|She's not a bad dog.|
THIS MORNING URSULA ATE MY SANDWICHES. YES SHE DID. I try to be careful about leaving my dog alone with sandwiches, but these were in my lunch bag and pushed to the back of the counter. I left the room for only a moment to grab my backpack, and when I came back, I saw an apple rolling across the floor. What's that doing there? I wondered. Then I saw Ursula, lying with her head on her paws, just as if she had been lying there all morning. She looked up at me and actually yawned. Then stretched. My eyes traced a line from the apple to the dog, to my poor lunch bag lying on the floor, to my sandwich container hidden way back in her puppy corner. Circumstantial evidence, but I knew what happened.
Compost is another problem. The bucket fills quickly, and ideally I could just dump it in my outdoor compost pile. Chickens are omnivorous, and very happy to eat leftover crusts of bread, apple cores, wilted cabbage, all the while scratching and stirring the pile into a rich humus. But if Ursula sees me with the compost bucket, she will lie in wait and as soon as I turn my back, she is in the middle of the pile snapping up the best parts while the chickens wait from a hopeful circle for whatever she might leave. The problem is, she doesn't leave any, and doesn't do half so well at the real work of the compost pile, turning it over and letting the worms turn grass clippings, leaves and other debris left into soil. Ursula isn't really hungry; she just acts hungry because she is greedy, while the chickens spend their entire day with their tails in the air, scratching out a living, picking out bugs or greens to fill their bellies.
|Chickens do the real|
work of the compost pile.
If I want to sit out in the yard on the Adirondack chair and toss treats to the chickens, I come prepared with doggy treats I can throw far away on one side to keep Ursula busy, while I lightly toss chicken treats on the other side of the chair. Even so, it doesn't work for long. Not only is my dog easily lured by what others seem to be enjoying even if she has plenty already, she is also intimidating. The chickens are nervous around her and run for the cover of the Jerusalem Artichokes as soon as she comes back looking for the next treat. Maybe tomorrow I'll just put her in the house first as I scatter the scraps of bread so that everybody gets some.