Who Let The Dogs Out?


Who let the dogs out? Well, actually, I let some of them out, interrupting gardening chores today to help get the dogs out while most everyone was at the Reunion Picnic. Once a year, Homeward Bound takes over a local park where dogs from the “Class of 2000” on come together. It’s a great opportunity to see the results of our work in the happy faces of the adopted dogs and their humans. Here’s one group courtesy of my friend, Rob Kessel:


But what I was really referring to is how empty our “dorms” are after so many going-home celebrations last week. At least George will be on our list this week. Happy life, George!

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But don’t feel sad for those of us left behind today. It was blissfully quiet, with plenty of friends to keep us company.


The bunnies are surprisingly patient posers…


And the birds are nesting everywhere.

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They are so resourceful, hiding their nests in grape vines, shrubs and under chairs (leave it to the Killdeer!). But this one pretty much takes the cake.

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Speaking of bunnies…yes, indeed…they were the culprits. The dahlia replacements protected by chicken wire are alive and thriving.

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We have delicious apricots on the tree…


apples and grapes in our future…


just don’t ask about the lawn. We’re sacrificing it in favor of the beds this year with even more limitations on water.


By August, we’ll be brown, but today – the kennels are nearly empty, the garden is lovely, and all is well.

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“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” ~ Montaigne

Kiss of the evening sun


I arrived late to the garden on Saturday – after lending a hand with the dogs’ last evening run. Peggy had been out earlier in the day. She is a weeder-extraordinaire and her work was evident everywhere.


She happened upon a Killdeer egg. These silly birds have a nasty habit of leaving their eggs in the walk-on bark. The mama bird seeks camouflage – without consideration for the fact that this is a walking path. Peggy surrounded it with rocks to alert all.


Evening is my favorite time in the garden. It is especially beautiful – and peaceful –


as the sun lowers on the horizon and casts cool shadows after a day of baking sun.


“The kiss of the sun for pardon,


The song of the birds for mirth,


One is nearer God’s heart in a garden


Than anywhere else on earth.” ~ Dorothy Frances Gurney

Eve got a last walk through the garden. Blind – or nearly blind – and clearly a recent mom – she had been found wandering on the road. I wonder if this sweet girl knows how fortunate she is to have arrived here.


By morning, Peggy’s noble effort had been undone by some predator.


Luckily Mama had moved another to a safer hiding spot.


Our work starts anew.

“If the world could remain within a frame like a painting on the wall, I think we’d see the beauty then and stand staring in awe.” ~ Conor Oberst


The Garden as teacher

After a year of working in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden, I have – to my amazement – become a more patient gardener. I walk right past the impulse buy tables in the garden store.


Tempting as they are, I now favor these young divides –


trusting that they will grow into stronger, healthier plants that will shoot forth year after year.


This season, I will even experiment with seeds – something I never had the patience for before.


The gardeners and I have watched and learned what works and what doesn’t. Plant in mounds to avoid drowning in the winter rains…


Don’t cut back until after all frosts; it is colder in the country and our little friends need their cover…


And tulips belong in pots, well out of bunny reach!


Last year was all about planning and planting; this season is about waiting.


Including sitting out this Killdeer’s brood; 3-4 weeks incubation time after the last egg is laid. Her nest is so well-known to us that we leave it marked with a little statue for her return each year. No digging here for at least three more weeks, yet she allows us to walk within a couple of feet of her without too much fuss.


“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”~ Gertrude Jekyll