Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lessons In the Garden

IT was a fine summer for growing things, as the olive tree in the corner of the Billabong’s backyard attests. Throughout the recent drought, yields of the small, dark fruit were decent enough to fill the jars beneath the sink and guarantee a year’s supply, but only if nibbled sparingly. This year, the tree has outdone itself. There is so much fruit it was yesterday’s errand to buy a couple of additional plastic buckets for their curing, and after that to cut back the shoots rising from the root system. Lopped just a month ago, the tallest of the latest risers was just peeking over the fence -- remarkable growth in such a short time.

It may be that Bunyips have a semi-dormant hippy gene, and it could be that this also has been activated by the rain. Whatever the reason there is wonder everywhere. Outside the study, where a ham and tomato sandwich tumbled from a carelessly carried plate some months ago, a tomato vine has taken root and also is producing the goods, lots of them. Interestingly, the dropped sanger featured slices of a big, beefsteak tomato, the sort you get at Coles or Woolies, but these are the cocktail variety. The Rufous Bird, who knows a thing or two about garden greenery, attributes this to commercial varieties’ hybridisation, which apparently means they will never breed true.

Those little tomatoes, sweet and marble-size, are good enough, not least for lifting the spirits. Not so long ago, the garden was a dust bowl and the resident possums thin as wraiths. The ringtail that climbed down from the roof last night to poke about in the compost heap behind the BBQ was fat and sleek and such a solid specimen that the cat, a tireless recreational killer, put discretion above valour and did nothing more than direct its diamond-eyed enmity at the visitor, which had the cheek to turn its back and fossick up a bit of carrot.

It was quite the performance, the moggy’s display of restraint, but even that was cheering in its way. Like a voter observing Gillard’s filth, puss knows patience will pay its dividends, that there will come a reckoning for such insolence. As this shambolic Prime Minister and her toadies and courtiers fudge and obfuscate, play their games and substitute spin and subterfuge for honest decency, we all known their day is coming too. Like the drought, Gillard will go away eventually, and all her lies with her. In the meantime, there are olives, tomatoes, a frustrated cat and a wall calendar from which to cross off the days until the polls are opened.



  1. "Like a voter observing Gillard’s filth, puss knows patience will pay its dividends, that there will come a reckoning for such insolence."

    nicely put, Prof. and so very true of this voter's seething anger at what the crime gang is up to

  2. There is a measurable consequence of this government’s apparent glee in continuing to shovel shit into the face of the electorate: if you thought that woman in Queensland was harshly dealt with, you ain’t see nuthin’ yet. I’d guess all those gutless ALP backbenchers can kiss goodbye another percentage point of primary vote as a result of their determination to protect the political corruption at work in the Thompson case. How does 26% look on your local score sheet? Optimistic, considering Gillard is unveiling a new incompetence or deceit at a rate of about one a month. An 8% swing (which is roughly where we’re at now) would allow Labor to retain half its numbers in Reps. But a 15% Queensland-sized swing, when all the undecideds make up their mind (as they did in the last week in Queensland) would give Labor 11 seats in a 150-seat parliament. Could a “major” party go to a federal election with a primary vote in the teens? She simply had to stop lying and deceiving. She couldn’t.

  3. More CO2=more olives and tomatoes.Always remember,CO2 is good for you!

  4. Ah, so that's why my backyard is covered with cocktail-size tomato bearing plants. Mind you, I find them more tasty that the Coles/Woolies varieties. Half cooked by frying and placed on a piece or two of toasted Italian bread, they make a delicious and healthy breakfast.

    There is also a variety known as berry (or perhaps grape) tomato that produces a small tomato that has a harder skin than the cocktail (cherry) variety, and being more like a fruit can be eaten fresh of the plant.

    I would rather see Gillard et al go now. The damage being done by the carbon tax and the NBN could be devastating.

  5. This poor devil should have joined the ALP:

    "A Sydney man allegedly used his employer's credit card to splurge $127,000 on holidays, electronic goods and other personal items.

    Police arrested the employee yesterday afternoon following a month-long investigation."

    What's the current state of play on the Craig Thomson saga?

  6. "... attributes this to ...... hybridisation, which apparently means they will never breed true."

    Are you advocating tomato racial purity?

    The Irish Lion

  7. Small problem with just waiting - whenever a government does something not unlike a kid smashing the lolly counter glass to collect a handful of lollies -letting the rest fall on the floor, subsequent governments are usually very reluctant to mend the glass, rationalising that the other blokes damaged it so they may as well now benefit while the other buggers continue to be blamed

  8. Professor,

    I would more readily share your moggy's patience if I had a clear understanding of how the Opposition plans to extract revenge on the criminals now running the show.

    Mr. Abbott should start his own "scoreboard" and daily chalk up his government's intentions.

    We have his assurance that the Carbon Tax will be repealed (written in blood no less), what other assurances can he deliver?

    Bring out the blackboard Mr. Abbott and chalk up:

    Royal Commission into the operation of FWA and the HSU, with powers to recommend charges be laid for the FWA’s refusal to cooperate with the NSW and Vic police in their criminal investigations; an examination of the theft and graft by the HSU’s executive, past and present; and an examination of the present Government’s complicity in the delay of the delivery of the FWA’s non-report. I would like to see some lengthy jail terms coming from this.

    A Parliamentary Inquiry into the whole green scam, chaired by Dr. David Jensen, where the head of CSIRO, the Climate Commissioner, and other co-religionists are brought before the inquiry to have their completely unscientific beliefs examined in a public forum, followed by the disbanding of their organisations, and the removal of the Big Green Scare from school and university curriculum.

    The appointment of Mark Latham as the final chairman of the ABC, tasked with the dismemberment and sale of that organisation’s components.

    A parliamentary inquiry into the bungling of Australia Network, with criminal charges and jail terms for proven criminal activity.

    This is just the start; Mr. Abbott will need a large blackboard.

    The Hesperian

    1. I too feel apprehension at the hints of Tony's future behaviour as PM.

      On a bad day, I believe that Tony is just another instinctive welfare state Statist whose marketing differentiation point is social conservatism......
      A bloke who thinks subsidies win over tax scale reform, because he knows everyone remembers the cheque they got in the mail from govt. ......for having a nose.

      The omens are not good.

  9. The ring-tail possum is a delight. Lives in its tree; tolerates humans; indicates that there are good things in the World.
    The grey possum is a different beast. It invades the roof space; urinates in your house; breaks things; eats everything; and makes an anti-social noise. Worse, it breeds, and over-runs quiet little settlements. Rather like the current day Labor Party.
    And whilst my lawyerly blood is hot, how can we spend millions on "Fair Work Australia" to find out it does not know how to conduct an investigation; and does not know how to prepare a prosecution Brief? This is beyond a joke - it is a travesty.

  10. Ah Professor, the self sewn tomatos, have hundreds this year from compost carelessly put on a front garden bed...just bite size and superb flavour. The ids walking home past here have a litle nibble on the way home. Last Saturday the folk accross the street had a party and asked to park cars on our lawn..ok..looked out later and there was a group of Iraqi men standing on the lawn, picking the tomatos and eating them.

  11. PhillipGeorge(c)2020April 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Re: the dormant hippy gene - raises that question of how much of epigenetics is understood? With CO2 levels rising in the direction of their optimal best how does your garden grow? ie. Latent expressions of speciational potentials.

    Therein Professor with the abuse of science at the hands of Green Gaian Pantheists/ Earthians/ Gaytopian-utopianists/ career opportunists and sundry idealists ...

    Did the world you grew up in look like this?

    1. Science is secular.
    2. Government is secular.
    3. Government is therefore scientific.

    All three statements are ridiculous; but are they the basis of most of what you are now seeing outside of the Garden?

  12. The Old and Unimproved DaveApril 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Cats and possums can get along the same ways kids can get along.

    Kids can get along the same way that adults can get along.

    Adults can get along the same way as Julia and Kevin can......hmm, at this point, the analogy breaks down.

  13. OOPS Just realised how I spelt sewn...should have been sown...put it down to far too many Belgian chockies

    1. The Old and Unimproved DaveApril 6, 2012 at 4:53 AM

      OK, now I'm confused....are you saying "Ye shall reap what ye sow" or "Ye shall sew what ye ripped".....?

  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 5, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    It is Easter, Prof, and a time of reflection. One Easter quite a few years ago I made a garden with a man I loved. It was a Japanese garden, overhung by a fine glowing miniture maple, with round white stones upon which the red leaves could slowly fall, the stones raked into a ordered mindset for thoughts to amble around in, coralled. How symbolic now that all of our garden was edged in a hard and unforgiving granite. We joined souls as lovers do and contemplated the placement of all our perfectly mossed rocks. One other Easter I lived in a tropical country in an old townhouse that belonged once to the British administrator. The garden there was as lush and overgrown as yours sounds now, everything pulsing so fast you could almost hear the osmotic forces drawing up water through the stems and the wide-open leaves gulping transformationally at that very subtle hot sunlight. I sat in the garden swing and took tea, served in the English manner, and knew that I would remember that Easter too. A sad feeling of fin de siecle.

    In this current 21st Century Easter the Irish Ape and I are cleaning house and doing a range of domestic chores in preparation to leaving our little created nest and forging out anew together. We are leaving these shores for a year to each pursue our own small dreams (but I will still come to the Billabong as often as I can). Life is change and renewal, the one thing I have learned so far. Happy Easter, Prof, and we will keep ringing for a change in the political winds till it happens.

  15. I have found the solution.

    I will vote for the GROG party.

    GROG = Get Rid Of Gillard.

  16. Yes, Gillard will go away fairly soon, but the legacy of debt will probably last at least two generations.
    Howard repaid labor's $96 billion debt, thanks to the commodity bubble and still had plenty over to blow the Aussie housing bubble, and sock away plenty in savings and then create the Future fund. Gillard has racked up $238 billion and rising. The fair winds of massive terms of trade with China, etc cannot be assumed going forward as they unwind their own financial/housing bubble, and find other cheaper sources for commodities (Africa). In fact we have just recorded two trade deficits in a row have we not ? The government that replaces the labor spendaholics won't have it as easy as Howard did (and that was hard enough).

  17. I have a politically incorrect compost heap: all the way along the back fence, there is a metre wide pile on which all prunings, weeds, spoiled food, dead birds, stuff left on plates after barbies etc get thrown.

    It is a no-till vege garden, which produces magnificent spuds, tomatoes (3 kinds), random other veges and 2 plum trees have come up in the middle of it. Dig down a few inches and magnificent compost abounds. Never water, never weed.

    Why do greenies make it all into hard work and duty? As for the Prof.'s olive trees, they should outlive all of us, (and possibly our grandchildren) keep producing, and require no maintenance whatsoever.