Thursday, 6 December 2007


I have 1/2 hour before I have to go out and I often wonder how long it takes me to write a good anecdote - it seems like minutes but it must be quite a while, I think. Some may say they are never good, but...

Today has been a real diamond for me because things happened unexpectedly. After a lovely morning gardening at Sally's I continued on up into the hills to water a friend's garden as she is away. There is nothing so beautiful (oh, shut up, I hear you say, there are plenty of 'more beautiful things'. OK.) as nosing about in someone else's garden when they are not there. Truly, there should be more of it. This one is especially lush and productive as it is watered using rain water - lets not get onto that topic now... and, as I stood there on a Wednesday, watering away as much as I thought necessary (and probably a bit more because it was a rare treat) I wished I had the camera. The bees, for one thing, were everywhere - amongst the flowering new crops like tomatoes as well as the old ones like Kath's broccoli. There is a border of ornamental flowering plants around 3 sides and I was quite spellbound (whatever that means) by the beauty and total tranquility. I don't mean silence but rather it was a mental thing - alone, at peace, and also having no ultimate responsibility for this garden or any of my surrounds, just enjoying the tiniest details and spraying gorgeous amounts of water frivolously into the air over the lettuce and bean seedlings. (That's 15 mins)

Eventually I left, in a kind of meditation, and down the road came across a sign saying 'loganberries for sale'. Having nothing to hurry me along I drove in and out came an old man. Old, very old. His wife had sold the last of the berries, he told me apologetically, but I spied a pretty big vegie garden off to one side and immediately that I told him I grew vegies too, I knew I would be invited in to have a wander and a chat. Ever so slowly we walked the paths, him telling me about the area, his seedsaving, his love of good plain vegies - none of the recipe stuff that he reads in the papers from time to time. He pulled up a mighty fine white onion and told me to eat it for dinner. I asked him about his beans - gourmet stringless, about his beetroot, and a myriad of other good English vegetables - nothing ethnic there. I felt so privileged. He said to call again next week as he would be picking some more berries by then, and gave me 5 lemons. What a gem, we could learn so much from him, not just about his vegies but about life in the area. I offered him some seeds but he said he had everything he needed and I think he was right. Eventually, if we are lucky, we get to that stage where we have everything we need and I felt pretty close to it today too. (28 mins)

Just down the road there was another sign advertising cherries for sale. I bought 2kg of the most beautiful cherries from a very jolly lady and continued on my way. I took the turn-off to Piccadilly as I love driving along and seeing all the vegetables growing right up to the edge of the road - no fences or barriers of any kind. Adelaide must still be a nice place if blokes can grow things like that. There were leeks and cabbages by the acre and, of course, that relatively new pest of the hills - grape vines, using up all the space and water meant for growing food...a topic for another day. Just near the Mt Lofty Botanic gardens is a little shop I have been meaning to go into for years. The sign is rather ambiguous but it has old books and some antiques. Feeling very relaxed with life I thought today a good day to go in so I parked in the shade of the gum tree to protect my onion, lemons and cherries (and a couple of things I couldn't resist picking from my friend's garden!). I really couldn't concentrate and wanted to get back outside but I did find 2 old cook books by Elizabeth David, which I bought. (I feel another blog title coming on, again!)

Back home I sat down on the driveway and spent ages threading string through the bottom of the bird netting around the peach tree - a job perfect for my late father with his amazing patience but not generally something I could enjoy. However, today I had that kind of calm that is very rare for me and I actually almost relished it as it slowly brought me back from a world very close to perfect where kindness, sharing and care of the earth form the cornerstones of humanity.

When I started writing this I was going to wrap it up there, but after dinner a special friend of mine rang and made me feel that maybe that world is closer than I think and maybe it is possible to overlook all the bad when one person's words can mean so much. (70 mins)


Maggie said...

What a lovely day you had. The Piccadilly Valley area is so lovely. I had a pretty good idea of the roads you drove down.Has anyone been to Deb's to buy berries? She is not blogging she must be working hard.
I love the string idea for the netting. Yes, we have a lot to learn about patience from some of the old time gardeners.
Maybe next year we could look around and write some of their stories down. Blogging is simply telling our story .

Deborah Cantrill said...

What I great day Kate. Do you want to swap for a week or two? Not that i would picking berries has its ++++s as well & I met nice people buying berries. Today Lynn came to help which is why I'm inside now and just put a entry on the nirvana blog.I asked if Rob would like to share his cheese making skills. Lynn thought it was a great idea and shall ask him so I'll keep you posted.

Kate said...

Put your berry details on here and you will get us all rushing in to buy some, Deb.

Pattie Baker said...

Kate: My favorite part of your wonderful post is this:

"There is nothing so beautiful as nosing about in someone else's garden when they are not there. Truly, there should be more of it."

I'm actually tempted to put it on a Quote Tote!

Kate said...

Please do.