Tag Archive | fig trees

Only Mostly Dead

This was a harsh winter. The only plants that seemed to survive were the weeds. My bay plant, rumored to be more than 50 years old, died. We cut it down and this is all that’s left.

The Bay Stump.

The Bay Stump.

It was fragrant as we burned the old bay branches, in a funeral pyre sort of way. As we were chopping down and burning up the old bay plant, my mind was wandering and worrying about the nearby fig trees. I would go outside and snap a branch and hold my breath and hope that it was just late to leaf out and that these two fig trees were sleepy and taking their time to unfold after this extreme winter.

Just "mostly dead."

Just “mostly dead.”

Then I saw a little green! Turns out, the fig trees are only “mostly dead.” In the movie The Princess Bride, Miracle Max declares Wesley “mostly dead.” The trees are leafing out from the base of the trunk and I am going to need Miracle Max to come and help me coax them back to life. I will call my uncle, a botanist, and ask him for help: he’s a little like Miracle Max for trees.

There is hope!

There is hope!

Perhaps their intentions are noble and the fact that I love them will be enough. The fig trees know that I bought this house just for them. They have listened to me play my flute outside the window for the last couple of months. Together we have suffered through hours of practicing as I prepared to play principal flute in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Then again, maybe this has contributed to their demise.

This clip is from a recent concert, taken on the sly from my friend’s lap. Her skirt is lovely isn’t it? This  bit of the third movement is a piece of what the trees have been listening to from outside the window. Have a listen if you want to know what I’ve been up to lately and let me know how your plants fared this winter!

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

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“The Midnight Jammer”

My kids have started calling me “The Midnight Jammer.”

"Drunken Fig Jam"

“Drunken Fig Jam”

August around here means figs. I don’t know if these figs are just happy because they know I bought two fig trees… oh and a house to go along with them, but they are expressing their appreciation in abundance, and these trees are producing 4-5 pounds of fruit every day.

My Happy Fig Trees.

My Happy Fig Trees.

I have been up three nights, just this week, canning. The jam I have chosen to make is called “Drunken Fig Jam.” It is made with brandy and lemon and it is delicious. Here is the link to the recipe and I tweaked it a little:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Drunken-Fig-Jam-350120

I love canning things you can’t really get at the store. Canning is relatively easy if you invest in a few essential tools and it is like summer in a jar. If you have ever opened a quart of homemade applesauce in January, you know what I mean. Or tomato soup. Or apple butter. There is truly nothing like it.

Summer in a jar.

Summer in a jar.

One side effect of canning is learning a little science along the way. Don’t worry, it isn’t that much. But you may learn how to create a vacuum seal, how to sterilize with heat, and how to keep a good acidic balance to your ingredients in order to safely preserve them. This is science in a nutshell, and useful science at that.

Fig-Brandy Jam

Fig-Brandy Jam

It is addictive. Of course, if you’re anything like me, just about anything is addictive. However, there is some thrilling danger involved in canning and one is likely to get hooked.

Boiling Pot.

Boiling Pot.

I am already thinking about the next item on my canning agenda: Basil Jelly.

Basil Jelly.

Basil Jelly.

This recipe for Basil Jelly is from the blog Sweet Domesticity.

http://sweetdomesticity.blogspot.com/2013/07/basil-jelly.html

The fall apples will be here soon and… Yum!

Epilogue

Here is a list of ESSENTIAL canning tools:

  • Canning pot
  • Jar lifter
  • A basket do-hickey thing-a ma-jig that comes with the pot
  • Funnel
  • Food Mill
  • Pectin or Sure Jell (You can buy this in bulk from an Amish Market.)
  • Always use new lids and don’t forget to sterilize your jars and lids and rings in boiling water before you fill and process them.
  • The freshest, most amazing home-grown or farmer’s market fruit and veggies you can get your hands on, including zucchini. It makes great pickles, I promise.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.