Jan. 25th, 2010

zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Did you know, Gentle Reader, that in New Zealand it is completely legal for your neighbour to chop down their own plum tree whose branches happen to hang over your fence, thus delivering to you every January a bountiful crop of the most delicious plums in the world?

To be honest, I was actually aware of this cruel and unjust law, but before today I never once thought such a thing would ever happen to me.

Even aside from being a downright unneighbourly thing to do, it's really rather futile. As I may have noted before, plum trees are like a tasty version of convolvulus: just when you chop one down, another springs up from the taproots on the other side of the garden. Then you turn back to the first one and discover new shoots growing off every inch of the stump.

In fact do you know what I was doing when the neighbour told me he was chopping down his plum tree? ("I noticed it's crowding out your trees," he says. I tried to reassure him not to worry about it on account of my camellias -- what good did camellias ever do a body? -- but soon gathered that this was merely a polite way of saying "I hope this makes you as happy as it's going to make me to chainsaw the sap out of this thing.") Well, for one thing I'd just finished gathering a bag full of windfall plums to preserve. But what I was doing *then* was pinching shoots off a couple dozen would-be plum trees I'd cut near the ground a week or two ago, and wondering when three other plum trees had started growing in my herb garden.

So even if my neighbour chops down his entire tree, and also all the other plum trees that have spawned and thrived along that fence, I've still got a young-but-fruiting plum tree on my side of the fence, and a bazillion other proto-plum trees that would welcome the opportunity to show me what they could do.

But it's going to be a few years before I get nearly as many plums as I have been.

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