Yesterday afternoon, while up to my elbows cooking a gigantic pot of bolognese, I heard a knock on the screen door.
I should explain; knocks on the door don’t happen very often around here. Since moving to the farm, we’ve found that living out of town and down a country lane deters all but the most determined visitors. No door-to-door salespeople come calling. No fundraisers. No school children selling raffle tickets for the local school fair. Usually the only people knocking are tradespeople we’ve booked ourselves or family visiting from out of town. A mystery knock at the front door? That almost never happens…
Putting down the wooden spoon, I went to see who it was. There at the front door, weighed down by a bundle, was my lovely next door neighbour (a real farmer).
‘Do you eat mandarins?’ he asked holding out the bundle.
I looked down at the dozen or so luscious looking mandarins.
“Absolutely! Thank you!” I replied, then thought for a second. Surely we had something to offer in return? Then I remembered the hens. “Would you like some eggs?” I asked.
At the mention of eggs, his eyes lit up. “Have you got chooks?” he asked. “I love chooks. Can I have a look?”
I took him round the back of the house yard and showed off our modest chicken set up. The chicken coop got the nod, as did the new fencing and cows.
My neighbour looked it all over and nodded his head thoughtfully.
“You’re doing well,” he said in a tone that was both serious and considered.
Doing well! Now that’s a good start! I thought.
It’s only early days, but it seems we’ve been really lucky with all our neighbours. Including that latest visit, we’ve had three neighbours come by to say hello – all wonderfully welcoming and supportive. One came bearing a bag of lemons and chokos, and the other volunteered to slash the front of our property for free when he drove past and saw us struggling to get the ride-on mower through long grass. Talk about generous!
Hopefully one day soon I’ll be knocking on my neighbours’ doors with bags of good-looking produce to share. In the meantime, there’s always eggs.
And now I’m off to look up recipes for using those mandarins…