I live in Perth, Western Australia, in a little house by the beach, with a rambling vegetable garden and my dog, Maple.
I love cooking, writing, photography, gardening and music and I can never seem to decide which one I want to do the most, so my life ends up being a kind of scramble of all five… like a pizza with an irresponsible number of toppings (every pizza I’ve ever made has been greedily and irresponsibly topped with far too many toppings).
MY VEGGIE GARDEN
I caught the gardening bug years ago off my parents. Nearly every weekend for as long as I can remember, they'd pack up their things and drive two and a half hours south, to where they have a little patch of land that they've filled with pumpkins, tomatoes, onions, silverbeet, zucchinis, lettuces, roses, asparagus, carrots, caperberries, lilacs, leeks, potatoes, artichokes, basil and every other vegetable you can think of. A river trickles round the property, and there's a cubby house built into a giant mulberry tree that my niece and nephews play in. There are fruit trees too, and when I was little I used to climb up them, perch myself on a sturdy branch, ensconced by their dappled leaves, and eat greedily-picked cherries, peaches and plums for breakfast.
I love it so much down there, and it's all because of my parents' unrelenting work. Mum gardens in the rain, dad chops limbs off trees and drags them into piles for bonfires. They come back from their weekend 'holidays' aching from gardening basically non-stop, they recover for a few days, then they go back and do it all again. Turns out the proverbial apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and my veggie patch (though infinitely less impressive than theirs) is one of my favourite places to be.
My veggie garden has transformed considerably over the 4-5 years I've had it. Without really meaning to, I've gradually eroded all but the smallest patch of lawn, turning it over to vegetables, flowers and haphazard, winding paths. I think I need to put a ban on digging up any more grass or Maple will have no more places to roll and chew sticks.
Maple is a five-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback x border collie and I LOVE her, despite the fact that she eats my lemon grass and ALL of my blueberries just as they begin to ripen. Ridgebacks were bred to act as guard dogs in South Africa, making them fearless, headstrong and loyal companions. Border collies were bred to herd sheep in farms across Scotland and England, so they were selected for their obedience and intelligence. Some mornings Maple wakes up a Ridgeback and some mornings she's a Border Collie....multiple personality disorder in dog form.