Random thoughts on a Sunday

I've always known that gardening nurtures and fills, but I never appreciated... how much exactly.

It is our first year, ever, of having our own garden. It's fenced and gated so that chickens and cattle can't get in any more, and so for the first time ever we... grow stuff. Nothing major - just some strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, capsicum, sunflowers and chives; carrots/peas/radish are gone already but we've sowed them again so they'll be coming up for a second harvest soon. There is a little bench for relaxing and as we sat there tonight, The Man and I, I thought... I like it. I really, really like it.

We've been picking little cherry tomatoes for a whole week already, but today, the first big tomato was ready for eating and... yum! I know it's cheesy, but there is something so special about eating the food that's grown in our garden.

For much of my childhood I was weeding and watering my grandparents' garden, and when I say 'garden'  I don't mean a little backyard garden either, much like New Zealand gardens usually are - theirs was a proper, large, maximum-use feeding garden which nourished the souls and stomachs of much of my family, and filled our winter pantries with jams, pickles and preserves; so the concept of food that lands on my plate not even 10 minutes after it's been picked isn't foreign to me, and neither is the amount of work that goes into maintaining it.

But this is... different.

The garden that my grandparents had was my grandparents' - I was there to help, sometimes not so willingly - whereas the garden we have here is ours. I have, personally, dug through that ground which was riddled with years of neglect and roots, and fed it with compost and chicken poop and sheep pellets and cattle dung; The Man has done the fencing and the gates, and built the benches; we've both weeded and harvested and sowed and clipped and dug some more, and so did our parents when they were visiting around Christmas; and now finally it's... a garden. A garden to sit in and to eat from.

Almost every day me and The kid make our way to the strawberries and eat a few. It amazes me for how long strawberries produce in New Zealand - we've been eating them for three months straight and there's still no end in sight!

And it's just... wow. Our garden. We finally have a garden.


If you ever hear an expression "To do a Maria" in this house then it means to work on something (usually in the evening after The Kid has gone to bed) and right at the time when the body starts saying, "You're pretty tired, let's just wrap it up for tonight," to push just a little bit more and then, almost surprisingly, find that a complete grumpy exhaustion has set in because of pushing too far and for too long.

And that, here, is called "To do a Maria".

Tonight, for example, The Man considered working just a little bit more in the garden, but then said to himself, "Come on, go inside, don't do a Maria," and he was right - he got in when he still had some energy left.



The Man taught me a little kitchen trick today. So simple, and so genius!

Do you know how when you've cooked something in the oven, say, potatoes and meat, and then there's a layer of grease and oil in the bottom which you really don't want to solidify into the food as it cools?

Well, I've always scuffled with draining it or with picking stuff out of it - but turns out, it's way easier than that.

Move the food away from one corner a bit and then prop the opposite corner of the dish with a utensil, a fork maybe - the angle will make the oil/grease run down into the empty corner where it then solidifies and is easy to pick out of.

And I was, like, wow.

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