IT was a fine summer for growing things, as the olive tree in the corner of the Billabong’s backyard attests. Throughout the recent drought, yields of the small, dark fruit were decent enough to fill the jars beneath the sink and guarantee a year’s supply, but only if nibbled sparingly. This year, the tree has outdone itself. There is so much fruit it was yesterday’s errand to buy a couple of additional plastic buckets for their curing, and after that to cut back the shoots rising from the root system. Lopped just a month ago, the tallest of the latest risers was just peeking over the fence -- remarkable growth in such a short time.
It may be that Bunyips have a semi-dormant hippy gene, and it could be that this also has been activated by the rain. Whatever the reason there is wonder everywhere. Outside the study, where a ham and tomato sandwich tumbled from a carelessly carried plate some months ago, a tomato vine has taken root and also is producing the goods, lots of them. Interestingly, the dropped sanger featured slices of a big, beefsteak tomato, the sort you get at Coles or Woolies, but these are the cocktail variety. The Rufous Bird, who knows a thing or two about garden greenery, attributes this to commercial varieties’ hybridisation, which apparently means they will never breed true.
Those little tomatoes, sweet and marble-size, are good enough, not least for lifting the spirits. Not so long ago, the garden was a dust bowl and the resident possums thin as wraiths. The ringtail that climbed down from the roof last night to poke about in the compost heap behind the BBQ was fat and sleek and such a solid specimen that the cat, a tireless recreational killer, put discretion above valour and did nothing more than direct its diamond-eyed enmity at the visitor, which had the cheek to turn its back and fossick up a bit of carrot.
It was quite the performance, the moggy’s display of restraint, but even that was cheering in its way. Like a voter observing Gillard’s filth, puss knows patience will pay its dividends, that there will come a reckoning for such insolence. As this shambolic Prime Minister and her toadies and courtiers fudge and obfuscate, play their games and substitute spin and subterfuge for honest decency, we all known their day is coming too. Like the drought, Gillard will go away eventually, and all her lies with her. In the meantime, there are olives, tomatoes, a frustrated cat and a wall calendar from which to cross off the days until the polls are opened.