Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Accidents



Today a bee flew onto my fingers as I was drinking tea in the winter sunshine. Now, I am not afraid of bees - I happily co-exist with them in the garden and they buzz past my ears as I prune the rosemary hedge or the lavender - BUT, I have never had one walk on me before. Well, not without me screeching and flinging it off. Today I held my breath and let the bee crawl in and out of my fingers. I think it was curious about the blue flowers on my mug. I watched its tiny, wiggly, furry body, its questing antennae, and waited gingerly for a sting. But there was no stinging, only tickling, then it flew away.

In a novel, that would be a metaphor for a newly awakened sense of trust in the universe. In my actual life I was tremendously proud of my bravery. I let a bee WALK on me.

Then I spent some time contemplating some seeds that have recently started appearing in my yard. This is the first year I have seen them. They are like tiny, perfect eyebrows. Someone, somewhere, has planted an eyebrow tree.

In other garden news, I have spent the week removing all traces of summer. Due to spring laziness, or as I prefer to call it, the Better Late Than Never school of gardening, I planted my spring garden in January, which is the equivalent of planting in July all you Northerners. Planted seeds, mind you. Anyway, due to my, ahem, scientific experimentation, I can now assure you that planting zucchini, beans, tomatoes and basil in the middle of summer will still provide a splendid crop, as long as you are willing to wait for food until late Autumn. Oh, and only if you plant close enough to the house to avoid frost. Only the cherry tomatoes will ripen, but the others will slowly ripen in the laundry, or even faster in the fruit bowl next to the bananas. So next year, maybe I will plant in Spring (fingers crossed) AND in Summer, when the new plants will take over from the spent Spring planting. I still have about a kilogram of cherry tomatoes on the kitchen bench (in JUNE!) and the very last Grosse Lisse. Last week I used the last fresh zucchini. So there you have it. Extending the season through sheer laziness.


Here are the skeletonised remains of the beans. The baby lettuces growing up underneath them? Last Winter's lettuces that I allowed to go to seed in the pots in spring. I love accidental gardening. This week I will cut the bean plants down at ground level rather than pulling them up, so I don't disturb the lettuce. Then I will plant snow peas between the lettuce babies. Also planted the garlic this week. It has to be in before the shortest day, to get enough time to bulb up nice and plump to harvest at Christmas. So I just squeaked in.

More lovely garden goodness this week - I picked a load of apples from our trees. The leaves are nearly all gone, and the remaining apples are like baubles on a Christmas tree. I kindly share them with the birds. Wattle birds hanging upside down to peck at the apples in the tip-top branches of the apple trees make me and the cats very happy. The birds are framed beautifully in our second-storey front windows; I call it cat TV. Anyway, a week's worth of stewed apple. Yum. Such sweet apples, they didn't need sugar, just cinnamon.

And a friend came for morning tea bringing her home grown limes and mandarins. The mandarins were wonderful, tart-sweet, not bland like the bought ones. I will be impatiently waiting for another year before I have any mandarins, but there are oranges on my trees that I am keeping my beady, greedy eyes on. Not long to wait now.. faith is the substance of things hoped for.. I have great faith in you, my oranges.

15 comments:

Tanya Murray said...

Ah superb timing! I was just thinking of you today my friend and wondering how you were going and what you were up to. x

GretchenJoanna said...

I can imagine the thrill of that bee encounter. After reading of your experience, if a bee ever wants to walk on me I will try to be calm and brave, so I can get that thrill first-hand, while fervently praying not to get stung. There are a hundred bees right now on my nearby lavender bush....

theroadtoserendipity said...

What a happy post full of excitement and bravery and fecund with fruit. Lovely to see you got your mojo back jojo (sorry, had to do it...rhyming couplets ;) ) We should soon get around to extending our dog compound to enclose the fruit trees so come next fruiting season, when Sargent Earl is patrolling the grounds lets see how much fruit the possums get THIS year eh? ;). I am with you on the late planting and am just about to get my garlic and potato onions planted but don't tell anyone as they were supposed to be planted in early May ;) Here's to accidental gardening and eyebrow plants for all :)

e / dig in said...

i too would wonder if the bee was a metaphor for something i should be doing with my life! how magical.
i'm envious now that your 'sheer laziness' meant that you were still harvesting zukes last week! amazing! i should try this method ;-) but you're right - now we have the frosts to contend with. not good for gardens OR gardeners.xx

rabidlittlehippy said...

How magical and yes, brave too, to have a bee walk on you. I have chills from reading about it (good chills). I laughed out loud aabout your eyebrow tree. Are you going to plant them to see what they grow into? Just for the 'speriment of it?

Anonymous said...

Fabulous. Love lazy gardening, though I've left all my winter planting waaaay too late (apart from onions and garlic) so no broccoli, cabbage etc for us this year. On the plus side, have planted 11 more fruit trees, so one of these years will have a thriving orchard. Very envious of your home-grown apples. Loretta

Bek said...

Well done on the bee encounter. I do confess to flinging many a benign creature from my limbs as soon as I feel anything creepy-crawley, as I instantly think "spider" and just want to get it off. Even if its not, in fact, an arachnid.
Lazy gardeners unite! There's nothing wrong with it, and you have tomatoes now when all the early people probably haven't had tomatoes for months. Score.

Jo said...

Tanya, I am longing to get back to a Better Living group again. Maybe this month?
Gretchen Joanna, no thrills without risk!
Fran, here's to possum-proof fruit trees, and we'll compare notes on the success or otherwise of our late garlic planting at Christmas time.
e, I highly recommend laziness in the garden:)
Jessie, I have quite a small garden and feel sure the eyebrow tree would be enormous. But I could grow one in a pot, just to see..
Loretta, you and I are in the same boat re brassicas. And the fruit will come sooner than you think. My apple trees are the same age as my baby (that is, 9yo. Big baby). I had to get a friend to dig the holes for me as I was quite pregnant at the time. And it was only six years or so before said baby was actually climbing the trees:)
Hmm, yes Bek, I still haven't made friends with the spiders.. that may take some time, and character development..

Kristen Johns said...

Loved your post! As you are picking your apples and stewing them up, I am watching ours start to grow. I've never seen a wattle bird in my backyard, but they sound lovely. And oranges? You may have to wait a year... but I don't think I've ever seen an orange hanging on a tree before! One day....

Lynda D said...

Better late than never Jo, im jumping in to say what a lovely post and so good to hear from you. I have a problem with Blogger at the moment and im only getting one post at a time, so im missing everyone.

Jo said...

Hi Kristen, I LOVE watching the baby apples grow in Spring. Wattle birds are the most elegantly shaped and acrobatic birds, but raucous... I'm sure if you saw one, you wouldn't be able to resist drawing them.
Lynda, isn't technology a fine thing??!!

Wee Wendy said...

You just transported me back in time to when I was little and a bee landed on my dress. I remember being frozen in complete terror and unable to move. I waited, I watched, and absolutely nothing terrible happened so I sat down and carried on watching it. My lovely flowery sundress was being explored, and I was privy to that little bees moment. Ah, memories! x

Jo said...

That's lovely Wendy! It seems that bees 'see' 2D flowers as well as real ones!

Everyday Life On A Shoestring said...

Oh I never will get used to all you lot down under and your back to front gardening and seasons...accidental gardening is always good, whatever the season.

Jo said...

Sara, I think you will find it is the Northern Hemisphere that has everything backwards:)

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