Before the monsoon season began this year, we had already trained Penny to wait to be let out in the morning to do her toilet routine. She had gotten used to it. On days when everyone slept late, she would make noises until someone got up to let her out.
Then, monsoon season began and we couldn’t let the dog out because it’s a nightmare getting the mud off her paws. Some dog owners wouldn’t mind that but Alex painstakingly wipes Penny’s feet clean because the dog climbs onto the bed—sometimes, with me but, more often, with her. Who wants mud on the bed, right?
Officially, monsoon season should be over by now but it still rains almost everyday. Nothing serious but the rain still leaves the garden drenched and the ground wet. The soil in this hilly suburb is reddish clay and, when wet, it is sticky as hell. If you’re a long time reader, you might have seen photos of the grass-covered garden in the past. We loved the cool greens but maintenance has been a headache. Weeds sprouted overnight if it rained. It was always muddy in spots where we grew edible plants. And the cats brought mud indoors.
So, Speedy studied what alternatives there were. Our final choices were to either pour concrete over the garden or cover it with gravel. Concrete would make the garden unbearably hot during summer and the heat would seep into the house. On the other hand, one can get creative with gravel. Just Google “gravel garden” and be amazed.
Instead of a lawn, we now have a gravel garden. No more weeds. No more mud. And Penny the beagle can be let loose again to explore and sun bathe.
The work isn’t complete yet but we’re getting there. We’ll need to replant herbs and vegetables, we need new outdoor dining furniture and the lights wound through the branches of the mango tree need to be re-positioned. We also have to get rid of so much unwanted stuff that somehow accumulated in the gazebo. We want the gazebo to be usable and enjoyable again.
It’s great to be able to take food photos outdoors again, finally. I don’t have to step on mud anymore.
We’ve been enjoying our gravel garden tremendously. Speedy and I had coffee there yesterday. We sat there last night just enjoying the cool December air. And, on a very broken down plastic table, we had lunch and after-lunch coffee (with dessert, of course) there today.
What about Penny? Does she enjoy being let loose outdoors again?
Yes, of course. But…
Penny refuses to set foot on the gravel. She walks and runs on the concrete slabs but not on the gravel. Perhaps, she still has to get used to it. After all, she had never seen gravel until two days ago when a truckload was spread over the garden.
Meanwhile, we still have to decide if we’re having our Christmas Eve dinner indoors or outdoors.