer.
      The roof. He didn’t get the full value of the roof, from insurance, which he knew would be the case, since the last time a roof was put on was in 1991, so he got a loan. He said the insurance people said if he got a new roof right away he would get back the difference, but the most important thing was that this was finally getting done.
      It was, like, something literally hanging over him.

  2. Nell Lancaster says:

    Is that Salvia azurea in the Chatfield pic? That plant is impressing me with its will to live. Sitting in its unplanted pot in a not-ideal spot, it’s taken root through the drainage hole and is blooming its head off, a newly added stop on our resident hummingbird’s several-times-daily circuit of the salvias.

    • paridevita says:

      It is Salvia azurea. The guy I live with said he didn’t want to talk about it, because it was all over the place there, and he’s struggled with it for years. Of course the plants get way more water, there.

      • Nell Lancaster says:

        If it’s any comfort, the Salvia azurea here got way more water, too. From last September through half of this August, we got an inch of rain or so just about every week (sometimes much more; two hurricane remnants began the re-soaking process). Now it seems so dry that it’s hard to believe that ever happened — but the proof is in the way establishing shrubs aren’t wilting: like the Salvia, they used the lush times to put down deep roots, and the one good thing about clay is the way it holds on to moisture.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with says he always figured it needed more water than people claim. Like most plants. There was one a few miles from here, super huge, on drip, growing against a bright yellow wall. Pretty spectacular. In our climate, sand holds more water than clay, because there has to be a lot of rain in order for water to penetrate down to roots. Most of it evaporates before it gets into the soil. True of arid and semiarid climates.

  3. Tracy Perez says:

    It has not rained here in Northern Virginia in 2 months. Arborvitaes I planted 4 years ago are dying. I got a copy of “High and Dry”. Great book, lovely drawings. The Guy You Live With is a very good, humorous writer. A lot of what’s in the book will be useful here in the rain shadow of the Blue Ridge.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says thanks. More watercolors would have been nice, but his wife was a procrastinator. (Not as bad as he was with the roof, of course.)
      He wrote the book because he could, like the others, and as a vehicle for her watercolors. But he’s never been a horticultural professional, just a retail customer, and I guess some people in the industry did not understand that. Long story which I might tell later.

      • Tracy Perez says:

        Some of the BEST garden writers weren’t professionals: Alan Lacy, Katherine White, Vita Sackville-West, Eleanor Perenyi. Your in good company.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with says thanks, though not to forget Elizabeth Lawrence and Lester Rowntree. Henry Mitchell wrote for the Washington Post, so I guess he was a professional.

  4. Namaste Mani….mee MEW yore name meened Jewel as LadyMew an mee looked it upss!! Do you know ‘Dharma’ iss all so Sanskrit too?? THE werd Dharma has many meeninss an LadyMew said fore her it meenss “Rite Thott; Rite Inn-tent an Rite Action”
    Hence mee beein ‘dopted bye LadyMew aftur ‘angel’ Unkell Purrince Siddhartha went to Pure Land.
    An pleese Mistur ‘Guy’ do not change Mani’ss name….hee iss no more a Runnycibell than mee iss a Fluffy!!!! 😉
    Hurrah fore a new roof!! Now you not have to wurry ’bout rain! An wee have had a dry spell here too. Yore flowerss are all so lovelee despite not a lot of water….wee have Black Eyed Susanss an Autumm Mumss…..this week has bin Indian Summer!
    Wishin you both a Happy kewler Autumm.
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with was just kidding when he said he might change my name. Whew, huh. But he called Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, Piglitty, because when he was little he had what the guy I live with called Piglet Lips, some pink along with the black, and did actually call him Piglet Lips for a while, then just Piglitty. Or Iglitty Piglitty Pumpkiny Pie. So Runcible G. Codd doesn’t sound so terrible. Yes, dharma also means thread or weft or something like that, and in some Buddhist traditions the what you might call chain of awareness, from millisecond to millisecond, is dharma when there is awareness, and bardo in the in-between “empty” moments. The guy I live with has a lot of those empty moments. Lol.

      • Mee-yow Wow Mani you an yore ‘guy’ sure know a lot ’bout Dharma…LadyMew said yore rite ‘boit thee awareness an empty moment stuff….
        Mee MOL’ed ’bout your ‘guy’ havin empty momintss; so doess LadyMew speshelly when shee iss inn see-vere pain or stressed out!
        Iggity Piggity….EEEKKKK!! Runnycibell iss much better well sorta maybe kinda…..mee likess MANI best!!!! Do you have pet names for yore ‘guy’??? Mee seecretlee callss LadyMew Shuffellss…shee not know this…iss our see-cret Mani!

      • paridevita says:

        Well, no, I don’t have a secret name for him, but that’s okay, because sometimes I don’t come when he calls me, so we’re even. If that makes sense. He often does spend time just staring at the floor. He said he always has. Zoning out is what he calls it.

      • It toetallee makess sense Mani!! An if yore ‘guy’ callss you Runnycibell you can REELLY ignore him!!! An Shuffellss iss doin bettur THE past 3 dayss!
        An LadyMew ‘zoness out’ too……shee said it iss a guud way to reeleese stress!! 😉

  5. Mark E. Mazer says:

    We always train an alternative call name for our beasts and rarely share it.

  6. “Iglitty Piglitty Pumpkiny Pie” sounds positively Suessian. Your guy has the makings of a children’s book author. Are there barking opportunities while the new roof is going on, Mani? Even though you find it scary, I bet One Fell Swoop holds plenty of sniffing opportunities. All over the innerweb cyclamen and colchicum photos are posted, and the ones you’ve shown here are among the best. Of course, your portraits are the super excellent best.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. I try to be super excellent. Of course it’s not hard. It was pretty much barkbarkbarkbark bark BARKbarkbark BARKBARK BARK bark, when the roof went on. But then there were gutters installed, and then it was BARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARK bark. So it was fun. That particular song, or poem, though, is not a happy one, as it turns out. There are those that are, but not this one.

  7. Nell Lancaster says:

    Elizabeth Lawrence was the gardening columnist for the Charlotte Observer for almost 15 years, but had already written two books by the time she started the column. So it’s hard to draw the line…

    • paridevita says:

      Well there is that. The guy I live with said that there was not much if any money in writing gardening books, since the competition is pretty fierce. When his wife died it took all the fun out of writing, though he has been able to do some in the last couple of years. But he is a retail customer, not someone in the industry, so his take on things, like how plants do in his garden after shelling out a bunch of money for them, is often very different. I think the guy I live with is happier just sitting here.

  8. Lisa says:

    “One Fell Swoop” does look a bit creepy. And thinking of it swooping is worse.
    There’s a YouTube channel, Pronounce Names, that actually has Mani with someone saying it over and over! Boo the Not-Purebred-Border Collie has a lot of alternate names, some of which he wouldn’t want shared!
    I didn’t realize there were so many kinds of autumn crocus. Mine is purple with a slight checkered pattern, it was here when I moved in.
    Nice to get a new roof and gutters.

    • paridevita says:

      I hear the willow thing is pretty cool; there are more pictures in the post “The Arboretum Again”, which isn’t about me very much. Oh, those are colchicums, not crocuses. They’re in the Colchicaceae, used to be Liliaceae. Crocus are in the iris family, and have three stamens where colchicums have six. Colchicums are extremely poisonous but I stay away from them. There are about 150 species of Colchicum, some of which flower in the spring, and a zillion named varieties, a lot of which look alike. The guy I live with has always had alternate names for dogs, which I’m, and for the cats that were here, too. He’s been feeling kind of uncomfortable lately, about things in general, and so he thought I needed an alternate name, but, Runcible G. Codd, I think maybe not.

  9. tonytomeo says:

    What an odd name that would be. How odd to change it; especially for someone who actually uses his name. Rhody is a terrier, so would not care if I changed his name. He does not use the name he has anyway. No matter what I call him he ignores me.

  10. Dana Carlson says:

    Sampson the doberman, here. Congrats on the roof. My people put on a new roof and discovered that there was no tarpaper, only shingles on wood. They also discovered an ant colony under about a fifth of the roof. Hate ants! They like to get in my food. I noticed you have cyclamen, we have a really healthy stand of cyclamen for the first time. The lady I live with tried to kill them because she didn’t know what they were (they were just the little bulb things, no leaves or flowers). Oh, don’t feel bad about the potential name change. It has some respectability! My people have taken to calling me Barky McBarkface. If they didn’t feed me and take me for car rides…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy who did the roof was here today and the guy I live with told him how happy he was with the new roof. He was freaking out about it, the way he does when he puts things off. He doesn’t put off very many things, but when he does, well, look out. He’s obsessed with cyclamen. Maybe because he used to like to crawl around on the ground looking at plants, back in the old days. I’m not too worried that my name will be like officially changed; he calls me The Noodle a lot, and I guess I can be a naughty noodle from time to time.

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