One of my favourite vegetables is the choko, or chayote, from the gourd family and native to Mexico. Though the flavour is quite bland, the taste is greatly improved with the addition of butter and pepper. My parents would use it as a side dish whenever they cooked their ‘famous’ corned beef dinners. When I was a child they taught me how to grow my own choko plant by first sprouting the fruit in a dark cupboard. My recent attempt at this nature experiment is progressing well – and I hope before long I will be able to share photos of a vine laden with this edible delight.
Although I believe ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, it is even more meaningful to have written words to enhance a memory. This morning in my post heavy rain despair I managed to salvage something special from a box of badly damaged memorabilia. I found some journalling, in the form of an old letter to my Mum and Dad, to accompany this precious photo. The little guy in the picture holding a cat and dressed in brand new hat, raincoat and gumboots is youngest son Michael (now age 19). The area around the table and chairs has since been knocked down and turned into a bedroom/storage room firstly for Tim and now for Sam. Always keen to recycle, we were able to save the wooden screening and move it to another area of the backyard.
“……Mark has nearly finished the pergola. It will be fantastic, like another room. He extended paving area outside the dining room (nursery!) and three panels of lattice give us some privacy on the side. Now just have to fix in place the shade cloth overhead – and add a few plants. Eventually we may turn dining room window into a door so we can walk out to barbecue area. I would hate to move now we’ve got this far but that’s life. Settled for the moment anyhow……”
I love the memories that are brought to mind when I’m ‘spring’ cleaning. This very special wall plaque has been hanging in the entrance of our house for about fifteen years. I ordered it at a folk art/country craft party and didn’t realize until years later that behind the scenes it was painted by my lovely and talented friend Teresa, who I had not yet met at the time. I recall asking the hostess if a bigger wooden house with extensions for an extra string of little people was available……should nature be kind enough to surprise me with more children……but ‘eight is enough’ was meant to be. Families are indeed forever – and I will always treasure this precious heirloom.
My favourite type of yard is ‘small cottage’ or ‘secret garden’, a style not easy to achieve on acreage and requiring much effort and maintenance in our climate. But once in a while nature steps in to surprise me with something special……like filling this abandoned birdcage with greenery. Effortless on my part although I’m planning to make a ‘do not disturb’ sign for this magical place – surely the perfect miniature jungle for a variety of tiny six and eight legged creatures.