Category Archives: garden


Hank has been living with us for the past 3 weeks. He is our fifth dog and our third Golden Retriever.  Hank is the first dog I am determined to train so that he becomes compliant and well-mannered. To that end, I have been reading several books about dog training/raising including one text by the “Dog Whisperer” and another old stand-by about raising a puppy you can live with. Hank sleeps in a crate every night which Craig calls his crib. It’s supposed to mimic the wolf caves from ancient times. Hank actually does love his crate and goes there during the day for naps. We put him to bed for the night around 8pm and he no longer cries.

I am vigilant about training Hank to do his business in the outdoors. His preference is to visit the lush carpeting under the pine boughs. His next favorite are the mulched garden beds. I take him through the vegetable garden every morning where he runs up and down the rows. We have not seen one rabbit or deer in the garden since Hank’s arrival. We’re hoping the rabbits moved next door.

Hank wakes up every morning around 4:30am. I take him outside and then back onto the porch. He falls back to sleep if I stay there, crunched on the small couch under a big blanket. If we’re lucky, he sleeps for another hour. Then it’s breakfast, another trip to his favorite toilette and I wake up. We go for a walk that has become a routine. Past the pond garden, around the tennis court, down the driveway (two deer ran in front of us today) and then back up the driveway. Hank sniffs around until he figures out that I am gaining. He runs to catch up and then starts sniffing again. We end our walk with an inspection of the vegetable garden. I have been picking cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, raspberries and blueberries. Hank runs around in the raspberry bushes and helps himself to a morning snack. We return home and he collapses for a two hour nap.

I decided to take him to work at the residential treatment center last week. Used the “ask for forgiveness, not permission” philosophy. The residents jumped up and down, squealed and took turns holding Hank. I had never seen them all so joyful, caring and loving. I had the best therapy session with my client who tends to ruminate about the existential hopelessness of the universe. She was positive and smiled for most of an hour.  I have decided that Hank is a natural therapy dog. He’s been great for me. Gets me walking two miles every day, watching much less tv and generally soaking up unlimited affection.

Every Day is Mother’s Day

I protest this commercialized, insincere and contrived holiday. Every day is mother’s day, or kid’s day, or father’s day or people’s day. I feel loved and appreciated every day.

Spinach that was planted nearly one month ago

Spinach that was planted nearly one month ago

It’s been a joy to work outdoors today. The weather is blissfully warm with just a tincture of breeze. I planted several kinds of seeds last month during the two week tropical splurge. The lettuce did not take and neither did most of the peas. But, the spinach endured and looks quite healthy.

Patio Garden

Patio Garden

I am so happy about the patio garden which was started over seven years ago. It is especially beautiful in the spring. The urns that sit to either side of the table are filled with grasses and strawberry plants. The bunnies help themselves to the ripening berries in June and July. The tomato seedlings that were growing in the “pigpen” are now acclimating to the outdoors. The wind stimulates sturdy stalks and the direct sunlight nurtures them at full strength.

Freshly mulched garden

I’ve been thinking about creating a garden bed on this side of the patio for years. We worked side by side for an hour and got it done. Just enough mulch and more than enough newspapers. Mulching is an excellent use of the Caledonian-Record. My friend Clara is donating her primroses in exchange for a few tomato plants.

Grape Hyacinths and daffodils in bloom.

Grape Hyacinths and daffodils in bloom.

Sometimes think about getting rid of the grass in this area and planting all flowers. I think there might be some rumbling from the husband department. Maybe not, he has been designing a beautiful garden in the corral. Soon, it will be all flower beds and paths.

Tomato Plants Taking over the Kitchen on April 8

April 8 Tomatoes 002

Transplanted tomatoes for the second time. Used bamboo stakes tied with old nylons. Woo hoo.

April 8 003

Eggplants are thriving.

We bought an arbor for the vegetable garden today. The three electric wires that constitute our garden gate need to go. Craig is designing a gate that will fit inside of the arbor. We’ll plant viney flowers to grow along the trellis. Also took a look at garden sheds. Found an adorable small building at Lowe’s. Now that we plan to double the size of the vegetable garden, we need a convenient place to store tools. Just as we were cashing out our purchases, we spied the perfect water fountain for the corral garden. It will have to wait for another shopping trip. Craig spent a considerable amount of time showing me fence posts at Lowe’s and Home Depot. It’s really a stretch to show sincere interest in metal versus wood fence posts. In addition, there are several sizes to choose from. I don’t expect him to look at shoes …