August for the 2 folk,the dog and the tractor was a happy one, with the tractor saving the day. We got stuck! Let me translate.
We received very good falls of the right sort of rain. Our paddock soils became sodden enough for our ute to be “paddock parked” – unexpectedly. We don’t use the word “bogged” because it’s a bit of a negative word and it seems at odds with the joy of receiving rain.
For those interested, there is only 1 practical farming maxim to take away from our experience. Don’t go out into the paddocks in heavy machinery after heavy rainfalls. In our case we would nuance that with, don’t use a ute loaded up with wood and don’t go in the dark when you can’t see the track properly. Despite the best intentions you end up not being any help to the neighbour who is in EXACTLY the same situation – unexpectedly.
You’re welcome my fellow Pluviophiles. And now to the heart of the story.
A few of us are gathered around the kitchen table at tea time and the chat starts with the very normal, and socially acceptable, high level observations about the weather. Amongst farming folk this is never deemed boring. This month we had rain to talk about so there were cheerful comparisons of fantastic rainfall, even tales of livestock caught in odd spots and affected crossings over rivers and creeks.
Then, a pause, as we took a moment before deciding to elaborate. There is a distinct sitting back into the chair, a thoughtful sip of wine as a bashful smile starts to spread across a face.
And then it’s on. One after the other, newbie and life long farmer alike, start to regale their story of paddock parking their car – unexpectedly. We tell our tales of woe, with deadpan faces, and quietly spoken voices, but ultimately spinning a yarn that ends with happy faces, guffaws and howls of laughter. The undeclared winner is the farmer with the most novel way of freeing their vehicle trumped only by the farmer with the most number of support vehicles that came to help and inevitably became stuck – unexpectedly.
As a newbie farmer, I admit to happy relief at not winning this story telling competition. There is also a new found camaraderie. We were all happy to find ourselves stuck in the mud – unexpectedly. We all had soils that were fabulously sodden. But why was it all unexpected. Farmers watch the weather reports like hawks. Because such good falls of good rain are rare. Not even the meteorological department can pick them. But we got some and we are happy.
The kitchen garden is heaving with life and producing plenty of brassicas (brussel sprounts, kale, tender stem broccoli, broccoli, cauliflower), rocket, coriander, parsley, rosemary, rhubarb. The cabbages and broadbeans are “in development” and under cover the tomatoes, basil and peas have sprouted. Sadly the capcicums didn’t, may be due to old seed or badly kept seed. Jobs to do include weeding and feeding before things warm up any more. And working out what I can grow in our new growhouse. I’m plotting avocados, oranges, perhaps even a ginger plant, and hanging pots of strawberries, lots of them.
It is a shame I can’t share the sound of the bees. The sound of many bees, working hard and talking to each other as they jump from flower to flower has been missing from the garden for a couple of months. Every now and then I would spot a lone worker and feel her desperation to be back at the hive. It was deathly silent on the grey cold days. I wrote that I feared the worst. The last few sunny days of August have revived the hive and the girls are out in full swing. It is one of those grounding sounds of spring, the plants grow, the flowers blossom and the bees buzz. Currently flowering are wallflower (Erysimum sp), borage (Borago officialis), rocket, rosemary, lavender, tender stem broccoli and ornamental Manchurian pear (Pyrus ussuriensis). Jobs to do include potting up the wormwood (Artemisia sp) and geranium (Pelargonium sp) cuttings and hardest of all, create garden beds to take the seedlings of lavender (Lavandula sp), rock rose (Cistaceae sp), salvia (Salvia sp), shrubby germander (Teuchrium sp), sea holly (Eryngium) and buddleia (Budleja sp).
August is my birthday month so the book stash has been replenished and I am doing all I can to work through them slowly, like savouring a favourite piece of chocolate. The novel, “The Dictionary of Lost Words” by Pip Williams is intriguing in its premise and very well told, I was left wanting to know more about the well crafted characters.