Going up the country

In Recipes on January 23, 2011 at 6:00 am

Mum and Dad's raised vegetable garden

Does anyone remember the old Canned Heat song?  It was even a bit before my time but my Dad had the record and I recall it being played a lot when they had their first try at sustainable living on a small country property outside Geelong.   Anyway, I was thinking of it as I journeyed on the train down to Mum and Dad’s on what I hope will be the first of many entries on my parents’ rather grandly named Cornucopia. I’m fairly sure the original Cornucopia didn’t involve “droughts and flooding rains’ not to mention hares, foxes and birds.  They battle on netting fruit trees and grape vines, locking up the chickens in their (hopefully secure) pen at night.

First batch of plums for the season

We arrived at their five acre place on the Bellarine Peninsula to be confronted by a greener prospect than we had seen for some time.  The recent rains have happily not flooded but rejuvenated.  We ate lunch in the shade looking out at the grape vines.  Highlights were the greens and broad beans from Mum’s garden and the aioli that Dad made, using an egg yolk from one of their bantam chickens.

Fresh eggs

It sounds idyllic but the reality of rural life is absolute.  Even as an urban observer, I am worried about the chooks.  A couple of them have shuffled off this mortal coil since I last visited.  Now the new and bigger Rhode Island Red/White Leghorn cross pullets have the two remaining Chinese Silky bantams running scared.

Country life does provide some success stories.  Mum and I picked leaves from the garden, young silver beet, kale and mezzuna, along with herbs to supplement our own crops that we grow in pots downstairs.  I’d like to think this is a kind of symbiosis between city and country.  To keep up my own end I’d better take Dad a bag of Glick’s bagels next time.

Different stages of ripening

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