Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Turf Wars

I’m exhausted today as a result of some extreme gardening. Yes, that’s correct, I used the words gardening (like for old people) and extreme (like for mad people) in the same sentence.

To cut a longer story short, I previously fenced off a section of the garden as a puppy run, but it has not really been used yet because there were some plants to move and a patch of soil to grass over where the children’s wooden playhouse used to be.

So, first task was to dig out a 6ft bamboo plant which proved to be surprisingly difficult due to it being fenced on two sides. Hence first bout of head scratching, sweating and the odd profanity. Especially when I walked into the rotary clothes drier while carrying the bush, and clouted myself on the head.

I persevered though and soon had a couple of other shrubs relocated to new homes.

At this point, I had the bright idea of widening a border and using the turf to cover the soil area in the run – thus saving seed bed preparation and giving instant greenery to puppy pen. However, by this time the dog had joined me in the garden as my wife had left for work.

Things started off okay, with me using a lawn edger to cut the new line and dog happily chewing on some branch. I then had to use a spade to try and just get under the grass to give myself thin enough sods of turf. This involved me using the wrong tool for the job and straining my back as I tried to use a spade at a horizontal angle. Further sweating and age related skeletal pain resulted.

Just as I get the hang of removing the turf, puppy decides it’s a fun game to grab the clumps and run off with them. Soil flying everywhere and turf falling to bits as I chase it round the garden trying to retrieve it. As I manage to grab the turf, it just runs back to my little pile and grabs another. It was kind of like a Benny Hill chase scene without the scantily clad nurses, just me pursuing a Labrador puppy running like a whippet, while I’m trying to avoid crashing into the kids’ slide, with some elaborate hurdling skills I didn’t know I had.
After three or four times, the penny finally dropped and I realised I was on a hiding to nothing. I grabbed the dog, put her in the pen and gathered up the now useless remains of grass and mud. I thought I had cracked it, and continued with my turf cutting exercise.

Puppy however, was delighted to be in the run and was so happy she started digging holes and nosing around in the soil. As I laboured away, unbeknown to me, she was getting filthier and muddier. When I eventually twigged what was happening, her lovely golden coat resembled a Turkish mud bath. Of course soon after I was covered too, my trainers (yes I know I should have had my wellies on) were caked in mud and I somehow had to get the puppy back in the house, without trailing debris everywhere.

As I took her out of the run she wriggled free and headed straight for my pile of turf again, cue more pointless chasing, amateur athletics and garden devastation. I even stood on the spade, with comic ingenuity for any neighbours who may have been watching.

By the time it all settled down and I managed to get the puppy and myself back in the house along with a trail of grass and earth, I was knackered.

So, as a pastime goes, gardening may seem sedentary and relaxing. However with the simple addition of a small puppy, a stupid adult and some children’s play equipment it can easily become extreme. Next time I may even wear a bike helmet and some knee pads – Radical!

Incidentally, I had also cut the border squint and the new area of turf looks like a dog’s dinner – literally.

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