Passionfruit Farming

“We got here at the perfect time,” Ethan said when we arrived to do the chores.  “We missed most of the rain.”

It then proceeded to pour for hours.  I’ve never seen the paths become ankle-deep creeks with tiny rapids before.  It felt like we got four inches in an hour, but it was more like an inch and a half.  Very wet.  The goats were miserable and shivering, and wouldn’t follow me at first to come down and be milked.  Rain paralyzes them under the trees like that (I don’t blame them), but Matilda didn’t seem to mind.  The wet steamed off her back while I was milking her.  The goats all took a REALLY long time to finish their milking ration.  No one wanted (understandably) to leave the shelter of the milking shed and get under the dripping trees again.

I discarded my shoes and went around barefoot – they are useless when it rains like that, because they just slip off my feet.  There’s a risk of being stepped on by the cows with bare feet, so I was extra careful around them.  I need to get a new pair of boots.  I stopped wearing mud boots when I was pregnant with Clothilde, because they made my feet hurt so much.  Ethan’s boots took on several cupfuls of water while we were out there.  I didn’t even bother getting out in the rain to wet the udder rags – I just hung them on the fence, where they soaked themselves.  Luckily I had the presence of mind the other day to put a towel, a spare dress, and a waterproof blanket into the car.  The children just left their clothes in the truck and played naked in the rain the whole time.  When I finished milking, I found them lounging on the hay in the barn with the blanket.  We ended up nice and dry on the drive home.  Ethan made use of the towel, but he always forgets spare clothes somehow.

Day before yesterday, when it was NOT raining, I found dozens of ripe passionfruits in the garden.  You have to wait until they fall off the vines, so it involved a lot of blackberry scratches and ploughing through fire ant-ridden weeds.  I ate a few before alerting the others of my find, to make up for the hardship.  They are so good!!!  Even though I found a basket full, none of them made it home.  There were suggestions of converting the whole 40 acres to a passionfruit orchard.

Years ago I had transplanted some small vines around the orchard that never did very well.  I thought they ought to do well, since they are a wild plant, but apparently I can even kill wild-adapted plants.  This year, to our delight, they began coming up all on their own in the garden beds.  Instead of weeding them out, Ethan trellised them.  While they certainly needed more weed control around them, they loved the compost beds, and the vines are covered in fruit.

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