The Garden Is Dead, Long Live The Garden!

You might remember that I got my garden in recently.   If not, you can review my progress here:  Blood, Bug Guts, and Cow Manure

It was with great satisfaction that I put that last plant in.  Such anticipation!

But this morning the garden was a devastating sight.  The plants were black and wilted.  The garden is dead.  At least most of it is.  It just doesn’t seem fair that a few days ago it was 90F, but this morning we had frost.  A June 1st frost!  That is insane, even for Maine!

So now it’s time to find some replacement plants and try again.  I’m going to wait a few days, though.  We’re supposed to have frost again tonight.  My father would have been furious with Mother Nature if this happened to him.  I have to admit, I’m not too happy with her, either.


Nothing is Safe!!!


See him up there?  The black dog with the soulful eyes chewing his toy basket and not his toys?  That’s Walter.  He’s cute, isn’t he? Walter is full of deviltry.  He is most definitely the Devil’s spawn.  Due to his exceptional size for an 11-month-old dog, this is concerning.  He weighs 130 pounds and has at least another six months of growth ahead of him.  He’s a demon now.  When he grows up he’s going to be a monster.



Some of you may remember the time Walter ate chocolate and we gave him something to make him purge it.  Up came the chocolate AND an SOS pad.  Steel wool is not good for the insides of a puppy.  Walter doesn’t care.  It was there so he ate it.  Even SOS pads aren’t safe.  Nothing is safe!

For the past two days, I have come home to find houseplants all over the floor with wet dirt decorating my rugs.  Walter!!!  He even took a couple of them and dissected them in the tub.  The bathroom floor was covered, as was the living room floor.  The next day I knew I had thwarted him.  I was jubilant as I left the house.  There was no way he was going to get those plants again!  I was wrong.  He grabbed them from a shelf that is over 5 feet tall.  This dog is not fooling around!  Nothing is safe on the top shelf of tall bookcases!

I’ve started putting things on the top of the fridge, but I fear for them there as well.  He can reach the cabinet above the counter.  He can climb and reach anywhere.  I swear he’s part goat.  Wait, doesn’t the Devil have horns like a goat?  There’s something to think about right there!

I pondered the possibility of hanging things from the ceiling, but then I remembered that they are tin and I really didn’t want to see the big holes that would surely be made when Walter was big enough to grab things up there and pull them down for his own amusement.  You think I’m kidding?  I’m not.  I am sure that nothing is safe, even on the ceiling!

Not long ago, I came home from a day away to find yarn all over the floor.  This was puzzling because the only place I had yarn was in my yarn bag and that was zipped.  He’s eaten my yarn bag!  No, the yarn bag was intact but unzipped.  Walter has learned how to unzip things!  It must be a fluke!  How does a dog unzip anything?  I continued to clean up the mess that he had created in the living room.  It looked like a tornado had come through and then returned to finish off what it missed the first time around.   Then I saw it, there was my mini knapsack ALSO UNZIPPED!!!  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about this.  How do you teach a dog to stop unzipping things?  Nothing is safe even behind a zipper!

Then I remembered another of Walter’s indiscretions. A few weeks before the unzip fiasco I found a book on the floor. I thought to myself “Oh great, Walter got another one of my books.”  Then I looked a little more closely and saw that it was a book about Great Danes.  Of the thousands of books in this house, he picked that one.  Maybe he was trying to do his family tree, I don’t know.  He certainly enjoyed the paper that came from trees when he chewed the pages of the book!


I noticed that he left the part of the cover extolling a special chapter called “Understanding the Great Dane.”  Perhaps I should read that again.  Maybe I should memorize it.

The next book I found that had been “de-covered” was “The Only Dog Training Book You’ll Ever Need.”   There couldn’t have been a better choice.  Had he learned to read, as well?  The cover was gone and the pages were dog-toothed, as opposed to dog-eared.


My only hope is that he absorbed some of the information in that book while he digested it.  Maybe he did.  Today I walked in the door and there was a dustpan brush in the middle of the kitchen floor.  I like to think that he has observed me using that dustpan brush every time I come home…due to his indiscretions.  He was trying to be helpful and retrieved it for me so I wouldn’t have to grab it.  That has to be it!  Yes, I’m hallucinating.  Yes, I’ve lost my mind.  Nothing is safe!


I’m a Contrarian…When I’m Not

Throughout my life, I’ve marched to a different drummer.

Most little girls play with dolls but I played with stuffed animals.

My mother would make dinner and I would want anything other than what she put on the table.

My Mom was orderly and tidy.  My room looked like a hurricane had hit it…twice!

My friends wanted to play with hula hoops and I wanted to play tether ball.

So many people are early risers.  I’m a late sleeper.

I refused to meet my high school requirements.

In college, I took the classes I wanted and not the core subjects.

I was a tree-hugger working for a paper company.

Most people eat meat.  I’m a vegetarian.

The majority of people have kids.  I have dogs and cats.

Most plant hybrids.  I plant heirlooms.

Sane people dress warmly for winter, it’s been three years since I’ve worn socks.

A lot of people like new cars, I prefer old cars that are unique

Many people hate heat, I say: “bring it on!”

My husband loves folk music…don’t get me started!


The list goes on and on. So many times over the course of my life people have pointed out that I’m a contrarian.  I’ve had it!  Everyone under the sun says that!  How dare they?  I shouted to masses: “You are all wrong!  I am not a contrarian!”  It was only then that I realized that they might have a point.




Dirt Under My Fingernails

Summer is finally here in central Maine.   Traditionally, Maine gardeners in my neck of the woods plant their gardens over Memorial Day weekend.  For many, it’s a tradition. It’s like putting on the storm windows after the Skowhegan Fair (mid-August.)   It’s like putting your snow tires on November 1st.  Or taking them off on May 1st because that’s the law.  Damn it, there might be another late spring storm!  I’ve seen it snow in May.  Yeah, it was may years ago and it only dusted the ground, but it happened!  Sorry, I got sidetracked there a little bit, but suffice it to say; I was late getting the plants in.

Yup, planting over Memorial Day weekend is a tradition for sure.   There would have been some serious tsking going on if my father had been a tsker.  He wasn’t, but all I could imagine was the look of disappointment on his face.  He would have planted his veggie seeds indoors in March so they would be ready for the proper weekend.  I hadn’t even bought pregrown plants!   I was really late.

Now in my defense, it was a very cold and rainy spring.  People who planted their gardens in mid-late May grumbled about their plants’ suffering.  I didn’t grumble because I didn’t have any plants to suffer.  I was smart!  I didn’t have to cover any of them up because there could be a late frost.  Nope, no late frost, it was me who was late!

As the season progressed and Memorial Day passed, it got warmer and I started to get the itch.  All gardeners get it.  I was itching to get my hands in the soil.  I must plant something!  Then I didn’t.  I was beyond late.

I don’t know exactly why I didn’t plant. In spite of the itch, I had a big case of apathy going on.  And you know what that meant?  I know, I don’t even have to say it.

Then I finally did it!  I went to the greenhouse and bought a few plants.  Yup, I was awesome.  I bought those plants with gusto.  There was no stopping me in the buying-plants department.  I was all over it.  I know the greenhouse people looked at me and wondered why I was there so late in the season picking over what was left.  I saw their stupid judgy faces. They know me there, and they know I’m better than this.  I didn’t care, I went on my plant-buying spree and no one was going to stop me!

That was a week ago.  The plants were wilting in the sunroom so I watered them.  They looked pitiful sitting there in their dinky little six-packs.  But I left them there.  The apathy continued.  Till something awesome happened.

We have a gal named Wendy who comes to clean, landscape, dog-sit, you name it.  Wendy came today.  Now Wendy isn’t like an ordinary employee who has always has set tasks.  When she comes, she never knows exactly what she’ll be doing, and neither do I.  It’s kind of a free-for-all.  She sees something that needs doing and she does it.  I might have a suggestion or two, but Wendy’s got it handled.

When I got up I realized that Wendy was weeding the garden beds.  It was like she’d read my apathetic mind.  I shouldn’t have been surprised because this mind-reading thing is something she’s good at, at least when it comes to me.  This ability should scare her because reading my mind can be like a rollercoaster on acid, but we’re both very lucky because she’s unflappable.  No acid-tripping carnival ride was going to flap her, no siree!

There she was, bent over some unsuspecting dandelions.  Those weeds didn’t have a chance.  She got every weed, every root, every tiny bit of offensive green.  I think she sifted the soil for errant seeds.  Those beds were pristine!  I almost cried.

The only things she left were the onions and cilantro that reseeded from last year.  Hey, look at my cilantro and onions!  They look awesome!  As I was making that fantastic proclamation, Wendy rolled her eyes.

Fine. FINE!  I went and got my sad little plants.  I planted them except for those I suddenly decided needed to be planted in the bed she was still weeding.  SHE was holding me up!   Damn Wendy!

Apparently, I missed the grass-clipping altercation.  Just as Wendy was finishing the beds Bill came by with the lawn mower and blew grass clippings onto the beds and my new plants.  I think there were words.  I think Wendy won.  I was assured it will never happen again.

I still have to get those last plants that Wendy prevented me from planting in the ground, but I still felt really proud of myself.  So what if it took Wendy’s eye roll to set me in motion?  I have dirt under my fingernails and my cilantro and onions look awesome!