Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frogmouths and round mouths

A hot week had us doing a rain dance out on the verge with the chickens looking on bemused. They shook their feathers and obviously had more sway because the rain has not fallen on our little patch although it seems to have swollen many rivers around us.

Cocktails in the Garden saw us watching a shadowy shape on the fence. No this was not Mr Ideasman putting up a screen but a very exciting Tawny Frogmouth sitting observing the revelries. He twisted and turned his neck and the small South African imports crept closer to see 'the owl.' Someone else thought he was a kookaburra so I think we all need to read about this special bird.

We had a second showing of The Power of Community so of course if you haven't seen it you must be in the minority!

Talking in the garden about the recently formed choral group, Mr Shedfull was heard to say, 'Did you hear us, the dulcit tones wafting over the roofs?' 'Oh' said Ms Mova, 'I thought that was the crow and the wagtail arguing again!'

Later in the day, Ms Mova and Ms Tagalong worked diligently to curtail some of the chicken's run so that the newly acquired cape gooseberry and paw paw may stand a chance of developing some fruit. The larger banana palms have survived but the smaller ones are being pecked to within an inch of their green lives. We have such curious, inquisitive little darlings who flew up onto our barrows of manure to make sure that they didn't miss the smallest insect or worm unfortunate enough to show its wee self.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Inspiration and noxious pests!

The hill at Carrington it was not! People on bikes, children clutching blankets, dogs and overstuffed picnic hampers would make their way along the boardwalk, by the creek and up the hill, manouvering to claim a spot. We had set out chairs, provided the blankets and waited. No, we were not inundated with families wending their way but it proved to be an enjoyable experience for the takers which Mr Ideasman saw no reason could not be repeated regularly...he thought we could even change the film!

We were privileged to have a real Mr Cuba in the audience who was able to give us some valid insight onto the realities of that special period in Cuba. The Cubans obviously didn't like the 1.2 million bikes from China as he says they now nearly all use public transport. I think the fact they were old steel clunkers with no gears had a lot to do with it!

A kind reader exposed Ms Tagalong's innocence about noxious Australian weeds yesterday. I had actually noticed how quickly it proliferated but had not been diligent enough to actually look it up. So those of you who also noted the flower arrangement in the bathtub, cast your mind back to those ferny fronds. They are in fact salvinia which needs to be eradicated. You will be pleased to note, or otherwise, that it is a weed of national significance and even though we are usually welcoming to visitors from Brazil, this one will need to be shown the door! In fact this one must be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed. So you with urges for waging war, gird your loins and do the deed. I think some days out in the sun on the concrete should see to it and when shrivelled and dessicated should be placed in the rubbish. I don't think we should risk composting the little darling.

We may have a larger throng this Friday for Cocktails in the Garden and might try to compete with Rank or Miramax!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A round-up of the week's events!

Saturday morning was clear, hot and humid. Wandering in the garden after letting out the clamouring ladies, I suddenly espied a very yellow rhubarb plant, followed upon closer examination another one and several very pale sick looking lettuces. Consternation! What could have happened? Those readers who have followed my delight with our flourishing rhubarb plants will know how devastated I was feeling. As I wended my sad way home I mused on the causes and suddenly thought, that looks like poison. From flourishing plants the night before to this! What else could cause such disaster?

Later in the day, I went back and my eagle eye spotted some tell-tale signs of drooping castor oil plants at the back of the garden over the fence. Those who have visited realise that our little plot is precariously poised on a built-up bank of concrete as high as the roofs of the surrounding light industrial area. Suddenly it all became clear. Our industrial neighbour, tired of the burgeoning wonders had obviously hired someone to stand down below and spray upward onto the plants as they clung to the wall. Well of course that someone either didn't realise or didn't want to realise that the drift was going to affect a lot of the growing veggies in our garden. My worst fear was confirmed as during the working bee we extracted many sickly, yellow looking plants. My google search on round-up showed that we should not plant anything for seven days and that anything even remotely touched will take the poison systemically into the plant through the leaves into the roots. Everything dies! What a great chemical to have lurking around our neighbourhood, don't we love the companies who promote its wonder? Plants' demise may take overnight to three weeks so we still do not know the extent of our losses.

On a jollier note, as mentioned last week, our garden, with the help of an Ideasman erected tarpaulin, became a perfect wedding party venue. The sun shone very hotly and everyone was glad of the shade it cast, even if by the time the event started most of the shade had slid into the veggie garden itself!
We ate, we drank, we talked and ate a scrumptious cake which Ms Mova and Ms '2011 will be my year' made together and lovingly shaped into hearts.
Today it has rained, the tarp is becoming an additional catchment into a barrel. I am glad I am not camping! Mr Ideasman will sit drinking his tea, jumping up every now and then to slide a pole up or down to cascade the collected water. Remembrances of things to come! Is January going to be the wettest summer ever? Good for the garden as respite from the audacious heat but not good for dry bedding and food!

Ms Mova and Ms Tagalong are doing a presentation this week on a pictorial of the progress of the garden. Ms Tagalong can't remember who it is for but I'm sure all will be revealed. We have also been cajoled into dictating our stories for the PlaceStories project by Jenny Cameron of the University of Newcastle. We are very excited about Costa coming to launch this sometime in early December. So as we head towards the Christmas season come and celebrate with us, watch The Power of Community, drink some cocktails at the end of the month and sow some more seedlings! I must add that we are in receipt of a large rhubarb plant as a wedding present - and a bag of smaller ones to create a new and spectacular rhubarb patch!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prestigious venue!

How we are moving up in the world. First a patch for vegetables, then a venue for a wedding party! Ms Tagalong's not son-in-law Mr Debonair has been looking for these wonderful venues for events all over the world. His favourite so far is the Community Garden. Well I think that's what he said, maybe he said continue to use it for gardening and don't get above yourselves. Hard of hearing these days! Decorations have begun. This morning Ms Tagalong spotted some calendulas placed artfully amongst the green of the bathtub plants, floating like Monet’s waterlilies. Some fairy lights would be lovely, any donations of solar lights gratefully received. What a delight they are as they softly grace the feathery fronds of ferns and outline ghostly twigs.

Cocktails in the garden, our regular monthly occurence is gaining a difference this month with the addition of showing a film. Outdoor cinema. Not a drive-in, a walk-in more like it. Even a drop-in centre perhaps! The first showing will be The Power Of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil an inspiring film with its focus on food growing. Mr Ideasman will aim to have the projector up and running by dusk, so bring a cushion and a comfy chair if you wish. Ms Tagalong has visions of an ice-cream vendor strolling down the aisles…any takers? Just don’t expect any remuneration! Maybe a mint plant…we have lots of that floating in buckets ready to be placed where it won’t overrun the rest of the garden.

We obviously have the best chickens in town. Have you ever heard of a swap meet? Perhaps this is an American phenomenon but not one we wish to introduce into the Community Garden! Our chickens are happy in their run and do not get out of the garden. They are laying well and seem none the worse for wear for trying out another chicken run. A note to those well meaning people who find chickens wandering around George Street, they belong to the house on the corner of the park. They are the sleek, darker looking ones. We do have one we would be happy to exchange. The poor bald looking one. Her apparant moulting seems to have turned into something else. Anyone got any ideas on this one? She seems happy but looks worse than a bedraggled rat in the rain.

On our away weekend we were meditating, meditating on all things garden as usual I took some photos of the vegetable garden. Nothing too out of the ordinary, mostly lettuces and varieties we seem to grow but a little more ordered than ours which is probably not a good thing as the slugs or pesties have more on the banquet table. Small groupings of similar plants is ok. Long beds or rows can be problematic. And of course companion planting can be the way to go. More on that next time. Oh and the prestigious marriage party celebration. Now... are we going to be Mr and Ms Ideasman or Mr and Ms Tagalong?? I know we will remain as our own individual identities. What a novel idea.