I thank inoureyes and Daisymum for the inspiration to write today's post. A couple of days ago Daisymum made a comment, in part she wrote: "... sometimes the inspiration is in the little things you write. Today for me it was "the best silverbeet we have ever grown" from that I gather that sometimes even you guys have things go not quite to plan. When you are up to your eyeballs in things to do it is lovely to be reminded that sometimes the journey is easy, sometimes there are roadblocks along the way and sometimes you get "the best silverbeet we have ever grown".
Then yesterday, inoureyes asked about our failed aquaponics system and that reminded me of the times we struggled to keep our fish alive. Both those comments encouraged me to write about the ups and downs of every day and how those ups and downs are an important part of life.
I've touched on this subject a while ago and you can read that post here. BTW, I don't see either of these comments as criticism, and I know they were not intended as such. :- )
Those of you who have been reading here for a while know that I love the way we live. We are able to do what we like, when we like, and most days you'll find us content and happy working away at home or in our community. But there are times when our plans and expectations fall short and there is not much we can do about it. Although I'm a cock-eyed optimist, I expect the disappointments and the bad times. When they materialise, I recognise what's happened, work towards a solution, or walk away if I can't find one, and get on with my work.
I never expect perfection, not do I want it. I want to live a life that is significantly influenced by nature and any of you who have been working in a garden recently will surely know that when working with natural systems, anything can happen. I think you get a kind of artificial "perfection" at the supermarket. There you can walk down rows of produce to see row up row of perfect, unblemished fruit and vegetables. They present us with produce that is all the same size and colour, but when you bite into this food, if generally lacks taste. Those perfect looking fruit and vegetables are often produced using controlled conditions, pesticides and fertilisers. If you go to the organic section of the same store, you'll notice the organic produce doesn't look quite so perfect, but it contains no chemical residue and has a good taste.
So Daisymum, when we plant out our silverbeet in a shady corner of the garden, watch it struggle above the ground for a couple of weeks, then nurse it along with seaweed and natural fertilisers and the rainwater collected from our roof top, when I see it looking not only healthy but THE best, I have to say it aloud. It's worth celebrating because the silverbeet isn't always THE best so when it is, I celebrate it. I acknowledge the downs as much as the ups - without the downs, the ups wouldn't mean much and we'd be left with a flat line. I don't want a flat line life.
And the aquaponics - what a disappointment that was! It's a wonderfully efficient way of raising fish in the backyard, but we couldn't do it. I've written about the system here and about its demise here. As I've said before, if we were younger we may have persevered a lot longer with the fish, but when things went wrong if was too much work for Hanno, so we cut our losses and walked away.
We are much more experienced with the in ground vegetable and fruit garden and when things go wrong, we usually know what to do. But each season brings it's own tests and surprises, some seasons we get THE best and some seasons we get THE worst. The trick is to not have the worst season for too many vegetable in the same year. LOL
If everything always went according to plan yesterday would have ended with us having a bee hive in the backyard. Shane and Sarndra visited to pick up the couch yesterday and I was at work. Shane rang to tell me there was a big swarm of bees surrounding our orange tree. That had never happened before but IF I had been prepared, IF I had read more about bees, IF we had the equipment, we might have enticed those bees to stay. But the reality is we weren't prepared, I had not read more about bees, and the bees left. A disappointment yes, but all part of this lovely patchwork we are creating. Sometimes, just sometimes, there is a perfect row of stitches. Sometimes the stitches are badly placed and just wrong, and have to be unpicked. But both good stitches and bad stitches are part of the process and make for an interesting quilt, and life.
Buddhists say: when you are sweeping, really know you are sweeping. I think the downs of life help keep us on track and focused on real life. If we only had good times, we would soon lose focus, knowing nothing bad could happen. The downs are our anchors, they might not be appreciated when they happen but they stop us floating around aimlessly. So I celebrate the good times and appreciate the bad things for what they are - reminders that we need to stay focused. So if you've had to pull out the tomatoes because of a bug attack or if the children are going a bit wild today, tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow you might harvest the best silverbeet you've ever grown.
PS: I had to wait an hour to post this as Blogger was down for a while. In the meantime the sun has come up and Hanno told me the bees are still there ! Now what?
ADDITION: We called a local beekeeper. Bee update tomorrow.