GAYS MILLS - I’ve asked my friend ‘Andy’ to pinch-write for me this week. He’s always giving advice to me and anybody who’ll listen to him, whether we want it or not, so I asked him to share his views on a few people’s problems.
Andy: My garden looks terrible. There are all kinds of plants out there that I didn’t plant. I have to hunt around to find the rows I planted and when I find something I did plant it’s very small and stunted. My garden sure doesn’t look like the pictures of gardens I see in magazines. What’s your advice? -Food hunter
Food Hunter: Ha! You probably thought you’d be gathering food instead of hunting for it. I do sympathize, and without further information I think I might know what the problem is. Your garden is overrun with something called weeds. Your garden plot is a perfect location for weeds to grow in and they no doubt appreciate your efforts in preparing it for them. Planting a garden is always exciting and fun. Weeding it is where the real work comes in, but much of that work can be avoided. It might be a good idea to till part of your weedy garden under now and start over - there’s still time this season. But this time, use a lot of mulch between the rows and you will eliminate 90 percent of the weeds.
Andy: My dog Fido won’t come when I call it. He also won’t fetch sticks when I throw them. On the positive side he’s friendly and doesn’t bark much. How can I train my “companion” to come and fetch. -Frustrated Friend
Frustrated Friend: I see two problems here. One: Think of a dog as being constantly hungry. Dogs live to eat and are always looking for the next meal. Harness that hunger in your training. Start slowly, like, call him from a short distance in the house, and when he gets to you, have a small tidbit for him as a reward. Do this a few times and he’ll come a runnin’ when you call. Two: The lack of fetching may not be fixable. In my experience there are dogs who will fetch (maniacally)and dogs that won’t be bothered, they just don’t get the concept. Dogs have been bred over the centuries to be companions and helpers in the forms of hunting or retrieving or herding or protecting. I suspect that Fido is not a fetch dog by nature and is not interested in learning to be one.
Andy: I’ve been dating a swell young fellow from the neighboring county for a while now. We really hit it off and seem to be very compatible. It’s time to introduce him to my folks and therein lies the rub. “Josh” is a dyed in the wool John Deere man and my dad likes/loves International Harvestors. They both wear the clothes and hats of their favorite tractor brand and talk incessantly about the superiority of their machines. This conflict might be a deal breaker for the relationship. What should I do? -Brand Name Blues
BNB: I give advice sweetheart, I don’t work miracles. I’m afraid your relationship is doomed unless you and your fellow both move far, far away. Brand loyalty runs deep when it comes to tractors and to keep peace in the family and to salvage this relationship, a move is in order.