Monday, February 3, 2020

Birds, Flowers and Books

We're seeing brighter days and signs of spring here in London, from twittering robins... more snowdrops. This clump opened in our back garden over the weekend. Our daffodils have yellow buds and I've seen purple and yellow crocuses (croci?) in the park and at the cemetery.

Speaking of the cemetery, Olga and I went yesterday. Another weekend day, another muddy dog walk! This is her "I hear squirrels in those trees!" face.

Some of you asked if Olga enjoys her baths. I'm pretty sure she doesn't -- she always stands very glumly with her tail between her legs while we wash her off. Fortunately, being a short-haired dog, she's very easy to clean. It's basically just a rinse job. And she knows the word "bath," so when we come home, all I have to say is "bath" and she goes and gets in the tub, looking miserable.

Remember the ficus tree I "rescued"? Well, rescued may be too strong a word. This is what it looks like -- and this picture will serve as either the "before" shot in a truly remarkable before/after comparison, or as a memorial when it dies. I'm thinking we're headed toward the latter, but who knows?

I consider it a major achievement that I am now 121 pages into "The Dark Frigate." It has gotten better. Plus I finished another book this weekend, "Never Have I Ever," which was recommended to me by a student. It's full of interesting twists, but I didn't love it -- it deals with a blackmail situation that, to me, is undermined by the fact that the protagonist could simply fess up and go to the police and eliminate the whole problem. There would be consequences, sure, but I just don't buy that someone in that situation would continue to keep secrets that could be so dramatically used against her.

I'm glad to report that Dave's cold is better. He got some antibiotics from a walk-in clinic on Friday, and although he's still coughing, he's much improved overall. I've managed to avoid it entirely, knock on wood.


Frances said...

I think that the ficus has " had it".....but if it were mine I would chop about 2/3 of it off and see if it regrows. Only chance I suspect!
My foxgloves are still in the pots.... 4 in each, and they are definitely beginning to grow. When it is a bit warmer ( and drier) I shall plant them out.
How does Olga get so mucky? We go to a muddy field every morning and Alexi just has dirty paws!
Have a good week. x

Alphie Soup said...

Lovely robin.
I follow an English blog that often features a robin which goes by the name of Nugget.

As for the protagonist in your recently read novel, if she went to the police wouldn't that simply kill the story? It is after all a piece of fiction.

Mary said...

I'm glad Olga cooperates, though not perhaps happily, with a bath. I love that she takes herself there on your word. Our Sammy is so terrified of water, that he freaks out at the prospect. We got him as a rescue at around six months old, so we think perhaps some cretin might have either tried to drown him or used water to torture him. Considering Sammy is a sweet and gentle soul, this infuriates me. He will allow the dog groomer to give him a dry bath. She has tried to gently work him up to a wet bath, but his resistance, and sadly, terror, is strong. May all animal abusers rot in h#ll.

Marty said...

I think that's the best picture I've seen of Olga- you caught a little twitch of a smile. Frameworthy!

Ms. Moon said...

I agree with Frances. Cut that ficus back hard and see what happens. Of course, I've never had any luck with a ficus so...
Olga is a very good dog to go get in the tub when it's bath time. My dogs never would.

ellen abbott said...

yes, cut the ficus back and repot it. it looks like it must be root bound in that pot. My dog Minnie does not like baths but she stoically tolerates them as if she had a choice. she does like being clean though, feeling all frisky.

Sharon said...

That ficus does look a little sad. Here's hoping your magical green fingers will revive it. I wondered if Olga enjoyed getting a bath. Now I know. Maybe she knows that it's the price she must pay for enjoying a wallow in the mud. I imagine that most dogs are steered far away from the muddy spots. I love that photo of the robin and of course, Olga with her muddy face.

robin andrea said...

I still have hope for that ficus. I like the advice of cutting it back a bit. The photo of Olga is really grand. She looks like she is posing. Oh, and I love the Robins there. What beauties!

Edna B said...

I love the photo of the robin and the flowers, but the one of Olga is super! My Pogo is not crazy about having a bath either, but he tolerates it. Olga is such a good girl to get in the tub on her own. I'm glad to hear that Dave is feeling better. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Catalyst said...

SWMBO is fighting off a cold right now, too. I hope both you and she are successful. I haven't had a cold in so many years I can't remember my last one and I don't miss them. I like the picture of Olga looking for squirrels. She is very expressive. I'm sorry to hear she doesn't enjoy her baths.

jenny_o said...

Oh, that sweet face on Olga hearing the squirrels - I'd have thought she would make a much more . . . bloodthirsty . . . face! But that's just a downright gentle look. Maybe you caught her just before the bloodthirsty kicked in - lol

Amazing that she will get right in the bath by herself. What a good girl.

Ficuses are notoriously finicky, I've heard (and confirmed on the internet). Good luck! If anyone can pull it through, I think it's you. By the way, the plural of crocus is both crocuses AND croci, but the plural of ficus is just ficuses. Crazy.

Linda Sue said...

My ficus has come and gone several times, They do not like too much water, they do not like to be moved, they like their leaves washed...these tips I have learned from the plant itself, right now it is still sporting christmas lights - feels like a movie star!
Olga , such a good girl. So willing to please her human.

Sabine said...

I agree with all the others about the ficus, cut it way back and maybe repot it as well.

And speedy recovery to Dave.

John Going Gently said...

That tree is beyond ITU

Ryland Grace said...

Good luck with the ficus. Personally, I've never been successful getting much of anything to grow in my yard.

Red said...

We won't even think about spring for a while yet.

Penelope said...

Maybe you should spray the dead ficus white and string on some lights for a dark corner?

Steve Reed said...

Frances: Glad the foxgloves are doing well! Olga gets muddy partly because when I throw her Kong toy, she skids and slides while catching it.

Alphie: Well, yes, that's true. I guess I have a tendency to gauge the realism of a piece of fiction by thinking, "Would someone really act this way?!"

Mary: It's very strange how some dogs are so fearful and others LOVE water. And then there are some like Olga who don't love it, but will tolerate it.

Marty: She was definitely invested in the moment!

Ms Moon: I think I will cut it back, but I want to wait and see what wood is dead and what's not. I'm hoping it will leaf out again, although I'm not sure what the catalyst for that will be. (Repotting? More sun?)

Ellen: Yeah, I agree. Repotting is the first order of business.

Sharon: I think she knows it's a tolerable process. She may not love it, but it's also not scary or painful.

Robin: Aren't our little robins great? When I first saw one I didn't even realize what it was, it looks so different from those big American robins!

Edna: It's really cute to see Olga go to the tub on her own. She's very obedient.

Catalyst: I hope you're faring better than me. Looks like I might have a cold after all!

Jenny-O: Can't you see the laser beams coming out of her eyeballs? LOL

Linda Sue: Well, this one has been moved so it will have to go through some adapting, I guess! It's funny how finicky ficuses can be, because in Florida they grow outside and get HUGE.

Sabine: Repotting is definitely first, cutting back after I see what's alive and what's not.

John: Ha! (I had to look up ITU, but I see it's like the American ICU.) In any case, you may be right!

Beach Bum: We've had good luck with some things and no-so-good luck with others! This will definitely be a house plant as opposed to a yard plant. If it survives.

Red: Ours is definitely a few weeks early.

Penelope: Ha! I think before I do that it will simply go in the trash. :)

Moving with Mitchell said...

Well, I already know the knocking on wood thing didn't work out so well. Olga is an incredible cooperative dog given how much she obviously hates her bath. Very impressive.