I Don’t Give a Fig. Usually.

Last night I dreamed, not of Mandalay, but of the fig tree outside our bedroom window.

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More specifically, I dreamed of a monster squirrel in the fig tree.  He had an orange material wrapped tightly around part of his tail, ninja-style, and when I tried to scare him away, he shook it haughtily at me as if it were a snake rattler.

Yes, I really did dream that.

We planted the fig tree in that location to shield our bedroom bay window from the southeastern sun exposure in summer without having to keep the blinds closed.  We pruned it to grow as a single-trunk tree rather than a bush.  Having it there also offered complete privacy I thought,  yet looking at the photo now, I realize there is exposure on one side.  Gulp. Thank goodness I noticed before I got an urge to do any naked frolicking .  (Of course,  I could simply open the window and grab a few fig leaves should the urge overtake me.)  

Because of the slope of the land, I’m able to stand on the deck and pick figs from the near branches.  Still, it is growing rapidly in its tree form shape, so more and more are beyond my reach.

It’s visible from the sunroom, also, so only a short distance for me to run out screaming and waving a broom whenever I see birds or squirrels messing around in there.  Not long ago,  I tapped on the window to shoo away a squirrel headed for one of the few remaining figs, only to watch in horror as a cardinal swooped in and took a big bite of the fig  before the squirrel could grab it.

This was the summer I was determined to get figs and, thanks to my vigilance, I did exactly that.  I picked enough to make three batches of low-sugar fig preserves for toast and for my favorite– fig, arugula, and prosciutto pizzas.

It hasn’t been easy and frankly,  I became way too obsessed with those figs, taking on a persona somewhere between Mrs. Danvers and the Incredible Hulk where the fig tree was concerned.

One day as I was raking magnolia leaves along the back fence, I glanced toward the house doing my regular fig tree perusal, when I noticed DB standing under it with a pair of  pruning loppers in hand.

“HEY!” I yelled, “What are you doing with those loppers?”

As usual, he had those darned earbuds blasting music into his ears and couldn’t hear a thing. I yelled again, looking around frantically for something to toss his way and catch his attention.  Nothing caught my eye. . . except the rake in my hand.

No way could I throw it that far, so I started to run toward DB.    Still oblivious to my maniacal rants, he blithely cut away one a branch of the tree and reached for another.  I kept running.

He glanced up to see the mother of his children raging toward him, weapon in hand.

“What are you DOING???”  I screamed.

Looking non-perturbed, he popped out an earbud and said, “I was just cutting off these low-hanging branches so we wouldn’t have to duck or walk around them.” 

“But I can only REACH the low ones to pick the figs!”  I told him.

Oh.  Okay, I won’t cut any more,”  he answered agreeably and reach down to pick up the branch he’d already cut.  What could I say?  I turned to go back to my raking.

“Hey,” he called, and I turned to see a quizzical look on his face.  “Exactly WHAT were you planning to do with that rake?”  

To this day, I’m not sure.  I’m pretty sure I had a bead on his backside,  but I don’t remember which end of the rake I was aiming or exactly what I intended to do with the rake.  It was all a bit unsettling.

I put my remaining canning jars away for the season.  After that, whenever I saw a squirrel or a bird in the fig tree, I simply shrugged.

But if that ninja turtle ever shows up, forget the loppers, I’m handing DB the axe.

 

 

 

 

 

Searching. . . I’ve Been Searching. . . .

Maybe I watched one too many squirrel videos, for something wicked this way came and sent my computer into a death spiral.  Really, it was more of a splat.  One minute my Granny Smith was in Sleep mode, the next she was dead as a doornail.   When I pressed the On button, there was not even a flicker of light or sound.  Just like that, she was gone.

I can’t say it was unexpected. There had been hints, like when I took her to the Apple Store Genius Bar back in the summer and they informed me that she was now an antique and they couldn’t work on her any more.   Even knowing that, I hadn’t been backing up my data as diligently as I should, so while I was in mourning, I worried about how I’d transfer everything from Computer A to Computer B.

I went into my usual crisis mode–total inaction–for a week or two.  Finally,  Good Egg Son, who knows much about Macputers, walked me through the selection process online.  Because we added some things, the order took about a week to arrive.

Wow!  So light and thin. . .!  It made GS feel downright clunky.   I made an appointment at the Apple store for the next day, hoping they would be able to somehow mine my data from the bowels of the late Granny Smith.  (Bowels being a good work for all the crap I had on there.)

That evening, I pushed the On button one last time and with a loud groan Granny managed to resurrect herself.  She hadn’t been dead, only moribund!  It wasn’t easy for her–the error message explaining why she’d gone under included three screen pages of gibberish which I took to mean WORK FAST!

I attached the Time Machine and left good ol’ Granny to her work, something she refused to do sometimes even in her younger days.  I’d leave her hooked up all night only to find a message that “The Time Machine could not complete the backup” the next morning.

Yay!  This time, she spilled her guts.  I headed for my appointment at the Apple store with a large tote containing Granny, my new MacBook Air, Time Machine, my iPhone. . . and a book.

The queue of people outside the Apple store sent me into a momentary panic until I realized that I’d messed around until the iPhone 6 had made its debut.  I didn’t have to get in that line, just the one at the Genius Bar.  While everyone else scrolled through their phones or iPads,  I pulled out a hardcover book and read until they were ready for me.

My Genius got things started and the Time Machine began pouring its contents into Thin Air.

Granny Smith (R) and Thin Air (L)

Granny Smith (R) and Thin Air (L)

I gaped in horror when it informed me it was transferring 100,000 e-mails.   WHAT???  Where did they come from?  I’d emptied my trash.  My Inbox claimed about 2,000 e-mails.  Where the heck had 98,000 e-mails been hiding?

Now I’m back online with a new computer and 98,000 mysterious, still hidden e-mails.  Even accounting for the fact that I wrote a post once which mentioned a product (hint: it gives a four-hour warning) which unleashed a torrent of . .  um. . . pharmaceutical e-mails.  Or that every politician in the country knows me personally by my first name and needs my contribution to save the country in this election year.   Or that Coldwater Creek surely e-mailed me item by item when they were going out of business.  Or that I still get requests to Link-In long after I linked out.   All of that wouldn’t account for 98,000 e-mails.

I’m still searching.  Got any ideas?

E-mail me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What? Me Worry?

Two of our children had birthdays last week.  Children doesn’t feel like the appropriate word for responsible, mature individuals out living productive lives way out from under any parental wings.  (Heck, they don’t even live in the same state.)

Offspring sounds a bit clinical.  Kids?   I still have my stretch mark souvenirs, so I’ll stick with children.  Big ones.

The thing is, they’re all grown up.  No more concerns that they’ll be jumping off the roof, riding a skateboard pulled by a Doberman, or getting a hand stuck in a gum ball machine any longer.  Nope, they’re out in the world making solid, intelligent decisions every day.

No need to worry about our kids once they’re grown. . .  right?

My daughter-in-law recently sent back these pictures from Bermuda, where she and our son spent a few days.

That guy contemplating the bad decision looks suspiciously familiar.

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Image 3Gulp.

ARRRRRGGGGHHH!

“Don’t worry about a thing. . . ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

- Bob Marley

“There’s no point in being a grownup if you can’t be childish sometimes.” 

- Dr. Who

 

 

Food Truckin’

My experience with food trucks is limited, mostly ice cream trucks and vendors at county fairs. I have not a trace of nostalgia for either.  The new era of food trucks–the fancy ones with the catchy names and the specialty dishes–seems much more appealing.  Here, they’re primarily uptown in the business district which isn’t on my radar, but they satisfy a niche for the 75,000 or more workers up there.

I love hearing the clever names owners select and found this list of the Awesomest/ Worst names online.  I couldn’t tell which was which, so maybe we need to compile a list of our own, real or made-up.  Any suggestions?

Folks who don’t work uptown have an opportunity to try some of the gastronomic offerings when a number of the trucks head for a southend parking lot on Friday afternoons for what becomes an instant fiesta: Food Truck Friday.  Dearly Beloved and I have not tried it, so my food truck knowledge remains scant.  Someday. . . .

Riding around the beach last week, I found myself behind, well. . . what do you think. . . would you call this a food truck?

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The Arthur Report

Whenever hurricanes head for the Outer Banks, I check with my brother to see if he is evacuating or staying there.  It’s an unnecessary step.  He’s always staying put, but I ask anyway.

Friends in other parts of the country see the weather reports and ask about him.  Maybe they’re wondering if BroJoe is one of the nuts waving wildly behind Jim Cantore on The Weather Channel.

I know he’s sensible–to a degree–but he loves aggravating me with false information.

For instance, yesterday he e-mailed that he was shelling on Hatteras Island. Truthfully, I wouldn’t put that past him, but the Weather Channel had mentioned an evacuation order in effect for Hatteras, so he had to be pulling my leg.

Later, he sent me a photo of the supplies he’d laid in:  two bottles of wine.  Red and white, of course.

This morning, the headline in our newspaper said: Arthur makes landfall in N.C.  I e-mailed to ask were those wine bottles floating now.  He sent back two photos and short notes in response.

THE LIVESTOCK REPORT

“Terrified. . . in the eye of the storm.”

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THE CROP REPORT

 “Damage.”

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Check.

Here in Charlotte, the weather is lovely after the much-needed rain yesterday.  Dearly Beloved and I fly our flag proudly, gratefully, on this Independence Day, 2014.
One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One Nation evermore!

- Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post. . . .

E-mail is perfect for talking gardening with friends.  I never tire of seeing pictures of their gardens.  I haven’t sent any of mine this year.  I should, lest folks think the duct taped cherry tree is the highlight of our yard.

My British friend and I write frequently of gardens, books, and grandchildren.  She is the friend of the Burns Night Supper,  who lives in a village which holds flower festivals in late summer.

Lately we have been talking Delphiniums and roses.  I recently bought a Delphinium plant, which probably won’t make it through the summer in our hot, sticky climate.  (In the South, larkspur is planted as a substitute.)  Her Delphiniums, though, are profuse and beautiful.

Want to see enchantment?

Image Yes, that is a thatched roof on her house.   And look at that lovely rose!

One of her Delphinium flower beds.Image 1She sent this next picture to show how she was coaxing a rose up a contorted willow tree that she doesn’t particularly like. Image 2I didn’t see anything unsightly about the willow tree, unless she was referring to that headless branch, and said so.  She wrote back that she’d talked to her pruner about those branch stumps he kept leaving to no avail, so she tries to hide the stumps under Paul’s Himalayan Musk Rose plantings.   (Like me, she is married to her tree man.)

That should explain why I was searching through her old e-mails.  I looked up Paul’s Himalayan Rose and although the listing doesn’t specifically mention “covers duct tape” in its attributes, I think it is something worth considering.  Bonus:  the instructions say,  “No pruning!”

(I should mention that my Dearly Beloved is  a very good pruner.  With proper supervision, of course.)

Not long ago, I mentioned to my friend that I wanted to make a little fairy garden in one corner of the back yard and she responded that she was working on a fairy den in her own garden.  Here, for instance, are her fairy wind chimes.  Image

As her grandchildren are all girls and mine are all boys, I supposed that we didn’t imagine fairy gardens in the same way.

Then she sent this video. ( No, this isn’t her pruner, nor mine.)  Take a look at this hedge!

 Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels. But their magic sparkles in nature. ~Lynn Holland

Don’t. Even. Ask.

The Evidence:

1.  Cherry tree.

2.  Chain saw.

3.  Duct tape.

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George Washington?  Chain Saw Massacre?

I told you. . . best not to ask.

“I’m telling you, the gorgeous of the world can actually look pretty intimidating when they scowl. Imagine a snow-white swan with a scary tattoo holding a chain saw. There’s just no way to really prepare for that.”

― Jim Benton, Okay, So Maybe I Do Have Superpowers