While I'm outback pottering about in the dirt, my other half is slaving away on the veranda making mosaic and Pique Assiette whoopee.
It goes to show how productive the outdoors can be.
Pieces of china and tiles recycled as artefacts.
Fuelling this engagement are regular visits to dump and Op shops --always with an eye to something that'll 'do up nice'.
Every Saturday fortnight we hold a Mosaics Club meet-up on the veranda and there is a hands-on frenzy of layout and decoration as pieces of colour and texture are reassembled by keen hands.
As chance would have it I now get to sell some of my garden produce to this milieu and the mosaics are outletted through Plum Divine at Artrageous in Deagon.
So who woulda thought?
My problem is that my veg is so rampant that I'm losing the mosaic items in the garden among all the greenery.
As it is, when young children come over for workshops (weekly) I'm frightened we may lose them in the undergrowth such that when the mums come around to pick em up we may have to send out a search party.
This goes to show that an outback garden can be engineered into a magical place; full of bits. Different plants. Different vistas. Objects d'art.
But that's the thing you see. A garden may be a place of meditation but it can also be a place of great excitement and wonder.
Indeed, our house-- our lifestyle, -- begins at the back door.
We eat out there. Grow things. Make with the art. We live more there than inside.
That the setup is maintained by manure, urine, grass clippings and rubbish ferments may seem a surprising irony.
Broken bits of crockery sure seem right at home as the rule of thumb is recycle -- either up-cycle or rot.
At the school community garden today(pictured right) the intense engagement of the Under 8s -- the thrills -- is a great reminder of what a wonderful asset a simple vegetable patch can be.
As the classes ferry through the weeks of the term, it is the wonder of change and growth that registers amongst them. Nature puts on a show and we get to play MC.
"How high is the corn? Do you remember when we planted it? What do these plants need to grow? Who can tell us what this is?"
Indeed, while we grow produce to distribute -- to the school tuck shop, the local cafe and community club -- and to supply the occasional garden grown lunch experience (as it turns out among the parent mix is one of Jamie Oliver's chefs who shows the kids, say, how to make pizza!) -- what impresses me the most is the wonderment.
If you want to appreciate a zucchini or an corn stalk mix it with a bunch of kids in a veg garden.
This means that each year the best we can offer these kids is not so much 'a' garden but a new one. We are duty bound to give them an experience of the cycle of life and growth and renewal.
Of course --as the parents tell me -- the side effect is that back home these same nippers are now eating their greens...
So while I've got my own patch a'happening outback and have tweaked it to serve our needs, the true art of the kitchen garden is the sharing.
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