While trees grow quietly
Friday September 21st 2018, 10:48 pm
Filed under: History,Mango tree,Politics

Thank you for the notes and comments. To my great relief, today was, cold? What cold?

New mango leaves and inflorescence–today they have stalks. This is new.

Meantime, I’ve been riveted by updates on Christine Blasey Ford’s case.

There is no statute of limitations for felony sexual assault in Maryland. Montgomery County’s chief of police just tweeted that all he needs is for her to file a criminal complaint and he’s prepared to investigate.

That would mean that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge could be put under oath by the county, at a time when the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are doing everything they can to stave that off and rush a vote before any truth squeezes out.

Go MoCo! (I grew up in that county.)



All in its day’s work
Tuesday September 18th 2018, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

Well that was fast: the edges of new flower buds popped out from among the tiny baby leaves today.

Note that one of the sources of warmth was directly below.



Spring all over again
Monday September 17th 2018, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Mango tree

If I think about the dozen cowls and three afghans in my mental queue it can be a bit overwhelming. Better to take it one project at a time.

So having a finished one helps a lot.

Photo’d,then rinsed, now blocking.

It was 44F this morning, which is why the mango tree has been back to being lit up and covered over at night of late. Right now it’s 49 vs. 68 under there.

Its response to the artificially warmer nights is that those fruits are growing fast enough to see the difference in a day or two–and some branches started doing a new growth flush today. Which means we could end up with holiday-season blossoms to feed the bees and start up the next batch.

 



Already the biggest yet
Wednesday September 12th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

Hanging down now from the weight of the fruit: this is good.

The forecast said 53F for last night, reality was 49F at 7:30 this morning; there was a black ring now around the stem of a mango at the top of the tree, a sign of cold damage; I expect we’ll lose that one.

So tonight the tree got the first frost covers of the season to go with the warming lights.



Stalk it to me stalk it to me stalk it to me stalk it to me
Monday September 10th 2018, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus,Mango tree

There was no prior notice. I was not yet fit for company at that hour but at least I was dressed for the unexpected door knock. Richard was just getting up.

The guy showed me his badge, which matched his clothes: he worked for the city. (I was thinking, oh, I guess it is after eight now.) Could he…gesturing to the back yard and saying a whole bunch of stuff that, whatever it was, I just had no idea. He’d caught me with my hair still wet. When your electronics run nearly nine grand and you don’t want to short them out, that detail matters.

I can’t hear you yet. I’ll get my ears and be right back. (So much for worrying about that.)

A minute later as I came back to the door, there was no sign of the guy. I looked around the side yard, I looked down the street. What had all that been about?

Just then he came around from way around the other side where he’d been assessing the camphor tree that I’d almost paid Chris’s crew to trim back last week, but hadn’t because it wasn’t over the house and we were already at a grand on what had to be done.

It is a perching tree only for the birds; no nest could be hidden in those leaves.

The city wanted to trim it–it was growing into the power lines.

(And afternoon-shading my mango, sweet cherry, and two of my peach trees this year as it’s gotten bigger.)

Coooool. That sure worked out!

The guy was a little surprised at how complete the change was in my being able to follow him. He pointed to his ear and said he wears hearing aids, too, but even looking, I didn’t see them. Some of the ones for people with less loss are really small.

Good for him. More people should.

Several hours later, after getting done with the tree across the street, he and his crew walked past the door and disappeared again around the back. Well hello.

They would be back either Tuesday or Wednesday for it.

I went outside to water my trees this evening when the sun was low enough–and saw those acanthus stalks. The ones around the camphor had been stomped down to the ground, and rightly so. Nobody should have to work through those. As flowers, they feed the hummingbirds and bees, but as dried-up husks they are, as I’ve mentioned occasionally, vicious porcupines that I use to keep critters out of my fruit. My fruit’s pretty much done, though, the figs under netting excepted. I’d been putting off dealing with them because it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you’re going to get splinters hand and foot. And there are a lot of them.

I skipped watering the trees that were around where those guys would be working–you don’t want them slipping in mud and landing on any fallen stalk parts I might have missed under the leaves. Those still upright were four to seven feet high and quite obvious. Thankfully the bottoms of the stalks tend to be smooth for just enough space to leave you a part you can grab.

There were well over a hundred of them, easily.

How the prickers got in past my shoes to stab me in so many places I don’t know, I thought I was being careful.

I looked at my big yard-waste bin stuffed as high as it would go. There were two piles more to either end of the yard for what didn’t fit in yet, but they would be well out of the mens’ way. The bin gets emptied Wednesday and then those others can go in.

I get to handle them twice. Oh goody.

But there is a huge amount of satisfaction in knowing that those workers are going to show up expecting to deal with the worst and they’ll find that someone thought of them and how it would be to take one wrong step and get stabbed through their clothes top to bottom and took care of the problem so that they could have a better day.

They’re certainly going to be improving mine. More sun for my evergreen mango this winter. A better chance for the fruit to actually ripen.

Bring on the chainsaws.



Excuse me, is there an ant in my hair?
Thursday July 12th 2018, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

The mango tree is taking another try at production, July being warmer and more inviting than November was. The first spray of blooms is fading out and eight tiny green fruits have taken hold there, while new clusters are popping open behind.

One problem was ants chomping on the flowers, with the cinnamon being less of a deterrent than it seemed to have been in the past. And I don’t want to chase away bees. So I tried something else: I cut a strip of paper, put it around the tree, and twisted some packaging tape over it twice around so that the insects’ feet would get stuck in the tape.

Only they don’t: I watched them while watering the other trees, and they turned around from it before they even got up to it. I’m good with that.

(Next time, though, tie my hair back first before inspecting those blossoms and picking them out of there. Just sayin’.)



Happy Fourth of July!
Wednesday July 04th 2018, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Mango tree

Another Piuma peach cashmere cowl, and I just cast on yet another. Except what I really want to knit right now, for no particularly good reason in the heat of the summer, is a thick warm hat. Maybe for variety’s sake? We’ll see.

The mango tree is loving the warmth, meantime (and me the air conditioning.) There are five smaller sprays of buds coming along quietly further back that will soon be as big as this one.



Only five more months to ripening
Thursday January 18th 2018, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Mango tree,Wildlife

The earliest blossoms, the earliest fruit set.

Got told something I thought I’d pass along: to keep raccoons out of your tomatoes and fruit, the most effective thing is chicken wire–it’s flimsy enough under their weight to scare them and they won’t climb it.



Mango gardening in January
Thursday January 04th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Friends,Mango tree

Since I’m told Alphonso mangos take about six months to grow and ripen in June, seems to me our four-year-old tree has finally grown enough to be settled in on schedule.

I had wondered whether the beehive across the fence would take a winter break, but look at that center picture–clearly things are working.

This time it’s old enough to hold onto those beginning fruits, if we can just keep it consistently warm. We lost last year’s small crop by traveling in April and leaving it uncovered at night, but now I’ve got Eli to help and clearly he did a great job while we were away in November and December.

There are more flower clusters under those leaves.

Heavenly perfume or no, the squirrels still smell the latex in the sap and walk in a comical half-circle to go around it beyond its drip line (the line one would draw straight down from the outermost leaves), and always have.

So far.



The mango perseveres
Monday December 04th 2017, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

Well, so far I’ve only knocked one of these flowering tips off while covering/uncovering the mango tree against the nighttime temps (it hit 33F last night.) The whole thing, with all its buds. It was awful.

Which means I’ve been mentally inventing all kinds of ways of keeping the frost covers lifted slightly off the tree. Cut a hula-hoop and impale the halves on pairs of stakes?

I like that during the day we can just look out on an exceptionally pretty tree without the visual barrier of an expensive greenhouse (which would be wobbling on uncertain ground anyway.)

Twenty-one sets of buds with more likely to come later.

And then we can start talking about something like this to keep the squirrels out of the fruit.



The Alphonso
Friday November 17th 2017, 12:29 am
Filed under: Garden,Mango tree

June bearing, said one site. Six months from flower to fruit, said another, with cooler temperatures triggering bud formation.

Well then this makes sense.

There are a whole lot of these; this is just the one at the top getting the earliest dose of morning sun and furthest along.

Each of those little brussels sprouts-y dots becomes a cluster of flowers (most of them male.) Hoping all goes well, we should get a fair number of mangos this year.

One for Danny, who inspired the tree planting, one for Phyllis, who aided and abetted and covered it from time to time for us, one for Eli, for saving it from the cold, too….



Sprinting
Saturday November 11th 2017, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

We had eleven days in October that were in the 80s or above. This is not normal.

And this is the result: a flush of new mango growth that has to adapt to the now-colder nights while I do my best to keep it warm (with fervent thanks for the help last week while we were out of town.) We might have blossoms at Christmastime and fruit in June or so if we can succeed this year.

I do think that one blackened new leaf is a goner. 



Frost coverings
Thursday November 02nd 2017, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life,Mango tree

I’m picturing Maddy two weeks ago, rocking in toddler exuberance next to me: “Read it AGIN! AGIN!”

He’s about 13. He cat-sits, including for a friend’s elderly cat that needed its meds while its owner had to go out of town and who was very grateful to him for the help. Just a really great kid. And so it finally occurred to me that I could ask if he would mango-tree-sit, too, keeping it covered by night and uncovered by day.

So I sent an email to his mom.

And I got this note back from him:

——

Hello,

This is (editorial note: let’s change it to Jacob). I’d love to take care of your tree. I could stop by with my mom tomorrow between 4 and 5 so you can show me what to do. Will that work? You can pay me $5 for both days.
If it has any favorite books to be read at night, let me know.
Thanks
——–
(I of course promptly upped his pay quite a bit, remember when I was a teenage babysitter and hated it when people asked me how much I charged and how I always asked for too little. I wanted him to be glad he took this on for me.)
Meantime, I guffawed at that note and then read it out loud for my wondering sweetie, who guffawed in turn and promptly found and ordered this: a children’s book about a tree in the forest decorated with things for the wildlife to share. The perfect story.
Maybe it’ll even come in time. Go Jacob!


Still new at all this
Wednesday July 12th 2017, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Garden,Mango tree

Another “this, now this” pair of pictures. July 4th to July 12th. The Alphonso mango tree is loving the summer sun and heat.

But it suddenly hit me today that by this time the last two years I’d carefully unwound the Christmas lights so that there would be no chance of the tree growing into the cord or becoming inextricably tangled.

Um. I think I need to wait until the new growths are hardened off a bit before I dare mess with them, and as long as they’re red they’re not done growing–and there are a whole bunch more just now popping out into view.

Maybe this year I just leave the lights be?

But I so love how the tree is filling out.



June 12 vs 21
Wednesday June 21st 2017, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Life,Mango tree

Y’know, sloshing the brain around in four falls in four days is just not a great idea. I’m putting me on timeout.

Meantime, the mango tree is sprouting in the 88-106F heat wave this past week. The leaves that were red on the 12th have turned green and the new shoots from then have new half-grown red leaves now. (Second picture taken at a brighter time of day.)

The thicker the trunk grows, the hardier it becomes against future cold.