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Going to the Dogs

Posted: 06-11-2014
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Here is a sure sign I am getting older.

I am watching too many video clips of dogs on YouTube.

My favorite features a soldier returning from duty in Afghanistan and his dog literally hugs him and cries for joy. I also like the talk show clip of a young officer reunited with her Labrador retriever. The pooch goes crazy when he realizes his master is on stage.

I confided in my daughter that I am watching a lot of dog-greeting-returning-soldier videos and she sympathized as only a daughter can. She sent me a video of a cat ignoring his owner after a long separation.

Last week I watched a video of beagles freed from a medical research center. I tearfully watched as the beagles took their tentative, first steps on grass. Or how about that poor flea ridden mange infested pooch rescued from a garbage dump, I mean landfill? Dogs should not be found abandoned in landfills but neither should drilling waste from hydraulic fracturing. The WV legislature has approved unlimited disposal of fracking byproducts in seven landfills. Thanks to the leadership of State Senator Herb Snyder, none of the landfill sites are in the Eastern Panhandle because areas with karst geology are excluded from the bill.

When I first contemplated retirement, I did not envision spending hours watching video clips. I planned on passing my golden years puttering in the garden. This idea came to me from reading a lot of British mysteries as a young adult.  Some character, usually wearing a floppy hat and smock, was always happily cutting and clipping in her garden when approached by a constable seeking information about the murdered vicar.   Puttering in the garden seemed to me a nice past time.

I do enjoy selecting seeds and buying plants. My interest wanes when it comes to actually planting the seeds and plants, much less weeding in the hot summer sun. One morning I dutifully donned a staw hat and carried a wicker basket to reap the bounty of the garden. I mistook some young zinnia plants for basil leaves. Luckily, I realized my mistake before making batches of pesto.

Now I go to local farmer markets for fresh vegetables. For the first time in 50 years, the number of farms is increasing in Jefferson County. Small farms are being managed by new operators, many of whom are women, and local markets are essential to sales. Unfortunately, the Jefferson County Development Authority is not very supportive of small farmers. They have eliminated the position of agricultural development officer. I wish the Development Authority would place the same priority on growing local businesses as they do in chasing out-of-state corporations.

I still enjoy puttering in the garden. I take my iPad and a tall glass of iced tea, recline in a lawn chair and peruse the web for dog video clips. Every once in a while I look up and observe the gardener I have hired as he weeds and mulches the flower beds.

I always give him a tip of my floppy hat.