Firstly this week I would like to thank all those generous readers who sent offers of recipes for cooking duck; most thoughtful and interesting to know you are such a pragmatic lot. We did eat some wood ducks here a few years ago; some hunters delivered two braces of ducks, dressed, to the kitchen door. I was both surprised and thrilled, it solved the problem of what we would have for dinner. Should they arrive at your kitchen door, rub them with some olive oil and salt and pop them in a heavy based casserole dish (the ducks, not the hunters). I squeezed some fresh orange juice over them, added the zest as well, why waste it, tossed in some fresh thyme and sage and poured over a good slug of brandy. Grind the pepper mill over the top, drop in a good wedge of butter and cook in a slow-ish oven. They were simply delicious; even so, the Campbells are safe for now. I don’t have a pot large enough for them.
In exciting news from the Old Garden, we have water lillies flowering in the lily pond. I can’t tell you how pleased I am, Mother and I transplanted these lillies on the hottest of days and wondered if we were mad and if they would survive? Well they have survived and thrived and now cover over half of the pond and have a grand total of three flowers, one at a rather jaunty angle I must add. I fear it has been trammelled by the free- floating solar bubbler, which bubbles infrequently when you consider how much solar it has. Mr. Moble calls it a dribbler, he thinks it should be like Old Faithful considering our lack of cloudy days. The water iris we shifted at the same time are also looking happy, as are the native sedges. All in all, whilst not exactly Monet-esque, the pond is looking very happy and most pleasing to this old pond digger’s eyes.
My mother-in-law sent me home with two jacarandas recently, seedlings from her Toowoomba garden. It seemed only proper they should be planted in her garden here, where sadly three big old jacarandas have died over the last ten years. Well, two have died, one is struggling on with a single green shoot. So, in they have went this week, not too far away from where their forebears grew and thus far, they look quite happy. Possibly eight inches high, they have some way to go: old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit. Women too it seems, though I hope to sit in the shade of these little trees one day.
There are sunflowers waving happily in the garden this morning. No doubt they have been there for a while but suddenly they are flowering, so I noticed them through the kitchen window. Possibly eight feet tall, they are the bright yellow variety, flowering on multi-stems. Perhaps not the most flamboyant of the species, they are cheerful all the same; the Beeman’s wife gave me the seeds when they delivered the hive and she told me the bees would love them. They certainly do, the flowers are thrumming with bees and can you imagine anything more delicious than sunflower honey? Spinning gold from gold.
Mr. Moble gave me a sunflower when he proposed to me; it was growing along the creek bank, a lone survivor. Left in charge of his mother’s garden whilst they were away on Grandparent duties, he promptly diagnosed lawn grubs in the front lawn. Being ever a man of action, and also a firm believer in more is always better, he hitched up the jetting plant (no 12 litre backpack sprayer for this young blade) and set to work with enthusiasm and something from the top shelf of the garden shed, label slightly faded. To this day he claims he solved the lawn grub problem, he starved them out. His poor mother arrived home to find no lawn and a very sad looking garden as well; you could see where there had been a casual swipe across the Tweediana hedge, just in case they could climb. Helen sat for days, methodically planting plugs of lawn sent by the sackful from friends around the district, arriving twice a week on the mail. Her son is still a man of action, though a very careful label reader.
Like us, those sunflowers have stood the test of time and carried on regardless; they still make me smile. Like those bees, I look at our little family and think we have spun some gold from that golden flower as well.
Wishing for rain for all in the south west corner very soon please,
The Moble Gardener