Well, it really was one of those misty mornings, rain overnight, the ground noticeably wet underfoot and the sun taking its time to peak through the clouds. A proper wintertime morning in the garden.
Out early to see Honeybee, Michael spent time checking on the animals while I spent time going from garden bed to garden bed on my way to Honeybee, collecting her little lettuce leaf treats.
You know when something feels a little off but at first you can’t place it and then it is as obvious as the nose on your face.
Checking the winter greens, the brocolli, cauliflower and cabbage plants – mostly eaten thread bare on one side of the herb garden.
Kale – all gone.
As though someone had come in and snapped off every leaf. The damage was clean cut.
Lifting netting on another raised garden bed – the same, all the kale gone. Lettuce trampled.
And then the hot house garden – kale stripped, winter greens gone. Mustard greens for the hens not touched. Walking Stick Cabbage eaten down to the stem.
In the hothouse – lettuce trampled, beetroot pulled up, beetroot leaves left, no sign of the actual beetroot anywhere. Silverbeet and spinach leaves damaged. Dill eaten down to the stalks. Lettuce seedlings eaten down to ground level. Walking stick cabbage eaten. But gosh who ever is eating all of this definetly doesn’t like parsley, Italian or Curly leaf! A big hole dug in the middle of my carrots – they are all gone.
It isn’t the guinea pigs who are living in the hothouse at the moment, they are in their hutch unless we let them out supervised and they can’t reach the raised garden beds.
I go back and forward looking for clues and finally find two kale plants in separate parts of the garden, who ever ate those didn’t strip the whole plant, they took off the leaves and left the stems on the ground. Is it two different animals? An adult and a juvenille? Many animals, to be able to eat all of that. There are no droppings, no tell tale signs.
So this is one of those times when I wonder why I bother gardening. But I know it will pass. There are good days and bad days and today, well, it was disappointing. Especially since all the effort I put into planting everything months ago when I was in pain with my injury, staying out late in the summer months to get the Winter crops in when I would have rather been inside, resting my hand and settling in for the night. I don’t want to think about how much money it all equated to.
When the sting fades, these are the days that make a good story when sympathising with a fellow gardener. These are the days that make me more resilient in the long run. How can I protect the crops better? What was it anyway? It has no problem pushing under netting, climbing over fences, digging, removing a kale leaf then leaving the stalk on the ground, digging under the hothouse doors, eating beetroot!
Of course the good out weighs the bad and to put everything back into balance I cleaned up the garden beds in the hothouse, opened all the windows and doors and waited for Michael to help me with the next steps.
Hearing the Black Cockatoo’s getting closer I stood out in the middle of the garden and watched them fly over. Like welcoming back old friends, some swoop down lower as they fly over and settle in the old trees further up the hill. We’ve known each other for over ten years now and as I stand there and look up at them I thank them, my heart feels lighter.
Michael came along with some organic compost and used it as a mulch around the surviving plants and the big parsely plants. We watered and shifted the guinea pig hutch up onto the garden beds where the carrot crop had been. Raked the path, emptied pots, planted rosemary cuttings.
Outside Michael put wood shavings on the garden paths that were becoming too slippery.
The hens got extra hay. Honeybee’s bath was emptied, cleaned and refilled then topped up after she emptied about a quarter of it with her splashing about. Extra hay for the guinea pigs in the hothouse. Liliana tidied her little garden and we all came in for homemade soup and bread.
And so it was one of those days, lots of good, lots of disappointment, lots of getting things back on track.
We spent time together, watched the black cockatoo’s.
See you next time when I share the second Interview for June, for the Fairy Wren Cottage Interview Series.
Take precious care,
One of those days in the garden.
June 24, 2023