Killing with kindness

Posted January 9th, 2006 by Penny Wise

What an old miser I am turning into! Went to our dear friends' wedding at the weekend and there I was in the middle of this beautiful and romantic occasion, looking around and thinking 'I wonder how much they could have saved on that? I wonder how much this cost? I could have saved them heaps on these...' - all those Simple Savings wedding hints several months back have turned me into an expert! Mind you, I guess I'm not the expert I thought I was when it comes to online grocery shopping. My delivery was due today and I haven't received a blooming thing so far!

It seems there are other areas I should be saving in too, according to our local vet today. Noel took our dear slobbery Labrador, Ella to get her eyes sorted as they have been affected by some kind of pollen allergy. The good news is that the $1000 cruciate ligament operation she supposedly required is no longer necessary. The bad news is that the reason for her unexplained limping is due to Ella being more than a tad overweight; hence she now has a bit of trouble getting herself around. There was I, thinking I was being so economical, letting Ella have all the scraps instead of throwing them out - I mean, anyone who is familiar with Labs know what dustbins they are! Ella is even savvy enough to toddle over to the neighbours and plonk herself at the back door, tormenting Maxine with her 'feed me' eyes and scoring all kinds of goodies before waddling back home for dinner. So poor old Ella has been forced to go on a diet for her own good, otherwise in the vet's own words 'She will die very young, though extremely happy'. A harsh wake up call!

Of course Noel is completely blameless and has berated me all afternoon for attempting to kill his favourite dog with kindness. Not that he is without his faults, as his over-zealous attempts to care for our flourishing vegetable garden recently ended in disaster. As a rule, Noel does very well in the fishing department and this inevitably means that once his swag of fish has been filleted, he is then left with a load of fish bones and remains. Despite his best efforts to bury them in a secret location, Ella would always find them and usually wait until they were at least a week old before depositing them back on the lawn for everyone to enjoy a second time. He thought he had found the answer to his problems when reading an article in a fishing magazine which gave instructions on how to make your own organic fish fertilizer. All he had to do was get an old plastic drum with a lid on the top and a tap down the bottom, (which we already happened to have) cover the fish remnants with water and brown sugar and leave for nature to take its course. Apparently, after several months, one could then open the tap to harvest what is supposed to be wonderful liquid fertilizer.

Seeing as we have been going through a dry spell, Noel decided the vegetable garden could do with a bit of a boost and seized the moment to lavish his wonderful fertilizer on our lovingly tended plants. I was unaware he was doing this and both the children and I - inside with the doors and windows shut - were wondering what on earth had died, as the aroma of what could best be described as 2000 year old broccoli wafted through the neighbourhood outside from 50 metres away. 'Phew! It took a brave man to tackle that!' reported a grinning Noel. 'Let's see those veges leap out of the ground now!'

The poor veges leapt out of the ground alright - as far away as they possibly could! When we went to monitor its progress two days later, the smell in the vege patch was so bad that I was close to vomiting over my prized tomatoes. Noel decided the best way to tackle the overpowering stench was to give it a thorough watering and shovel large amounts of donkey poo on top of the offending area. While this did actually help the smell, it was too late to help the vegetables, some of which had been reduced to shriveled brown stalks, while others had completely disappeared. The cost of Noel's fishy experiment resulted in the loss of several broccoli plants, runner beans, tomatoes, zucchini and watermelon - and the tomatoes still aren't looking too flash. The sooner I get my worm farm, the better!

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