When things go bust

Do you ever feel like you are the thing that is keeping something running smoothly? Like if you walked off everything you left behind would fall apart without you? Because I am sure that’s how Ali is feeling right now. He drove up to Istanbul on Thursday to meet Baki at the airport, flying in solo from New York and will drive back with him tomorrow. And since he left, one rooster has flown over the fence into the forest and although he looks longingly at all of his friends on this side, he will not be convinced to fly over and flees into the thickets when he catches sight of me climbing over the fence (on a ladder, not in the manner of a superhero or felon).
But the thing that really cried out for Ali’s attention is the generator. Now, our water comes directly from a spring a short walk away. One sweltering summer day, we went out with a coil of pipe and ran it from a place where the spring bubbled out of the ground all they way back to the garden. The top end of our garden, however, is higher up than the water source, so the water will not flow there. To water this part of the garden we use an electric pump. But since the only electricity that we have is what we get from our solar panel array, we have to use a diesel generator to run the pump. (When I describe all of this it sounds ridiculously complicated…)
But the generator won’t start. It could be because it ran out of fuel and we filled it and now there is air in the fuel line but for the life of me I can’t figure out what to do about it. “Water with buckets,” Ali offered, unhelpfully.

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So that is what I did. And I have to say that bucket watering is a nostalgic sort of thing for me because when we first came here and we had just brought water to the garden, that is how we
used to water. Or how I used to water, because that summer Ali’s back went out so I used to climb over his sleeping body every morning before sun-up and haul buckets of water about.
And one of the nice things about watering this way is that you encounter little surprises like this one:

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I always forget that the only cannas that we have are purple leaved, so I thought these were cannas, but they’re turmeric. Ali got a hold of some turmeric roots and planted them and they were thriving in the greenhouse so he tried one outdoors. The flower smells faintly, medicinal.
While I watered, Kaya climbed up on the rocks and brandished pieces of firewood as weapons. This kept him happy for a very long time.

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And as I worked, it began to rain . Not enough to stop me or even give me pause , but enough to release the sweet smell of dried grass and dust being reacquainted with water.
It took me over an hour to finish, but I managed to water everything and felt very pleased with myself, albeit a little flushed and sweaty.

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(That is my very first selfie – the
result of an Instagram overdose I am sure.)

4 thoughts on “When things go bust

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