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  • elizabethpeterson922

Surprises in the wild

As newcomers to the second home experience, there is definitely an excitement about returning to a place we left behind weeks or even days ago.

Maybe the sense of anticipation goes away over time. Maybe you get used to it after months or years of coming back to the same place. All I can say is that the sense of glee upon returning to a house and property that was exactly as we left it -- only not so -- was immense. (The package of smoked fish we forgot in our refrigerator did not bring so much joy, but that's a different story.)

The marigolds, my marigolds! Look at them, they are thriving.

And so are the basil, the parsley and the primroses. The cilantro/coriander plant, unfortunately, drowned in its own pot.

There are no mushrooms in the forest, although we remain hopeful. The rowanberry trees are laden and dipping. The blueberries are nearing the end of their summer journey, with their leaves turning to a dark rust color. The remaining blueberries, however, are bigger and have far more flavor than the little dry ones we picked earlier this summer.

My cucumber plants did not fair so well. It was about one meter high when we left, and it was covered in baby cucumbers. Now the entire thing is gnawed down to a stub. It was extracted completely from its pot and dumped on the grass, with nothing but a gaping hole left behind where it had once been. Adding to the mystery is that the partner cucumber plant, sharing the same pot, is left untouched. For now.

A few other surprises sprang up in our absence. For example, in the spot I cleared for my future rhubarb, this mystery plant appeared. When we left two weeks ago, this plant did not exist. Now it measures about half a meter in diameter and definitely exists. The stalks look a bit like rhubarb, so my first fleeting thought was that some fairy had made rhubarb appear in my future rhubarb patch. (I am not delusional, however, so that thought quickly dissipated.) It turns out, if I am not mistaken, that this is a foxglove, one of the most highly toxic garden plants. It bears tiny blue bell-shaped flowers that grow on a stalk. I wonder if strategic planting of this flowering plant could keep deer out of other plants, like rhubarb?

The very best surprise

It turns out we have an apple tree! And not just any apple tree, but one of those old ones that is gnarled and twisted and partially covered with lichens.

I know from multiple sources that old apple trees don't bear the best fruit, but this one is staying. (I keep thinking of the song "Vanha omenapuu" I used to sing with my host mother Leena when I was an exchange student.)

It was hiding in plain site, and I actually feel rather silly that we didn't notice it earlier.

I remember the previous owner telling us that her mother, a widow, cut down all the apple trees because it was too much for her to take care of. But here this one is, in a far corner of the property where we don't go very often. I can't wait to find out what those apples taste like. And I can't wait to find out what other surprises are in store for us at Bastubacka.

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