11 September 2008

Vegetable gardening - another season starts

I've been resting these past couple of days and, impatient as I am to be well again, I think I'm almost there. The pain is gone from the back of my leg, moved to my hip and has now settled in my knee. It's very strange. I've never had anything like this before but the worst of it seems to be over and that makes me very happy. I am not one to rush off to a doctor as I tend to think my body will heal itself. Let's see if that proves to be true. Thank you all, friends, for the sweet get well cards, emails and all those lovely comments.

Activity has been at a minimum here but I have done a few things around the house. Cranberry and walnut biscuits were made for morning teas and I've also been tending the worm farm, knitting and writing. Now that the warmer weather is here the worm numbers have started to explode. I put some food in the farm yesterday afternoon and noticed a wriggling mass of baby worms. I'll take a photo of them later today so you too can see their squirming loveliness.

This is what awaited me when I walked outside yesterday afternoon. Hanno was sitting on the stump of a tree, with Alice, watching the chooks. We have to watch them when they free range now because we're growing lettuces and tomatoes in the yard unprotected from their scratching feet and ever hungry beaks.

I'm beginning to think that Big Bertha (above) is a rooster. Yesterday I think I saw the beginnings of spurs on those long, long legs. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. One part of me loves the idea of being able to raise our own chicks, the other half knows that as soon as the crowing starts, so will the neighbours complaints. We'll just have to wait and see what happens - whatever will be, will be.

This rest of the chooks are happy to wander about each day, looking for grubs and the occasional stray grasshopper. About half of them are laying now so we're selling eggs and putting that money towards their food and general care.

Just out of sight in the above photo is our, still uncovered, peach tree. The nectarines stood up well to the heavy rain we had a week ago but it looks untidy and ugly and I really don't like having the entire tree wrapped.

Hanno works every day in the garden and it really pays off. Above is a variety of vegies like leeks, beetroot, lettuce and tomatoes. Further over, just out of view is the potato patch we're half way through harvesting. If you've never eaten a fresh potato, let me tell you that is a treat you won't forget in a hurry. This crop is dutch creams, aka Nicola; we have Kiplfers growing out in the front garden. We are almost ready to do another planting for summer and as the prediction is for another hot one this year, we're thinking of putting up one shade tunnel for the green leafy vegetables. That will be behind the garden bed you see above. Beside it, where we are now growing potatoes, there will be mixed vegetables like capsicums, carrots, radishes and lettuce. The new potato crop will go in the old kale bed and we'll plant luffas on the new lattice. You can see it below with a few tomatoes growing well up against the lattice wall.

It is truly a wonderful time of year here. The nights are cool, the days warm and there is a feeling of expectation and reward in the air. It looks to be another good season of backyard growing coming up and I am thankful that we are able to get the best from the small parcel of land we have. We see complete life cycles here, one season comes to and end while a new one begins. Winter vegetables start flowering and seeding while summers vegetables grow quickly to their full potential. The hens start laying every day and the finer details of their feathers develop as the season progresses. The complexity and genuine beauty of the natural world always amazes me, I will never get tired of seeing bees flying from flower to flower or watching the day-by-day unfolding of a sunflower head.

Life is good in a productive backyard. Nature's gifts to us for our table are abundant and sweet. We never say to each other that we are living the good life, but we both know it deep down to our bones.

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