My suburban garden
is being transformed.
My views are tiled rooftops,
light industry and Mount Direction. The backyard is the enormous foliage of
60-year old walnut tree. The boundary is gaps and broken down palings. Regardless, on both
sides, neighbours work in their gardens trying to produce a few bits and
The Lovely Deputy arrived
less than a year ago, not to be deterred, he’s introducing the country to
Moonah. The old lean-to became a hot house. In our first spring together, we
sewed seed, pricked out and planted our first crop.
Worm farms and compost bins
were established. The freestanding garden beds got a make over and he’s already
cycling crops through them. At the moment, one bed is resting, planted with
green manure. In the other beds are radishes, leeks, onions, carrots, garlic
and sugar snap peas I never see because he eats them while he’s working.
Guinea pigs produce cold
compost. It doesn’t take months to break down like chicken manure. Their messy
hay can go straight on the garden. The pigs are functional to the Lovely Deputy.
He throws food in each time he passes, makes sure they have water and cleans
out their cages once a week. A number of pigs have come and gone already. Tim Tam for example, ended up being Tim Tom and was sent back to Animal
Tuckerbox at Derwent Park.
Now we have Stripe and her
daughter Dakota, Snow White and Bonita. I named them. Apart from a short stint
with cats as a young child and a long illness with Toxoplasmosis, I’ve never
had pets. These little farm animals are the pets I unwittingly terrorise most
days. I’m trying to learn how to show my love with less exuberance. They’re
scaredy-cats by nature. There’s a little Cos and some kale growing for them too.
A chicken coop emerged and
Maxi-Jazz and Sooty, the black Bantams, came to live with us. The Lovely Deputy
is happiest scrapping around amongst his garden beds whilst the girls scrap
around at his feet, pecking here and there. They just got old enough to lay
before it got too cold to lay. For a few weeks though, we enjoyed little googy eggs
from our own chickens.
There’s a constant rodent
battle in our suburban country life. Rats finally forced their way in and took
the two female quails from the coop. He was lost in thought until he produced
expanding foam, chicken wire and steel wool. He told me if the male survives,
we can get more quail and return to the plan of breeding them. He did!
We discovered a quail breeder and a thing or two about quail. Our first three were 'King' which has nothing to do with size as apparently quail also come in 'Colossus'. The four latest additions to the coop are Japanese quail: Blanca, Dove, Wild and Cross-stitch. Like a little chick, the last surviving King has taken to hanging out under the protective wing of Maxi-Jazz.
Gardens are for
productivity, and he’s using every bit of space that isn’t shaded by the giant
tree. Sixteen raspberry canes have just been planted along the side of the
garage, some will fruit in autumn, some in summer and some in time for my
birthday next year.
The rats gnaw off the tops
of budding veggies sewn in the greenhouse. He’s foiled the blighters by hanging
new plants from steel cans. He tells me he’s now looking forward to broccoli.
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