For someone who moved to the country with the avowed intention of living off the land, I’m still spending a lot of money at the supermarket.
This pisses me off. I mean, the old guy on a scrubby clay block halfway down the Pacific highway, who has to use his walker to get to the garden and last visited a commercial nursery in 1962, has tomatoes spilling voluptuously out of his vege patch like fishnets from an Amsterdam window box. His secret? Smelly little plastic bags of chopped up vege scraps, which he keeps around the house like booby traps for the unwary carer.
My city-living sister has a forest of edible giants outside her back door. Thus, she’s the one who cooks ME dishes straight from plant to plate. It’s not fair. I have a vege garden designed by an expert (the woman I bought the place off). It has the perfect aspect (according to God, ie the plumber), terraced beds, and supposedly fertile soil. It’s like Scots College for plants.
BUT – most of the stuff I plant in there withers in infancy. Whether this is because vegetables don’t like heatwaves (sissies), or need thrice-daily watering (fat chance), or the soil is just exhausted from constant child-bearing – I don’t know. For instance, these spinaches are optimistically labelled ‘Fordham Giant’. More like Fordham Failure!
This is deeply embarrassing. It’s like the country mouse inviting the city mouse to visit, and opening a can of baked beans. I’m losing cred here.
If it turns out that the intervention of The Man is required, my humiliation will be complete. I was the one whose job it was to produce Stuff to Eat. He was the one whose job is to Chop Stuff Up. If he ends up doing both, what’s the use of me then? Ornamental dandelion?
On the other hand it is possible that I’ll get better at this. My snowpeas were magnificent (they grew under spring’s gentle gaze, as opposed to summer’s vengeful glare). My beans are twirling and unfurling like timid debutantes at a country ball. There is hope.
Or I could just poison my sister’s turnips.