Monday, August 29, 2011

It's always black and white!

Being a person who deals in various shades of grey most of the time, perhaps it was refreshing to see this maxim in evidence in our own community garden.

In vain Ms Tagalong looked for the second plump white hen last week. She sought her here, there and everywhere but was only rewarded with some anxious squawking coming from the compost bin area. As she moved closer a very panicky black, skinny hen ran screeching and flapping over the fence. Must be a bantam Ms Chicken Expert confided. Strange shape, Ms Tagalong thought, but how about that a white swopped for a black. Told you this was easy! Too skinny for the pot, this little wonder had been transplanted into our chicken community.

Ms Mova collared Ms Tagalong over the weekend. You know that hen, she said, it isn't. It started crowing this morning and if you were in any doubt it was starting to try to have its wicked way with our ladies!

Tail feathers? Mmm, maybe the wonderful person who thought fair exchange was no robbery trimmed these so the illustrious gardeners would take a little longer to register the bantie undesirable.

How long before we get some complaints, Ms Tagalong wonders? We also wonder about the fate of our white wonder, we do hope it wasn't for the pot.

Another tale of ruffled feathers this morning when Ms Chicken Expert found that all her hard work yesterday of removing the ground straw from the coop so that the chickens wouldn't lay down there had been undone. Ms Tagalong could envisage another chicken lover saying oh no poor chickens, they have no straw!

Nothing to do with chickens but Ms Mova and helpers manned, ahem, womaned a stall at the local markets and apart from a domestic taking place at the next table threatening to scare away their punters they had a successful time and raised some well-needed funds for the garden. So many people do so many good things, a very heartfelt thank you to all!

Just not to the black and white interchanger. You really have to see the shades of grey!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ms Hopalong and the Golden Girls

Ms Tagalong became Ms Hopalong this weekend. Lying in the gutter looking up at the stars and possibly thinking of England she clasped her ankle in agony and wondered how she had missed the tow bar of the nearby car. Fraternising and socialising with fellow gardeners she knew undoubtedly that she should never have had that second glass of water.

Ms Hopalong took advantage and had breakfast in bed, cups of tea made and commiserations from various friends, family and neighbours. By evening time she was ready to start hobbling around and to make homemade pasta with the recently unearthed, never-before-used pasta machine. Having carted it around the globe she knew it would come in useful one day!

One takes the the beautiful free range eggs for granted these days but the golden yolks never fail to make an impression. Making the pasta dough Ms Runaround and Ms Hopalong oohed and aahed at the sheer glory of the golden strands.

It was not as hard as expected and the fettucine fell into strips and cooked so fast it was really a miracle. For those who have never tried this, Ms Hopalong wonders whether she can ever go back to the dried variety, it melts in the mouth and the simplest of sauces just tastes divine.

For those readers overseas we just had proof of the wonderful connections forged by community gardeners. Mr America was over researching links and benefits of community gardens. At a convivial supper he met representatives from many of the local community gardens and made plans to visit them before his return.

Giving us a potted history of East Brunswick Community Garden and its connection with Brunswick East Garden in Melbourne opened up the possibilities of global links to gardens around the world. Ms Hopalong's brain started working overtime thinking of twinning and tripleting with gardens she might visit on her extended travels next year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Working bees

No, Ms Tagalong is not talking about honey. Now there's an idea, perhaps we should have a beehive in the garden? She is not sure she fancies the white overalls, netted hat and smoker but does fancy the lovely organic honey.

So back to working bees. Ms Tagalong seems to be making a habit of not attending these at the moment. However, Mr Ideasman had constructed four pillars for the pizza oven last week, so perhaps she could revel in that achievement.

What news? A new keen gardener turned up, Ms Mova said, desperately wanting to involve himself with some men's work and some men as he said he was always surrounded by women in his work. Unluckily for him no other men turned up in the garden on Saturday. Ms Mova and he worked companionably for an hour or so until he gave up and went home. Ms Mova even said she tried to keep deepening her voice but I am not surprised it didn't fool him. I don't know why male gardeners were so thin on the ground. Ms Tagalong would never dare to make some kind of sexist remark about rugby games or football(soccer) or even a beer drinking contest being in the offing.

So while all the shovelling and wheeling, planting and sowing was going on,
Ms Tagalong was recovering from some super food courtesy of her sister and her food coach. This healthy dahl recipe was served,enjoyed and of course complemented by a dessert. Ms Tagalong innocently asked if the sticky pear pudding was part of the healthy recipes. The sister smirked and said of course if you don't have the cream and ice cream!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Look out for Templeton!

We've been told that there could be a very plague of Templetons running backwards and forwards from the chook pen. They must be coming under cover of night, sinking their buck teeth into an undiscovered egg and racing home. Ms Tagalong started thinking along the lines of the following conversation. Dear readers, substitute chicken for goose and don't think that we have any eggs doing any hatching in the near future. That needs a rooster, I've been told, and Ms Mova and Mr Ideasman did their very best to ensure that those quarrelsome ones were moved on to a more receptive pen.

Templeton: [looking at a solitary unhatched egg] Why didn't, uh, this one hatch?
Goose: [gloomily] It's a dud, I guess.
Templeton: What are you going to do with it?
Goose: [sternly] You can have it! Throw it away and add it to that nasty collection of yours! Be careful - a rotten egg can be a regular stink bomb!
Templeton: [patting the egg] I know what I'm doing. I handle stuff like this all the time.
[Templeton rolls the egg away]

So lads and lasses on the chicken roster be sure of eliminating possible rat food please by searching high and low for the hidden ovoids. Ms Mova found a veritable farmer's market in the very small box on Sunday. The little darlings had fought their way through the undergrowth and happily laid and laid!

If you don't want the eggs or your chickens are laying better than ours just collect the eggs and place them in the egg boxes on Ms Mova's fuse box for others to take. Now where is that recipe for frittata?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fire and water

A hardy few gathered around the burning brazier trying to pretend it was a balmy evening for cocktails in the garden. Sat in hats and wrapped in blankets we called it a night very early on. Ms Tagalong had wanted to go to see Ms Chicken Whisperer who had come down to Newcastle visiting from very cool pastures.

'And how are the chickens settling in?' Ms Tagalong questioned. Ms Chicken Whisperer laughed and told of the amorous roosters in her new home.

Last seen by Ms Tagalong, Lucy was pretty patchy looking, naked even, having been pecked and picked on by the rest of the flock. Are there flocks of chickens? Maybe this nudity had spurned on the randy cockerel who chased her up and down trees to try to have his wicked way. So instead of being bottom of the pecking order Lucy might change her status and become the loved matriarch of her new family, beloved wife and concubine of the chief rooster.

Members of the garden and other local yokels mustered along the foreshore to plant some trees for National Tree Planting Day. Disappointedly only 6 trees arrived as
two others had been euthanased and the rest were held in quarantine. The dreaded rust! However, not to be outmanouvred, rocks were moved, others were levered into position and the ground was crow barred into submission, filled with topsoil and made ready for quarantine end.

In fact Sunday was such a whirl of social events that Ms Mova and Ms Tagalong let the girls fend for themselves. Plenty of eggs for Monday's collection?