Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dogs and green beans

When I lived in Kansas City, we had a backyard garden of sorts. We grew tomatoes, peppers, radishes, lettuce and squash. But the main staple of our garden was green beans. I was ever so proud when we had enough to can (if I wanted to), and enough to share with friends and neighbors. That is until we adopted two stray dogs we named Lady and Buttons. Adorable dogs that someone had dumped near the highway. My husband rescued them and brought them home for the kids.

Lovable and as cute as their names; Lady was a brown and white water spaniel, and buttons a solid black mix that we guessed as part terrier and part mutt. The kids loved those dogs, but I could never get them to take responsibility for their care. The dogs had never been housebroken, so we kept them mainly in the garage and in our big backyard. We weren't prepared for what happened next.

Over the course of the summer, our bean patch produced in abundance. When the dogs chased off the squirrels, I was delighted. After all, the squirrels had eaten the budding cantaloupes and my starter tomatoes, and sometimes they took big bites out of the older ripe ones. We had also battled crows and blackbirds that circled around to peck and poke. They were one reason why we had switched from corn to green beans.

When the beans were ready to harvest, I marveled at how many there were and how quickly they had grown. I was pleased with our efforts, until I washed them in the sink. Every sticky green bean, every fuzzy green leaf was covered with dog hair. While Buttons and Lady had romped through the garden scaring off birds and critters, they had left a trail of dog hair behind them.

I never could scrub all the hair off those beans. We finally had to give up on gardening all together. To this day, I marvel when I see a neat backyard garden, wondering what their secret to success is? Your comments are welcome.