I was just reading a post about gardens, and there’s something I just remembered that still pisses me off, over a decade later.
My family has always had pretty big gardens. The house I was born in, in Idaho, we had good soil, a front garden, a back garden, apple and cherry trees, and raspberries. When we moved to Colorado, we spent the whole first summer just preparing that sandy, rocky, awful soil for the next year. We were in that house for about 5 years, and the yield was never quite as good as we had in Idaho. My family ended up losing that house, and it wasn’t until we moved back to Idaho, when I was about 13, that I had a chance to make another garden.
We were renting a place at the time, but the owner gave permission for us to make a little plot out front. The landlord lived in her own house across this little creek from us, so she could see exactly where it was. No one else was particularly interested in starting a garden when we all knew we might move again in a year, so I did all the work myself. The soil here was pretty rich, but I decided to start off just planting corn because it’s a fairly easy crop.
The landlord regularly had this older cowboy-type guy stay at her place. I don’t know if he was her boyfriend (she was also married) or what, but he was always kinda wasted and gross and kinda leered at you. I was not a fan. In any case, he had this yappy, nippy little dog he called “Tuesday Girl” or T.G. Since he frequently spent weeks living at the landlord’s house, I saw this dog quite a bit. I didn’t really have much of a problem with her until the corn started to grow, and then all hell broke loose. I don’t know what was wrong with this animal, but she would bound across the creek and just fling herself into the growing stalks, snapping them off left and right. I caught her at it pretty much immediately and chased her off, but she’d come right back the minute I even turned my back. I went over to talk to the freeloader dude because, hey, your dog’s destroying all my crops.
“Oh, yeah, I guess dogs do that.”
For the record, we had four dogs at the time: one older German Shepherd/lab mix, two German Shepherd puppies, and one tiny little mop dog that I think was a Shih Tzu mix (I don’t actually know). The point is, no they fucking well do not, and it usually only takes one scolding for any of the dogs I’d been born with or since raised to stop them from going into the garden. But not T.G. I spent maybe three more days trying to chase her off, setting my own dogs to guard, but by now about half the stalks were broken. After she’d wreck them, she’d roll around in it, like she was just pleased as punch with herself–but she knew what she was doing was wrong because she’d scamper when I’d approach. I went over to complain again, asking him to either train his stupid dog or lock her in. His suggestion?
“Just build a fence.”
As a reminder, T.G. was a little dog, not even up to my knee. To keep her out, I’d have to put up chickenwire. Add to that the fact we’re renting the place and, although I had permission for a garden, a structure like a fence is a bigger thing I did not have permission for. Add to that I was fucking 13 and my family was broke–we’d gone through a bankruptcy, my little brother was just born, there were 8 of us crammed into this tiny house, and my dad was still looking for work–and he might as well have just told me to fuck off. Which is effectively what he said.
She destroyed virtually the whole garden, and I went through and got rid of the rest, partially just to stop her from flinging herself at what few stalks remained. Maybe it was petty, but since all my joy in it was gone, it enraged me to see that stupid animal delighting in the mess she’d made. We did end up moving again the very next year, so all my work was effectively wasted. I never even got an apology.