Fire and ice: mixing gardening and politics in one post
Right now, my country is on fire. Exactly the same as when Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol because he couldn't get his way, our crooked ex-president has unleashed his thugs because he was finally made to go to jail for contempt of court, that is: refusing to appear before the commission created to probe the grand corruption and looting that happened when he was in the hot seat.
The hill next to my house was on fire 14 days ago, luckily the fire burned itself out before it got to my place
Not going to bore you with media images of the burning and looting that's going on, the news is full of it. Google riots in South Africa if you want to see.
Last night, I could hear regular gunshots that continued throughout the night because looters were attempting to get into the supermarket down the road. The police were on the scene and kept them out although the bar on the corner was looted. Another local bottle store and supermarket was burned and looted the night before.
This brings back bad memories of the 1990s, when rampaging thugs did their best to derail the transition to a democratic state. Funny enough, it's the very same people doing it 27 years later. The looting: the perpetrators start the burning and breaking and then ordinary bystanders and opportunists take their chances because everyone is sick and tired of lockdown and the misery and poverty that Covid lockdowns have brought. So partly, this is about one man being prepared to watch the country burn to avoid going to jail and the other part is a bit of the 'Arab Spring' that has been waiting to happen here for many years
In the meantime, the rest of us try to carry on with our lives as best we can. Most people disapprove of what is currently happening and as my neighbour said: "We are going to eat grass" (as an economic consequence of what is happening right now). As I went to work on Monday, I saw the remnants of burning tyres that had been used to block the road I use and on the way home, I very nervous because I was told to go home early, but then couldn't leave ecause we were still busy. Driving home was nerve-wracking as I remember what happened to a friend of mine caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and I had to pass through a rock barrier in the road in a nearby suburb where the looting has been happening but I made it home in one piece.
The other consequence of this is that our vaccination campaign has stalled, I'm very grateful I got to go last week and get my first shot. The place I went to is currently a no-go zone. Hell, even the nearby animal anti-cruelty organisation was robbed.
A 3-hour wait outdoors in blistering cold in a vaccination queue at a local hospital. Those are African Sacred Ibises hanging out on the roof. They don't conduct the souls of the dead here, just dig in the garbage in the dumpster below
That was the fire, now for the ice: why would I spend 3 hours in a
freezing vaccination queue? The current surge of cases in my city caused by the Delta variant has meant that if you need hospitalisation, it's completely unavailable. Partly because the main hospital had a fire a few months ago and was closed. Copper piping to the tune of 30 million was looted from the hospital during this time... And no, Ivermectin doesn't work. It's widely used here and has made no difference.
Tonight we have a severe frost warning, the temperature will drop to -3C and be below freezing for a couple of hours so we can expect a "black frost", which is when the plant sap freezes and kills the plants. Due to the chaos around me, I didn't want to go out and get frost covers. So I'm doing it another way
I expect the taro potato leaves to all be black in the morning but that's ok because they are ready for harvest
I went and cut grass to insulate the vegetables. This accomplishes 2 things: removes the dry grass at the perimeter of my yard, which is a fire hazard, and insulates and protects tender plants from severe cold. Every single plant in a pot was moved to a sheltered position and all the smaller ones have been brought indoors. Luckily, it's only one night and I will see what's left of my garden in the morning.
What happens next in my country is anybody's guess. The army has been deployed but it all looks very ugly right now