Thursday, January 27, 2022

Battleground Flower Bed


This not-very-pretty picture shows the current state of our back garden flower bed, the one nearest the back door. Obviously we haven't cleaned it out yet, so it's still full of "winterkill" and unpruned stuff from last year. That big dead-looking clump right in the middle, for example, is a lavender bush that ought to come out again in the spring.

This space has been the subject of a recent domestic battle. Olga, for some reason, decided that she no longer wanted to walk up the steps and out onto the grass to pee and instead would leap from the patio over the wall and directly into the flower bed. I wouldn't care much except that we have little plants coming up there, particularly bulbs, and I didn't want her walking on them. (Much less peeing on them.)

So the other day I got out that green garden fence and put it all the way around the bed, and I think I've broken the pattern. She's now going up the steps and onto the grass again.

Animals are so mysterious. Why did she start using the flower bed in the first place? Was the grass too muddy? I thought going up the steps might have been getting difficult for her, but surely leaping over the wall was even harder. We will never know.


Here's another view. It's a mess right now, but you can sort of see the fence running around it.

Another slow day in the library yesterday. I've decided that I'm going to put together some Google Slides (kind of like Powerpoint) to add a visual element to my Newbery talk to the 8th graders (which is tomorrow). So I'll work on those slides today.

I also pulled a cartload of books about Ancient Greece for the 5th graders, who are about to launch into that annual project. Some of our Ancient Greece books are looking pretty dog-eared and ancient themselves. This one, for example:


This book is 30 years old. Do modern 5th graders even know who Indiana Jones is? I also wonder about the wisdom of including a fictional character in a non-fiction book -- but maybe I'm overthinking it.

52 comments:

Frances said...

My garden looks pretty much like yours. Nothing will happen until the weather warms up though and I get out and start chopping all the dead stuff back!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

That top picture is visual evidence of your love of gardening. Monty Don would be most impressed with the scene. Surely, The Garden of Eden was similar.

Andrew said...

I think you need to hire a plough.

Don't forget to include some smut with your Newbery talk. Kids get that, no matter how old the person is who says it.

Moving with Mitchell said...

The minds of dogs… and cats. I too wonder if the kids know who Indiana Jones is. I hope you’ll ask.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

And make sure you have zipped up your flyhole.

Debby said...

Ha! The juxtaposition of fictional character and a scholarly study struck me as an odd presentation as well!

Debby said...

PS: I think that a short talk on context might be important as well. I really hate that books are being banned for stereotypes that are no longer accepted. Would it not be more sensible to point out that those stereotypes and prejudices are no longer acceptable. It allows children to see what was and what is, and understand that the world has changed.

Mary said...

Isn't it funny that a garden in summer can look so lovely and interesting, while the same place in winter just looks drab and disheartening? My garden looks pitiful, but can't quite bring myself to go outside in the current -8C (17F) and pull up all the dead stuff--it will just have to wait for better days. There will be better days, right?

gz said...

A good idea to add the fence! Glad that Olga now goes around.
Gardens can look bedraggled at this season, but at least you know that the ground is covered and wildlife has shelter

Bob said...

That book is way past it's "sell-by" date.

Perhaps Olga thought you needed to fence off that part of the garden, and her jumping threw it was her method of letting you know???

Ms. Moon said...

This morning Maurice came into our room and jumped on my vanity and started yelling at us. I mean- if she was speaking English it could not have been any clearer. She wanted us to get up and put food in her bowl.
"I think Timmy's in the well," I told Glen.
Jeez. Do you ever think about how weird it is that we share our homes and lives with these non-human beings? It's amazing that we communicate as well as we do.
Your Newberry talk is going to be great! Is someone going to film it?

Ed said...

My parents once had a cat that was perfectly well behaved until the bags came out for a vacation and then she would start peeing in shoes. Once we returned, she went back to her normal behavior. Perhaps Olga is sending you a personal message of discontent.

Sharon said...

I would have not have guessed that was supposed to be non-fiction book. And you are right, do kids know who Indiana Jones is.
The minds of our pets are indeed a mystery. I would have thought the grass was so much easier to navigate.
I laughed at Ed's comment above. I once had a cat who refused to sleep at night. The minute the lights were out, she would start knocking things off of shelves and tables. I got so I put her in the garage at night but then she would hide from me and wait until I was just dozing off before she started her table-clearing routine again. I could never figure out what it was she really wanted.

robin andrea said...

Maybe Olga was marking her territory because something else that she could sniff was attempting a take-over. Or maybe something was starting to grow there that she found utterly offensive. She said, "Take that, you nasty thing you."

Red said...

The longer the winter the more junkier a flower bed gets so you're lucky you don't live here where things blow around for 5 months.

37paddington said...

Remember the Magic Tree House series, in which two kids went back in time to witness various historical events in real time? My kids loved those books, so I guess fictional characters can be a door to actual history. I think a visual element to your talk will be so good, so many beautiful book covers. I hope they tape you and that you will share your presentation with us.

Ellen D. said...

Your talk will be great! Best of luck to you!

Wilma said...

I have to walk our 2 dogs separately (long story). They love to pee on each other's poo! Maybe Olga was peeing on the poo or scent of another animal.

Pixie said...

Everything in my backyward is still covered in snow and I'm sure there are layers of dogpoop under that snow. Yay.

Who knows why dogs pee where they pee and poop? Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes not. Like why do they need to turn around a few times before they pee? Why do they have to smell the poop that they want to pee on before they pee on it?

Your talk will be excellent I'm sure.

Edna B said...

Only the dog knows why he picks a certain place over another place. The fence ought to do the trick. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

The Padre said...

An Old Gal Just Knows With Her Nose - Stay Out Of The Way Human - Indy, WoW, Does That Ever Take Me Back - Be Well Brother Reed

Cheers

Margaret said...

I think adding slides is a great idea. Visual plus auditory. I think many kids do know who Indiana Jones is although I could be wrong.

Beth Reed said...

I think that books dog-eared or not will serve the purpose that they need but I do think that it is time to talk about some up-to-date reading material. Also kids these days just go online to what they want to research and pretend that they got the information from the books. (I might be wrong about that.) I know that my grandson uses YouTube kids for everything. I ask him how he comes to certain conclusions and he says "YouTube Nana."

I totally agree that jumping over a wall would be harder on Olga than the steps, but I really don't understand a dog's thought process. I am having some Foxy issues at the moment and would really need to figure out her thought process!

Have a great day and good luck with the kids tomorrow. I think that the visual and audio approach will be just awesome.

Kelly said...

Maybe going up and down the steps is harder than just taking a leap. (though it wouldn't seem like it) You may have to someday build her a makeshift ramp.

I look forward to a report this weekend on the Newbery talk! Will only the 8th graders get it, or will you repeat it for others?

ellen abbott said...

That's about the way my flower beds look too. I found that a visual barrier is usually enough to keep a dog out of a flower bed even if it's easy enough to be stepped or jumped over. Sometimes all I used was a few short stakes and string.

John Going Gently said...

Indiana Jones was my fantasy in tbec90s

Catalyst said...

The time for gardening is spring. Wait. Wait.

And Indiana Jones is a fictional character? Next you'll be saying Sherlock Holmes didn't live on Baker Street. (221B, to be exact.)

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, it's just a bleak time of year!

Steve Reed said...

I bet Monty Don's garden doesn't look much different right about now!

Steve Reed said...

Well, there is a book that includes some stalking -- does that count as smut?

Steve Reed said...

I will! I'm curious what they'll say!

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, that's part of my talk -- not to reject books simply because they contain outdated ideas or language but to weigh that against the quality and value of the work as a whole.

Steve Reed said...

It's better to leave the dead stuff for now anyway. I think a lot of little critters are hibernating beneath it.

Steve Reed said...

She gets caught in these "behavior loops" and once she starts doing something it can be hard to get her to stop. Fortunately this wasn't too hard.

Steve Reed said...

"Sell-by date" -- LOL!

Steve Reed said...

I don't think there are plans to film it. I suppose I could ask one of the teachers to do it but let me see how it goes first!

Steve Reed said...

Animals definitely know how to express dissatisfaction or stress. Olga gets excited when we get out bags because she automatically assumes she's going with us! (And since we're not flying much these days she's probably right.)

Steve Reed said...

Some cats have a strong nocturnal streak. My cats used to get into mischief at night too, but I had two of them so they entertained each other!

Steve Reed said...

It's possible that foxes have wandered through the flower bed and she's smelling them. Hopefully the fence will keep them out too!

Steve Reed said...

But there at least it's so cold that most things die back to the ground. Here they just stand around looking terrible.

Steve Reed said...

I don't remember that series, but yes, fictional characters can serve as a good "guide." As long as the kids understand the character is fiction! (Kids are smart enough to figure that out.)

Steve Reed said...

Thanks!

Steve Reed said...

Dogs are very into that -- covering up (I suppose?) the scent of other animals. Olga does that a lot.

Steve Reed said...

It's funny how long it sometimes takes Olga to settle on a place. She sniffs and sniffs and wanders around and I think, "WHAT on earth are you looking for?!"

Steve Reed said...

I'm not sure even the dog knows!

Steve Reed said...

I'll stay out of her way as long as she stays out of the flower bed. LOL

Steve Reed said...

They probably still watch those movies, if only because their parents know them from their own childhood!

Steve Reed said...

I hope kids aren't going online, since part of what we're teaching them to do is distinguish reliable sources of information from unreliable ones (like YouTube).

Steve Reed said...

I have plans to go into fifth-grade classrooms in a couple of weeks and then I do a sixth-grade assembly in March.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I think they just need some kind of reminder that the flower bed is a separate space. Olga could jump that fence easily if she wanted to but she respects the barrier.

Steve Reed said...

Yours and everyone else's!

Steve Reed said...

To walk down Baker Street you'd certainly believe Holmes was real. People can even tour his "house"!