Thursday, July 21, 2016

Apple Socks

It's true what they say about seeing more of your neighbors in summertime. We're out in our gardens, weeding, setting out sprinklers, adjusting tomatoes on their trellises; people walking by say hello and may ask "What is that plant? The bees are loving it." And I tell them, "It's honeywort--super easy to grow. Help yourself to seed."

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to bite the bullet and order an entire box of footies. An already tedious task of wrapping each apple, it was worth saving some time and headache cutting up several pairs of pantyhose to have pre-made "socks." I couldn't procrastinate any longer--there were several apples that had frass at the blossom end and along their sides--evidence that coddling moth had already done its damage. I brought out my box of footies and got to work. As I diligently slipped a sock around each apple, trying not to knock them off the tree, people walked by. I'd look up and say hello, but realized they avoided eye contact with me and didn't respond. Others quicken their step which made me think.

Huh...this is odd. No one will talk to me. Why is that? Could it be they think what I'm doing is crazy?

Well, no matter. After losing a majority of my apples over various seasons, it's worth spending a couple of summer evenings to prevent those moths from tunneling through my fruit. The task slows me down, allowing me to appreciate the late setting July sun as I think about the crisp delicious Honeycrisp and Nittany apples to come this fall.


Sunday, July 10, 2016


My tree has three ripe figs--quite early for this time of year. As tomatoes have stalled with the normal cool of Pacific Northwest summers, I was surprised to see a ripe fig just a few weeks ago. I wanted to harvest it earlier, but hesitated as the dogwood next to it housed a family of robins. I didn't want to disturb them and they flew the nest a couple of weeks ago and hopefully survived.

The tree is a suckering mess after a hard pruning last fall. I'm selecting new leaders and removing ones I had saved to reduce the aesthetic shock of the heading cuts. Though it looks harsh, the hard pruning must be done every so often to keep the tree in check within the tight space next to the house.

But back to those three figs. They were amazing! I tasted the most ripe of the three first and it was almost approaching dried-fig status. I moved on to the next one and it was perfectly sweet with a light pink color inside. The third, though small in size, was just has good.

Like honey

Earlier today I was discussing with friends how we're all in the midst of the summer frenzy; cramming in every single activity before the weather turns. Little did I know I'd be enjoying the nod to fall this soon--figs to me signify the end of summer. Thank goodness we still have some time for the weather to creep back above 70 degrees, enjoy our flip flops and watch (or hope and pray!) our tomatoes ripen in the coming weeks.

This fig though on the top rung did not lose its balance