Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Doggone weeds!

That adorable dog you see above this post came to us with a hidden talent. I don't know if he was trained to do this or not, but he's an uncanny gardener's assistant. I awoke early today and discovered that it was cooler than usual, so I decided to spend some quality time outside, first watering and weeding in our Uptown Community Garden (and only was divebombed twice by the aggressive birds), then weeding my fallow garden.

Despite every dog training authority's advice, I let our dachshund, Klaus, join me in the garden. He's an energetic guy, and he loves to be in the sunshine. I'd also seen his gardening streak once or twice before, so I thought he might be helpful.

Understatement of the year. We had an old cabbage plant that was well past its prime, so I was breaking it down and deciding whether to remove the roots or let it regrow. Klaus found the thick stem I was working on and set about destroying it, systematically, then chewing up the six-inch stem and spitting it out. Compost, anyone?

He's most effective, however, in clearing sections of the garden. If I start pulling out grass or clover, he essentially pushes me out of the way and gets to work. He digs and digs, and, as he finds roots or vines, pulls those with his teeth. It's really remarkable to watch, because he's very focused on the task and does not generalize it to digging the entire yard.

Poor guy, though, he got plenty of dust in his nose, and now he's sitting next to me, sneezing. And falling asleep. Gardening is hard work, after all.