Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 9:56 PM
Friday, May 9, 2008 at 9:54 PM
Dad was never one to overdo the affirmations. He wasn't the most active of men, but one thing he rarely tired of was telling me that I didn't have the sense I was born with. Maybe he was right. For the last three months I've watched as olive tree after olive tree turned yellow, dried out and lost leaves. I searched through books, took pictures and googled into the small hours. No-one had the cause, much less the solution. It had to be a deficiency, but in what? I hoped the liming would provide the roots with a soil of more agreeable pH, but there was no change. Watering with a nutrient-rich seaweed solution showed no encouraging lift.
Only yesterday, staring over a cup of tea from the bench by the barn, did I think of getting the thick gloves on and delving around in the stingers at the base of the trees. And there it was. The trees were experiencing a deficiency alright, caused by voles having ring-barked the trees, starving the branches and leaves. A first class degree, a Masters, and for what? To look for the difficult, the complex, the unobvious. Aged 10, I'd have gone straight for the trunk. 12 trees dead due to my dimness.
Eight years, almost to the day, after the old sod died, and I still pick up the phone to call when the cricket's gone well