behind the grape vine

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to tell you all about the scary things that have been happening. You may remember me from such scary posts as “Fear And Loafing”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Yes, things have been scary.We had lots of thunder, as usual, but there have also been a lot of very loud explosions because of the holiday yesterday. Here I am wearing a Thundershirt. It belonged to Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, and I guess I won’t say it’s mine until I’ve worn it a few times. I think it does make me feel a little better. Besides, the guy I live with looked in on me, from time to time.

I really don’t like this time of year, for the weather and the loud firecrackers, but at least I have my friend to cuddle me if I need it.

I like this kind of thing a lot better. The guy I live with says I hogged the picture. He’s been trying very hard to take some excellent pictures of the two of us on the couch, but I’m afraid he’s wrecked most of the pictures. There were a couple last time, and here’s another one, but he messed it up. Like, notice how nobly I’m posing, and he’s trying to smile, but looks worried. He said my ear was in the way. 

Whatever; when these pictures were taken, yesterday afternoon, we were under a tornado watch.

After I had my dinner, we were under a severe thunderstorm watch. The storm moved very slowly, but then it started to rain. All of a sudden, huge hailstones began to fall. And then they stopped.

That was my day yesterday. Oh, except for the red ants on the canal path. The guy I live with said to step over them, so I did.And we have a lily flowering. That’s pretty unusual for here. I mean lots of gardeners here grow them, but they need lots of water which they wouldn’t get here. But there is one lily here. Well, two bulbs. This is Lilium martagon.

And, guess who’s living in the little nesting box in the corner of the patio? Baby wrens. I can hear them chirping.
I can’t show them to you because they’re behind the grape vine. The guy I live with said there was a song about hearing things on the grape vine, and I got what it was about right away.  He kept saying “on the grape vine” but I think he meant “behind the grape vine”, because that’s how the grape vine sounds are sounding. Behind, not on. There’s been chirping and cheeping all day long. The guy I live with tried to get a good phone picture of Penstemon cobaea yesterday. It didn’t turn out badly. The flowers are huge. He said he’ll read the instructions for the camera sometime, too. Today we’ve been under a severe thunderstorm watch all afternoon, and will be tomorrow and probably the next day. It has been really stormy here. The guy I live with said he couldn’t remember a time when it was so stormy, with tornado watches and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings for so many days in a row. A thunderstorm passes over, then another, and another, and another. Wave after wave. Pretty scary.

The sky looked like this between thunderstorms. Hard to believe, I know.The guy I live with said there were places where it rained and nothing scary happened. I found that hard to believe, but he said it was true. Those places sounded kind of magical to me. Places where it just rained.

He also said that the thunderstorms caused him considerable anxiety, and that maybe some of that was rubbing off on me.

This morning he woke up and decided it was time to be done with his anxiety about things like this. The garden gets wrecked by hail pretty often, and there wasn’t anything he could do about it, except move.

So here we are.

This is our bedroom, upstairs, looking out through the window to rain.I really like the bedroom. It’s not very big, but it is super cozy. It wasn’t built as the master bedroom, which is next door, but was like a guest bedroom or something. That’s my internet radio glowing there, which I probably showed before, but I like the combination of the candle and internet radio. He bought the radio especially for me, to listen to when he goes to the store, because I don’t go to the store, and someone has to. The sound is good. I like it a lot. I also have a night light which you can’t see; it glows kind of softly after the candle is blown out.

Well I’ve kind of rambled, haven’t I? That’s what we purebred border collies do sometimes.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me, showing what I do when it thunders; hiding in my kitchen fort. It’s been thundering here for about eight hours, straight, with a little blue sky showing for a minute or two, so I do this a lot. Not constantly, but a lot.

Until next time, then.








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true tails of the western edge

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to tell you a few totally true stories which you might not believe, but they are in fact completely true. You may remember me from such posts as “The Haunted Toaster”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.  Yawning. There’s someone else in the picture, but I’m the interesting one.This might be a better picture. (It would have been even better had someone’s shirt not been unbuttoned…)It’s been raining. Raining and raining and, yes, raining. Not continually, just on and off. The garden is soaked.

So the first thing that happened. I should say right at the start that there are no pictures accompanying these stories.  Which may be a relief, depending upon your perspective.

The guy I live with was going to see his friend day before yesterday, but when he went to open the garage door, there was a very large reptile in the way. The way he tells it, it was super large. He tried to get it to move, but it immediately went into defensive pose. It was just a bullsnake, but I hear they can fake like they’re rattlesnakes. I’ve seen a couple, and they were startlingly large. Eventually he got the snake to move, but it went up into the inside rim of the car’s left rear tire.

He didn’t want to run over it, so, naturally, he started to talk to it. “Like anyone would”, he said. It finally slithered away, under the vintage mattress that the guy I live with still hasn’t called about, to have it removed for recycling.

I didn’t get to see the snake. Maybe that was fortunate for me. The guy I live with did say it’s probably still somewhere around here, and maybe getting larger and larger.

That’s just great.

Today he went to get his hair cut, as you can see, and there was a dog there, which he said was very friendly. I got a little jealous, until I heard that the dog’s name was the same as the barber’s. Fortunately the barber cut the guy I live with’s hair instead of the dog doing it. Though that might have been funny.

And then, and this was really, really scary, after he got home and turned on the new laptop, to check mail and stuff, I was just minding my business when all of a sudden there was another large reptile that absolutely insisted it had to slither into the kitchen. That’s right, slither into the kitchen. My personal kitchen, with my fort and water bowl.

As you might imagine, I totally freaked out held my ground, fiercely guarding my personal kitchen, but outside on the patio with the sliding glass door closed, while the guy I live with tried to catch the snake with a butterfly net, which he did, but not after the snake had completely stunk up the kitchen in fright (they do that, you know). and then it was carried out into the front yard. It was a wandering garter snake (Thamnophis elegans vagrans). Harmless. But, in context, scary.

Well, whew. I think this has been enough for us, for a while.

And since I have some plant pictures, I might show the latest annual here, which the guy I live with really likes. It’s called Orlaya grandiflora. (The leaves are those carrot leaves in the upper right.)

He sowed seeds of this last winter, and since it’s been so rainy, the plants are very happy. He said we need more of this.

I suppose that’s all for today. There better not be anything else slithering around, at least for a while, but I’m going to stand guard, for sure.

Until next time, then.








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