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Monday, October 29, 2012

The First Tree.


The rains have arrived, and we are scrambling down in the garden, picking fruit and vegetables, drying some, using some, blanching and freezing some, and giving them away to friends and neighbors.  I remember as a child getting sick of fruit. Sick of too much of this or that, so much so that I could give up the very sight of persimmons, quince, figs, grapes...

I don't feel that way anymore. I still hope for each tree, each bush, to give me an abundant harvest, year after year, so the house smells of that fruit for weeks on end, so the kitchen has scattered bowls and implements to accept the challenge of preserving the bounty.

These apples have no name. There are no others like these in the local supermarket. They taste a bit like Fuji, or Gala, more tart.  In the orchard, there are four different apple trees, and two pear trees. The apples produce yearly, more or less equally. The pears, one attempts to produce half a dozen a year, asian pears by the look, and Bosch by taste; the other goes into ebullient production every third year, and attracts a host of blackbirds and raccoon by harvest time.  This year, we stripped it naked very early, gave the fruit away to the local pantry, and used some for pear cakes and for drying.  

We actually planted persimmons, figs and grapes when we first moved here. Only the fig is thriving, and this year it has over a dozen figs coming to maturity, and hopefully all will ripen before a cold snap cuts their lives short.

All this bounty surrounds us with good will, a true miracle of nature, odors and taste perfuming the house for weeks, hard work for our weak muscles, thankful at the end of such days.

What's left is to prune  the trees while they are still with leaves! The idea is to see the full tree in all its splendor, and then figure how best to eliminate redundant branches that make it too heavy one way or another. Our plan is to go down on sunny days-if we still get a few between now and the next storm-and begin trimming away. The cut branches can be stored, or stuck in the ground to create another tree!

We ask ourselves as we work day in and day out with all our might: How did we  forgo this work, work that is not predictably rewarding, for work that was extremely stressful, but the paycheck was predictable, (unless a global recession sucks up all resources, including your job!)  with few opportunities for all our senses to be stimulated, so we could purchase food that has very predictable taste and looks, so we could then add an additional hour a day at a gym to stimulate the muscle mass that didn't get stimulated by our work, distressed in ways we couldn't imagine; so that we could hand our hard earned money to a bank to invest in some made-up scheme for a made-up product that bet against our homes, our jobs, our health, our future.

All the bounty on earth should be lessons in living, to young and old, to protect our diverse food, to invest in real products, to make all work as rewarding and as necessary to all our happiness as raising food was and it can still be.

Perhaps I'm a dreamer.

Yet, as I sit here after forty plus years of hard work, where the blood pressure was out of bounds, where we had no choice but continue to remain in those jobs until we could escape, we ask ourselves if we stopped dreaming too soon. There must have been new ways to make a living.

There must be new ways to stay connected to the source of our inner peace.


27 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i think very few make it out of the race alive actually....the ways of making it are limited to those without the water to prime the pump...

i love fruit...we have grapes& pears

Tabor said...

I am envious of all your lovely fruit. We try fruit trees but have just a little success with the persimmons. One pomegranate..but we planted that for color rather than food. The fig rewards us, rewards the squirrels, the ants, the wasps and the crows with an abundance of sweet fruit.

Rubye Jack said...

Yelp, it is indeed a rat race and there are few alternatives. I admire all these people who have gone back to the land and work on being self-sufficient.
The fruit sounds so good. You're lucky because good fruit is hard to find nowadays. Out here anyways. We had a good couple of months at the markets but it's all gone now. Next year I'm buying more and freezing or canning.

Jinksy said...

I used to have a garden which needed me to keep pace with its produce, but no longer...All I have to keep under control are weeds! :)

Vera said...

I feel fortunate in that I have found the 'right' way to live, or am trying to! We were in the rat race, but now we aren't although my husband partly is but only until we have managed to get the house further on into its renovation. It is hard work having a homestead, but worth it for the sense of satisfaction you get when the various harvests are in.

yaya said...

We haven't had much luck growing fruit but we're not giving up. I'm still in the day to day work mode but I love what I do and I'm still a bit away from retirement...I just hope our rural hospital will make through the rough times the government is giving us. We're battling the back end of Hurricane Sandy tonight..wish us luck!

Cloudia said...

thank you for sharing the wisdom, now pass me an apple!


Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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quilterliz said...

G'day Rosara. Your fruit trees look great. That's one thing we miss living here in town. We had planted some really good fruit trees when we had the property and usually got heaps of fruit from them year after year. I know what you mean about the rat race. My hubby is seriously thinking about retiring, he is doing more work now than when we owned the farm. I on the other hand, will stay at my job for a couple of more years. Though life just seems to get busier. Take care. Liz...

Live High said...

Hello Rosaria, I am yet to taste fruits from my trees. As for the way to make a living, there is a trend now of having your own business through network marketing but one must choose the company with a proven track record.

Rosemary B said...

I agree with you Rosaria, why do we put ourselves through all the stresses of the "rat race"? We should be telling our kids to do it differently. My son and d-i-l have moved to the country and have part time jobs and have a great lifestyle now, the best of both worlds I think. We live in the suburbs & have always had fruit trees and in the last few years I have had a vegie garden. Now that I have more time I have been preserving everything I can lay my hands on!! I just love having my pantry full of my home made goodies.

the walking man said...

I think you have done your time as needed to stay in touch and should have no regrets over the past. It was what is was for al lof us and now you have peace of mind to go with the experiences of the present. You may be older but you still think young and that in and of itself is a benefit for all who know you.

becky said...

Your harvesting sounds like an absolute celebration! One to share it with others. Bless you.

Eva Gallant said...

How wonderful to have such a bounty of fruit!

cheshire wife said...

We did not have apples trees or the space for a vegetable garden until we moved to our present house. So for us it is just the way life has been.

Amanda said...

like you, rosaria, i connect food and happiness. as i get older i am paying much more attention to what i eat and where my food is from. i dream about having a plot of land with enough sunlight to grow a big garden of my own. some day when we move to another house, that will be a priority.

#1Nana said...

We're going to plant more trees. This year we had apples and crabapples. Our apple tree is an accident. It must have been the root stock to an ornamental cherry tree because now we have ornamental cherries and apples. We froze a bunch for pie and then the spouse bought a dehydrator and now we have bags of apple chips...life is good!

Rob-bear said...

You have a delightful and productive orchard, you know how to keep it healthy, and you work hard at that. It's a different life from teaching, but it seems agreeable.

Blessings and Bear hugs.

dianefaith said...

I wonder sometimes, too, why I wasn't wiser about my choices in my young adult years. Certainly I had the role models: my grandparents and my parents were gardeners, proud of producing and preserving much of their own food. I had the compulsion to do something entirely different, and did. But, I don't know if I'd value the simplicity I have now as much if I hadn't tried the rat race.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

It sounds like your life as been running on a very similar path to ours over the last few weeks, harvesting and storing produce for the winter.

Live High said...

Rosaria I must apologise for not being clear. The country is Namibia, a country of blog buddy Graham of OneStonedCrow at onestonedcrow.blogspot.com. The country is amazing and the blog is beautiful.

Please visit OneStonedCrow, you'll enjoy it. But Graham is away from the internet right now.

I'll add Namibia in the notes now. Thank you Rosaria.

Fazlisa aka oceangirl

Shannon Lawrence said...

I've been learning a bit more each year as has to do with sustaining my garden. Somehow my green beans failed this year; they've always been my best crop. I'd love some fruit trees. We talk about them each year, but never get them started. Ultimately, I want a full garden and several fruit trees. I always freeze some veggies for winter. Yum!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Karen Lange said...

Your harvest sounds wonderful! You'll have to let us know if you name those apples. :) I've some apples on my kitchen counter awaiting my attention as we speak. I'm thinking applesauce...

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lydia said...

What an inspiring post, Rosaria. Passionately so. Would that it could be shared in grammar schools, backed up with gardens and orchards on site.

We have a golden plum tree that gives abundantly each year and I love it so much. We have a pear tree that I still haven't figured out. Need to do some reading on when to harvest so I don't wake up one morning with all the fruit in the street (this tree was planted by someone before us right in the parking strip so it's difficult to work with and around it). You make me realize that I am not using my retired years optimally.

NitWit1 said...

I love the premise of your post. I worked 36 years in the supposedly service profession of pharmacy, feeling the salary which was, and is, magnificient, and benefits enticing, yet I felt I was a robot counting to 100. When cancer intervened at age 59 and I began Social Security disability early, I felt liberated. I volunteered in several efforts--still do; I began projects long postponed; I intensified my spiritual being and external efforts attached to that enrichment. Sometimes a misfortune refocuses our purposes. and cancer? I am a 16 year survivor...yes as age has encroached, other medical problems have arisen, but only slightly altered my life after forced retirement.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I am envious too. IT must be wonderful to be able to grow all that fruit. I don't think you stopped dreaming too soon - we all just get by as best we can in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

rosaria williams said...

Thank you, everyone, for your sweet comments. Today is the first morning without rain, and I spent a couple of hours picking more peas, more fava, more beans, more parsley, and even squash.
I can't explain the joy this work brings; and more joy when I prepare a meal with the bounty!
Have a great day, wherever you are. Remember that growing just one thing,parsley on the window sill of your kitchen for instance, will tickle you pink all over.
Happy growing.

erin said...

then i'm a dreamer too, rosaria. let's somehow (somehow, SOMEHOW) infect the world with such dreams.

you inspire me.

now. now. now. i said this as i ran today, now, now, now. not tomorrow. not tomorrow for our bodies. not tomorrow for our empathy, our passions, our being. now, now, now. let's dream now.

xo
erin