Waiting, waiting, waiting; it’s that time of year again. All over the Homestead, things are teetering on the edge of exploding into action
The weather has been doing that crazy seesaw of early twenties (we’re talking Celsius here) one day, to hard sparkling frost the next, with a sprinkling of dismal grey just to keep us on our toes. Out in the garden, we’ve got everything primed and ready to go, but learnt to our cost last year that it just doesn’t pay to sow anything, even in the glasshouse, until September. It’s all part of the waiting game.
This week, The Goat Herd managed to get the compost turned again and threw a bit of “the good stuff” on the newly constructed front garden bed in readiness for the pumpkins, courgettes and squash earmarked to take up residence there. We never feel guilty about having those crops in front of the Homestead as they always look so pretty. Besides the developing pumpkins provide endless entertainment for the bus stop patrons and goes a long way to explaining why we have a shelf in the garage full of graffitied curcubita. Zac, whoever you are, we salute you; Not only are you “cool”, “cute” and “da man”, you also have a firm grasp of botany (not everyone knows the etching-the-teeny-pumpkin trick) and a very active social life – if our vegetables can be believed, that is. Of course, bearing in mind this is an election year, “Z-Dawg” may just be a master in the art of self promotion as it is rampant around these parts at the moment. You know it’s a tad slow when you’re reduced to reading dinner.
On the front fence, the karakaberry has a few blossoms on it and in the glasshouse the cutting we took from it is also budding up. This is our next passive aggressive move in the Battle of the Berry Filcher. Our devilishly cunning plan is to offer said filcher his very own plant to nurture, coddle, tend, cosset and ultimately crop so that he keeps his snitchy little hands off ours. In theory it’s brilliant, even if we do say so ourselves.
From the buds on the canes, plants and vines well inside the Homestead boundaries, it looks like we could be in for a bit of a bumper berry season all round, but other than snuggling them up with a bit of the goats pre-loved straw or, for the acid-loving blueberries, sawdust, there’s not a lot you can do about it at the moment . The same goes for the broad beans, cabbages, sprouts, garlic and silverbeet already in the ground. Aside from a weekly amble to check the broad beans are still well supported against the prevailing easterly, the garden is on autopilot.
It’s much the same in the paddock and meadow where the animals are happy to go about their business as long as their houses are clean, foodbowls full and the odd treat lobbed their way. Geraldine continues to incubate, Leia to obnubilate (who knows what’s happening in that belly) and the chickens and ducks to ovulate with minimal input from us. We’re currently pretty surplus to requirements in their world.
For us, there’s only so much mending, patchworking, knitting and sewing you can do without going slightly doolally and so this has left us time to do a bit more community building than usual This week we’ve Lunchified, solved a few of the world’s ills over coffee at Crema, spent a pleasant afternoon hobnobbing with like minds in The Kingdom of Nova and even attended the inaugural parliamentary sitting of the Peoples Independent Republic of New Brighton. It’s been great fun catching up, clearing up, reconnecting and revolting but it’s all done under the shadow of what’s to come.
Our collective intelligence tells us to enjoy this lull. We know it won’t be long before we’re back to the grind of weeding, feeding, tending, and harvesting; crafting our days around twice a day milking and cheese making. Soon we’ll be scuffing tired gumboots up the path at the end of the day, dining on whatever we’ve remembered to grab from the garden, and collapsing in exhausted heaps onto the sofas and fighting to keep our eyes open for just one episode of The Daily Show (because there’s nothing like smirking at another country’s foibles), or Eggheads (they’re all great, but especially Daphne and CJ) or Death in Paradise. We know we should be revelling in this calm before the storm.
Truth is, all this waiting around is a bit unsettling. We know these words will come back to haunt us in the very near future, but right now we’re sick of waiting.