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