Saturday, 16 May 2009

I've got the itchies...

And it was all the fault of the cornfield.

Today it came into my mind to have a go at taking cuttings from certain shrubs and trees in the neighbourhood which could contribute to Labartere's nudeness as far a greenery goes. She has native trees, plenty of land coverage by way of grass and wildflowers, but she lacks flowering shrubs and trees of which there is an abundance in the surrounding locality. I have never seen so many tall flowering trees in my life and these, I have decided, would contribute to the food-larder for our bees. We haven't got bees yet but we will have, and I want to make sure they have plenty to eat, or rather, plenty of flowers to harvest from.

Heading out early this morning, before anyone was awake because I didn't want to inspire the local people to add to their list of 'daft things those English people on the corner are doing', with secateurs in hand and Bools giving assistance when needed, off we went down the lane: a snip here, a snip there, and soon my plastic bag was full. It was fun. Soon the sun woke up, its job today being to get the place dried out after the rain.

Chancing past a corn field, another thought came into my head: 'to go take some green fig cuttings from a house over there, the one which has been sold but is still empty for the moment, the one which has the fig tree overhanging the field next door.' So Bools and me plunged through an oh-so-glorious-meadow of grass and wild flowers, dry now because the sun had been doing its work. Wriggling through a narrow hedge. Doing a lady-like leap over a tiny ditch.

And now the corn field. Voices were cheerfully chattering away. Coming from another house. There, by the edge of the cornfield. I could see people. Children. Mmmmmmm. I was already several yards into the field. The corn was mid-thigh high. It was wet. It had avoided the sun for the moment. I had a skirt on. It was getting wet too. I bunched it up infront of me. White thighs were exposed. But no knickery-things. My rear end remained suitably covered.

So what to do. Impassioned with the mission of hunting out those fig cuttings, I carried on. Bools thought it great fun, bouncing about through the cornfield like a kangaroo. I meanwhile was trying to make it look as if I was walking along a tractor-path, and not walking gung-ho over the corn itself. I felt self-conscious. What if the people rang the farmer up to say that a woman was walking with her skirts all bunched up, in company with a dog cavorting madly, over his precious corn. Would I get shot? I tried to look even more as if I was out for a Sunday morning stroll in the park. Not easy when the corn was starting to soak my legs, my skirt when it could get to it, my boots were already sodden, oh and now I was getting scratched to pieces as well. Red streaks were appearing on my pristine-white skin.

Nevertheless, I was getting over the field with some dignity. Then the rows of corn went at right angles to me, which meant I had to step over each single row to get to the next, planting my feet sideways as I did. By now I was near the house, and I wanted to make it appear as if I was being Very Careful of the corn plants. I had to lift my legs quite high, in gigantic steps. I must have looked very silly. One would not walk like that in the park on a Sunday. Nor any other day! But I tried to make it look as if I was Really Being Very Careful, when in actual fact I was not. Neither was Bools.

Onto the railway line. Striding quickly in case a train came and mowed us down. Not likely on a Saturday, but one never knows. It is a maize-train, carrying corn up and down the country. It is not a passenger train. That would go too fast and really knock me off my feet. The maize train sort of chugs along a respectable speed but one could get out of the way if one had to.

Ah, et voila! The house. Over a little ditch. Oops, didn't see the water in it, but never mind, feet are wet already. Through the grass. Better to let skirt drop now as near the main road. Still looking super efficient and as if I know what I am doing, being of the opinion that if I look hesitant then someone driving along the road might think I am up to mischief. Which I am not. I am recycling plants, that is what I am doing. Reaching up, I 'borrow' some cherries, thanking the tree for its donation to the cause. Onto the fig tree. Cutting taken. And here is the proof:

PS. I am standing on my shadow so it doesn't escape. Of late it has not been in attendance, possibly because the sun has been elsewhere, but just in case, I am keeping my foot firmly planted on it today!

Off home. Quick search on the Internet to see how one deals with fig cuttings. Everything is a learning curve at the moment, including taking cuttings. All cuttings now in pots. A bit late for them really, but have promised to do my best for them.

Head Gardener enthused about the fig cuttings, ate his share of the cherries, and is saving the pips for yet another growing project.

Things I have learnt today: That scratches on thighs, from 'strolling' through a cornfield, can get itchy if one has to cook lunch in a caravan whose internal temperatures are soaring skyward due to the sun deciding to get it dried out. That eating fruit straight off the tree is a glorious experience - no chemical sprays, only a bit of dust, maybe a bit of bird-peck, sun-warmed, and au naturelle. That I like doing things with cuttings and seeds and am developing a passion, which I didn't know I had, for collecting greenery for Labartere. That I seem to have discovered a gardener in me. That I like fiddling about with bits of plants and making my hands and fingernails all of a muck.

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