Next Year’s Garden

Today I raced outside during an all too brief sunbreak to clean up the vegetable garden.  But before I did that, I cleaned out our old dog crate.  It has been a year and a half since our Golden Retriever, Bunter left us and I was surprised at the tears that welled up while I was scrubbing with hot, soapy water.    I recalled the first night she spent in it, crying most of the night and how Mr. and I took turns opening the door, tucking her 8 lbs of sweet-smelling puppy fur into our sweatshirts for a trip outside to potty.  We used this crate in the back of our pick up to ferry her to and from the park for a walk when we lived in Kirkland.  The neighbors swore that every time we took her out of that crate, she was bigger than when she went in.    Once,  my sister-in-law opened the crate door to let her out and Bunter knocked her on her keister.  The last time we used this crate was when we moved her to Whidbey Island.   Here she is with her, “I’m so hurt” look.

Bunter’s first day on Whidbey.

I cleaned the crate because we are hoping to get a new dog.  I say hoping because we are in line to get an English Shepherd and since these dogs are bred to be working dogs, most of them go to ranches where there are cattle, sheep, or poultry to herd.  We don’t have animals yet.  We are planning chickens sometime soon.  We are also hoping to train our new dog to chase deer and rabbits out of the garden, to keep an eye on the property and the grandkids.  Most importantly, I want this dog to keep me company and remind me to get outside and enjoy nature.  Maybe we’ll even try agility . . . . .  But for the next seven weeks, all we can do is wait to see what the breeder observes in the litter.

Can I have a garden AND a dog?  In my mind, yes and I don’t want to be without either of them, thank-you very much.  My grandmother once told me that at two years of age I wanted to follow the sheep on their ranch, and that she encouraged my mother to let me do so.  Did the ranch dog supervise?  I like to think so.   The first birthday present that I can remember is my dog Tippy being carried through the front door by my father.   All through my childhood there were dogs in our neighborhood.  Some regal like the German Shepherd Teddy Moe and some Scooby-do-esque, like the slobbery mutt Spike who reliably showed up when you had an ice cream cone or were trying to hide from somebody.   In those days, we had few fences and dogs just roamed the woods with us kids.

Bunter gradually learned where in the garden she was allowed and where she was supposed to stay out of .  (She also learned to pick her own raspberries and pull her own carrots.)   My friend, D. has a garden AND a Great Dane.  I will likely be consulting her next spring when I wonder what the heck I was thinking and I’ll pass along her wisdom. Can I have a perfect garden and a dog? Obviously not.   But what is a perfect garden anyway?  Is it a garden without weeds?  If that, then a garden without the song of birds, who drop salmon berry seed all along the fence line.  Is it a garden without deer or rabbits?  If that, then a garden without fawns or bunnies.   Is it a garden where everything I plant succeeds?  If that, then I miss the powerful sound of the wind and the quiet of the snow.  It would be a place I hardly recognize as a garden.

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1 Comment »

  1. Can’t wait… Poppy is going to be such fun!

    Comment by Rob — October 25, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

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