With rising COVID cases putting more people into isolation than ever the National Put a Zucchini on Your Neighbour’s Doorstep Day Committee has declared April Put a Zucchini on Your Neighbour’s Doorstep Month.
At first glance PAZOYND Month might appear like opportunism masquerading as generosity, but it’s not about excess zucchinis or lemons or quinces or cucumbers or feijoas at all.
Every time we go into isolation the slow-moving natural disaster of loneliness, anxiety, and disconnection we’ve been experiencing for the past decade is exacerbated.
Surveys taken during the last two years of lockdowns reveal that over half of us experienced loneliness and social isolation.
Health bodies are calling this a “loneliness emergency” but it isn’t the kind of emergency solved by Army helicopters parachuting survival kits down to devastated communities.
It’s the kind of emergency where people like my neighbour, Alan, drop off a jar or two of his apricot jam at my front door every March.
Alan’s apricot jam is not the difference between me starving and surviving but when I spread it on my toast I know that he’s grown and picked the apricots, he’s stirred, bottled and brought over the jam and all his care, his humour and his funny old man handwriting are there on the label.
When I eat Alan’s jam on my toast it makes me smile, plus it’s really good – he adds a little bit of earl grey tea that does something special.
Alan inspires me and others; this year it’s got me giving a big bunch of my basil to our new neighbours, Karl and Susan.
When a little comes back in a small jar of pesto my heart overflows and tomorrow’s dinner is sorted.
Every time something is given and received it’s like a delicate thread is strung between us. Repeat it enough times over the years and we make a kind of community macrame creation that holds us together.
These days, although we work and play more and more on our screens, we still live in our neighbourhoods, and despite the overwhelming and uncontrollable world streaming through our feeds, there are so many small things we can do each day that make and remake our worlds.
So this April if you have a surplus in your garden or if you’ve pickled or baked a little extra, maybe drop it around to a neighbour’s doorstep or an isolating friend’s porch and keep adding to your own community macrame creation.
National Put a Zucchini on Your Neighbour’s Doorstep Month runs right through April. And please, remember to place your produce presents presciently – large zucchinis, jam jars and tomato chutneys can be a trip hazard.
On its own time
I wanted to share Kate from CERES Fair Wood’s awesome post on some of their storm-fallen timber that was salvaged last year out of an ecologically managed forest in the Central Highlands…
“…Timber runs on its own time. It can’t be rushed or rather, it shouldn’t be rushed.
Sixty-six weeks or 1 year, 3 months and 2 weeks ago these manna, peppermint and blackwood logs were salvaged and milled into as many dimensions as possible by the CERES Fair Wood team and mobile sawmiller, Paul Mckay.
The milled timber sat ‘sticked’ out air drying in the Fair Wood warehouse and was later finished off in our solar kiln – its first-ever load.
Taking much longer than we thought, the whole the process has taught us loads.
We recently sent most of the dried manna and peppermint gum off to get profiled into joinery timber.
The salvaged Blackwood remains in rough sawn boards and we still have some of this left at the front of the shop.
It’s unique to have had a hand in so much of the process from log to a dressed product.
Come down to our Preston warehouse we’d be happy to show you how it all turned out”.
Have a great week