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Happy Tails: Planting a garden

Peg Schaeffer is a successful gardener. Successful not so much in the she produces - she says half the flowers make it and somehow most of the vegetables make it through. But superbly successful in what the garden means to her. It helps her accomplish what life's about. Click on headline for story with photo(s) and the ending - a good life lesson quote for the day.
The next earlier Happy Tail: Memorial Day tribute to dogs in service

By Peg Schaeffer
President and Founder, Sugarfoot Farms Rescue

When I moved onto the farm the former owner, Jim Burns, had a garden. It was fenced in with three raised beds with four sections each. One of the sections already had lettuce growing. So I continued the garden tradition Jim had started. I usually plant vegetables in some of the beds and flowers in others. Over the years I have planted a lilac bush, forsythia, and a dwarf peach tree my son sent me one year for Mother's Day.

I have good luck with Mums so I have several huge Mum plants as well as Hostas, since nothing can kill them. I have some beautiful rose bushes - one is a yellow Hocus Pocus rose that I planted in memory of my horse, Lacey, whose show name was "Hocus Pocus". I am also trying to grow a cactus that will compete with the one next to the Dollar Store on Rt. 80. So far I'm not even close.

My garden is supposed to be my Eden. It's a place I TRY to go to for relief from the dogs. I have a double swing in there for me to sit on and watch my garden grow. This year I started late with the garden.

Some of the dogs have become expert at jumping the garden fence and I didn't want to plant until the fences were replaced. I put chain link fence on the side that borders the horses' pasture.

One of the ponies, Cotton, loves it when I work in the garden. I'll throw him grass that I've pulled out and other treats such as carrots. The side that borders the lawn has rose bushes but there is one part that the dogs leap over with ease. Keith helped me and we made the fence another two feet taller by adding lattice. It looks really nice. When we finished it, as we were putting the tools away, Bambi and Snoopy added a little extra to their jump and flew over it.

To get into the garden I go through the kennel gate and then the garden gate. This way I can keep the dogs out. Ha! They manage to find a way into the garden no matter how hard I try. I've pretty much admitted defeat. I dug up the beds and started planting tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I'm not very domestic, so I don't can or freeze my vegetables. I just plant enough to enjoy with my salad and to make spaghetti sauce. The flowers are what I really enjoy. I buy some annuals but am always looking for perennials to liven it up.

So last week I went out and bought everything to plant. Off to the garden I go to enjoy some peace and quiet while I dig in the dirt. Thumbelina, Kelsey, and Sugar go everywhere with me so they're allowed in the garden. I've gotten in a new rescue dog, Gracie, who is a fear biter, so I brought her in so she could roll in the grass and play. Bob, Merlin, and Ruger tore past me when I opened the gate - so they came in. Then Darryl, my sidekick Beagle, had to come and help too.

As I was planting they helped. Bob peed on the tomato plants, Gracie thought it was really cool to run through the sprinkler and then roll in the dirt, Thumbelina wanted some shade so she dug up a corner of one of the beds that was under the lilac bush. Darryl insisted I needed his help so he tore out the weeds. Unfortunately, he didn't know the difference between weeds and the flowers I had just planted. In the meantime I heard Merlin chewing on the empty plastic pots. Suddenly a light went on - he was chewing the plastic planters the flowers were still in. So I planted stems and leaves - no flowers. This is why the majority of my flowers are in hanging baskets.

Usually 50% of the flowers survive and the vegetables somehow make it through. Even though I get so frustrated when the dogs are undoing my work I can laugh about it. Most of these dogs have never had the fun of digging in the dirt, running through the sprinklers, or rolling in the grass. They love the company of the other dogs and the special alone time with me. So I plant and provide entertainment to them and they give me something to talk about.

A few of my special dogs are buried in my garden. Wally, the smartest Blue Heeler I've ever had has a section under the lilac bush. Jibber, my first rescued Australian Cattle Dog, who loved carrots, has a place. Fallon, a miniature Red Heeler, who was hit by a car, is under the sun dial. On the other side of the fence beside the peach tree are the two best horses I've ever owned. Blue is Impressive was a black Quarter Horse stallion that lived to be 30. Hocus Pocus, Lacey, was a Quarter Horse mare that would jump the moon. I won many awards with her and she taught me so much.

So my garden isn't really about the flowers or the vegetables but the memories and I have lots of good ones. Isn't that what life's about?

- Peg Schaeffer

Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-06-02 06:52:49
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Scenic Adair Co., KY: Contented herbivor at table

2013-06-02 - Scenic Johnson School Road, Greater Gadberry, KY - Photo by Linda Waggener.
A sleek cow on a hillside pasture at the bottom of the U on scenic Johnson School Road was contentedly munching in a pasture of tender spring grass and daisies.

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Heather Tucker with Gypsy, a great rescue dog you can adopt

2013-06-02 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. This picture was taken at the Farmer's Market today: This is Gypsy, a spayed female German Shepherd mix. She made friends with Heather Tucker, a member of the "Spiritual Warriors" who sang at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Gypsy is one of the best rescue dogs we have right now. She doesn't bark or jump on people. She loves attention and doesn't do anything wrong. She has had her Rabies' vaccine and is microchippped. She is a GREAT dog. - Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY. 270-378-4521 ir 270-634-4675
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Peg Schaeffer's Garden

2013-06-02 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. One of the rose bushes in my garden.My garden isn't really about the flowers or the vegetables but the memories and I have lots of good ones. Isn't that what life’s about? - Peg Schaeffer
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Peg Schaeffer & Friends at Farmer's Market on the Square

2013-06-02 - Adair Annex Parking Lot, 424 Public Square, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener. Peg Schaeffer of Sugarfoot Farm Rescue with her one-woman, five-dog stand at the Farmer's Market on Square. She offered free literature and information on spaying and neutering programs. The two dogs in the cage are her personal pets - pampered show dogs, who go on pet therapy trips to Summit Manor and other places where the pets are invited and eagerly awaited. The beautiful German Shepherd, at right, made many friends. "She's the best rescue dog I ever had," Schaeffer says. Gypsy is still awaiting a "Furever Home," although he left a lasting impression on many people at the market with her warm, empathetic eye contact.
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