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Chet Baker, Bean Planter

Monday, June 9, 2008

My first planting of lima beans did not take. I'd planted them too early, and out of 90 beans, only five became viable plants. I wasn't counting on weeks of nights in the thirties and forties, and the beans weren't happy about it, either. My string beans, planted at the same time, germinated lustily. I look at the two seeds, one large, white and flat, the other small, white and oblong, and wonder at the differing cold tolerance encoded, along with all the other information, within that inscrutable seed coat.

There was nothing for it but to soak another batch of 90 limas until they swelled to three times their size, and try again.

Chet Baker's normal attitude in the garden while I work is that of Wilbur the Pig, snuggled in a bed of shiny, sweet-smelling straw. Note his glorious brindleation. He is a chunk of caramel fudge.

But he sat up and watched dreamily as I dug out the furrows and laid the soaked (and rather corny-smelling) lima seeds within. Because I was low on seed and wanted to make sure they were spaced properly, I didn't cover them as I went. I laid out three rows and began covering the first.

And looked up to see Chet Baker moving up the second row, methodically covering each seed with soil and straw.

I knew as I 'd walked out the door to plant with Chet that it was a mistake to leave my camera inside. I actually did one of those little half-turns--should I go get it?--no, it might get dirty when I'm digging--and kept walking. But I know that something interesting always happens when I leave the camera inside. Heck, something interesting happens all the time. I should just sleep with the darn thing around my neck.

I lit out for the house, a curious Baker close on my heels, switched lenses (the wrong lens is always on it), and ran back out to the garden. Hunkered down and readied myself for the magic.

Chet Baker. You with the dirty nose.

Do you think you might plant some more lima beans for me?

The moment has passed. I no longer feel the urge to plant beans. My nose is full of dirt, as you noticed.

Please, Chet. Please plant some more beans for Mether.

More of the same from Chet. He pricked his ears at a distant swallowtail, looked over his shoulder, hummed a little dog tune, and drummed his little dog fingers.

I sighed, put the camera down, and began covering the seeds myself.

Chet sighed, walked over, and resumed planting the row he'd been working on.

I will say that Mr. Baker is not a particularly thorough bean planter, seeming to consider soil and dry, loose straw to be equally good bean growing media. When he was finished I had to redo his row.
But he made me laugh, and that is something.
And a good snorgle on a sun-warmed puppeh will ease any heart.

I have just returned from North Dakota this evening, and promptly retrieved Chet Baker from luxurious and loving accommodations with dear friends who live deep in the West Virginia woods. They had left two phone messages on our home and cell: "If you were planning to pick Chet up tonight, it's perfectly all right for him to stay another night or two. We aren't anxious to see him go. In fact, we'll miss him very much. He's been an absolute joy."

That he is. Knowing he may never see the inside of a kennel cage again fills us all with absolute joy. I figured, after all the mining and whining, you were about as desperate for a Bacon fix as I was.


Oh what a wonderful story--laughter all the way for me.
A bean planting dog!
And you are so right that his sleeping pose is a Wilbur the pig pose.

Aww, sun-warmed puppeh, my favorite!

Oh, what a sweet boy! You can *always* send Mr. Baker to Alaska for safe keeping. Vivi talks of him constantly.

For Phoebe's sake, I'm glad you got those rows re-planted.

Let me tell you - you've been way overdue with a puppeh post. I can hear the snorgle in the warm sun :o) Your narratives always amaze me and make me laugh out loud. What a great dog he is, never again to lounge in a kennel cage.

I love the fact that you always regret leaving your camera behind. I do, too.

Welcome back!


Are you sure you and Chet don't share a brain? You all seem to be sooo tuned in to one another! :c) He's such a sweet helper. I know he was so glad to have his mether home.

I love those pictures of that sweet little sun-warmed puppeh!

He's done very well.
I'm sure with a little more practice, you won't even need to re-do his rows!

I watched a squirrel planting nuts last fall. Everyone knows they dig and plant, but have you ever watched them cover and pack and cover and pack a perfect spot back over it??
He fussed and fussed--nothing casual about it.

Boston Terriers are the dogs of my childhood, and you are really making me want another one!

What a great Baker fix! And what a smart dog. Robin is very helpful with untying shoelaces (even if you don't ask). I'd not trust Jack in the garden at all: he'd eat my peas instead of planting them. He adores peas. Not sure what he'd do with bean seeds.

Our gardens are woefully behind. Between the cold May (like it sounds you had as well) and the recent floods it's not been plant-friendly weather.

Bacon and Beans was worth the wait.

My favas are growing like weeds but my pole beans aren't doing a thing.

I don't know how anyone can garden without puppeh help! My dog helps-- mostly by sitting on things, but it's the thought that counts!

"Some Pig"

Baker is Wilbur indeed!


Oh, Chet Baker, I lubs you!


Thanks for the Baker fix. I have been missing him and so enjoy the belly laughs and chortles he provides.

When I read your title, I thought, "Oh, boy. Chet ate some lima beans and pooped them out and they sprouted."
This is more blog-worthy, I think.

Good boy, Chettie.

Wonderful doggie story! And the love shows through. Can relate so well to the thought of keeping my camera perpetually around my neck. Capture & save the moment.

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