Posted by: oceannah | July 26, 2012

Plums and Balance

Tis rare indeed that the peach tree, pictured in full bloom here has born fruit.  In fact the last time we took fruit from this tree was at least 5 years ago.  True the tree has had many adventures in that time.  One massive adventure was during the winter of two years past when we had an early heavy snow that split an enormous chunk off the tree.  My husband managed to bolt the limb back onto the tree and after some judicious trimming it regained a semblance of  symmetry.

This property was previously owned by an elderly Italian woman that apparently loved to garden.  We’ve inherited not only plums but black currants, filberts, and an old heirloom red raspberry that I’ve been propagating over the years to name but a few.  The first year we were here, were thrilled to have not one, but two Santa Rosa plums with a heavy fruit set.  My daughter was only about 4 at the time, yet she still remembers laying down sheets and giving the tree a shake.  The plums that rained down were dark purple with the sweetest flesh and precisely the correct amount of tart skin to put a bit of pucker in them.  The Santa Rosa’s were the perfect size for a four year old mouth and many were eaten by her…a fair number were shared out with friends and a few were put by in a canning bath with some maple syrup.  Sadly these two trees succumbed to fire blight and the remaining plum tree above now stands alone.

To say it is a meager set would be an understatement.  There are maybe a dozen small fruits on the tree.  However, it always feels like a gift when ripe juicy fruit is 15 steps from the back door, and as organic as it gets!  No USDA (un sure–don’t ask ) organic  here.

It’s not all bounty and victory on the homestead.  Some crops are duds…collards that got eaten this year and we haven’t replanted yet.  Selected squash that seem to be a beacon to the squash beetles.  Beans plants that are rebounding after a rabbit helped herself to the largess…and these few plums.  To only share the good parts of the homestead is, I think, unfair.  There will be problems.  There will be crop failures.  There will be bugs.  There will be small victories.   Yet, if one thing is a bust often times another crop is a boon.  So it goes in life and we never find ourselves without gratitude for the gifts of the Mother.  These few plums will be eaten with great focus.  The taste savored, the experience etched into the body with each tiny bite.




  1. Anna, you do everything well! You’re a lovely writer, too! Beautifully put! The small victories, and even the failures, make it so worthwhile.

    • Awww, you are so sweet Kaye. Appreciate your feedback and bloggy love.

  2. Ok, I just looked up a photo of a squash beetle and I’m pretty sure that’s what I found the other day.

  3. I just found this article, which is easy to read and understand. Though it is late July, I’m going to check the squash leaves for eggs. The Patty Pan started out strong, with a half dozen big ones, and now they are falling off about an inch in diameter. Maybe the wilting of the leaves was due to the squash bug and not inconsistent watering.

    • Hiya, if Pattypans are a summer squash, be sure to pick them as soon as they’re big enough to eat. If you leave them, especially in this heat, they’ll attempt to set seed and will quit flowering… (The same as for Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cukes, Beans, Peas…; ) Soon as you get the mature fruit out of there, your plant will pick up the pace again. Also, when your vines are carrying a lot of fruit, their water requirements will increase exponentially.

      • pick early and often…that’s my motto.

    • Deb has good feedback Kaye! Thanks Deb~ 🙂

      • You’re welcome; but to give credit where credit is due – I thank my teachers – they’re in my genes (good thing I’ve got more than one pair; ) and in my heart. (And sorry to butt in, but I figured you must be busy or something… After reading Part Trois, I see that was a bit of an understatement; )
        “Pick early and often” such good advice for your plants (and your back; ) It’s just so easy to talk ourselves out of something because we “don’t have the time”

  4. t’is true, gardening teaches us of the waxing and waning of life, whether in seasons, or in difficulties. this year’s challenge is the deer helping themselves to spinach, beans and beet greens!

    • There’s learning a-plenty Joss, so long as we’re open to it 😉 Thanks so much for stopping in!

  5. Ah Anna, you’re a girrul after me own heart, so Ye are! This ‘un’s right up there with the Golden Rule, hey? Pretty much Nature’s number one rule, I figure.
    If only people would get this reality/balance thing through their heads; we’d all be a lot better off, now wouldn’t we?; )

  6. Thank you for sharing the good and not so good.

    • You’re very welcome. It’s the way things are…

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