Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, September 5, 2011


While I've been on school holidays I've been taking Munchkin-D to or from nursery four days a week (Granny does morning drop-offs or evening pick-ups, I do lunchtimes for both). On the way we talk about what we can see. Munchkin-D is fascinated by anything you can tell him about the world around him. Lately, with the season changing, we've been discussing berries, nuts and the changing leaves. He has been asking about fireworks for months and can reliably tell you that after the leaves change and the apples are ripe we will see a sign saying "fireworks sold here" and then it will be time for the fireworks. He has also informed me that one day he will be a birdy and eat the seeds out of the berries. The things that come out of that mind... he amazes and delights us every day!

Today we found some conkers by the footpath and gathered up three of them. Being an antipodean I never collected conkers as a child, and I've never looked closely at them before. Munchkin-D and I spent some time looking at their marvellous colours and shiny smooth skin. Then we took them home and put them in a bowl with some of our other autumn finds - a dried rose and a beech nut that was closed when we picked it up, but which sprung open overnight.

We have a little apple-tree in our backyard. We haven't tried the apples, but something will have to be done with them soon as they are falling off all over. We didn't take care of them this year, but we're planning to grow veggies next year and will try to manage our apples too. By then I should be able to eat apples fairly regularly without messing up my diet.

Today really feels like autumn - it's windy with passing rain. I can't help feeling a bit thrilled.

I got chatting to our upstairs neighbour last week. He is semi-retired and does a lot of gardening - his little backyard patch is perfect next to our scruffy plot! We talked about plants and our life histories and that sort of thing. He knew Mary, the elderly lady who lived our flat before us, and told me that one of the roses on the fence-line, which I had assumed was his, was actually on our side and had been brought there by Mary from her former house. It's a big, scraggly thing needing a good trim-back, but as we chatted I saw a few late buds on it and decided to leave pruning until after they were done. I was glad I did, as this week three or four stunning, fragrant pink-red roses sprung into bloom.

You can see how big and thorny that bush is - it will get a good trimming after the roses are done!

Growing up in Australia we constantly hear that our wildlife is bigger and scarier than everyone else's. This is mostly true, but back home I have never, ever seen a slug the size of this one...

It was about 8cm long! After taking its picture I ran in to grab my wildlife book and identified it as Arion ater, a Large Red Slug (... appropriately enough). 

I have been coming up with a plan for our garden. There's a very overgrown Hebe that I want to take out, a holly and a fuchsia to move elsewhere and a dead tree to remove, which will open up the garden bed down one side for veggies. I want climbing cherry tomatoes up the fence, and our staples in the rest of it: broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, aubergine and peppers, and a few other things, perhaps peas, spinach, chard, and some herbs. I'm really looking forward to the challenge.

Lastly, this afternoon we were walking back from the shops, all three of us together. Ellie and I were pointing out various berries and plants. I pointed to one and said "this one is hawthorn!". Munchkin-D's interpretation, shouted: "this one is AWFUL!". Ellie and I nearly died laughing. He is a joy!


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