Fruit Wars, Or, The Return of the Figs

ImageI have a confession to make. I hate fruit. Okay, not already picked, polished, and washed fruit, waiting for me to select it at the grocery store. Although I have noticed that I can take longer than most anyone to pick out apples. I have to very carefully examine each one, to make sure it is perfect. No haplessly throwing apples in the cart. That would be upsetting. It would literally, upset the apple cart. Which is weird, because I am an extremely effective grocery shopper and can generally buy a week’s worth of provisions in about 16 minutes flat. Apples slow me down, man.

The fruit that I hate is the fruit that I grow. On trees. In my backyard.  Or, to be more accurate, yards. At my first house, the wee shack on Nestle, I had a plum tree that was quite prolific. The plum tree was adjacent to the pool. Yes, I had a shack with a swimming pool. L.A. Go figure. Anyway, these plums would ripen and plummet off the tree, smushing to the patio or pool and causing a huge purple mess. I hated it so much, and complained about it so bitterly, that the password on the shared production file at work became “fruit hater.”

When I moved on up from the little house, to my current abode, I swore I would not buy another house with fruit trees. But fate can be a funny bitch, and I fell in love with the house and in that first stage of blind romance, I remained blissfully ignorant. There were a few lemon and orange trees, but those fruits have tidy wrappers, and do not smush.  Even after we erected the dogs’ kennel around a very large tree in my new yard, I congratulated myself on providing them with shade, not seeing what lurked so mockingly in the shadows.

Until the first summer. When I realized  that the 30 foot tree shading Daisy Petals and Louie, was a motherf#c*ing, c#cks*cking, fruit bearing fig tree. A tree so prolific, it is like it is growing on Gilligan’s Island. A tree so healthy that if I cut off a branch, 2 branches grow in its place. A tree that chucks fruit on the sticky backs of two little weiner dogs, and makes them figgy full and farty too. And a tree so malevolent, it has been known to pelt me with its rotten figs as I am picking them. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The fig tree also houses a robust community of happy, drunk bees and shiny green backed June bugs. In the late afternoon, there are so many bugs feasting on the figs, that you can actually see them with their heads inserted in the fruit. This weekend, I was stung by a bee, adding injury to insult. Worse, one time, I was up on a ladder picking figs, and a bee flew into my shirt. I whipped my shirt off, standing on that ladder in my bra and swearing like a sailor. Then I noticed three little kids from next door peering up at me in horror.

Remember the father in A Christmas Story? And his war with the furnace? That is me, with the fig tree. I curse it, shake my fist at it, and try my damndest to outwit and outlast it. But the tree wins, every time.  I can’t possibly keep up with it, even though I am out every single morning and early evening to pick and clean. I can’t give enough figs away to friends, family, strangers. I have tried contacting an agency that collects fruit for the hungry and homeless, but they very nicely declined the free figs, because of their extremely short shelf life and overall fragility.

So every summer, I complain for the full length of fig season, which is mercifully only about 6 weeks. I swear I will cut down the tree, or find someone who can neuter it, or other drastic action. I rave and I rage, and anyone who has the pleasure of encountering me has to hear about it. And then, it’s over. No more figs for the year. The tree settles back down into providing shade for the pups. I forget, annually, the battle that has been waged, as I look happily towards fall. And so, we settle into a peaceful détente…until next year.

The End, for now

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2 responses

  1. Really fun post! Love the bee in the shirt part. You should call around and ask the chefs at some of the nicer restaurants if they want to come harvest. Maybe you can trade for some nice meals. Or make some loot on the side. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I was at the Corvallis Farmers Market last Saturday and chuckled to myself as I thought of you and your fig tree while walking thru the market and seeing vendors loaded with baskets full of figs.

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