August 19, 2002
The Backyard Gardener
by Swend Trefethen
Special to the Weekly
It's the middle of August and we're patiently watching as the sweet corn grows to over 6 feet, the green beans blossom and tomatoes cover the plants.
Although nothing is ripe enough to eat, it's time to take heartfelt pleasure in the ripening fruit and the enormous blooms on the dahlias and the roses.
I have this really little "orchard" at my house. My kids gave us three dwarf fruit trees six or seven years ago. I have nurtured them and kept them fertilized and pruned. (It's important to learn to prune fruit right off the bat.)
Now all that care has finally started to pay off. Our pear tree is a Bartlett and a neighbor has one too, so we have excellent pollination, especially in a year like this when the temperature has been high enough to get the bees out there at the right time.
The two apple trees are a Jonigold and an Australian Granny Smith. In the six years since we planted them we have never had a crop like this year's, but I guess it's about time.
from the past:
As a kid, my cousins and I were totally enamored with pears. I was an orphan type, (my adopted mother and I lived with her sister and family.)
My adopted father was in a tuberculosis sanitarium. My aunt and uncle had two boys. One was 2-1/2 years older and one was 2-1/2 years younger than I, and we were all in the same house. We were a handful.
This was in 1939 so you know it wasn't luxury living. My Aunt Mildred used to buy a crate of pears. If she didn't can them in two days, we boys ate the whole lot. The same thing happened to peaches and especially apples (which she bought for sauce).
I can remember grabbing a fat ripe peach, all fuzzy, and just bite into it right to the pit. Needless to say I still have a longing for ripe fruit in the fall.
Every year I keep hoping the fruit will taste like it did then. It almost never does and I don't know why. Is my memory that bad?
Enjoy the harvest and may all your thumbs be green.