the caterpillars

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

Here I am in a characteristically pensive pose. 

I forget what I was thinking about. It might not have been all that important. I do know that the guy I live with saw me lying on the bed upstairs

and decided to sneak up (though I noticed him sneaking) and take a picture of me being all pensive.

It was probably snowing.

I should probably take a minute to talk about the bed, though I may have talked about it before (it is kind of a main thing in my life), I mean the new mattress and foundation, which as you can see is not sitting on a bed frame like it would be in most houses. This is so I can get up on the bed. The guy I live with said when I get older it’ll be easier for me to get up there, and that’s what’s important to him.

I’ve totally adjusted to sleeping on the bed at night and it’s really about the best thing ever. I have my own pillow, and can snuggle up next to the guy I live with, have my toys right there, and look out of the window to see stuff, if I need to do that.

And of course my upstairs fort is right there, too, in case things get ultra scary, like if there was thunder at night. Thunder at night used to be extremely rare here, but now it happens almost every night in the summer. So my fort comes in handy. I have some toys in there, too.

Oh, before I talk about what’s not happening, because almost nothing is, I should show you the picture I promised to show. Remember that funny thing in the tree? The one a while back? Here’s a close up.

Still pretty odd, I guess. I’m not sure I’d want something like that in a tree here.

As I said, almost nothing is happening here. I know I say that a lot, but really, this time, it is almost nothing. Well, okay, when it comes to gardening, there’s nothing. A whole bunch of stuff is happening that I’m not part of, except that I get to watch the guy I live with be on the phone for a very long time. Watching someone be on the phone is not exactly thrilling. They’re on the phone, and you aren’t. That’s pretty much it.

You know how you watch a caterpillar–the ones that aren’t scary–and how the back sort of moves right up to the front before the front moves again? That’s how things are here. The guy I live with has to start getting radiation next week, but also find time to get his mom’s taxes done. Her personal taxes and the estate taxes. And at the same time go back to the dentist because he has a cavity under a gold crown. The dentist said he could keep the gold and melt it down or something.

So this is like happening all at once. Well, not precisely all at once, but like a caterpillar, only the front isn’t moving as fast as the back is.

Just yesterday the guy I live with went downtown to visit something called the Internal Revenue Service. He had an appointment but they were “backed up”, I guess like the caterpillar again, and even though he had to go through this metal detection thing where they made him take off his belt and he began to wonder why he’d worn pants that were really a bit too big and carry all this stuff and sort of will his pants to stay up, he got frustrated and came home. It wasn’t all that important, he said; he just wanted to find out some things.

On the way home he stopped and got two French pastries, which he shouldn’t have, but he did. They disappeared rapidly.

Today he went downstairs and looked through some of the toys and stuff, things his wife had acquired, to bring to his friend, so she could give them to her grandsons. Including some fake caterpillars.

There was this little box, too.

This is a katydid, if you didn’t know. A rubber stamp.The German, Heupferd, means “hay horse”. The guy I live with and his wife used to go on walks at night, in the summer, and look for katydids when they made their katydid noises, but they were often very difficult to see. So when he thinks of katydids he sometimes shed a tear or two.

Well, so, anyway, that’s what he’s been doing.

I’ve mostly been enjoying the weather, which doesn’t change much here, and listening to the complaining, which also doesn’t change. Some of this snow is the same snow from last year.

You can see that the guy I live with was peeking into the Snowdrop Frame by the way the plastic is all rumpled. There are snowdrops in flower there; lots of them.

Some things growing in the large bulb frame too. This picture isn’t very good, but you can see some leaves.

It gets so hot in this frame that the plastic has to be lifted off almost every day, even when it’s cold. You can see some of the crocus leaves in the pot in the upper right hand corner got burned by the hot sun.

It is nice to see blue sky.

You can see that where we walk, along the coyote path behind the house, is still pretty snowy. I think most of those footprints you see are from us. This isn’t the only way we go, but I like going this way a lot. 

There are voles under the snow. I like to hunt for voles at almost any time of the year, but maybe it’s the most fun when there’s snow on the ground. The guy I live with sometimes gets a little annoyed that we have to stop walking while I hunt for voles, but that’s because he’s never tried it. 

I never find any, but I still like looking. I sometimes get snow on my nose. 


Until next time, then.

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refrigerate after opening

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to talk about some things other than gardening and all the serious stuff. I thought that might come as a relief. I might not be able to resist some slightly serious stuff, though. You may remember me from such posts as “Stuff You Didn’t Know”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I like sleeping this way.

I do this a lot, if you didn’t know. Life here can be quite strenuous, what with all the squirrel chasing, barking at people walking down my street, and, oh, you know, just being me.

The other day, while I was at Day Care, playing, the guy I live with and his friend went out for lunch. They do that quite a bit, too, but I’m so busy having fun that I don’t mind, and, anyway, I like her a lot, and am glad that he has someone in his life who makes him happy.

They saw this thing on a tree near where they went to have lunch. It is pretty darn odd, if you ask me.

If you look at it for a minute you’ll see what it is. The guy I live with thought it was kind of amusing. He is easily amused.

So they went to lunch, and then to a place I’ve never been, called “H Mart”. The guy I live with has a hard time controlling himself there. They have things called “Korean pancakes” and all kind of things he likes. Now the refrigerator doesn’t look so empty.

The most important thing there is my food, of course; I get a little canned on top of the dry. The guy I live with, though, is very happy to have a bunch of kimchi, and I hear that the kimchi from H Mart is really, really good. Hot, too. And then on the left you can see the Korean pickled vegetables.

Sort of funny story here. The guy I live with likes really hot food, but the first batch of pickled vegetables didn’t have pickled jalapenos in them. He didn’t realize that the second batch did, and he offered his friend some, not knowing that the pickled jalapenos were like a zillion times hotter than the regular raw ones. She still likes him anyway.

He got some black tobiko, too. When they were at H Mart there was some uncertainty as to what tobiko is, but owing to the miracle of modern technology, the guy I live with looked it up on his smart phone, and it turns out it’s flying fish roe. He said he knew that.

The guy I live with likes a lot of different food, and when he and his friend first started seeing each other, he knew they would have a good time together from the look on her face when she had the fatty toro at Sushi Den here in Denver. He was thinking about becoming a vegetarian until he met her. They go there for special anniversaries and the waiter comes up and tells them all about fish just flown in from Japan (not flying fish though) and if it’s his turn to pay he says they’ll take all of them.

But anyway, he also got the special Korean chili threads which they were out of last time, to sprinkle on Korean pancakes when he makes them here.

The guy I live with spends a lot of time cooking, which I guess is a good sign. He used to cook for his wife, all the time, but after she died, he stopped, and later took it up again.

The kitchen cabinets are full of stuff.


Some of the boxed seasonings are really old; the guy I live with’s wife bought them many years ago, and they’re just here for old times’ sake.

But like when people say they’re into cooking Indian food, for instance on Facebook, and they talk about all the new spices they’re been using, the guy I live with says “Lol”, because this is one highly evolved spice cabinet (you can see the ajwain seed in the picture looking into the cabinet), and then he shows a picture of this, to show just how highly evolved.

After they went to H Mart, on the way back to his friend’s house, he suggested she might like to visit Read and Black, which is a used book and CD store. So they did.

They had a good time there, though it was a bit rough for the guy I live with. He had not been there since his wife died; they used to spend hours in this place, looking, and of course acquiring things.

In fact he could have just stood in the store and cried, if his friend hadn’t been there to make everything better. If you’ve seen the movie High Fidelity, this is a place like that, and the guy I live with would be in pretty much total bliss to be able to work in such a store. Even more so than, say, working in a garden in Ireland. Some people want to be powerful executives, or movie stars, or great artists. The guy I live has always wanted to do something like work in a used book or CD store, and not be any other sort of person.
But things change.

When the first book came out, the one on penstemons, everyone said it would “open a lot of doors” for him, like he would have this magnificent career in horticulture, but other people got to the door before him, and it dawned on him that this was a very competitive field in which he had no desire to compete at all. He was at least reasonably content working for the phone company; his wife didn’t have to work at all. 

Two more books got written; shortly after the third one came out, his wife died, and after that, thirteen of her watercolors were accepted by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and that was sufficient for the guy I live with.

Those were some of the thoughts he had after visiting Read and Black. I know he cried a little after we came home from Day Care, but I think part of that was because he was very tired after a sleepless night the night before that.

Maybe I got carried away here. I often do.

Nothing is going on in the garden, but my walks are still good. They almost always are.

The owl was asleep when I went out this afternoon. It’s there; you just have to look. I couldn’t see the other one but it was there too.

I’ve been detecting the scent of voles out in the “way back”; the guy I live with does encourage me to chase them out of the garden. You can see that they’re out in the field. Lots of the tunnels head toward our garden.

I looked for some but didn’t find any.

Okay, that really is it for the day. I know I tend to wander off topic sometimes, but we purebred border collies are so incredibly alert (as you can see in the first picture) that we get easily distracted.

Until next time, then.



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