Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life on the Land in June

It's nearly the shortest day, and I know that the worst of winter comes in July, but still, days like today are miraculous. It's great to be reminded of how lucky I am to live in such a lovely place.

 When my friend Susan and her family moved back to the States way back at the beginning of the century, she dug up her wedding anniversary rose and brought it to live with us. It hasn't grown well in our winds, but determinedly keeps on growing - and today I found one bloom, near the base of the plant.
 These bulbs came from my friend Margaret,and what a sweet reminder that spring will come round in its time.
 I first got pineapple sage from my mother, and have had it every since. She died nearly 25 years ago, so I guess I've had this lovely winter flowering herb for about 35 years. Can you see the bee? They can't get down into the flowers, so they nip a hole in the base, and steal the nectar.
 Gorse. A weed. Yet it has a delicate and delicious fragrance - and it is buzzing with bees at this time of the year - a staple of their winter diet.
 The other winter staple is tagasaste.
 You can see some of the bees with the pollen they have gathered in pollen sacks on their legs.

And the bumblebees make sure they get more than their fair share.

The one last ancient chook left. She's blind in one eye, and the other eye isn't so great either, but she can still find her way to the water bowl and the Grandpa's Feeder, and although she quite often falls asleep standing up, she still enjoys a bit of sun and a dust bath. She's served her time as a great layer, so I don't begrudge the old lady her retirement.

 It's pretty hard to tell the difference between the new chooks (hatched at the end of January) and the older girls. Of the six who have almost made it to adulthood, I still don't know how many are roosters - I think half, but still can't be sure.

 These are two of the young ones.
 The nashi leaves are still lying on the grass, and there's even a few clinging to the tree.
 Will our sugar cane make it through the winter? I've been out covering it with frost cloth, and we have planted lots of tagasaste around (see the electric fence standards used as markers.)
 The little grapefruit tree is promising a good batch of marmalade, as long as the pesky possums don't get to them - hence the trap.
 The lemons have suddenly started ripening up - we have gone from almost enough to too many in just a week.
 And way, way too many limes.
 The garlic, three types, is planted.
 Can't wait for spring peas - I've never grown them at this time of the year before, but they are looking good.
Assorted greens, which may or may not come to anything.
The broad beans are growing well and some have started to flower already - that garden will be alive with bumblebees shortly.
 We have chard,
 and carrots,
 and leeks,
 and parsley,
 and excessive amounts of New Zealand spinach,
 and rhubarb
 and Cape Gooseberries
 and Chilean guava. ( As well as the harvested onions, pumpkins and potatoes.)
 I have relocated some of the strawberry plants (and re-homed about a hundred and fifty so far.)
 But it's a glorious day, perfect for sitting in the sun.
 Morning tea: lemon and honey drink, gatherings from the garden, and a handful of almonds (not home-grown, but home soaked and dried.)

Life is good.

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