Under my Hipster Beard
Accepting the things you cannot change. That's one of the things I remember from my one time stint at AA. I may not have succeeded as a regular member attending meetings, but that message sure planted itself firmly in my mind. One of the hardest things I've learnt about being 'self reliant' is that most everything in nature is controlled by cycles. And in some ways thats a hard pill to swallow. It's often the case that when something is new, it will eventually be something old, and ultimately it'll be something very much dead. It's a reality that insists on some level of contemplation. I spend a lot of time think about it.
When the first frost arrived a few weeks ago, I knew it was curtains for much of the warm season summer type vegetables. I hang on to them, these summer veg, hoping that they'll solider on that little bit longer. Deep down though, I'm aware of the inevitable. They need to go. In their place the winter crop will carry on. Right now the priority has been garlic, broad bean, kale, chard and onion. All of which I can never grow enough of! Especially the garlic. But right now, I feel like a rich man when I rummage through my garlic cloves, selecting the biggest for planting.
Come harvest time I pull up the garlic plants and pat myself on the back with how large the crop is, but come middle of winter or spring my back is void of patting. It's then that garlic runs out and it sucks for cooking. No garlic! What the heck can I cook without garlic? ;-)
The leaves of most of the sensitive summer veg have been burnt by the cold, the zucchini has contracted it's autumn leprosy, tomatoes have just soiled their undies, and the corn has gone on strike, stunned by the shock of the freezing wind. One unfortunate eggplant was sitting too close to the opening of the poly tunnel, and it's so droopy and dead looking all because of the thats snuck in from the ventilation window. It's wilted beyond repair. Pussy. It's a sad looking hungry puppy that I just can't help. Even though it only has one sorry looking fruit still hanging on, I'm reluctant to pull the whole plant out. It would mean the end for that plant. The total end. As mad as it may sound, I've developed a one way relationship with this plant. Stop giggling at me! I've raised it from seed, watched it germinate and observed it's growth to maturity and now it's time to let it go. Ok so I may have gone a bit tropo here right? Or not? The juries still out. Do I talk to my plants? Maybe just a little but of encouragement chit chat. That's ok isn't it?
This damn relationship with the nature things around me! It's been a sneaky fox and embedded itself into my life without me noticing. I'm so entrenched with this relationship that I'm pretty sure I may be completely out of touch with most of the outside world. Ok so that's a bit over the top, but you get the drift. I don't follow sports, read tabloids, or pulp magazines, I don't own a television, I have no idea what is happening in pop culture. I guess I'm a bit of an outsider now. Well thats not entirely true, I think in fact I've always been an outsider, I never did fit in at school or in the offices I worked. I am however, well and truly right at home with dirt under my fingernails, out in the cold planting garlic and pulling out on strike corn plants! I sure as hell don't miss any of that old life. Zilch.
Walking the garden this morning, pulling old bean vines from the garden fencing and intently searching for any sign of garlic spouts, I had this realisation I've been trying to explain earlier. I have a million emails to catch up on, plans to make for overseas trips, lectures and talks to write and this damn book to finish, yet here I am, full of anticipation for new season crops that will eventually feed the family. That's the thing that's most important to me still. I finally get it. I finally get what makes me pretty darn content in life. When all the poo gets to me, when the internet is not my friend, then I just think of how rad my life is and a smile lights up under my hipster beard. Happy as fuck. And the best thing is that no one can take that away from me. Not even the corn on strike or the digital trolls.