Roses and Tomatoes at the Wrong Time of Year.

A confused rose has flowered and the tomato glut keeps weirdly glutting. As well as the normal November business, we are forced to eat tomatoes and pick roses. Is this a sign that things are different this year?

A rose in November

What are the roses trying to tell us? 

They are a symbol of anti-authority. Always a good thing, according to Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Wilde quote

Authorities are getting the blame for everything at the moment. From restrictions being too loose, or too tight, to the unsettling fact that half the world is on fire, while the other half is going under water. I am all for anti-authority as long as it’s challenging an authority I don’t like. Extinction Rebellion and giant puppets – Yes. Freedom not to wear masks and shoot yourself and everybody else in the foot – No.

It is tempting to think about being in charge and denying entire sections of society the right to protest. Just as well I’m not.

A red rose is the symbol of the Labour party and left wing movements in general. When a far right leader in America falls spectacularly to pieces, followed by our own government, who are slowly tumbling down, I start hoping that the world is waking up and talking. They are in the WI. I follow them, to see what they say, and this came up.  

Facebook post from the Women's Institute
What are the tomatoes trying to tell us?

Tomatoes are a symbol of guilt and struggles against adversity.

Tomatoes on dead tomato plants
These plants are dead but the tomatoes keep coming. So does the guilt for not making more and more bags of slimy passata for friends or the freezer.
Mouldy tomato growing haiar
And if you don’t pick them they look like this. So they are also a symbol of things getting interesting over time.

And the tomatoes bring double guilt from the polytunnel in which they live. We are lucky that somebody here got inspired and built it, but are we grateful? A lot of people live here, but is anybody pottering around tidying up pots, bringing on cuttings, sowing winter lettuce and or even sweeping something? No. In summer we tended, planted, watered in a frenzy of enthusiasm and in autumn we all just walked off. Now it sits there quietly going mouldy and green.

Snails in the green house
Even the snails haven’t been tidied away. And who the fuck left slug pellets here anyway? We don’t even use slug pellets.
What is normal in November?

While roses and tomatoes are doing the wrong things and sending mysterious signs, there are some things that always need to happen around now.

Feeding birds.

Not simple this year, the wild bird population has bird flu. The famous black swans in Dawlish are dying and chicken farmers are worried. If it gets worse, chickens across the land will be forced to stay in. 

That can’t happen to our chickens, because they would become clinically insane.  What would they think about?  How can a chicken, who works a good eight hour day, catching flies and chasing cats, cope with staring at straw all day?

Current bio security means that all wild bird food has been moved away from chickens. The new spot is in front of my computer so I am busy. Either capturing amazing shots of starlings or chasing neighbouring cats away. The cats are confused, because nobody ever stopped them killing birds before, and the chickens are confused because ‘cleaning up the bird seeds’ was part of their day. But if that starling has the flu, neither cat or chicken is going to catch it.

Birds on the birdfeeder
There are 8 birds in this photo. Cats and chickens are lurking nearby.
Sweeping up leaves. 

On lucky days we get a call to deliver food to some unfortunate self isolator.  It is the highlight of the week. Go for a drive, meet a stranger, who has to say thank you, and feel important.  This week we delivered to an immaculate house with the cleanest yard I’ve ever seen. The self isolator was outside sweeping up a leaf.  I came home, noticed leaves everywhere and felt inadequate. Google immediately pointed out that unattended leaves destroy lawns and that Frogs Will Die if ponds get clogged up. I was launched into leaf hell. 

Chickens in a circle of leaves
Rake up leaves, make patterns, clear away leaves, sit down, look outside, more leaves have turned up, do it all over again day in day out. Life is easier if you don’t look at the leaves in the first place. Or just admire the patterns and leave them to the chickens.
Putting up lights.

We sometimes aspire to be more like Scandinavia.  They have Hygge with cakes by the fire and outdoor lights that twinkle tastefully all winter. Social media posts in the UK are popping up, suggesting that we could do this too, to ‘cheer ourselves up’. Great plan.

So we went to the charity shop, bought all their lights, and made this artful display.

Outdoor lights for the winter
It turns out that charity shop lights are often blue. It looks OK close up. From a distance it resembles a collection of ambulances.
Debating what to do for Christmas

And now we all start the great Christmas debate. Who is going where? How to cut down on presents? All with the added frisson of risk assessments. Who might kill who by breathing? How horrible is dinner in the rain? Will it even rain? It was sunny last year. Wasn’t it? Should we give each other testing kits in stockings?

Meanwhile the adverts are screaming at us to get back to the shops. I will stick to hanging out in the garden, waiting for snowdrops. They should be here soon.

4 thoughts on “Roses and Tomatoes at the Wrong Time of Year.”

  1. Great. I’ve just discovered I can click the ‘like’ button which means I don’t keep having to write, ‘Great.’ Great.

  2. Jo found this on the Scottish government website
    “All bird gatherings within the prevention zone are prohibited. Therefore, the general licence that had permitted bird gatherings has been revoked.”
    You’d better tell your chickens not to invite their mates round…..and the starlings hanging out in gangs-not allowed:)
    Great post

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