I putter in the yard a lot.
When you have a string of pots with 25 species of plants in an average sized suburban yard, it tends to take a
little bit of time to do a yard inspection.
I’m out there twice a day, at least, and every day regardless of the weather.
Ok, there really are exceptions. I don’t think I went out there that day that Hurricane Irma was blowing her nasty head all over the entirety of the Florida Peninsula, but cut me a little bit of slack.
We have, all over the perimeter of the yard, plantings. They have been discovered by my dog, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM), as well as Lettie who proceeded him and came down here with us from Philadelphia.
The plantings have also been discovered by the creatures that are trying to live in this yard. We’ve got two species of lizard here on a daily basis. They’re small enough to be entertaining and not a threat. There have been rare snakes, opossums, raccoons, iguanas, and of course neighbor’s cats that come through here.
The cats don’t belong. If you want a pet, keep them safe inside your home or on a leash. Can’t manage that, don’t have one. It keeps them alive longer.
For the most part whenever Rack explores, and I rattle around the plants, we don’t see anything out there. They hear us and move away.
With all this propagation going on, I’m kept entertained.
Monarch butterflies spot the Mexican Milkweed and eat it all to sticks. When the sticks get long, and begin to re-leaf, I take cuttings and stick them in pots. If I get seeds, the park gets them scattered there to return the favor of the original milkweed plants from years back.
Orchid pots are designed to rot away so that the plants can eat the nutrients. When they do, they need re-potting and you can split the plants into two or more.
Banana trees constantly regrow and are bursting through the pot I have them in. I’ll need a better solution but frankly unless you want to live in a banana grove that won’t happen. Pots it will be. Bananas are growing too, so I’ll have a treat further down the line.
All the while that I am doing that I am being watched. Granted, there are flocks of feral parrots that fly overhead screeching their call to flock, and a random scrawny squirrel that dines on Palm Nuts out of the trees on the property. Those squirrels would be laughed at up North. They’re about half the size of the ones up there.
No, I mean by my own dog Rack.
You see he goes through and does his own plant inspection and waters pots too. Thankfully not my food crops, but he does have his spots behind the hedges and under the Podocarpus.
Sometimes he’ll want to start running around so I’ll get distracted from considering the pruning of the Condo Mango tree that isn’t supposed to get more than 10 feet tall but is getting close. Usually we’ll get into our dance where he’ll run around like crazy to burn off steam. When he does, he will make these sharp turns around the obstacles in the yard at a speed that a hockey player would only dream of, and with grace a ballerina would aspire to.
In a short blast of air, he vanishes into a wormhole and visits his alternate family in the alternate universe. Coming back out of warp, he slows down to conventional speed and will run around some more.
Meanwhile, I’ve gone back to being boring and puttering around the yard. Fretting over the black mold that will grow on the concrete in cold seasons, or debating whether to break apart the Lemongrass that is now over 8 feet tall and swaying in the breezes making me want to make Thai food.
This is when I will feel the weight of his eyes. He will appear. He will tell me that he wants something else.
You see, instead of having a kid running around screaming at me, I have a four footed McNab Dog staring me down. Smartest of all breeds, along with all the other smart ones, he knows how to get his point across.
If I ignore him, I do so at my own peril.
He was mistreated before I got him. Most likely removed from his mother too early, and then the first owner tried to convince him to be a hunting dog, he was an owner surrender. I would say that his allergies to grain and poultry based food had a lot to do with that. He came to us with worms that had to be treated three times, and a crushing fear of everything that he still shows from time to time.
However, I am his main person. Wherever he is, he is watching me, or at least where I am. If I am doing something and he wants a change, I find two brown eyes staring holes through my soul. He will sit at my feet and block me from moving on.
That is a herding behavior, modified. As a result of his rough start, his play drive is warped as well as his herding drive. If we are out and not going where he wants us to, he circles in front of me, looks up, and blocks my path.
Usually I give in, but that cuts my own walk short.
In this case, we’re in the yard. I’ve bored him. Plants are for peeing on, not for propagating to make fresh herbs for a pizza.
Come on, lets go! I’m Bored! say the brown eyes.
Just like a kid. “Ok, Rack, Show Me!”.
He trots to the door with a smile on his face.
“Show Me” is something I have always taught dogs. They can’t talk but they surely are expressive. They will take you to what they need or what they think you need. It isn’t always treats, it can be just the door or the leash. This makes things simple.
It also stops the bored dog by giving him a hand in what he wants to do.
Show Me, indeed. “Ok Boy, I’m coming, let’s go in.”
“Anybody want to go for a walk?