Well, apparently Mother Nature has decided that we’ve had two weekends of rest and that’s more than we deserve, so beginning last Thursday one of the plum trees began dropping its fruit. Come to think of it, though, dropping doesn’t really convey the sense of urgency… but what word does, really?
Shed? nah, not good enough. Let go? um, I’m sorry… I’m sure that’s not grammatically correct. Ok, how ’bout Roget’s (I’m sure they’ve misspelled “Roger” but by now correcting it would cost too much money to reprint letterhead, book covers, etc.) Thesaurus, what would they say instead of “shed”?
Anyway, by yesterday afternoon, there was a (can I say this outloud on the radio?) buttload of plums on the ground under the plum tree. Being the good City Farmer she is, The Missus loaded them into the harvesting bag (yup, we’ve got those – and a couple of harvest ladders, too – so feel free to stop by any time and try your hand at being a fruit picker ) and made sure she let me know she’d picked all of them up. As she did, I swallowed the last of my beer, turned the page on my magazine and (turning the ipod down) said, “Hey, that’s great – did you get them all?”
‘Cause I want to acknowledge her work and be supportive like a good House Dude.
She wasn’t amused, but said nothing and we had another uneventful – I’m sorry, did you say boring – Saturday night.
And then, sure enough – dare I say it?- (dare, dare) just like clockwork, morning rolled around (again) and (after taking the NSX for its Sunday morning lap around the Bay) I was faced with the chores list for the morning: pull weeds in the back yard or do something with those damn plums. (they’re not going to prep themselves, are they?) In other words, (as my mom used to say) make yourself useful as well as ornamental. (Today is her birthday – Happy Birthday, mom.)
Pull weeds. (Now, weeds and I have a long history together, going back to when I was 8 and living with my paternal grandparents in Porterville, CA. I would drag out weeding a 5′ x 1′ strip of tomatoes longer than most folks could imagine possible. My grandfather used to say I was the laziest boy he’d ever met… I know he’d be amazed with me as an adult.)
Prep the plums. (Ah, kitchen work – lemme at it! Unless we’re talking doing dishes, then I’m the laziest adult you’ve ever seen.)
Ok, I’m all over the plums.
So I bring the harvest bag in and as I begin sorting to wash, dry, then pit, I notice some of them have scratch / teeth marks on them.
Ah, the squirrels have gotten to some of these… we can’t use those in making goodies, they’ll have to be thrown out. Sure, we could cut out the nibble areas, but we’d still run the risk of squirrel cooties getting being in the fruit meat, then making their way to your jar of spiced plum butter (new for this year). I’m not exactly sure what would happen if you got some squirrel cooties on your toast… maybe you’d want to climb a tree, run down a fence line – stand up and flip-off the local hawks, heck, I can’t really say… but why take a chance?
So I carefully checked, handwashed, dried and pitted the good ones and threw the cootie-fruit in the garbage. A few hours later, The Missus spent 3 hours reducing 1/2 of what I’d prepped into 1 1/2 cases of spiced plum butter that’ll probably show up in a few holiday baskets later this year. As I write this, I can hear the jar lids popping, so that means everything’s sealing nicely… man, with everything else we’ve made (that’s the royal we because I seem to clog up the jamming process these days) it’s gonna be a good goodie basket year.
As I said, in an effort to not contaminate production, I did my best to get rid of the squirrel cootie fruit, but to tell you the truth, if you begin eating some of our spiced plum butter and suddenly have the urge to run out in front of a car, causing it to swerve and hit a tree… well, maybe I didn’t get all of the squirrel cooties and you’ve gone Plum Crazy 🙂
(man, that took forever to get out, didn’t it? 😉
Thanks for stopping by and until next time, be well and write when you get work.