It's a blustery, cold day. Much more pleasant to be inside. I'm outside, standing in front of the Tuscan Path Greenhouse I've put together, relatively painlessly.
The "greenhouse" is 69cm by 49cm, and 160cm high. Made from cheap metal poles and green plastic struts, with a flimsy clear plastic cover and zip door, which I'm predicting won't last too many seasons.
It was made in China, of course. Dirt cheap from Bunnings.
I love the bullshit name, one of the reasons I bought it. I wonder if they use Tuscan Path Greenhouses in Tuscany?
Maybe there they call them California Hothouses instead, to entice local buyers.
I contemplate other names: Hikurangi Deck Greenhouse, Kamo By-The-Side-Of-The-Shed Greenhouse, Northland Weed Grower.
It doesn't look like much, but hopefully it'll do the job. I've weighed it down with bricks on the bottom shelf so it won't topple over in the wind. They could be Tuscan Path bricks.
After filling rows of plastic seed punnets with dirt, I snip the top of a small metallic packet and pour tiny seeds into my palm. Half of them blow away. Idiot.
I shift my position, put my body between the wind and my carefully cupped hand, so that I don't lose more.
They're seeds for cocktail tomatoes. They've been in the shed for a couple of years, but it says on the packet they can be planted until summer 2021.
They're so incredibly small. I can see the seeds in my hand, but I can't feel them. They have no weight that registers on my skin.
My fingers are like giant clumsy sausages trying to pick up each seed individually. I consider using tweezers.
I manage to drop the tiny seeds onto small squares of dirt, giving each one a poke to bury it slightly.
On a snapped-in-half ice block stick, I write "cocktail tomatoes", smiling, knowing that the chances of a cocktail party at our house are slim.
It's a fiddly business, gardening. Demands patience. Teaches patience. After a few hours, I've got my Tuscan Path Greenhouse filled with what I hope will soon be sprouting butter beans, sweetcorn, eggplants, cucumbers and tomatoes.
I marvel at nature's technology. We can forget, become separated from processes that most of our ancestors would have known intimately.
Every stage of growing your own food, including harvesting and consumption, lends itself to wonder and metaphor.
We are symbolic beings. The cycle of life we instigate and witness in the garden is part of our languages, religions, poetry and novels, sometimes even our movies and television.
The metaphors of sprouting, growing, blossoming, fruiting, and finally rot and decay, mean a little more when you get your hands dirty.
I pull down the twin zips on my Tuscan Path Greenhouse. I recall - as I often do when gardening - the lines of a famous poem by Dylan Thomas: "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower/ Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees/ Is my destroyer."
A passionate English teacher once tried to get a classroom of grey-uniformed boys to love the poem as he did. In a way, he was trying to plant a seed.
Older now, further away from "my green age", closer to the "destroyer", the lines cut deep.
It's what good poetry and art can do: make you see the seeds in your hand differently, link them to the big mystery of life.
And maybe appreciate more our small attempts to build flimsy structures that have a chance of standing for a while against the wind.