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Residency, Day 3

I finally saw a bee like the ones that live near my house. It stopped to drink at a small stream that formed when someone ran the tap next to my bedroom window. The two trees in the garden with the rotting fruit I thought might be a kind of fig, even though I'd never seen figs that grew in clumps before, or figs with straight olive-coloured leaves, turned out to be loquats. I'm slightly disappointed I missed the fruiting season, but I'm glad I've finally seen a loquat tree in person. They're quite large trees, with a lovely pale bark and lots of shade. Loquats feature strongly in Chinese herbal cough syrups. They're used to help soothe sore throats, and should have a soothing flavour.

Chris the Treasurer told me that one of the trees harbours a kind of hallucinogenic shrub that attracts wandering Ethiopians who come to pick at the leaves. Since the shrub has been there since the Centre began, the staff wonder if the original occupant used it. Chris has tried poisoning the shrub, but apparently it just never dies off.

I walked around the perimeter fence today, all the way to the back of the property where it is almost bare red earth with three squares in red threat to demarcate plots for new writers' chalets. I met the local cat, who was sunning himself with the last bit of evening warmth on a ledge next to a huge shrub that seems to be some kind of mint. I know it's a mint, but I've forgotten what kind. I tried a leaf, and the flavour isn't very good or even strongly mint, being slightly bitter atop a lot of blandness. The smell is only slightly minty. The cat hopped down for a bit to look at me, but when it noticed I wasn't picking it up, it hopped back onto the ledge to watch me instead.

Between the path to the chalets and Katherine Susannah Prichard's study is a small strip of land I suspect might've been a vegetable patch. This is where there's a large clump of plants I thought might be wild amaranth. I didn't try one of the leaves of that, but I have lots of time to tomorrow. I did try the leaf of something I thought might've been a feral rocket. It neither smelled nor tasted like rocket. In fact, it tasted green, something like a bok choy. The leaves were definitely a bit too large to be a large rocket. The seed pods look very familiar -- I'm sure I've seen them in my garden, and it was the pods and flowers that made me think they might be rockets.

Right at the back of the garden, I could see our neighbour's huge brown chickens. It was like watching a procession of soup. I was calculating, soup, roast, boiled, steamed, soup, soup, fried. Maybe it's cruel, but chickens weren't entirely made for being pets, apart from producing tasty eggs. I heard their goats too. At any rate, I like being around animals. A place where animals will come to means there is no danger present.

Got myself some lemons for tea and sat down outside my bedroom to watch things. It is vitally important to stay still and watch things. When you stay still long enough, the things that live around you seem to think of you more kindly. So I sat down and watched trees till the first mosquitoes started coming out. I am not scared of this house at all. It's strange. I thought I might be, since I am often here alone, but instead, I think it's a very kind place. The trees tell me that.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 19th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
Wandering Ethiopians?

Does Australia have a problem with wandering Ethiopians?
Nov. 19th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
Apparently we do! I was muchly surprised.
Nov. 20th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
I know imagine feral Ethopians poking their heads out of the shrubbery and taking off at a run, Pythonishly, when spotted.
Nov. 22nd, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
Ooooo! Now wouldn't that be a treat?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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