Category Archives: dog

End of April, garden update

It’s been a while since I last updated everyone on the state of my garden. It seems I have spent more time than I originally thought necessary dog proofing not only my garden, but also building a 6′ fence to keep our pup in the yard, and then reinforcing it with wire at the bottom to prevent her from digging her way out.IMG_8491

However, little by little I am catching up on what I have to get accomplished in the garden before the start of the planting season the second week in May. As in previous years, I have changed a few things around to simplify the care of the plants and planting area, and the garden is starting to look pretty snazzy.IMG_8516 IMG_8517

Last year I had a bit of trouble keeping the green cabbage looper caterpillars at bay, in spite of the frequent use of neem oil spray they seemed to find their way into some of my cabbage and cauliflower and ended up destroying some of it. This spring I planted most of the brassicas in one of the narrow beds where I had sown lettuce seed last fall. I covered the bed with tulle fabric to prevent the white butterfly from laying her eggs on their favorite food plants.IMG_8478 IMG_8505IMG_8558

The construction of the tulle tunnel was very simple, I drove six 1/2″x3′ pieces of rebar into the ground, just outside the bed, leaving 3/4′ still out of the ground. I inserted the exposed rebar into pvc pipe forming 3 loops over the garden bed, over which now hangs the tulle.  I am holding the tulle in place with plastic shop clamps. The best thing about this arrangement is that I can raise the sides of the netting and keep it up out of my way as needed, and when the weather changes I can easily transform the tunnel into a mini greenhouse by simply replacing the tulle with plastic.IMG_8553 IMG_8557 IMG_8555

I have decided to grow some of the most aggressive climbers, tomatoes, peas, beans, cukes, out of the garden beds. I have already planted some seed in my homemade grow bags,  and have moved the net trellises away from the beds so they are free standing on the west side of the garden where I had some bamboo contraptions last year.IMG_8564

I am trying again to grow potatoes in bags, the experiment last year worked quite well, and even though we are not much of a potato consumer family, it makes for a great show if you have kids come and visit for a harvest celebration.IMG_8570 IMG_8568

The plastic that covered the greenhouse I used last year did not hold for another growing season. I picked up the frame and brought it up to the new fenced-in garden area, and re-covered it with thick plastic, it should hold for a while.IMG_8549IMG_8522

The compost pile I left cooking all winter has started to produce some black gold, but mining it had become an issue. The screen I had made a few years ago was a bit heavy duty,  it was also rather large and just plain heavy.  I always ended up with lower back ache after using it IMG_8563 IMG_8552

At the end of last season I made a new one out of a 10 gal Rubbermaid plastic tote. I simply cut a rectangular section off the bottom of the tote, inserted a piece of 1/2X1/2″ wire from the old screen, and fastened it with zip ties (best invention ever).  This new gadget is very light weight, it has nice handles, and can be easily lifted and shaken to separate the fine stuff. With the rest of the wire I made seedling protectors to keep squirrels and birds from digging where I have just planted.IMG_8559 IMG_8561IMG_8537 IMG_8538IMG_8562

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New love.

I did not plan on being there. I had no intentions of meeting any one. I was not looking for her, I swear. But I turned that corner, and she caught my eye. There was a small crowd gathered around her, engaging her, trying to get her attention. She is stunning, I thought as I got a second glance…I guess I have always had a soft spot for blue eyed girls.

Funny, one minute I am content with my life, the next I am thrown out for a spin.  I pretend to not to look at her, but I get closer. Look cool, look cool, don’t make eye contact…I noticed her looking at me…did she wink at me?   No! Can’t do that! Not at my age? What am I thinking of? What would Beth and the kids say? We’ve got plans… It is useless, now I am standing in front of her, she turns her head to look away from me, I cannot resist reaching out to touch her.

My hand is met by her shiny wet cold nose. She shyly licks my fingers, and I see a sign on the crate, it reads “Adopt me, PANDA”. The name fits like a glove, her striking gray-black markings on white fur do remind me of the cute bears, but her one ice-blue eye and bandit face mask give her an intriguing sort of mischievous look. “Do you want me to take her out of the crate” a nice volunteer offered. I am confused, I have resisted the urge to have a dog for over 30 years, I do not want any attachments, not now, we are almost empty nesters… “Yes, please” I answered immediately.

Her coat was as smooth as it looked. She felt a bit on the thin side, but looked alert and happy to be held. The lady let me pet her and said “she is only 4 months old, she needs a nice home”. Can’t do this, not without talking to Beth… “can I take her picture” I ask the lady, and right after send it as a text to Beth with a simple question “Yes?”. IMG_5969

No immediate response, few minutes pass NOTHING! It was a crazy idea anyways, it would not work, but I really want her, and Hunter has been asking for a dog since forever…No text back. “If I wanted to adopt her what do I have to do?” I ask the volunteer, somewhat not really sure what to do if she’d say ” here, just take her”. She gives me a form and tells me, “please fill this out first, and I’ll have the manager evaluate it”.

It was not easy, while I was filling out the form a couple had stopped to look at Panda, they wanted to fill an application too. I failed the adoption interview, the manager had to make sure all people in the household wanted a dog. Beth was nowhere to be found, and Hunter was at home, both of them clueless of what was going on.

I left the adoption tent, not even looking at any other dog. A few minutes later I got a call from Beth “so, what’s going on?”. I explained, and asked how soon could she get to the adoption tent. We agreed to meet back at the tent once I had a chance to get Hunter from home. I ran back to the tent to tell them I was bringing my family in but the manager told me “sorry, the couple that was here right after you is taking her, I have your number in case it does not work”.

On a hunch, I still decided to go home to get my son, and drive back to meet Beth at the tent as planned. When we got back, I see the couple walking outside with Panda and another dog. They recognized me, and came by “we went home to see if she would get along with our dog, I am not sure it will work” she tells me….Yeah!!

On our second interview with the manager, this time as a family, we nailed it! We were allowed to adopt her. Our older sons came home to meet her the day after we got her. They reacted as I had hoped, everyone has embraced her as a part of our family.IMG_5853 IMG_2034 IMG_2033

In two days, it will be 4 weeks since she moved in. What an awesome pup she is. We are still not sure what kind of parents she had (best guess is Husky-Terrier mix), or even how big she will end up being (the people from the shelter guessed about 70 lbs, but the vet thinks she will top off at 45 lbs). She is an active dog very strong and lightning fast. Panda is also very smart, in the short time she has been with us she has already trained us to a few-times-a-day walking routine, and for that she has rewarded us with very few mishaps in the house. IMG_5911 IMG_5932

We have also taken her hiking, and because of her we are finding more reasons to go out on a hike early in the morning on Sundays. We are all learning to play fetch, and even have fun going to the dog park.IMG_2976IMG_2975IMG_2964IMG_2990 IMG_5899 IMG_5948 IMG_5957

Owning a dog is certainly not easy, it is a long term commitment, but it feels like we were overdue for it. I have caught Beth a couple of times sitting of the floor petting and talking to Panda, they both seemed to be smiling.IMG_5777