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Rainy Days

In the last year or so, Australia has had masses more rain than usual —we’re generally a dry continent— to the extent that some towns much further north of me have been massively flooded several times, and now they’re reeling, exhausted and almost destroyed.  Here in Melbourne we’ve had more rain that usual, and several floods in different parts of the city, but nothing like the poor folk to the north have endured. And if the forecasts are to be believed, there’s more to come.

And today it’s raining again, and though it should be conducive to writing, I’m a little distracted. Last night as well as very heavy rain there was hail thundering down on the roof in the wee small hours, so this morning first thing I did was hurry outside to see whether my little tomato seedlings had survived — and they had. Though some bulb flowers were now in shreds, alas.

So here I am, sitting on my bed, writing, with constant drizzle pattering against the window. That’s a fig tree you can see through the rainy blur, growing new leaves again after winter, and it looks so green and fresh it makes me smile. With any luck it will grow good figs as well. I love figs.

A friend of mine used to have a wonderfully prolific fig tree, and, since she didn’t much like figs, I used to pick heaps and as well as eating masses, I made jam. My favorite was a fig, lemon and ginger jam, and there’s no point asking me for the recipe, because I made it up, combining a basic fig jam recipe with a basic marmalade recipe and adding ginger. If I say so myself, it was delicious, but I haven’t made it for years because my friend selfishly moved house, not considering me and my beloved fig tree at all! (Honestly! Some people!)  In any case, these days I don’t eat much jam, so unless this tree gives me a bumper crop, I probably won’t make jam again. 

Yesterday it was yet another gloomy, wet, drizzly day, and to cheer myself up I dropped by my local market and bought myself a bunch of flowers. I looked at the bunches of tulips and other gorgeous seasonal flowers, but chose this bunch with mostly native Australia flowers, which apart from being attractive, generally last a  long time, and in this case also have a slight fresh fragrance.  The dark red flower is a waratah (which is the New South Wales state floral emblem) the other red ones are proteas, and there are several other proteas, as well as the various “fillers,” most of which I can’t name.

The plan was just to buy flowers at the market — it’s a local market and open 4 days a week and  I normally buy my vegies and fresh fish etc there, but my fridge was already well stocked, so the flowers were just a whim, an indulgence. But of course the atmosphere is so enticing, with all kinds of wonderful things on sale—not to mention wonderful aromas—and I got sucked in and bought a slice of pizza (capricciosa, my favorite) and an almond croissant for later.

I consider myself incredibly disciplined to have got away only buying three things! Markets are addictive.

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Carolyn Christman
Carolyn Christman
1 month ago

I also enjoy markets and have a hard time restraining my buying. All the fresh produce looks so good and the prices are great. Our local farmer’s market will close at the end of October. I will have to wait until May to go again! Your flowers are beautiful. Hope you enjoyed your treats. Hoping for sunshine and less rain for you and your northern neighbors. Carolyn

Constance
Constance
1 month ago

Oh, Anne – I envy you the fig tree – and at least some of the rain! Here in the northeastern US, we have had major drought this summer, with bans on watering. That meant we had no raspberries – OK, I picked 3 in June and 4 in September — nowhere near the usual gallons and gallons. And our fig bushes have suffered as well. This far north, few figs can be grown in the ground, and those only with extraordinary measures to mulch them each winter. But because I have a wonderful husband, who’s also a great gardener,… Read more »

Pam
Pam
1 month ago

I love your flowers! And your yard is so pretty. We just today had some rain after a couple of months of none at all – very unusual for us to have so little rain. Weather everywhere is a little strange these days.

Annette N
Annette N
1 month ago

Feast or famine. We here in Central Texas have gone over one month with no rain and this is normally the rainy season for us. This is a relatively dry place, but this year we have been part of an ongoing drought. I hope that y’all get weather on a more even keel. And may your fig tree provide the perfect amount….enough to enjoy but not enough to demand to become jam.

Alena Lintz
Alena Lintz
1 month ago

I was born in Europe and lived in South Africa for three years as a child. The plants and fruits in South Africa were so exotic to me at the time. I have loved proteas since then. Such beautiful flowers. My parents ended up in Southern California and proteas grow here too, but the couple of times I planted them, they died. And since they are rather pricey, I have not tried again. Figs I do not care for much. We had a very fruitful green fig tree at one home that mom and dad rented. They all ripened so… Read more »