Okay, there’s a tinge of pink, for sure, but these otherwise misnamed fingerlings are the third successful crop we’ve begun to enjoy as summer moves along. The Alouettes, definitely pink-skinned, have been a disappointment, but the Charlottes and Harmonies are already very satisfying. The yellow flesh and nutty taste of the Pink Fir Apples make for great cold salads and an excellent accompaniment to the traditional meat and two/three veg we often consume.
I revel in the total lack of work required, after achieving the planting in the spring, before the eating commences. The potatoes stay in the ground until they’re needed, so that perhaps a week’s supply is lifted, washed, dried, and stored in recycled flour bags. It’s like having a free supermarket beside the rough-lawned garden on the other side of the hawthorn hedge.
This morning I’m also bemused at the antics of the birds circling around the picnic table; a cheeky wagtail has adopted the territory now, and the bossy cock robin is not amused. A few days ago I rescued a tiny jenny wren, probably the one who lives in our neighbours’ stone wall, from the conservatory, and another tiny bird, the chiff-chaff, often flits around the patch we call the Mediterranean section. Meanwhile the house martins, swallows or swifts, whatever they are, swoop through the air in arcs of industriousness. I watched one pumping slowly against the wind, only to reach the end of its patience and bank back in a curling display of aerodynamics; there should be enough insects about for them to catch on the wing, as they move through the air. Many of the little garden birds too enjoy the supermarket feeders we’ve set up for them to indulge themselves at, without needing to work to eat.
Nor, in retirement, do we need to work any longer to provide for ourselves. It’s a strange feeling, but it also feels like a harvest reward, after the decades of preparation. Now our primary job is to stay healthy, to contribute as we can, and to enjoy life.
And at this point, each of those tasks can be more or less challenging, depending on circumstances. Nevertheless, experience, and joy, are always there for the harvesting.
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