June Basil

We had about 10 minutes of light rain this morning (though I’d prefer 10 days), but the basil was protected from its spot under the back porch. Growing plants is challenging in the Texas heat, so I use basil leaves sparingly. This one I mostly just smell to cheer me up.

Folks Should Call Me Miss Figgy At This Point

As some of you know, our fig tree (a cutting from my husband’s grandfather’s tree many moons ago) flaunts her fecundity each June, and then promptly closes shop within the month. This year, she held on to her small green figs until the very end of June, when they plumped up all purple and big as softballs, in some cases.

As soon as you twist one off a branch, a sticky milk spurts out, and it’s quite itchy. Even three rounds of vigorous Soft Soap won’t make it go entirely away. Nature’s weapon.

This was Thursday morning’s haul.

I’m always surprised by how few people have ever eaten a ripe fig, but it makes sense, since you never see them in the stores. They die after 48 hours, so you have to eat them quickly. As neither my son nor my spouse are fans, I have had to force myself to eat 3-5 figs daily, just to fulfill the chintzy gal inside me, who cannot pass up free food. Plus, it’s healthy!

Sometimes I have to add them to a salad, so I don’t get so bored.

I gave a bushel to a Facebook friend, who sees me post them daily, and tried to offer some to the new Asian family across the street, but he thought I was asking him to come trim my tree. Eventually, I spoke with the wife, who was happy to try some, and I packed a dozen in a to-go box for them. Another 10 were given next door to our Indian neighbors, who thought at first we were offering “pigs”  last year. They said they didn’t eat meat and politely declined. But once we got past the consonant confusion, they were down with a pile of figs.

Lastly, the neighbors behind us actually can see the purple orbs as they hover on branches above our fence. We told them to snag whatever they like, since the abundance is overwhelming, and I packed up another box for them and passed it over. It will be 107 today, and zero chance of rain, as usual, so I don’t know how long this tree will keep pumping them out. But until then, I’ll keep reaching for the figs (except the top branches; those are for the birds and squirrels).


Pruning Time

016I spent yesterday evening, pruning myriad branches in the back yard. I have no green thumb, no knowledge of correct pruning, nor any desire at all to do it the right way. All I know is there are too many branches, too many twigs, too many green sprouting leaves everywhere, and I have a pair of pruning shears. And although June in Texas is usually the last vestige of anything green before the Great Drought covers the land, I cannot entirely appreciate it, knowing that branches are toppling over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. I had no choice but to go all Edward Scissorhands on the trees, and this dragonfly stopped by to bid adieu to a fallen branch.

One thing I learned about vitex trees; you can lob off one sprouting branch, and (just like grey hairs), twenty will appear in its place. You have to be vigilant, or they sprout like crazy, winding around each other like kindergartners fighting to be first in line.


I did feel a bit sad, watching these lavender blooms fall to the earth. Oh, well.


As I passed by these pretty little things, I could hear The Judds singing:

Are the roses not blooming this morning?
Has the sun lost its beautiful ray?

And of course, my response was: Actually, the roses are blooming this morning. And they are fine indeed.

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