a hundred voices

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you all the latest news. You may remember me from such posts as “Into The Wilderness”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
If you think I look super soft and cuddly, that’s because I am.

It’s been an interesting week so far. The weather has been pretty warm, except for one day, and it’s supposed to be about 60 degrees F (say a little less than 16C) tomorrow, but then get really cold and snowy next week. Yes, again.
According to the guy I live with, this winter has been “relentless”.
Some places still have a lot of snow, but others don’t.
The paths in the garden are pretty icy, still, but the ones in the field are even worse.
Lots of people and dogs walk here.
There are places where it’s just mud. This is frozen mud, from a couple of mornings ago. Some of those paw prints are mine.
And this part is less icy, but can still be treacherous. Lots of people walk here; the guy I live with doesn’t know if it’s people going for a walk, or going to the bus stop, or what.
The really big thing that happened this week was on Monday. I had to spend part of the day outside, because I barked too much at the people coming and going, and the front door was open a lot. But there were squirrels to yell at, in the garden.
That’s right; we got a new furnace. (That one white wire is for the old TV antenna, but it isn’t hooked up to anything. I don’t really know what an antenna is.)
And, naturally, the guy I live with said there were “a hundred voices” telling him he could have had this done for less money, that someone’s brother’s cousin’s kid would have done this for half the money, and so on. The guy I live with doesn’t know why people behave this way, but I guess they do. It’s not really very nice.
I know he fretted a lot about the fifty-year-old furnace suddenly going out when it got very cold (that’s what happened to one of our neighbors), so instead of listening to the endless echoes of unsolicited advice and not being able to decide to do anything until they stopped, this is now done.

There are some snowdrops. More than just what I’m showing, but these are sort of interesting, because they’re in the front yard, which hasn’t been watered since 1987.
The picture could be more in focus, I think. These are Galanthus elwesii, “cut off from the main herd”, as the guy I live with would say. They’re self-sown.
And today, something else got done.
The guy I live with threatened (I’m just kidding) to have Opera Day, again, with this:
He said this was really the first opera (1816) where things ended badly. The story doesn’t follow Shakespeare, and at the end, Desdemona gets stabbed, which was so shocking to the audience when it was premiered that on the next night someone cried out to Desdemona, “Watch out, he has a knife!”
They even wrote an alternative happy ending.
We prefer happy endings, really.

But instead, The Simpsons were on TV, and the guy I live with sowed all the seeds that needed to go outside.
He worked on the patio while I supervised.
This is the result of the work. The picture was taken tonight.
The guy I live with said that this should have been done over a month ago, so the pots could be covered with snow, but it was too cold to work outside, and he didn’t have any peat moss or perlite. Apparently there’s like a perlite shortage, but he was able to find some.
A whole bag of paving sand went into the mix, too. Peat moss, sand, and perlite. Then fine gravel on top.
These are mostly penstemons. (I talked about these packets in my post “Some Like It Cool”.) They could have been stratified like the seeds I showed earlier, since the seeds need one or two months of cold, or more, but this works too, and involves less checking on things.
Since these are penstemon seeds, if they don’t germinate this spring, they will next spring.

So, that’s what’s happened in the last several days. Kind of exciting, in a way.

Until next time, then.

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20 Responses to a hundred voices

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    Cosy days are ahead with that new furnace. It seems to be in the attic? Is that correct?

    • paridevita says:

      No; it’s in the crawlspace. I’d never really seen the crawlspace before, and when the guy came to take measurements and stuff, I watched. There’s a little door in the sownstairs bedroom closet.
      The guy I live with spent fifteen years going into crawlspaces and was rather proud of the fact that ours is so nice, compared to many of them.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        Crawlspaces are not used in our building systems. It is a basement of sorts, though a low one.

      • paridevita says:

        This is really a low-ceilnged basement, but they’re commonly called crawlspaces.
        The guy I live with says “crawlspace” can conjure up all sorts of claustrophobic images, and in some cases, those images are appropriate.

  2. ceci says:

    We have those hundred advising voices around here too – doesn’t bother me as I just don’t pay any attention, but some people are very upset by them. We had a very nice young man across the street who had a mixed shrub border put in to mask a rather grim fence – he was looking worriedly at it when we went by with the dogs and I commented that it was going to be so lovely when it leafed out in the spring, and how clever a choice I thought it was, vs a uniform row of evergreens from some big box place. He told me that “everyone” was telling him they were too close together, too far apart, the wrong species, blah blah. I told him he would have the last laugh when the full glory of his choices was revealed – and of course now a few years on they are indeed a wonderful feature of the walk in 4 seasons!

    I suspect the new furnace is much smaller?


    • paridevita says:

      It’s surprising how much people are tempted to offer unsolicited advice. I did a post on it a while ago, but I forget which one. Ther’s a book called Nonviolent Communication which explains why unsolicited advice is considered hostile language, so why do people indulge in it?
      The guy I live with does sometimes give advice to people here who are considering buying plants from box stores that probably won’t survive,partly because he went through the same thing when he and his wife first moved into this house. You would not believe all the unsuitable plants that went into the garden (not to mention money down the drain).
      The new furnace is much smaller, and doesn’t make the house insufferably hot after being on for just a few minutes.

  3. The man you live with is right…winter HAS been relentless. We continue to search for the ‘delete winter button’ and hope next week’s latest round is gentle. There’s so much built up ice in the alley, it’s quite the chore trying to haul the trash and recycle bins out for pickup and one needs to wear crampons so as not to fall. I spent yesterday afternoon trying to chisel a path but didn’t get too far-the alley is shaded most of the day and is quite solidly iced up. It was a good work out though. 😉 Here’s to quieting all the voices which are never helpful.

    • paridevita says:

      Those voices are the opposite of helpful, which is why he got a furnace this week, instead of waiting.
      And it looks like it’s going to be pretty cold again, next week. Low of 5 one night.
      Seems like this has been the trend since about 2019; not enough of the typical warm days in winter to get rid of the existing snow and ice, which used to make winters here fairly tolerable.
      The guy I live with has gone through quite a few pairs of YakTrax since then; they don’t hold up if he walks on the street or sidewalk, but he doesn’t want to have to go to the effort of trying to put them on right before we go into the field, with all the ice.

  4. Jerry says:

    I find that having peace of mind is worth a lot, particularly when I have those long term, nagging thoughts about the things that need to be replaced (our roof, our siding, our septic system, etc.). Last year, we finally had our bridge replaced (not by choice) and it was quite expensive. And, as you say, everyone had an opinion on getting this or that person who could do things more cheaply and on the various types of bridges we should get. I was able to reframe their advice – at least they cared enough about us to try and help as best as they were able. In the end, none of their leads panned out and we probably ended up with the most expensive, well-built residential bridge for miles around. It was stressful, but now it’s done, and what a relief! I have one less “worry” to worry about.

    I am happy you have a new heater. May it bring you much warmth and peace of mind. You remind me that I have one more flat of seeds to plant. I better get sowing.

    • paridevita says:

      That’s right; the peace of mind is more important than saving a little extra money by having just anyone do the work.
      You might be surprised at how little time it took to sow all those pots of seeds, but the guy I live with has been doing this for a long time, often in very cold weather, so he has sort of a systemto get it done quickly.
      Pots filled with homemade soil-less mix, pots put in dishpans, dishpans filled with water (hot water when it’s really cold outside), seeds sown on top of the mix when it becomes damp (along with some imagining what the original habitat looked like), labels stuck in, gravel sprinkled on top, and pots usually set in the frame out in back, but on the shelf this time because the frame is covered with snow (and has been since the end of December).
      It took less than an hour, not including breaks.

  5. tonytomeo says:

    Gads! The VOICES! I am at the point of mocking them by saying “You NEED a Toyota.” Those who know me know what I mean by that. For the first time in my entire life, I purchased a car. Every other car I ever owned was acquired from someone who moved away or passed away, which is like moving away, but a bit different. They were all good cars, but I did not select any of them. Finally, I was able to select a car! Those who know me should know that I would consider ONLY cars with American names, and that I particularly dislike Japanese cars and BMWs. I know what sorts of cars I enjoy, and am more selective than most in that regard. I live a very simple lifestyle, but should be allowed to splurge on the car that I want if I choose to. PEOPLE SHOULD RESPECT THAT! Instead, many repeated the same suggestion, “You NEED a Toyota.” It was SO repetitive that I would ask people why they would make such an inane suggestion. I never got a straight answer. Firstly, I NEED nothing. I can walk if I choose to. Secondly, Toyota is totally uninteresting to me. There are not many other cars that I find to be as unappealing. Everyone else gets to select their cars, so why is it SO wrong for me to do the same? I have no answer.

  6. Mark E. Mazer says:

    The horror: “why unsolicited advice is considered hostile language, so why do people indulge in it?”

    A vehicle pulls in next to us at the market and we notice the front driver side tire is kinda flattish.

    “Excuse me sir. Your tire appears underinflated. You should get it checked out ASAP.”

    Altruism, friendliness, or exuberance?

    • paridevita says:

      Well the first part is simply an observation, but the second part might insult people. Especially those with those $%&# tire-pressure monitor gauges.

      • Mark E. Mazer says:

        Might have saved a life. What’s the harm? Even if it were a Porsche …

      • paridevita says:

        It’s patronizing in the extreme, in the same sense that, say, telling everyone to remember to turn their lights on when they drive at night would be. Or not to stare at the sun.

  7. Mee-yow Mani an Guy iss like Winter an Spring due not know who iss apposta bee inn charge these dayss….
    Yore snow an ice an mud fotoss sure show that!!
    An those wee white snowdropss are so hardy to pop up inn Febbyrary!!
    Wee think you get what you pay fore Mistur Guy so iss best you spent a guud amount fore a new furnace.
    Wee had a power outage yesterday for 3 hourss….it was furry ‘chilley’ innside as well as outside!
    You look mitey fine inn yore fotoss Mani!
    Happy ❤ <3'ss Day to youss' there.
    **nose bopss** BellaDharma an ((hugss)) BellaSita Mum

    Pee S: Wee not abell to commint on yore blog so wee inn Reeder an hope this commint postss!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we did see the comment; I’m not sure what’s going on.
      It’s been pretty nice here; warm, really, so it’s supposed to snow again tonight.
      Happy Valentine’s Day yo you, too. (The guy I live with went out on Saturday and gave a card to his friend, and I signed it, too.)

  8. Efurryne iss havin trubbell with WerdPress beein glitchy!! CATFISH!
    At leest you can seess our commintss….
    Iss iss near 40 F deegreess here an iss apposta bee warmer tomorrow…..wee see…
    Happy ❤ Valentine'ss ❤ Day to you both. So glad Guy went to see his lady frend!

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