Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rootedness in a Sandy Place

Our Barbados cherry tree has exploded in fruit, far more than we can use.  So last night, we took our abundance over to our friends' house.  She has been experimenting with jams of all sorts:  Surinam cherry, sea grape, all fruits you don't find in your jar of Smuckers.

We took a tour of the garden that she's put in.  She's managed to grow broccoli!  It's a feat I thought would be impossible down here in our warmer climate.  She's had luck with tomatoes, and she's grown jalapeno peppers from seeds.  We saw a cucumber that's about ready for harvest.

On Thursday night, we had an amazing sandwich with a cucumber from our own garden.  We had grown a cucumber plant which got devoured by some garden pest.  But a few weeks later, a new plant started to grow, and now, 7 weeks later, we've enjoyed one cucumber.

Yes, in some ways gardening makes no sense.  Economically, it's a ridiculous use of time and money.  So far, we've harvested 1 cucumber, 2 small tomatoes, and 2 tiny bell peppers.  We've spent a lot of money on soil and pots.

Our friend has had better luck with her garden.  And we'll both keep doing it because of the joy of seeing seeds grow and the good that comes from remembering our connection to the earth.

We talked about our yearning for chickens.  Our friend already has an incubator!  Who knew?  We're not sure about whether or not our houses are zoned for chickens.  I wonder about who would take care of the chickens when we're away.  She wondered how to keep chickens safe from neighborhood predators, from neighborhood dogs to the kind of threat you wouldn't expect to encounter so close to the beach, like raccoons--do raccoons kill chickens?

I got the glimmerings of an idea:  could we timeshare our chickens? 

We talked about building coops, about different colors of eggs, about other farm animals, like the goats my step-mom-in-law has been yearning for.  We talked about how to be self-sufficient down here at the far tip of North America.

My spouse remembered seeing sugar apples for sale in a farmer's stand, the permanent kind, a year ago--they were selling for $8 a pound.  We should check with that farmstand.  Would he buy our sugar apples?  They usually just rot on the tree.

Last year at harvest time, we pulled up into our driveway to see a couple gazing at the tree.  Trespassers!  Luckily we asked questions before calling the police or handling the issue more combatively.

Turns out, she's an immigrant from a Carribean island, and she hadn't seen sugar apples growing on a tree since her grandmother's tree.  I recognize that longing I saw on her face.  We invited them to come pick fruit whenever they wanted.  I wonder if we'll see her again this year.

Could we grow sugar apple seedlings from the stones of the fruit from the tree?  We must try!

Again, I think of rootedness, what it means to commit to a place, what it means to sink our hands in the soil--or the sand, as the case might be.

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