Friday, May 8, 2020

Patio Weeding and Attack Dog Olga

A few weeks ago I posted some of the rainbow tributes to the NHS that I'd seen around the neighborhood. Here's another -- artfully subtle!

We all applauded again last night, standing out in front of our houses. I do it, and it's a nice show of national unity, but I must admit it feels a little strange. We all stand there clapping and looking around and smiling at our neighbors, but I think we're supposed to clap for five minutes -- which is an eternity if you're applauding in the street. Most of us stop well shy of that amount of time. I can't help thinking what the NHS really needs, instead of (or in addition to) applause, is money.

Can you stand another picture of the viney tree? Now that it has shed its blossoms, we can see what it really looks like. I love the reddish hue of the leaves -- this tree has a lot of pigmentation. It's somewhat hunched from bearing the weight of that massive vine, but I wonder if it will eventually stand more upright? Every few days, as I walk by with Olga, I pull little vine sprouts from around the base.

The flat seed pods of the honesty in the garden are developing nicely. I love the way these plants turned out. This was a good experiment in wild seed-growing.

And check this out -- yesterday morning I discovered a petunia growing in one of our geranium pots! This is why I don't pull weeds too assiduously. Every once in a while, something that looks like a weed proves itself to be something else! I guess one of our petunias set seed in this pot at some point.

Despite my relative tolerance for weeds, yesterday I spent a lot of time weeding the patio. It was beginning to look way too messy out there, with vegetation growing between all the patio stones. I left some growth to keep things interesting -- forget-me-nots, yellow corydalis, dog violets and some lady's mantle that seeded from our garden plants. I don't want the patio to look too clean. I'll share a photo once we dispose of the old patio table (on Monday!) and get the new one set up.

I took Olga to the cemetery, and on the way she embarrassed me by outright attacking a much smaller little mop of a white dog. Of course she wasn't on her lead, and the white dog was, which made me look even more like an irresponsible dog owner. I don't know what prompted her. We were on a narrow fenced path, and I suspect the little one growled as they passed each other, as little dogs often do -- but still, Olga usually just ignores them and goes on her way. After we pulled them apart the other dog owner said, "That dog should be on a lead!" All I could do is lamely explain that this is very unusual for her. Who knows what goes on inside a dog's brain?

As Dave said, when I related the story, Olga is becoming a cranky old lady. I may in fact need to keep her on a lead more often.

If you want some interesting reading, here are a few recommendations:

-- I don't care much about Val Kilmer, but the New York Times had an excellent article about him and his career by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I've read other pieces by her and I love her writing.

-- The Times also had an interesting article about the ghost dogs of the Amazon, a secretive species of canine living in the South American jungles. Apparently they're almost never spotted in the wild. They've only been captured on remote cameras by researchers.

-- And finally, after a caller reported an escaped lion in the farmlands of Kent, the police called out officers and a helicopter only to learn their quarry was a sculpture.


  1. I haven't posted on the virus as I think most people are on over load with it all but your mention of the clapping was something I had to respond to.
    I personally do not clap, I cannot see what purpose it serves. Around here they all come out for a couple of minutes grinning like goons and then go back in. I have to ask myself what good it does.
    My son is a theatre sister and the tales he tells me of lack of equipment and not getting proper breaks throughout the day are awful.
    I wonder if those same people who clap will continue to make some protest to help the Doctors and nurses in the future, I fear not.
    On a nicer note, the honesty pods are beautiful Steve.

  2. Unlike Briony, I do join the applause and find it uplifting. It's as much about neighbours saying "We are united and we'll get through this" as it is about thanking key workers. However, I think Briony's reservations are very valid. I am certainly not clapping for Johnson and his crew.

    On an entirely separate note, my heart goes out to that fluffy bundle of innocence - attacked by a rabid brute - carelessly left off her lead so that her owner could check out Facebook messages on his smartphone. What is the world coming to? Poor wee thing.

  3. I have just commented on crafty cat re the clapping!

    Oh Olga.....what a bad girl. No more of that please you will be getting your man into trouble .......not to mention yourself if the next dog answers back!

  4. Honestly, I love the honesty. My mother always had it dried in a vase. When I was a kid, I thought that was the way it grew. The applause here was supposed to last a minute. But it no goes on longer, with music (a voluntarily designated DJ in each neighborhood), noise makers, police cars and sirens, police broadcasting the national anthem from their cars. From the first police cars driving by with sirens blaring to those same cars making their exit sirens around town, it seems to last 20 minutes now.

  5. Steve, as we all know you are the best clapper on the planet. Who better to clap for 5 straight minutes?? You could lead seminars for your neighbours.

  6. I am older than you so you probably don't remember but there used to be a song called (I think) "I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch."
    Which your lone petunia immediately brought back to mind.
    I'd feel foolish clapping too, to be honest.
    Hurray for your little tree! I hope it does stand up straight after a year or so.

  7. I love seeing the progression of the little tree you saved, Steve.

    I think I've mentioned I cut back grape vines that were strangling & smothering a lilac tree--and over the coming years it was heartening to see the lilac stand upright again, and grow upward (I had to keep cutting the vines back)
    --so I assume your tree will come out right on top too.

    Enjoy your coming weekend before going back to work! Working sounds nice (? since you'll be safe in an almost-empty library). I go back in a week, probably...

  8. I like that rainbow idea. That's a nice tribute. That tree is looking very nice. I bet it's happy it can breathe again.

  9. Oh wow, I remember that song, I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch! And such a pretty little petunia! Your viney tree is looking great. In time, it will right itself. As for Olga, I'm surprised. Over here, you can't walk her without a leash. She might not be feeling so good lately. Maybe she could have a check up to make sure she's okay? I hope she is. My little dog doesn't get cranky, but he does like his space sometimes. He's old, like me, so I understand him. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. I wonder if Olga is having pain. We had an old dog, Sox, who was such a gentle soul but then she got arthritis and was losing her eyesight and her hearing and she became not so gentle. Once we got her pain under control she returned to her usual mild self.

    I like the article about the tiger sculpture, too funny.

  11. WoW - Crafty 's Comment Shook Me To The Core - You Already Read Our Colorado Tribute - Olga, Whats The Deal There Little Lady - Was It The Smell, Was It Size, Did You Just Simply Feel Compelled To Let loose - Sure Hope Thats Out Of Your System Now - Brother Steve, The Boy Dog Used To Get Attack/Confronted All The Time As He Was Over 100 Pounds And On A Lead - I Never Held A Grudge Towards The Owner Of A Dog - I Only Went After The Dogs That Were On The Loose - I Am Sharing This Because You Can Let That Go - No Need To Feel "Lame" - It Is What It Is - Have A Brilliant Weekend And Keep On Keeping On


  12. and Olga's sudden lunge at the little dog is why I keep Minnie on a leash when we walk so I can yank her up in my arms if a loose dog starts running toward us. while most people keep their dogs in a fenced yard, too many people out here in the country let their dogs run loose. there are some streets in this little neighborhood I won't walk down with her.

    I need to trim up the edges of the flower beds now that the yard has been mowed.

  13. Weeds can get out of control . I try and keep things clean as I think in the end it is less work.

  14. I wonder why Olga lunged at that little dog. Such a bummer. Maybe a lead would be good for a little while.
    So surprising to see that article about Val Kilmer. I'm not sure I ever saw any of his films. When my family first moved to California in 1970 I got a job as an administrative assistant for a small company named Liberty Engineering. They made bolts and stuff for jets and rockets. The owner of that company was Gene Kilmer, Val's father. If I remember correctly I met Val once. Interestingly, at the same time my mom was the office manager for a doctor. The doctor's name was Lee Kudrow. His daughter is Lisa. I met her too. Our little brush with the famous!

  15. We're always finding surprise petunias - they're so hardy! I really need to spend some time doing some weeding & pruning this weekend.

    I'm glad you're getting to go back to work for a bit. Honestly, as much as I grouse about it, I'm SO THANKFUL that I've kept working all this time!

  16. WOW that article about Val is astonishing! My friend was a friend of his , well sort of, she slept with him after they got really stoned...he has been on the radar since Willow, what a hunky piece of work. Anyway, very interesting how he drags Mary Baker
    Eddy around like gum on his shoe- I am familiar with Christian
    Science having stayed with My auntie and Granny for weeks at a time, when I was young- and I will say it is as crazy as it seems. My cousin, Auntie's favorite, shot himself in the head behind the barn, Auntie called me and said it was illusion, it did not happen, it was not real...that all was perfect in God's sight. There may be a lot to the power of the mind though, she could do things that seemed divine,( there was always a logical explanation, really, but magical thinking can sway a child's mind)She brought a dead squirrel back to life, that impressed me more than anything, ( actually , looking back it was just stunned)
    Sorry Olga did that, if a Staffy did that here you know that they would be "put to sleep" -reputation, you understand and fear...

  17. Interesting reads and good writing. Thanks, and the flowers are gorgeous.

  18. I loved Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in "Tombstone".

  19. I think all dogs should be on a leash when they are out of their yards. Olga could have really injured the little dog and it could have been a child. No judgement about Olga, just that dogs can decide to bite for a variety of reasons.
    It must feel very good to see the tree you saved doing so well. Keep the pictures coming of its progress.
    Val Kilmer used to be so handsome. I liked him in Tombstone and also in Comanche Moon.

  20. Have you noticed that blue petunias have a scent? At least here in USA. Other petunias don't--I guess the smell must be carried on the "blue" gene.

    Maybe this inspired the petunia/onion patch song, which I remember with pleasure.

  21. Briony: I wish all the people who are standing outside clapping would elect a government that will properly fund the NHS and make sure its dedicated employees have the working standards they deserve!

    YP: What on earth makes you think I'm checking Facebook while I walk the dog? LOL

    Frances: I was nervous every time she got near another dog on our walk!

    Mitchell: Well, THAT seems excessive! Fortunately we're not quite that celebratory. I don't think I could take it.

    Lindsey: LOL! I actually THOUGHT OF YOU while I was standing out there clapping! I do sound quite loud, I gotta say.

    Ms Moon: I don't know that song at all! I'll have to look it up!

    Fresca: Your experience with the lilac is encouraging. I hope my tree does straighten up a bit. And yes, I'm ready to go back to work. (Although we have summer vacation beginning in about a month!)

    Sharon: I feel like I breathe easier every time I look at it!

    Edna: In England it's actually quite common to walk dogs off-leash, and Olga has always been fine. I can only remember one other time when she jumped another dog. Fortunately she never draws blood or does any damage. She's just asserting herself!

    Lilycedar: That's very possible. She does sometimes seem a bit achy after we walk, as I think I've mentioned in previous posts. We keep talking about starting her on glucosamine but we haven't done it yet.

    Padre: If I had to guess, I'd say the other dog growled. I didn't hear it, but I think that's probably what happened. And perhaps, as Lily said, Olga was achy and cranky to begin with.

    Ellen: But on the other hand, dogs want to check each other out, and I feel like I'm depriving her if I pull her away from every other dog she sees -- you know? Maybe I just need to pull her away from dogs that aren't a similar size.

    Red: I agree. You gotta do maintenance sometimes!

    Robin: That's a great story about Val Kilmer and Lisa Kudrow! So California!

    Bug: Yeah, of all the plants that I've seen re-seed themselves, petunias are probably the most common. Still, it's always an unexpected pleasure! Yes, I'll be happy to get back to work, even for a short time.

    Linda Sue: What a story! Christian Science is a very strange phenomenon. I still don't really understand it, but I've heard too many stories about people dying because they wouldn't seek medical care!

    E: You're welcome!

    Catalyst: You know, I've never seen that movie. I guess it's required viewing in Arizona, though.

    Penelope: Well, when I say she attacked the other dog, she didn't BITE it. She only snarled and knocked it around. I've never seen her draw blood on another animal. In England, as I said above, many people walk dogs without leads, and I can only remember one other time when Olga got in a scuffle. Having said that, I think I do need to be a little more careful with her in certain spaces.

    Sally S: I did not notice that! I need to check it out, along with that song!