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Lucy and I spent most of the day in the garden. Not too long ago, whenever Lucy was outside of the cabin, I would have to keep her on a long rope (attached to a dog run) as she had a tendency to run down the road without looking back. Every time she did this, the theme song from that 1980’s television program, The Littlest Hobo would play through my mind: “There’s a voice that keeps on calling me…. Down the road that’s where I want to be…!!!” Of course, I would then have to spend precious time chasing after her and bringing her back to the cabin. It seems, however, that Lucy finally understands the boundaries of home and as of three weeks ago, I have had her ‘off the rope’ (unless she’s outside by herself). On our hikes, she was always off-leash from the beginning and she stayed close to me, it was just at home that she would wander.

Lucy has become a different dog with her new freedom. She is more relaxed and happier, which makes me more relaxed and happier. She isn’t quite perfect yet, as she did start running down the road the other day, chasing after a black lab who was chasing a jogger. But she came right back as soon as I called her. And just last week some hikers followed the trail to our private residence and Lucy ran just to our property line and barked at them as they headed back to the main trail.

With Lucy off the rope, gardening is even more of a pleasure. Before, I would tie her to a tree near where I was working and she would be confined to a small area. Now she simply follows me freely out back to the large vegetable garden and spends time exploring the woods but staying so close by that I can hear her dog tags jingling. Then she joins me in the garden, lying as close as she can get to me. Today, she napped in the parsley. After her snooze, she will wander around, eating blades of grass, drinking water from the birdbath and sniffing around in the potatoes and the herbs. Because I am often on my hands and knees as I weed the garden, I am fair game for kisses and she gave me lots of sugar today. I love when she kisses me because the first four months that she came to stay, she was very serious and somber, never played and rarely gave kisses. She is still very choosy about who she kisses (and how often) so when she gives me a kiss I know that I am truly loved and that she is deeply happy. It is even better when she kisses me in the garden as the fur on her face is often scented with dill or fennel or cilantro.

After a few hours of quiet gardening, Lucy will often have a sudden burst of energy. She will get up and start acting crazy, running wildly in circles. Today, she attacked an onion, growling and pulling it out of the ground. Then she pulled out another one so I decided I had better give her a play break before she harvested my whole onion crop! As I got up, she came to me smiling (she had lovely onion breath) and we left the fenced in garden to the lawn area where I joined her, running around wildly with one of my gardening gloves. Then I threw it as hard as I could and Lucy went after it, seizing it and shaking it roughly. Then she ran in circles, around and around the lawn, throwing the glove up in the air and catching it, taunting me and daring me to come get it, then growling fiercely whenever I tried. We wrestled over that glove for about 20 minutes until my stomach hurt from laughing. Then we settled down, both of us panting, and I pet her for a few minutes before heading back to work.

After that break, I happily got in another hour of weeding when I suddenly realized that Lucy had been very quiet. I wondered what she was up to. I knew that she was in the potato patch, but doing what? I went over to her and found a large hole right in the middle of the red potato patch with about eight beautiful little potatoes dug up from the soil. I had to laugh because that is exactly what I wanted for supper. She even got the type of potato I wanted. I picked up the little potatoes, the two onions that she previously harvested, and grabbed myself some Swiss chard to go along with it. Once inside, I washed the vegetables and simply cooked everything in one pan, adding olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and a few herbs. It was delicious! “Lucy’s harvest”. That is what I had for dinner tonight.

Here is my little gardener, exhausted after a hard day’s work.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!