I've been planting seeds this week in a frenzy of spring-anticipated excitement. Until today I had a plant nursery happening in our upstairs room along all the windows. At the risk of boring you silly here's what I've planted: salty ice plant, capsicum, eggplant, dill, tomatoes - heirloom, tommy toe and tiny tim, more broccoli, peppermint, bergamot, amaranth, basil, spinach, chives, comfrey and coriander. Also some marigolds, amaranth and coneflowers for bees and prettiness. It was getting so crowded upstairs with seed trays I decided to get myself a mini hothouse today.
I've been contemplating one of these for ages but the problem was where to put it. I finally settled on our front verandah. It's north facing getting quite a bit of sun and is protected from the wind. I was reluctant at first to put anything out there. The front yard is Monkey Man's domain. It's a bloody mess of a jungle actually but I wipe my hands of responsibility. No, my reluctance had not much to do with aesthetics but more to do with thieves. We have been burgled so many times that I have become a little paranoid. I won't leave rusty old garden tools, bicycles, kids' scooters, prams - nothing on the front verandah lest it be stolen.
I wasn't always this way. In fact I was as gullible and optimistic as Monkey Man once upon a time. But I realised today I've become rather too suspicious.
When I first moved in with Monkey Man we immediately set about renovating and knocked down the back wall. We were protected from the elements by a thick black plastic and that was pretty much it. Intruders who dared venture into our building-site backyard needed only to climb through the slit in the black plastic and open the kitchen door. I did question Monkey Man at the time about this and suggested we get a padlock or something but Monkey Man would have none of it. He has a blind optimism and faith in human nature. Bless him. And I was pregnant and self-obsessed at the time so I didn't really care to think about much except the baby I was growing. The house was in complete chaos. Boxes piled to the roof, mess everywhere, living in one room with a fridge and microwave and couch and mice altogether. So it took a while to realise when things went missing that they were actually really missing not just misplaced amongst the rubble. A work laptop, loose change, gadgets, a digital camera with pics of me and my naked pregnant belly in the bath. A couple of teenagers had been paying periodic visits and helping themselves. I know they were teenagers 'cos our neighbour caught them in the backyard one day and gave them an earful.
Well we eventually got a back wall to replace the plastic but every so often we were visited by thieves anyway. We're a bit isolated - next door to a vacant block of land with no neighbours opposite and on a thoroughfare to the station. Also, I'm pretty sure word had got out in the thieving world that we were completely daft and stealing from us was a cinch. Every so often I'd come home to find some bloke peering in our side window or pushing on the front door. And he'd look at me with fake confusion and ask if Dave or Daryl lived here and was this number 49? On hot nights we'd leave the front door open with only a screen door shut to protect us from the mosquitoes. One night I heard the front gate jingle and someone slowly turning the handle on the screen door. Monkey Man headed outside to find... you guessed it a bloke looking for Gary from number 32.
Finally, I persuaded Monkey Man to put up a side gate and get a security door. And we haven't been burgled since. But I've become suspicious and distrustful. So suspicious and distrustful that I nearly didn't locate the mini hothouse on our front verandah. Until I came to my senses.
Yep germinating seeds and the flimsy hothouse surrounding them will likely bring in a tidy sum at the local cash converters.