I used to wake to the sounds of jackhammers and diggers excavating the foundations for the apartment complex next door. Now I wake to birdsong. Ludicrously early birdsong. Lately I've noticed the kookaburras are up first, laughing at those of us wasting the glorious morning with our eyes closed. A tweeting orchestra of smaller birds follows. It's how we know spring has returned to the farm - the early morning wake up calls. It's difficult to believe spring is already coming to a close. I keep thinking it's still September. The baby magpies have left the nest and now spend their days following mum and dad and learning the skills to survive on this patch: how to find food, how to defend their territory by terrorising our chickens, that sort of thing. I've become familiar with the babies' hungry whine. It was irritating at first but now I take a deep breath and realise nature may be trying to teach me a lesson in patience. You see, Oliver and I are growing something new on the farm - something with a gestation period of nine months.
A cluster of cells has been forming inside me since mid June. Come mid March Mother Nature will have transformed that tiny cluster into our first child. By then tomato season will be in full swing. On the weekend we planted the first of what will amount to around three hundred and fifty heirloom tomato plants. That's a lot of picking. I'm trying not to think how we'll cope when I can no longer fit between the rows! This year Oliver has mounded the soil up along each row to encourage strong root systems. They remind me of hilled up potatoes which I guess is not all that surprising since Oliver says they are in the same family.
The larger veggie patch is the most productive it's ever been and sales to the restaurants have been strong. Being springtime we're harvesting lots of greens like kale, lettuce, silver beet, collards and mizuna. But Osaka purple mustard, red Russian kale and rhubarb add colour to our deliveries and plates. The addition of ten cubic metres of specially formulated compost has done wonders to the patch. A real lesson in what can be achieved when you look after the soil and give back to the earth.
Perhaps the most exciting event this week (aside from seeing our baby boy swallow and wave his arms on an ultrasound) was the arrival of thirty eight olive trees. Our love of Mediterranean food means we consume a good deal of olive oil (healthy fats, you know). It will take at least three years if not longer before we have enough olives to press even a small amount of oil. I don't mind. Fresh, green, homegrown oil will be worth the wait. The trees are young but their silver under leaf reminds me olives are near immortal. On our last trip to Italy we saw two-hundred-year-old trees potted up for sale by the roadside and that's nothing compared with the thousand-year-old groves in Tuscany. Even if we never move these trees will still be standing long after we're gone, long after our son has hopefully lived a full and happy life.
I try not to think too much about the future. Taking each day at a time is not easy for someone who loves to plan, but I think it's an important thing to become accustomed to since so much of my time will be out of my hands soon. Step by step. Right now it's time to fess up to being pregnant. That means admitting I'm slower, that I can no longer push heavy wheelbarrow loads of mulch up the hill. I can still achieve most of my tasks: watering, weeding, harvesting, dancing semi-naked by the light of the full moon (just jokes). Although, we have planted by the light of the moon a few times but that had less to do with biodynamic philosophy and more to do with the day running away from us.
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