Saturday, February 27, 2010

Puppy Dogs and Pine Needles.

My dogs have been pretty hard on the yard. This year we were in a drought, so I wasn't watering the grass and I cut down some trees and exposed more of it to the sun. So the conditions plus the dogs ended up killing all of the St. Augustine in the yard. I didn't really consider that a disservice as that grass is not native and requires a lot of water to maintain. The result is a mud pit in the back yard.

I kept trying to put together elaborate configurations of edging and other barriers to keep the dirt from washing away from the house. This past Saturday, I thought to myself, "If you were in Tennessee right now, you would just go get some pine needles." We have a great little nursery here called "The Natural Gardener" that I consider my idea of porn. I hoped they would have some pine needles and they do. They sell them in micro-bales. I got 6 of them on Monday.

The first bale was taken as tariff by the Sheriff of the house. I put the others in the fenced in area that separates the dogs from the Datura. One of the bales I took to the area next to our back porch where the most water drains from the roof and I cut the strings that held the bale together. Instantly the first dog, Tatsu, appeared from my left and lept into the middle. Then Shinju, the solid white one, body slammed the bale from my right side. It took them about 10 minutes to transfer all of the outside toys into their little nest. It was adorable. I decided to give them one bale each day for the next four days.

So the next day, it started to snow. That is a serious rarity around here. We just don't see snow on the ground. I decided that I would put out all of the bales in the necessary arrangement so that that the dogs could spread the needles through the most muddy sections of the yard. They were successful, but (wow!!) were they muddy. The four-day plan was totally destroyed, but the one day plan resulted in a 60% reduction in the mud tracked into the house by my little mischief makers.
The yard is now a golden brown with some occasional patches of Bermuda grass. The boys sit in the deeper pockets of pine needles and tear up the pine cones they found inside the bales. I think that we all got what we wanted. The pine needles stay put in the rain and I don't have to lay them down too thick to get protection from the mud and erosion.

Saturday, February 13, 2010