Gardening with Dogs

It is supposed to rain early tomorrow morning so my goal today was to get the leaves in the back yard raked – off the paved areas so as not to be a deadly slip hazard when wet and off what passes as the lawn in the hope that rain and sunlight will work their magic and I will end up with more vegetation than dirt in that area.

I don’t ban the dogs when I am doing yard work -they are, by necessity left out of so much I do. So they were out there enjoying my hard work.  Let me note here that Scout seems to be the only dog that understands the trajectory of rakes and brooms and is able to figure out my likely path as well.  She is the only one who doesn’t lay down where I am about to rake nor directly in front of the push broom.   Good dog Scout.

The dogs helped out for a while by breaking up the branches and sticks littering the yard into smaller pieces. This makes them easier to rake but of course makes more of them to be picked up. Making little one out of big ones sufficed to amuse them until I raked the leaves away from what was apparently a lost cat poop burial ground. Sage found it first, pawing small holes in the ground and snacking. Then Pilot noticed him. then Scout, who both proceeded to growl at Sage and each other, hoping to intimidate their way to a treat. Sage ignored them and continued to snack. (Contributes to my theory that aggression does not increase viability – non-aggressive animals eat and breed while aggressive ones fight over food and mates.)

By the time the dogs exhausted that activity, I had filled up what I think is a pretty large yard waste dumpster provided by the city. The walks were clear but the “lawn” barely touched. So I decided to rake all the leaves into the area under large tree that doesn’t grow anything but a lush crop of sour grass. It is too uneven to attempt a lawn. I have visions of it being some sort of rock/shade garden some day. In the meantime, I figure the leaves will make a good mulch to suppress weed growth and will decompose into some fine planting mix for when I am ready to try the garden. Of course it is at the short side of the lawn area. I had to rake all the leaves the length of the yard. Luckily it is a very small yard.

I piled the leaves along the edge of the would be garden. From here I can heave them with the rake across the garden area. I noticed some large branches the dogs had missed and decided to remove them from the mix first. The dogs looked so forelorn as I broke the sticks and stuffed them in the dumpster that I relented and gave Pilot, Sage and Scout each a stick to chew on. (Fanny doesn’t do sticks.) At least I tried to give each a stick. Turns out Sage was willing to take them all and the other two only wanted the one Sage had. That worked though. Sage gleefully bounced away with his stick, chased by Scout. They proceeded not to chase around the yard, but instead bounced and spun donuts in the piles of leaves. Pilot didn’t engage in the chase but just lunged stiff-legged at them and barked. This inspired Fanny to cheer them on by barking also. I let it go on hoping the neighbors would not begrudge us our little celebration.

After spreading the leaves back over about a third of the yard, the fun ended and I was able to rake the piles back into order and spread them in the garden-to-be. Took a bit longer than if I had banished the dogs but at least no one was left out.

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