I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

GROUNDWORK (or owner trained by dog)

It is nearly 20 years since I had a female dog and had forgotten how bitches can ruin a lawn. It does not apply to the male of the species. Dog urine contains large concentrations of nitrates. In small doses these are, in fact, very good for the grass, but, as the Delphic inscription had it, "medan agan" (nothing in excess). A male dog tends to cock a leg and spray, thus dispersing the result. But a bitch likes to squat in one place and puts everything in a few square inches. Result, as can be seen below, large, dead yellow patches on the grass. (I hope you are not eating whilst reading this)

For my previous dogs I had a area of paving slabs where they could amble around. This was easy to keep clean and tidy. The current fastidious little lady does not like squatting on cold concrete and refuses to pee on same. As soon as she was let loose on the lawn she would perform (it may be that she enjoyed the sensation of grass tickling her fanny). This I needed to address.

Physical work which I used to do in about two days I now need about two weeks to complete. I have found since the stroke that I can work for about an hour, then need a sit down with a cup of coffee and a book for half an hour or so. This is rather pleasant in fact and lends grace and elegance to the day . Why did I never do this before - the work ethic dominated, now I have an excuse!

So, over the course of the last two weeks I have lifted ten 60cm square concrete slabs.
The compressed soil  beneath them (Kentish clay of the consistency of cheese) then needed to be dug over (the hardest part of the project). Then a drive to the local garden centre for three large bags of topsoil to mix with and "dilute" the clay.

I rang the local turf supplier and said I needed some. "We deliver free on orders over £50", he said, "how much do you want?" I only needed 6 rolls for the job so I collected them myself  (went into the back of the "Popemobile" very nicely, thank you).

Then a visit to a builders outlet for a quantity of 180 cm. lengths of timber (again the Popemobile swallowed the lot, no probs.).

The result is a fenced area half slabs and half grass. Little madam is confined therein and is happy to perform on her personal bit of lawn. Usually I am able to follow her with a watering can to dilute her deposit.

So, job done. But it does occur to me, just who is training whom?


The Crow said...

That look on her face seems to say, "Just what I wanted!" She appears content with her restroom.

Good idea and execution, Avus!

Avus said...


I think she has me taped, Martha!

Tom said...

I must say that we never had a problem like that with Molly. Yes, she squatted, but the "lawn" never turned yellow. Perhaps that's because the "lawn" is the remains of a field, and nothing competes effectively with a French field. Also, Mol never used the gravelled terrace, unless it was snow-covered, until the very end.

Now when the boys were here in December with their three dogs, Sidney sprayed - over everything - but at least that wasn't as bad as cats' spray. The two girls squatted wherever.

In answer to your final question, at least with Molly, we just grew into a mutually acceptable partnership. It worked very well. Still miss her!

Avus said...

Obviously my answer would be to import a French field!

Yes, you still miss Molly and always will if I know my experience with dogs. As time goes by maybe you will get another, not to replace Molly but to ease your heart.

Kay Cooke said...

Job well done. The thngs we do! A very neat job.

Lucy said...

I love Roxy.

In my experience, male dogs are often quite reluctant to pee in their own garden. Our collie we had when I was a teenager and my friend's current Belgian shepherd cross would both cross their legs and beg for a walk till clearly in some discomfort before resorting to going on their own patch. The girls don't seem to mind as much. Our friends' Sidney, it's true, was happy to water wherever, but then this wasn't really his own territory.

We're holding out till later this year before giving in and looking for another dog. I've just volunteered for walking from a local refuge, and we've agreed to look after a neighbour's two terriers for a few weeks in June, though to me a Yorkshire terrier smaller than a cat, with a topknot, does not constitute a dog. The other's a shih tzu cross and showing signs of psychosis. Should be fun.

Avus said...


Thank you. You may recommend me to your friends. I will, however, be charging travelling expenses!

She is a pretty little thing, what? And about as small as I would go for a dog, anything lesser in size is a "rat" in my book (Like that Yorkshire terrier)

I look forward to the day when you announce a new family member.

Anonymous said...

Tick. V.G. and a gold star to you Pa!
Looks like you took the netting off the fence too ( you should add that to your list of work, I remember how look it took to attach it all in the first place!).

Give Roxy an cuddle from me!

The Daughter xx

Avus said...

Daughter dear:

Yes, it took longer to remove that netting than it took to erect it, I think. All those staples to be prised out a bit with a screwdriver, then to remove with pliers. So have got a quantity of netting, bought at some expense, if you need it for your new garden.

Roxy likes a cuddle (or a stroke on my lap)she shall have an extra one from you!

Roderick Robinson said...

So bitches are more prone to unacceptable ways of excretion. I didn't know that and it's a bad day for feminism learning it. Always these little tricks from that guy (inevitably a guy) who some people believe is in charge of worldwide design.

Never mind. I'm impressed by the structure even if it does raise echoes of apartheid. And since excretion occupies such a small part of the day for even the most profligate of bitches, my mind turns to further applications. Hardly an exercise track, it's too short. But possibly an area where a canine (any canine) could practise acceleration. It only needs the addition of a straw-filled simulacrum of a postman at one end or the other to be complete.

Avus said...

Your last para had me laughing out loud! (I deplore the contraction "lol"). This bitch, having lurcher in her, will be very good at obtaining warp speed, but she is very gentle with all callers, even postmen. Having had a succession of German Shepherds I am surprised at her general docility.