While I was overseas last month, my almost 96 year old gardening-guru-grandma fell ill. Grandma is never ill. In fact, she has only been to hospital to have children and a hip replacement and was last in hospital when she was 80. The news that Grandma was in hospital sent the whole family into a spin and onto the Woolgoolga pilgrimage trail - but she's home now, and was well enough to renew her membership of Woolgoolga Bowling Club FOR FIVE YEARS on Saturday evening.
We made the 400km Mother's Day run from Brisbane to Woolgoolga on Friday night. We were quickly diverted to the Saturday beach markets after seeing someone on the street with a giant bag of super fresh limes, and spent every bit of the $20 cash we had on the local limes, lemons, avocados and garlic.
Grandma added to the bounty by handing over some of her crop of chokoes (a particular vegetable that is best baked), super-sized spring onions, chives, curly parsley, habanero chillies and the long chillies off the long john chillie plant I gave her two years ago. For some reason, hers is laden whilst mine died last summer. Then fisherman Uncle Neil came to the party, with a half a giant pumpkin from a roadside stall outside of Warwick (the hinterland near Toowoomba where my cousins live) and a very generous box of king prawns.
We talked a lot about my cousins Cherie and Garrick's progress with garlic and almonds, my cousin Joanne's despondent garden that has been overrun by chooks, my own poorly performing chooks (I was actually scoping Uncle Neil as a potential assassin) and Grandma and Uncle Neil's penchant to shoot and eat bush turkeys in 1950s - a now pesky but protected bird that roams the streets of Brisbane and is every gardener's terror.
I contemplated my newly planted asparagus, the well-performing bean crop, the progress of the broccoli, turnips and tatsoi on the rainy drive back to Brisbane on Sunday evening. Joy on my arrival home was the discovery that my dear friend Meredith had dropped by with a huge bag of avocadoes from her family's weekender at Mt Tambourine, and a treasured jar of lime butter (curd) made to her grandma's recipe.
So a huge bounty, borne of love and kindness.