Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Companion planting

It is a truth universally acknowledged - at least among sociologists - that marriage is a business proposition. The merging of hearts is a cover story for the building and maintenence of assets and interests. I'm increasingly aware of this in my own relationship. Not that romance has faded - I still get a tingle when Al brings home Who magazine as an unexpected treat, or when a bottle of vodka is placed lovingly in the freezer - but as we collect the accoutrements of Adulthood in Suburbia (house, garden, one dog, two dogs, bigger house, bigger garden, three chooks, five chooks, one child, two children; when will it end?) I'm aware of our inter-dependency. This is especially true of our garden. It's big, confusing and demanding, a once beautifully landscaped block that was ignored and then abused by prior owners. It's only ever one lazy weekend away from shambles. Our garden needs both of us and it's one of the things that binds us together.

We both work hard in the garden but we do so for different reasons. I do it because gardening is what my father's family does, because it's been with me since childhood, and because I love it. Mostly, Al digs, chops, hauls, rips and follows orders because he's a great guy who tries to make my life easier. He likes the idea of our own organic veggies and a peaceful place for the girls to play but gardening is not something that drives his day. So I'm always thankful that Al's the guy I merged my assets with. Hell, let's be honest, I fell in love with him; who has assets when they're studying Arts at twenty?

Lately, I'm more thankful than ever. We're building a new garden out the front, to replace the sad "lawn" that surely depressed house prices in the street. Preparing the soil has taken a big effort. Until two days ago there was 1.5 cubic metres of horse manure sitting in a compost bay in the back corner of the yard. Now, it's dug in at the front. Each time I look at that space I'm reminded that I live with a man who will barrow shit for hours, and that this shit is shit he shovelled from stables on a hot, hot day because it was free and I'm not one to pass up something free, even though I can't drive and at four days post-partum, couldn't shovel. And now that stores are depleted, he's going back to those stables for more. Now that's what I call romance.

Thanks, Al. You are, truly, da shit.

Eating from the garden: yet more eggs and chives, scrambled, for breakfast; basil in the pesto and oven roasted tomatoes for dinner; raspberries, strawberries, corn and soft and lovely pomme de nuit apples for snacks.


VictoriaE said...

I like it. Poetic.

VictoriaE said...

Nice to meet ya by the way.