Sitting in the lounge at the mechanic’s this morning (don’t ask), I found myself in the company of a friendly sort, an older man who was definitely from here. I know this because as soon as I arrived, he asked me a question, I countered with a book, we chatted for about a minute, and he asked me, “So, are you from Sydney?” “No,” I said, “I grew up in Newfoundland.” He introduced me to the other man who was already sitting, waiting on his car. “He’s from Newfoundland, too.”
It was a long conversation, wide ranging, and it turned out that they are both down-the-road neighbours, a few kilometers away. Eventually, he said, “Oh! I know your house! You’ve got that garden… um… Per-something?”
Our garden is larger than average, and the front lawn sports a giant pair of pants, built as a joke two summers ago. We have garnered attention. But I’d forgotten about the signs. What an opportunity! I shared the story of Demeter, Persephone, Hades, and winter. We called ourselves Persephone’s Garden as an acknowledgment of the winter, and also to proclaim our desire to grow out of season (in the least energy intensive ways, as developed by the brilliant Eliot Coleman.) The first man asked about our floating row covers, what kinds of veggies we grow, complimented us on our free-range chickens, and nearly clapped his hands with glee when I told him about the scythe we use to mow the “lawn”.
The conversation continued, phone numbers were exchanged so that they could introduce me to the other neighbour who is raising milk sheep (milk sheep! one of my fantasy animals!) down the way. It was a very rural conversation. And then he said, “You’ll be staying, then? You’ll have to stay after you put so much effort into tending the land and God’s bounty.”
Now I feel famous!