The Evolution of Our Urban Jungle

We’re coming to the close of another year, and once again, it’s been a year full of ups and downs, with the former seeming fleeting and the latter feeling overwhelming at the time.  Regardless, it’s been a busy year for many of us, and for some reason, it’s at this time of the year that we often look back and contemplate the events of the past while looking forward to the events of the future.

This past Spring, The Goat and I drove to Cincinnati and brought home Charlie Brown the Airedale.   Charlie brought his own set of ups and downs.  He’s a typical Airedale, smart, silly, and  active.  But The Goat and I had forgotten what it is like to have a young Airedale in the house.  The Jasmanian Devil had lived a long life, and having been sick, for we don’t really know how long, she had “mellowed” with age and illness.

Also, Charlie’s personality is quite different than Jasmine’s was, which is welcome  because being the same breed, it’s nice to be able to distinguish the difference between the two so easily.  No one ever wants to replace a beloved pet, so different personalities are helpful in these situations.  But, because of his different quirks, he’s forced us to rearrange a few things and rethink how we do things around the house.

Because I’m continually working towards simplifying and downsizing/ minimizing our possessions, Charlie’s been helpful in this overwhelming task, unfortunately.  See, if it’s not in a cupboard, drawer, above nose hight, or behind a door, he will lick and/or gnaw on it.  He doesn’t seem to want to eat it, unless it is a food source.  Like a small child, it seems that he just wants to learn more about every object he can through taste and smell.

That means that we’ve had to rearrange the kitchen, switching what’s in which cupboard or on the counter/shelves.  We had to figure out how to get the few soaps and shampoos that populate our shower shelves and sink counter higher than his reach.  We had to relocate 2 trash bins – one in the kitchen and one in the bath.  Laundry bins had to be elevated.  Baby gates and barriers have been strategically placed around the house.

And then there’s the garden …for the foreseeable future, we will not have grass.  Due to Charlie’s aggressive playing, most of the grass has been ripped up by his four speeding, and quite large, paws.

The Jasmanian Devil, if you recall, loved the brassica family – broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc. .   At planting time, we didn’t have a brassica munching four legged family member, so I planted a few of them inside the fence.  I thought, mistakenly, that since Charlie let them be when he first arrived that he wasn’t going to develop that habit.  Then one nice Fall day, I went out to harvest some kohlrabi and there he was, standing in the large pot, eating all of them.  All. Of. Them.  So much for that.  If you recall from an early post, he’s an avid tomato muncher too.

Which brings me to the year end pondering of what the next year will bring.  Once again, or maybe I should say “As always”, I will be trying to simplify our life by minimizing, sorting, and organizing the stuff in our house.  This year however, we’ll be assisted by a nosey four legged critter with a penchant for slobbering on everything.  As frustrating as it’s been (“Where did you find that tubing?”, “Stop drinking the dishwater!?”, “Why is there a dog toy in the laundry basket?”), I’m pleased with the clean lines of the empty hallway, the uncluttered look of the spaces we’ve already had to tackle, and the routine vacuuming schedule I’ve fallen into.

As for the garden, each year it gets a bit more difficult for me to manage and keep it up.  And each year I plan to up my game and be a better gardener.  I continually try to grow veggies and herbs, and some years I’m successful, others not so much.  (As a side note, our summer weather has been a bit erratic over the past few years, which doesn’t help either.)  And I have been moving towards container gardening – at least for the veggies – but haven’t had much success yet.

Now with Charlie tearing up the grass and eating every vegetable he can, the decision to move to containers, mostly outside of the fence, has been made for me.   But that’s going to come with it’s own set of issues, mainly the chipmunks and squirrels that inhabit that area of the yard  because it’s dog-free.  But I’m going to give it a try, again.  At least I know of a few CSA’s we can join to be sure of our local and fresh veggie consumption this next summer.

Moving to container gardening, also creates a few challenges in the current garden – like what do I do with it?  We have three raised beds that are still quite usable, I’ll have to decide what to plant in them – maybe I’ll expand my herbs this year and plan on harvesting and preserving more of them.   I could also look into crops that are more biennial or perennial than annual.  Since they are just outside the door, formatting it to look more like a traditional English-style Herb Garden might be fun.

Regardless or what I decide, and how I manage to accomplish it, one thing is certain, 2018 will be an interesting year in our Urban Jungle, hopefully it will be positive, restorative, and  energizing; and may whatever 2018 brings you be positive too.

Oh, and if you have any extra serving platter or bowling ball sized rocks you don’t need, feel free to drop them off at our house.  Our embankment could use some landscaping.

 

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