Friday, August 31, 2012

City Harvest

Pears ripe and ready for picking;  grape jelly canned in quarts.  

Our backyard fruit is better, more abundant, and larger this year than ever before.  The concord grapes are sweeter than previous years.  The many, many 100 degree days did not seem to harm our fruit. 

Picking pears and grapes is good for the soul; all the more perhaps because we planted both many years ago.  There is something comforting about being in one place for over 40 years.  It gives a person time to discover gardening mistakes never imagined.  Weather cycles make impressions and surprises me on the way the world works.

 Thirty years ago we planted 13 Scotch Pines on the perimiter of the west and north fence.  They must have been about four or five foot tall and trucked in from Iowa.  They grew and were trimmed and grew more, ever needing more trimming.  The neighbor to the west found them obnoxiously hanging over his back yard so he trimmed them also.  When they got too close to the power lines the power company trimmed them.  I loved the wild life they sheltered, even the possums and racoons.  But most of all the birds.  We were graced one summer by a small owl family, mother and three curious, sweet babies.

We didn't know when we planted them that three decades later pine wilt and bark beetles would wipe out pines near and far.  Omaha yards are blighted by dying pines; even one in a neighborhood is certain death for those within blocks. 

This week He Who Must Be Obeyed has taken out three;  cut limbs with a small chain saw and re-cut smaller limbs with a cutting tool.  Dead needles flew in all directions, but eventually he bagged them up in the yard waste bags seen behind the ladder.  Our city waste pick up crew threw 22 bags into the truck yesterday.  The rest of the trees will surely die.  With them will go my shady plantings, my reading hammock in the shade of one pine tree and the pear tree.  Will our hostas and ferns survive heat and sun?  Obviously, I can now select annuals other than the ones for shade.

Our little yard and the dirt that I cherish has been a source of never ending joy for me.  So much so that I, at this age, have discovered the satisfaction of making dirt in my mulch pile.  I am not very good at it yet, but I will learn.  My mother could turn plant matter into mulch for her African Violets in a plastic bag on her window sill when she was 84.  Surely I can learn how to turn plant waste into dirt in my back yard.

1 comment:

Hildred and Charles said...

I am so sorry, Willo, that you have been invaded by the Pine Beetle. It has cause such great destruction here in B.C., and yet our son is building an addition on his house in the far reaches of the Cariboo from pine beetle infested trees that he has logged and milled on their ranch in central B.C. That is small comfort tough when you are losing your beloved shade trees and your shady plantings.

I just wrote a little blog in which I mentioned Red Wriggling Worms as a great help in creating compost.

I'm glad to see you posting again!