Sunday, April 27, 2014

Queenie Helps With Gardening

...or, you know, not.

Yesterday I finally accepted the glaring truth that my blackberry vines had not, in fact, survived the polar vortex death spirals of this past winter.

I had been in denial about this for a while because I was secretly hoping that through sheer force of will and/or laziness I could force them to still be alive, since the prospect of chopping down all the brambles, hacking the gigantic root balls into manageable chunks, hauling the whole grim mess down four flights of stairs to the curb on garbage day, and then hauling replacement sacks of dirt and baby blackberry plants back up four flights of stairs was all just too horrible to contemplate.

I mean, we're talking about two separate blackberry trellises, each of which occupies about 35 square feet and grows from a box containing about 120 pounds of potting soil. Major hassle.

Sadly my superpowers of denial were only about 50% effective in this situation. The vines were incontrovertibly dead, but I saw some tiny tentative sprouts of new life emerging from the boxes, so it looked like the roots had survived and were sending up new vines. Which meant I could just chop down the old vines, resign myself to having zero blackberries this summer (the fruits grow on second-year canes and I had no surviving canes), and hope that the new vines grow up enough this year for the plants to be back in commission in 2015.

Good enough! I embarked on a chopping-and-boxing spree over the weekend, and I brought Queenie up to "help" because (a) she needed a bath; and (b) the deck is the only place on Earth where I can allow a new foster to roam around mostly unsupervised and not have to worry about either the dog or myself committing suicide as a result.

I did not count on how much she would delight in digging up and destroying my baby soybeans, though. My mistake. She actually didn't dig them up so much as she jumped on all the pots and stomped around in the dirt because whee!, now I'm taller!!, but the soybeans are equally dead either way.

Upon realizing this error, I brought the other dogs up to distract her. This worked... moderately well. As usual, Crookytail was MVP of Foster Dog Engagement.

Aw they have the same paw lift/swipe mannerism, isn't that cute.

Pongu, predictably, wanted no part of any of this, and wandered around trying to get me to do some obedience practice and tattling on the other dogs whenever they broke Rules.

He gets pretty smug about tattling on the other dogs, Pongu does.

So Queenie ended up pretty much only playing with Crookytail.

And that was their afternoon.

We are making pretty decent progress with Foster Dog Boot Camp. Queenie is pottying outside consistently (and woke me up this morning by insisting that she really needed to go, which she did, thereby establishing that she is well and truly reluctant to potty in her crate. Yay!, that's 90% of the potty training battle right there), getting better about walking on leash (she still whirls around me like a demented furry satellite, but at least she's not trying to kneecap me from behind anymore), and started clicker priming last night. We're probably about halfway to having a quasi-decent Sit and I expect I'll be able to get that on cue in another couple of days.

More updates later, for now it's time to knock out another photo session while I still have enough daylight to use.

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