I was not smart enough to raise a border collie. However, when I saw Zack in this litter of six week old puppies rolling around in a dairy barn I bought him from the farmer for $6.00 and brought him home to the no dogs allowed duplex where I was living at the time. We got evicted. I bought us this little house on Valley View Dr. and immediately became obsessed with growing things--grass, trees, roses, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, fruits and berries. I knew nothing about landscaping--hence the white pine planted too close to the driveway--but I read books, watched TV how-tos, and suckered my backdoor neighbor,who ran an agricultural supply store, into many Saturdays of lawn renovations and digging holes to plant trees and shrubs. I suspect that the rocks for this wall came from the yard because we encountered boulders and rocks every place we dug.
I also raised Zack the crazy border collie here and tried to keep him contained within the backyard fence. Look closely at the fence near Zack's tail. You can barely see the short grey post which held an electric goosey wire--the only way to keep him from climbing over the fence and running away. Zack learned to avoid the wire after a couple of jolts. I, on the other hand, was slower to learn and regularly shocked myself when mowing the lawn. . .
Zack was a wild, careening gorgeous bundle of pent up border collie from his puppy days. In order to visit in our home, guests had to submit to either getting feet and ankles spritzed with Bitter Apple spray or cover themselves with a quilt when sitting down. Zack loved to attack any exposed Achilles tendon with his sharp little puppy teeth. Another game he enjoyed was snatching the newspaper, magazine or book out of your hand and flying through the house hoping you'd give chase. Even better when the chase continued out the back door. That was most of the time because having a working screen door cramped Zack's style. He ripped out the screens so he could just jump through the hole and be out in the far corners of the yard with his prize with me hard on his heels. On a good day, he managed to steal from the laundry basket and parade around the back yard with my "delicates" flying from his mouth like a white truce flag.
This was my first house so I wanted to be out in the yard working every minute, even before getting dressed for work. At night I'd pile sweatpants and gardening shoes on the floor by my bed and then roll out each morning as soon as it was light enough to see to work in the yard. I'd pull on my pile of clothes, make a cup of coffee and rush outside for an hour of digging and weeding before I had to get cleaned up for work. This getting dressed was done in the dark.
On one side of the driveway I planted a bed of peonies that I'd inherited from my Aunt Draxie's garden. She had grown these flowers in her garden for over 40 years, since she was a bride. I was very proud of how well the bed had done in my own yard and enjoyed kneeling on the rock wall to tend them and cut a vase full to take to my office--one of the most pleasant early morning gardening chores.
Now the neighbor just across the street liked to take his early morning coffee on his front porch and watch all the activity in my yard. He was not a gardener and, I suspect, thought I was nuts for working so hard in my little suburban eden. One particular morning I was upended in the peony bed and couldn't help noticing that he seemed to very amused about something. When it was time to quit gardening, I climbed off the wall and called out some pleasantry to Howard. He burst out laughing and said, "You may want to check your pants when you get inside." I didn't think any more about it because he was always teasing me about what low fashion standards I set for the neighborhood.
I get inside and peel off my gardening clothes only to discover that the entire butt of my sweatpants had been chewed out. Apparently a certain border collie had hopped off the bed in the night and helpfully ventilated my britches for me! Howard got plenty of mileage out of getting an early morning moonin' from his neighbor. Zack, I'm sure, enjoyed the joke just as much as Howard.
Now stop by Ari's place and get some neighbors from hell tales that make this one seem pretty tame by comparison. Tacky? Now that's another question.