I’ve been thinking of you. Hoping the demands of the season are not weighing too heavily. With that in mind I have a few things for you to think about in between wrapping, baking and decorating–because apparently it is no longer good for us to multi-task.
Last March, after the pandemic was declared but before we were home yet, we were having an adventure, isolated as we were, in the middle of the Southern Ocean. Around March 10, 11, 12 we visited an archipelago mostly known for the name of its largest island, Tristan Da Cunha. Due to Covid-19, we were not allowed to actually set foot on the island, as had been planned. But we viewed it from aboard zodiacs on several fascinating visits. The British holding is one of the most remote populated islands in the world. A week or so ago an article came into my awareness, that this tiny little population of about 250 people has announced that almost 700,000 sq km of its waters will become a marine protected area (MPA), the fourth largest such sanctuary in the world. It is always a thrill to see such news, but doubly so when it is a place you have seen with your own eyes. When you click on the article here and scroll down, you will see a sunset photo with albatross, that is very similar to one I took from the deck of our ship, shown below. (Do go see the photo of Rockhopper penguins, they are the funniest…think of Ramone in Happy Feet)
The next interesting thing that I have come across is touted as ‘the most striking images of 2020’–subjective, I know. However, if you take the time to read the articles paired with each of the eleven photos, you will have a deeper appreciation of why they may be considered such striking images. I’ll leave you to your own thoughts, but at the very least it is a noteworthy collection, recalling the incredible events of the year.
And then there was the podcast that nearly blew my tiny mind. In an interview with a scholar of ancient Mesopotamia and Cuneiform writing I learned that Noah’s Ark was actually round. Round! You can listen to Irving Finkel’s detailed description of how he learned this fact here. (Or watch the YouTube video here, it is even more entertaining!)
On a more local news front, the little garden project I began in May, at the beginning of last winter, has limped through the hottest November on record. And I do mean limped. Things went to seed, or burned in the sear of unseasonal heat. New seeds have failed to even sprout. Pests have been persistent and much of the time invisible to my untrained eye, except when I see the after effects by way of withered or newly munched leaves looking like lacy green decorations rather than viable edibles. I only use organic and non-toxic methods to get rid of diseases and pests, otherwise I wouldn’t want to eat them. In one case, however, my persistence has paid off. Call me Popeye, the spinach is very happy now.
In the case of the cherry tomatoes, I have failed miserably. I think by the time I figure the cost of the shade cloth, the tomatoes’s share of the pest control sprays, and the original seedlings, each of the 12 tomatoes I harvested before the plants died cost me about $2.75. I will be buying tomatoes from now on. And I will not be judgemental of tomato growers if there are a few blips of availability or quality in the grocery.
Herbs are growing well, except for parsley which has decided it really doesn’t want to play in this heat. Chillies have been a massive success, so much so that I harvested two cups of them in two weeks and had to make chilli sauce to use them all, and there are still over a dozen fresh chillies on the plant for day to day use. Score!
Not to labour the point, but… it’s been a year of uncertainty at the very least. At worst it has been a time to delve into our inner resources. Deeply. I truly wish each of you a peaceful holiday season and a new year of hope and strength.
Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.–unknown
(just as well)
I would agree with you on the “subjective” thoughts on the “most striking images of 2020”. Nature photography isn’t staged. I might have enjoyed the staged photos more if the description had been left off.
You delighted me with “failing miserably” chalking up the cost of each tomato. There is a book called, “The $64 Tomato” by William Alexander. It sums up the reality of gardening – how it isn’t about saving money on the cost of groceries. It’s more of a passion and happiness connecting with soil and plants. I know when I’m putting up roasted tomato sauce each year, I don’t think about the cost but more the flavor and healthy qualities of my homemade sauce. Same with my dried herbs – there are no store-bought herbs that can rival my own!
I love the last paragraph of this post, Ardys. The little quip of “just as well” under the quote by “unknown” made me laugh too. It’s dangerous to say anything here in the states anymore.
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Yes, the photos were not the most stunning I have seen for this year, notably leaving out wildlife. However, I did find them of interest. I agree, the gardening effort wasn’t to save money, but to grow better quality herbs, initially. I kind of lost sight of that original goal and got carried away. Next time I will have a better idea what to plant that is worth the effort, the tomatoes just weren’t. Even GG lost her tomato plants this year. This is a tough, tough environment. I’m so glad you ‘got’ the ‘just as well’. I wasn’t sure anyone would. Very best wishes to you and FD, and thank you for following this little blog. xx
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Aw, your blog is one of my favorite reads! Generally I find some little pearl of wisdom in the content.
I forgot to tell you that parsley is one of the most finicky herbs I’ve ever raised. I have to plant it in the shade here and the balance of starving it of water to get the best flavor, and yet keeping it watered enough to survive, really makes it a high maintenance plant. The curly-leaf parsley seems to tolerate heat much better than the flat leaf.
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Yes, I agree that parsley is very finicky. The whole too much/not enough water thing is very hard to figure with it, and no, it doesn’t like the heat. However, the curly leaf parsley does no good here, the flat leaf seems to have a better chance, IF I get everything else right 🙄. xx
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As usual I very much enjoyed this piece, completely identify with the gardening challenges and the chili sauce is beautiful, would make a lovely still life!
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Thanks Donna. Just tasted the chilli sauce today for the first time and it is perfectly sweet and hot! xx
And, imo, at best it has been a time to delve into our inner resources. Deeply. Covid affected my world very little except that rather than lifestyle by choice and design it was lifestyle by captive audience. At the beginning focus on my permaculture studies distracted me, and latterly similarly… the garden.
Very similarly… such a year for pests and damage. If it’s any consolation it has taken me years to get parsley both flat and curly going without having to fuss with it and to the point it re-seeds and re-grows itself in a raised bed… Mother Earth Living website counsels “In more superstitious times, parsley seeds were believed to travel to hell and back several times before they would sprout. Virgins were not to sow them lest they risk impregnation by the devil — this despite the fact that early Christians consecrated parsley to St. Peter, keeper of heaven’s gates.”
I bet those tomatoes tasted good. After a while, the more your grow, seed save and encourage volunteer plants, the less the spend, and what cost there is I put down to if you gotta have a pastime better one you can eat, gets you outdoors and active.
Our most successful tomatoes are those which self-sow, which then I save seeds from, sow in pots and plant out as well. A sort of terroir of acquired survival characteristics. The G.O. brought home a Marmande seedling from a nursery… its fruit became riddled with worm while the rest of the self-grown tomatoes were worm free.
How wonderful the Tristan Da Cunha article’s images so resembles your photography… I love the crystalization of those I’ve been there seen done that moments.
The other, most striking images of 2020… mmm… your 2020 photo archive could give them a run for their money… but they do reflect the diversity of the year.
2020 has certainly been a growing year introspectively as well as horticulturally in many ways… as so often happens when you sit with your self for a time. I hope with its end nigh we can appreciate its merit in our evolution, a building block for what we can achieve in under adversity and going onwards into 2021 and further.
Mostly our experience this year has been exactly as you described, instead of lifestyle by choice it was by captive audience. I don’t regret the gardening experience and have learned so much about what to plant and when, so it is bound to get a bit easier. Today I have learned that if I want it to rain, I just need to hand water things!!! We just had 5ml of good soaking rain. I absolutely love what Mother Earth Living website said about parsley traveling to hell and back several times before sprouting. Exactly how I felt! And there are no virgins doing the planting here so we are safe on that score. I have one that lasted over winter and well through spring that is flowering and I’m hoping to get some seed from it as it was hardy and delicious. Yes, I hope we can all appreciate the merit of the many lessons of this year and move forward to better things. Very best to you, Dale and the GO! xx