Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Reluctant Gardener?



It has been almost two months since my surgery and I am feeling better and better. I am walking with Murphy after work most nights, and I am trying to walk a little further each time, even if it is just a few more steps.
I don't mean to say I am having trouble getting around, because I am not, but my stamina needs work plus I am pretty tired after a full day at the office. Murphy is patient to a point. There are times I wish I had a leash that was twice as long as the extra long retractable one I have now, just so he could run without coming to the end so soon. He is frequently running full out until the leash runs out, and jerking himself by the neck, and me by the shoulder joint.
When I ask him to, he is very good about walking next to me, "heeling" without pulling. We have been working on that since he was a tiny little boy and first walked at the end of a leash. The best thing I learned from the Dog Whisperer was how to position the leash (when he was big enough to have it around his neck) and train him to walk next to me. Not only is it good physical exercise, but it is good mental exercise. He has to read my pace and direction and restrain himself from pulling lest Mommy be displeased. He is such a Goldie...all he wants is to please me. All he wants is to be with me. I feel the same way about him.
We are lying in bed right now, in the middle of the afternoon. We have both had a very busy day out in the yard.
Murphy stayed on his tether and I raked up piles of dead grass burrs. Last year I took the weed killer "Round Up" and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed all the evil, sharp, stickery, pokey, paw hurting, finger infecting, ankle scratching little sh-ts......they apparently were the prefered food of the Carolina Parakeet who is now extinct. So Humanity's punishment for not taking care of that bird is to suffer the grass burr.
My back yard is partially saharan desert. Other areas, under trees or in shadow, are able to sustain life. The middle section is pure sand and grass burrs are also known as sand burrs and are the only thing that volunteers to grow in that nutrient poor soil.
So I, the intrepid home owner, did some research and found that an agressive grower could choke out the grass burr. Something that puts nitrogen into the soil would make the grass burr evacuate the premises. I settled on clover seed. I had visions of puffy mounds of soft green clover, growing where once there was nothing but sand and burrs. White clover flowers blooming and making the bees and the deer happy. And no more sharp points in my baby's paws.
Last year we had a drought and I was working longer hours and I guess had other priorities...so I ordered the seed but did not plant it. Today...I planted some of it! I took my big rake and I scratched in the dirt. I walked back and forth over 1/2 an acre. I raked up the old dead burr bodies and made tiny furrows for my clover. I watered the earth so the tiny clover seeds would stick and not float away on the breeze. I spread the clover seed with a spreader that spun the seed out three fee on either side as I walked up and down and back and forth. I watered again, and I used my shoe to sweep a bit of dirt over the fallen seed.
It was HOT! Of course I chose a day in May when it decided to be almost 80 degrees! We probably broke records since the normal is in the mid 60s...my personal favorite temperature.
It was also buggy. The black flies....my arch nemisis...were relentless. Despite my deep woods off, including reapplications throughout the day, they were intent on getting into my ears, eyes, nose and yes...down my throat. My practice of compassion for all living things draws the line with things that feed on me. IF I thought too long and too hard on that I would see the how that does not fit in my big picture...but for this weekend I pray for a black fly holocaust...
(Tune in later for more thoughts on gardening and killing black flies)

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