Like most gardens our Sydney suburban block contains its fair share of weeds. Some are nasty but only grow for a season. Others are persistent and are hard to eradicate. My greatest enemy has always been Tradescantia Fluminernsis. You have probably never heard of Tradescantia Fluminernsis because the weed has the much more common and much less politically correct common name of Wandering Jew. Two of my adjoining neighbours have the weed in plague proportions and with moisture and heat the weed seems to quickly pass through fences and appear in abundance in our yard. It is not a difficult weed to remove but its sheer bulk can be something to behold. It creeps along the ground with shallow suckers and roots and if the slightest amount is left it will spread the weed again.
This year we received a couple of new additions to the family in the form of a pair of rather cute Isa Brown chooks, who we named Hattie and Rosie. In recent times two more crossbred Rhode Island Reds, Holly and Molly, have joined them. What has surprised me most about these fowls is their love for Wandering Jew. I built their considerable run over my most out of control Wandering Jew patch at the back of our yard, which is now weed free. Now I delight in harvesting the weeds in other places in the yard in anticipation of giving the girls their greens. Without a Monsanto owned chemical in sight, my weeds are being processed into very yummy eggs. One man’s weeds are indeed another chooks delight.
In our little back yard I am amazed at the cycle of life that delights everyday: the frogs that come occasionally to lay their tadpole eggs in our little wine barrel pond at our back door; the lizard that lives under the wine barrel and enjoys a lazy sunny day on our pavers, but scurries back under the barrel when interrupted; the native parrots that have adapted to feeding off a Pink Salvia that probably had its origins in South America; the blue tongue lizards that enjoy a crunching good snack on those pesky snails.
Don’t get me wrong - it’s not the Garden of Eden. I still haven’t worked out the place in nature for those stink bugs on my citrus that stain my hands for weeks when I try to relocate them to a bucket of water. The native birds that are a delight also seem to occasionally enjoy a bite from my Japanese strawberries. Tiny slugs can decimate seedlings in hours and seem to delight in eating young vulnerable plants, when they are welcome to have a munch on the old stuff.
The Old Book has a simple conclusion for God’s creation – that it is good: the mountains, the sea, the sky, the rivers, the lakes and even a suburban backyard. I must admit I love to travel and see the beauty of the world, but I also love to pause in my own backyard to see the same wonders of creation at work.
Consider yourself fortunate that I have reached my word limit and the compost sermon will have to wait until another day!
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