a job for Skippy

Skippy, Suzie & Charley

skippy with stick
skippy and stick pile stick pile

Skippy is almost 4 and I’m thinking its time he contributed a bit more to the gardening effort. Today, as I was raking winter debris from the backyard, I ended up with a lot of sticks. These are perfect for supporting pea vines and I wanted to collect them in a pile.

So I explained to Skippy: “Put the stick in the pile”. He understood the stick part and did great at coming to get the stick. Then he got confused – or had a better idea. He wrestled the stick, shook it, tossed it and then chewed it. Then I put it on the pile.

We kept at it though. And eventually Skippy did get a stick onto the pile. A half eaten and hardly useful stick, but a good accomplishment. We’ll keep at it. The challenge is good.

About those peas: this year I’m going to use sticks instead of string trellises. I’ll use the winter dead wood and also some pruned wood from my crab apple. I’m eying a lot of sucker wood on the crab apple that got away from me. It’ll be perfect pea supports soon.

I’m hoping to get the peas in soon. I just need to catch up on the clean up. Once I rake the garden, the soil is thawed and ready for planting. Maybe this weekend….

12 Comments. Leave new

  • Kathy – Porties have such a strong work ethic, I'm sure he'll catch on in no time and you'll soon have more sticks than you need, probably sorted by size and variety of wood! Such a handsome boy, too!
    – Daisy & Pixie

  • That's great, a companion and a worker, can't go wrong with that combination.

    I used sticks for my peas last year and it worked great, looks really nice too. Peas & Fava Bean planting is approaching very fast which is exciting. I have been tempted to plant some up in peat pots and place them in the coldframe, that may just be my weekend project.

    When did you plant your fava's last year? I have heard they can take frost just like peas.

  • If I could get my dogs to help it would be a miracle. So far, one is the primary digger of holes and the other the terminator of small lizards. Neither seems to like the fact that I’ve fenced off a large part of their digging and hunting areas!

  • I’m sure Skippy will learn his new job quickly. I love the look of his tail!

  • I too have a four legged ‘helper’ although his idea of his role varies greatly from mine!!
    I loved the idea of giving him tasks to do, but good luck with it!

  • Kathy – found your blog just yesterday when I Googled “garden design” and I’m glad I did. I am enjoying reading the archives and I love, love, LOVE Porties and your Skippy is beautiful!

    Karen in DE

  • Skippy looks so happy!

  • Well, you have two very good ideas there – to get the Skippys help in collecting sticks AND to use them for the peas! I’m trying Sugar Ann snaps this year which aren’t supposed to need support, but beans on sticks could work too, no?

  • LOL…he’s so cute! I love animals. Skippy looks like a really big dog; how big/tall is he?

    I had my “helper” out in the garden with me the other day “helping”. A male stray cat that I took in when the temps got really cold this winter. But all Buddy did was roll around in the grass and whine. LOL. Not much of a helper.

  • I literally cannot pick up a stick in the yard without Bokka the Wonder Dog prancing, bouncing, nudging, grabbing, begging me to throw it for her. In a billion years, I could not get her to yield one to a pile.

    Good dog, Skippy!


  • What a good little helper! I’m not sure if we are going to be able to have a garden this year as we just moved into this house and have to remodel it at the same time. At the moment we dont even have a functioning kitchen. Im kinda sad about the whole deal as I was so looking forward to some homemade spagetti sauce. Love you blog.

  • We just added a new member to the family yesterday….a chocolate lab called “Fenway”. He’s only 3 months old and I hope he learns to help like Skippy!



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