Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Icarus Flies

With Mama here, washing and ironing and tending my flower garden, all sorts of possibilities seem to be tantalisingly in reach and I have found myself compiling lists of all I want to achieve in the weeks she is here. I know I'm stretching too far. Even here with En Hakkore's measured pace, life is often busy enough and garden tasks take a back seat. But I plan and scheme and fly and maybe the wax won't melt and I'll reach my impossible goals. Maybe.

I was just wondering last week if a week might ever come where there was nothing new in the garden. Not yet: buried treasure. Dug up the two Maori Potatoes and netted 4kg from the pair of parents; that's a good return. One of them I washed for the foto; that's what they were like in the soil, gleaming purple and quite hard to distinguish from the earth.
In the week since, I have acquired glasses so maybe they are not normally so difficult to find.

So I was on a roll and feeling optimistic enough to pull up a yam and see if there was anything below: 665g of anything it turns out, most of them tiny. You can see the burnt off foliage with a few little clover like yam leaves near the crown. They were all still attached by their umbilical cords which made me hope that if I leave them a bit longer, there may be a weight gain. Not the sort of thing that anyone is normally hoping for.

With the ease in the schedule that Mama's industrious toil has created for me, I took a few minutes out to do a job that I've been meaning to get around to. Cut back the mint and surprisingly, weed it. It takes a pretty brave weed to try and outdo mint but clover was one of them and I think the other was grass. It escapes me for the minute. The mint has been nicely contained by the corrugated iron if I haven't shown it before.

Quietly behind the scenes the ongoing task is glasshouse prepaaration. Dirtdoctor (http://www.dirtdoctor.co.nz/) suggest adding woodchips to this particular soil for humic acid and humus to revitalise it. Yes, that is on the list.

I felt that I had picked my Bon Chretian pears too early and left these till in the end they all dropped off the tree safely into the comfrey below. It cushioned their fall and hid them from the birds who have left a number of cores hanging on the tree. This is the whole crop by the way. The name that springs to mind is Beurre de Bosc whether rightly or wrongly. They're never very big and I wonder if this tree was chosen primarily as a pollinator. Both trees are still young but look to be dwarf rootstock. Even dwarf pear trees may come into their own as they mature. Don't we all.
I took the opportunity to buy myself a few things for Mother's day to supplement the cards and breakfast in bed etc. One of my brain waves was to order 3 gooseberry bushes from Sutherlands Nursery in Waitati which will be waiting on the verandah for me to collect in August. A vague thought, what will I actually do with the gooseberries?, but no, push that aside. Clearly I have been reading English gardening books and the English love gooseberries. I will too.

My other present a book by Richard Langston, The Trouble Lamp.

I will close with the image of Athene and hope to imitate her in my achievements this week.


by Richard Langston

Some winged Athene on a racing cycle

glides to a halt at the traffic lights:

shades, helmet, hair tucked-in for speed.

Those limber athletic legs

ending in a professional click into the pedals.

'Lovely morning,' she says,

fast-disappearing over the brow of the hill.

The sedate mid-life plodder

left to consider other options.

The bus perhaps.

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  1. Hi Miri,
    Can't really comment on the gardening side of things as I just shake my head in disbelief that someone can know and do so much. But I still enjoy the read.
    As to the book, did you get it at Whitcoulls or somewhere smaller like UBS? I really like Richard Langston;s poems. He is often on The Panel on NAtional radio and generally reads a poem - I always enjoy them. He seems like he has a good laugh at life as well, which is always heartening.

    I think we are seeing you in a weekend or so - looking forward to it.

    Love Mary.

  2. Oh! I've always had a *thing* for those potatoes. Are you gonna save them for seed or make them into a freaky blue potato salad or some such?
    I bet Mum is having a great time down there, working her fingers to the bone. Tell her I'm really indignant about having to do my own housework again.

  3. Hi Miri,

    Sorry - Me again - but just thought I'd mention that my friend Lorraine - the one that came up with some imaginative latin translations- she of the "Burned with anger" as "spontanouously combusted" fame - saw the reference to flying in the Icarus tale and translated it as "aeroplane". Ha.

    Poor old Icarus - he should have listed to his dear old Dad.


  4. Hi Miri - nice work. Maybe we can get mum up here and work her fingers to the bone around our house.... Still, she knows the meals won't be up to the recompense ... but since I've had my coffee machine adjusted it makes a really really good cup of coffee.. that might tempt her.

    What abundance in your garden. Love the poem.

  5. Hi Mary, I never quite know whether you'll get this reply or whether our computer will choose to post it. Your friend Lorraine had one key skill in Latin translation, albeit in need of some honing at several levels, that is the art of the best guess.
    Now I saw a copy of Richard Langstons book at the UBS recently. Regrettably I had Paperplus book vouchers (well I'm pleased to have them) and had to order the book through them, twice, and then wait a very long time. Their niche is bestsellers I guess and that's what they do best.

  6. Dear Miri - looking forward to seeing you all next week and I'm going to head off to the library in search of Richard Langston myself.
    The garlic is marvellous. WILL be good as I've had a few throat infections this year (Unusual for me)so the garlic will knock it back.

  7. I remember those trees from when I was a kid. They were beautiful back in the day.

    Pear Trees & Cherry Trees

  8. Pretty pictures and interesting info. Can not wait to see your Potatoes .

    Landscape Gardener Suffolk & Timber Decking Suffolk