"You really should put some shoes on" comes the cry from Mumzy everytime she spots me in the garden sans footwear. My reply is always the same, and up until now, has a checkmate reply 'I would, but you threw them all out.' Obviously I've managed to acquire a few new pairs since (read: 4!) but it's nothing like the previous full collection in all it's red bowed, black booted and Italian leathered glory.
Unfortunately, I'm not exaggerating. I had about 30 pairs of my shoes in one bag when I was moving, and amongst a lot of other chaos, Mumzy accidentally donated them to vinnes. Every SINGLE pair of my beloved shoes. When I finally realised what had happened, it was sadly far too late to save even a single pair. We went down to the local op shop, and rummaged around out the back trying to find some traces, but alas, to my horror, they had been sent elsewhere. I did shed a tear, but I'm strangely quite comfortable with the situation now. However, when I use my trump retort, I can go back to gardening unshod in peace. Don't judge the toes, I scrub them until they are raw when I'm finished, to remove all traces of dirt.
That was, until Mother Nature and Mother Mumzy decided to form team All Mother and play that trump right back at me ( I do hope I'm using the correct names- I'm quite useless at cards..). It was just an ordinary day, and I was pottering around in the patch... More precisely, I was going to check the traps for some of the enemy fruit flies. Just as I was about to put my foot down, something slithered right from underneath. A brown snake- at least a metre and maybe a bit more. Funnily enough (I'll tell you about my other reptile phobia some other time) - I was as calm as could be, ran to get the shovel so I could find it and smack it on the head. Wasn't quick enough to get the camera.. so you get an exciting picture of said shovel.
Dad came outside to look for it, only to sight Mr S quickly, before Mr S quickly retreated across the road, and hopefully headed back to where he had come from. A bit of excitement for the day. Mum almost cried with frustration when she came home a day later to find me barefoot out the back. "Girls should NOT be in garden with no shoes on, or they may just tread on a snake." Thanks for the concern Mumzy, but I'm afraid it's become a bit of a habit now, and I quite like it. Unless it's raining, in which case, it's obvious that the Gumboots must have an official outing.
The gumboots. I haven't spoken much of those great things lately, and that's because there has hardly been an occasion for them to strut their stuff. Unfortunately, it's still fairly dry here (in stark contrast to basically everyone else on the Eastern Seaboard) so it was a relief to hear a bit of rain on the roof last night, it does wonders for the patch, even if the gumboots didn't get their day out as it had cleared by morning.
The garlic has sprouted and it's quite exciting. I know they won't be ready to harvest for AGGGGGGES but I counted 50 sprouts this morning. It's like they have just come out of nowhere. The spot of rain must have coaxed some of them to hurry up! Thanks rain, please come again.
I think I'm going to need more than 50 plants, especially if aphids or anything else manage to get into it. We go through a couple of bulbs of garlic a week, so I'd like to be able to have enough to supply the fam for the year, plus some to give as presents to a few select peeps. Yes DiR - you will get some.. Perhaps I'll have to dig up some of patch 1 to plant some more, we simply cannot have a garlic shortage.
The big sweet potato plant is no longer. Upon great gardening advice from a friend, I dug that beast out. There were a few little pots hiding underneath, and I'm wondering if there are a few more deeper down, but it was time for it to go. RIP big SP. It's probably for the best, even though digging things up does excite me beyond a reasonable level, it was spreading too much and we all know how space is precious in the patch. I did pop in a few extra kale plants in it's place so we will see how they go.
The snow peas are finally latching up the trellis and are as sweet and snappy as could be. I think I've eaten at least 20, and none have actually made it inside, but there's plenty more to look forward to. It will be nice when the peas start their journey upwards too.
The rocket and radish seedlings are growing everyday but are still cute to boot. I'm digging some out to give to friends, because they have gone so well,so I've got way more than I expected, and they just won't survive in that space.
The carrots and parsnips seem to be doing particularly well! I'm thrilled to be able to pull them out of the ground. The last carrots I tried to grow in a tub, didn't really work. I'm still not sure if it was the tub, or the QLD weather. At any rate, these babies don't seem to be suffering the same fate. Fingers crossed. Does anyone know when they are totally ready to pull out? How can one be sure of not carroting too early?
The bloody brassicas, as usual, are problematic. Blah Blah Blah. Stop getting grubs and turning yellow. I'm sick of you attention seeking brassicas. Just shoosh up and grow well please.
Just as I was about to go crazy town on the brassica babies, Dad came home with a beautiful red cabbage that a mate had given him. I immediately retreated from the garden and placed my weapon (digging fork) down. I suppose when you are as beautiful as a cabbage, there are bound to be some growing difficulties.
The lettuces are thriving(much to Dad's delight), and I'm glad they are growing quite large, because it seems the space I left for them to grow is just about right. Dad has been taunting me for weeks about the spaces (apparently Dad's know best even when they don't know best, and they like to give their 2 cents which often turns into about $2 worth of 2 centses.) "The bugs will have to catch a bus to get between your lettuces." Nice one D man.. Wouldn't that be a good thing?! In any case, they are growing nicely.
At the moment, I'm gearing up for the show, as is the rest of the town and even a few keen out of towners who are coming to visit! I only believed that they were actually coming on Wednesday. Prior to this I thought they were joking about making the 8 hour drive to go to the bloody local show and visit me, bearing coconuts... Turns out they are serious- how absolutely lovely of those little ladies. I'm tres excited to see my friends and I've made them up little welcome packs, because I fear they will not be equipped for the seasons down here.
I haven't yet bought the tubs of nutella, but of course, each will be issued a standard sized jar, in case of emergencies.
The buzz around here is actually hilarious and reminiscent of the excitement for the Wirrawee Show captured in John Marsden's 'Tomorrow when the War Began' series. Let's hope the ending isn't the same because I've realised the hiding place I had picked out when I was a child, isn't quite as big as I thought it was ....
As I sit here, many km's away from the Show grounds, I can hear the loudspeaker testing out and starting to announce the horse events for the day. Unfortunately, I forgot to enter my cake in the competition (oh my gosh- what is WRONG with me?!) but, I do have plans for domination in other arenas. Due to being locked into the zipper for 6 rounds when I was in year 9 by some local larrikin (and my almost ridiculous amount of car sickness) I will never step foot on a side show alley ride again.
However, I'm almost as wiley as Fantastic Mr Fox when it comes to sideshow alley games. In fact, I'm not very good at many things (when I say I am, I'm usually joking) but this time, I'm totally serious. I can beat the carneys at their own rigged games!! Not even kidding. I'm a show game winner. One year I was banned from playing after I won 20 prizes. I then returned with an akubra disguise, money from friends who I would represent in the challenge and took home another 20. It was a sad day for those carneys- never had they seen such devastation. I then competed interstate. This wasn't an official thing per-say, I just happened to be at another show in QLD and also managed to bag a few big prizes and beat all the guys who think their muscles will help them in the water target challenges. Sorry suckers- you just need inconspicuous lazy eye because it makes it easier to seperate the two places you need to look at. Aside from a gorgeous stuffed wooly sheep, I also took home a giant Krusty the clown, whose whereabouts is now unknown.
Obviously food is a big deal for the picnic. GFather and I have already got a turkey from our friend Bert, which was boned and stuffed by our Butcher friend Lars. I'm currently making a list of other things that will feature, and in true kitsch but delicious style, I've had requests for mini quiches, chicken wings and pumpkin soup in little cups. I'm also thinking of some antipasto w grilled vegetable styled arrangements, something gluten free featuring smoked salmon, creme friache and dill - as well as some home made lemonade. Retro cool. I almost feel like Vol-au-vents should appear by default.
Anyway, I'd best be off as there is lots to do before tomorrow. I have to get a good night's rest too- If I'm to execute the plan of total carney devastation round 3.
So... Tell me readers, what would you take to the local show to eat?