Monday, June 23, 2008

the downside of gardening

PS: This is what you get for glorifying gardening to the extreme. (read earlier post first if you haven't already...)

Yesterday, the professor spread compost on the garden from our compost pile. It was, you know, mostly degraded. Actually, no, it still stunk. It was apparently "nitrogen rich" and good "anaerobic activity" and a lot of other scientist mumblety-jumble that I ignored. I worried about whether it would kill the new tomato plants, since it was pretty strong. No, the professor said, it was fine...and the smell would diminish in a few days, it would break down in the sun. All was good, he said, and he went off to pack for a conference and field trip to Mississippi this week. ASIDE: folks think that professors take summers off. NOT. My professor spends most of his summer doing field research, conferences, and helping students with summer research. It's very busy here! I even fit in some writing and designing!

So, Harry the dog loves him some stinky stuff. As a puppy, he rolled in things a few times...and got the requisite bath outside with the hose as punishment. (he's not a fan of water.) Guess who decided to get into that compost in the garden? YUCKO.

First, I just thought it was his paws, and I cleaned those off. Then, we had a series of small disasters. The professor took his computer to the back porch, sat on the wooden bench, and proceeded to do something online. Harry went to snack on stinky compost. He also decided that his collar and silky long Setter ears needed compost conditioner, so he somehow applied that new garden formula generously throughout his fur.

The wooden bench on the porch collapsed. The professor said "Help!" but when I rushed over to see what was wrong, all I saw his leg, the computer, and figured he was saying "Hey" to a dog. I didn't even get outside; he didn't say anything else. Apparently the professor managed to get himself out of the entirely broken bench. He and the dogs came inside.

Harry and his fur smelled like a field that's just be manured...and in no way was that attractive indoors. At ten o'clock last night, the professor and I had an important bonding activity with Harry and the outside garden hose. Harry dog got a full body shampoo. His collar was taken to the kitchen sink "cleaners".

The professor said he was sorry that he'd composted the garden right before leaving town. He apologized for it and said he should have realized how tempting it would be to Harry. (ugh.)

Things we've learned from our late night experience?
1) When you're stuck in a collapsed wooden bench, it would be prudent to say "HELP" more than once. You know, just so your partner actually knows you need assistance or something.
2) Sometimes Harry just can't help himself. We'll all be sorry.
3) Sally is really smart. She was clean, sweet smelling, and sleeping in her crate while all this happened.
4) So, yeah, Gardening? Along with every tomato or garlic growing adventure, some compost must happen. It definitely stinks.

Most important? We all still love each other, and most of us smelled good when we finally went to bed!
...Lucky me, at home this week with stinky garden and one dog who definitely can't resist the temptation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, how *dog* - glad everyone survived!

June 23, 2008 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I can just picture Harry looking sheepish!

Those bonding activities are important!

June 23, 2008 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

Heeeeeee! I can just imagine Harry. :g:

June 23, 2008 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Sarah Jean said...

Hee, it seems Sally is the smart one. Ick, I can just imagine the smell of that stuff. I remember my dad once bought a compost mixture that had some kind of green-blue chunks in it, and for two weeks it looked like a Smurf threw up on our lawn.

June 24, 2008 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, Ren, I finally lost it at that one, thank you for the guffaw! Joanne, oh goodness--tell me the dog didn't want to repeat all that? Can you cover the pile with the remains of the wooden bench to keep the dog out?

My next-door neighbors have a composting bin in a wooden box built against the fence right outside our family room, but thankfully we've never smelled it. I think. Or, when we have, we've assumed it was something else, I guess.

June 24, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hehe, I'm still giggling. I will never forget - call for help at least twice :-)

June 24, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Laughing with you, and not at you!

Who knew you could learn so much from a compost pile? I esp like your #4...yes...compost happens!

June 25, 2008 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Compost doesn't stink. Maybe you aren't doing it correctly? Ours when finished produces rich, crumbly soil, that has an earthy (non-stinky) smell.

July 5, 2008 at 3:55 PM  

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