Monday, May 19, 2008


We have a wild little yard, considering that all the yard we got is a little concrete patio attached to our apartment.

It's much easier to maintain and enjoy a small yard, I think. When we had a (relatively) huge backyard, every plant that I touched dried and withered away. Except the mint, which grew into a mint jungle and started to take over the lawn.

Anyway, I'm wandering.

We have a few pots of plants that Summy and I maintain painstakingly. I had no idea how many pests want a piece of the plants. We dealt with aphids, ants, mildew, unwanted mushrooms, and caterpillars, all as humanely as possible (except the mushrooms, which make my skin crawl).

So we now have a few flowers blooming, and a couple of strawberry plants producing fruit at the rate of about one a week (which is great, but we supplement our one homegrown strawberry with four quarts of strawberries from the market every week). A few tomato plants starting to flower, some herbs, hot pepper plants in various stages, and a few snow pea vines that some mystery creature is eating up.

Most of these things were planted by Summy. She does not read the instructions on seed packets, she does not do research online, but somehow she gets it right if left to herself with some dirt and water.

That's it for the Flora. As for the Fauna:

We had a small wasp's nest on the fence that we took out. The wasps started working on a new one right away, and it was fascinating to see. We haven't yet had the heart to take down their new nest. They are peaceful and hardworking creatures.

We found a caterpillar having lunch on a strawberry leaf, and he got put into a bowl with dirt and leaves in it. Summy watched the caterpillar very carefully, but after looking down at all the leaves, the caterpillar decided this place wasn't for him and escaped while she wasn't looking. Ofcourse he got named before he left - Fuzzy.

We have a couple of spiders that spin the most beautiful webs. I take the webs down every now and then, just because they make the patio look unkempt. But they don't care, they always spin them again.

And ofcourse there are the ants, ladybugs, and plenty of other funny looking insects. Summy will get them into a bowl and observe before reluctantly letting them off to "go find their mommies and daddies and kids".

So much life in a few square feet, and these are only the things we can see.


g said...


I don't know what makes these posts magical, the way you write or the tiny inspiration behind them. But I do know one thing: it wouldn't be the same without either. Here's to a terrific and the most creative mommy-daughter team - compact, pretty and with a lot of substance - just like a patio garden I recently learned of!


Aparna said...

Thanks, Gau!


Gauri said...

I so totally second Gau :) - and here's to many many more posts on Chinuku - thanks to the unbeatable mom-dots duo :)

That said, I'm beginning to find fascinating the kids' fascinations with the little creatures in the insect world.

Abhay now lets ants run all over his hand and would very much like to try the same with caterpillars too - if it were not for his parents who are a pair of scaredy boos in this respect !!!

d said...

awwwww these two got to it before me. and i was just going to say i second gau when i saw gauri had already done that. so i third them both!

i loved that the caterpillar got named before he escaped.

we spotted a caterpillar (silly fellow had no business being on a road - he should have been in the leaves) on the way to the park last week and we stopped to watch him. within seconds someone else had spotted him too and the chameleon ate him up right htere in front of us in two bites. sort of like how one can eat a gujarati roti (in two bites).
anika was horrified. kept muttering "he ate MY caterpillar" in the most offended tone for long time after.

also don't take out the wasp's nests. they'll hatch little wasps and they'll go away. or did you take them out after the little wasps were hatched?



Aparna said...

Gauri, I am a scaredy boo too. I can totally imagine Abhay having bugs crawl on his hands.

Sometimes when I go to Summy's school and there are in the playground, the kids gather around me and ask me to pick them some ladybugs to hold from the tall tree (as if they were apples) - I couldn't do it.

d, I can imagine that must have upset little Anika. Oh well, a chameleon's got to eat. Thanks for the tip about the wasps. In our old place, we had humongous hornets nests that became a concern, that's why we are wary. But we did leave this small nest alone. Even the old big hornets nest didn't hurt us - not one sting in all the seven years we were there. You leave them alone, they leave you alone, I guess. Looks like you are a naturalist family :)


d said...

hey aps - you know thats the funny part - after all that lamenting about the caterpillar, anika actually wanted to know if the chameleon was still hungry! (maybe she was just worried which poor caterpillar would be eaten next, but maybe, just maybe, she figured that oh well, the chameleon has to eat too!