blueberrypatch

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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Fire at the Fort.

A few evenings ago the local grandsons were over for much fun riding the small electric truck and playing on the trampoline and swings. After hotdogs, SSIL, GM3, GM4, GM6 and I went down to Fort Gruntmonkey at the pond. It was dark and even though it was still very warm we cranked up a small bonfire within the Fort walls – made of stacked firewood.

They were fascinated by the fire but more interested in throwing rocks in the pond. A major effort on the GMs part was to be able to skip a stone. The oldest, GM3, finally got a few to skip and he was appropriately proud of his achievements. The other two young ones were just happy to see the splashes. May they always enjoy the simple things of life and not complicate everything like grownups.

The GMs were quite fascinated by the several toads we found hopping about in the dark. I’m sure these insect eaters were wondering about the bright flashlight shining on them while they were on their evening hop. SSIL even espied a shoulder-less creature that slithered into the firewood stack when it was discovered.

It was quite likely non-poisonous since it didn’t get all belligerent and such – I will be on the lookout just in case. If it is poisonous, it will likely wake up dead one day soon – if not it will be live and let live. It was soon time for the young ones to crash but I got the distinct feeling that they enjoyed their stay on Blueberry Hill.

All relationships, particularly the family ones are such a blessing from God. I equate relationships more to wealth than I would any monetary consideration – I consider my family and friends real riches. ec

Saturday, July 31, 2010

BBH 486

Blueberry Hill report #486 – Even in the midst of summer’s heat I have found many bright and encouraging spots, not that the dark places are absent; they are just not worth mentioning. To start with my blueberry harvest was phenomenal but I finally quit picking because the rest of the fruit was scattered, small and of poor quality.

The final tally of blueberries was 137 zip-loc quart containers in the freezer. The same day the blueberry picking was called off I picked 10 gallons of figs – from one tree. Four of the remaining fig bushes are very small and the medium sized one hasn’t been picked yet. Most of my fig and blueberry bushes/trees need to be weeded and mulched – on a much cooler day.

One of the four paw-paw trees bore fruit this year and now I have finally tasted this slightly odd delicacy – it’s like a mild fruity custard. The three hazel nut trees on the south end of the house are struggling, too much sand and not enough moisture I think. The three pineapple quava trees are OK but still too young to bear fruit, as are the three pomegranates.

The two jujube trees are a different story. They are bearing fruit this their first year – they were purchased as larger trees. This is another fruit I have never tasted but am looking forward to doing so. The single pear tree has some fruit but not loaded like last year, this is because I pruned them so severely last winter.

The hazel nut trees on the northeast end of the house are doing well – much better soil. Just below them, the muscadines have many grapes but are not quite ripe – that happens between now and Labor Day. Little work has been done at Fort Gruntmonkey due to the heat – even though I did work about three hours down there a couple mornings ago, splitting and stacking firewood. Afterwards I came in soaked in sweat.

Praise God for His provision, I enjoy this place we call Blueberry Hill and am grateful for it. ec

Thursday, June 03, 2010

BBH 479

Blueberry Hill report #479 – Things happen fast in the spring around here. The garden is doing well and near production of veggies – small cukes and green tomatoes are nearing ripeness. The squash are blooming and the okra is growing well but will be a few weeks in putting out the pods – they like hot weather. The blueberries have many berries in place but are about a week or so short of ripeness.

The thorn-less blackberries are mostly ripe and many have been consumed – showing the true meaning of the phrase ‘living hand to mouth’. The hazel nut trees are doing well as are the pomegranates. This latter will be a couple more years before they achieve fruit bearing. The jujube trees are well and I noticed small green fruit thereupon – one more than the other. I planted larger trees and I may get to taste the fruit this year.

The pear tree was in a condition of misshapenness back in the winter due to the huge amount of fruit last year and I pruned it back severely for the health of the tree. It is now doing well and a small amount of fruit is in evidence. The main fig tree has green figs galore but it will be several weeks before they get ripe. The muscadines have bloomed and set fruit – they get ripe in the latter part of August.

Down close to the pond a small hickory tree had began its life under several large pine trees. These pines have been cut and the small tree pruned – it is now flourishing because it no longer has to compete with the larger trees for nourishment. I’m letting three wild persimmons grow just to see if they will bear fruit – don’t know all I need to about them. The three small fig trees I moved down into the ‘wild’ area are doing OK.

For various reasons I have cut many trees this spring and brought the wood down to Fort Gruntmonkey. A redoubt wall is being built to take care of the excess wood – it is built with some of the wood split and the rest un-split. It will be a cluttered area until the stacking is finished. The new sunroom is completed on the outside (with the storage room beneath it) but the inside will have to wait a few weeks.

Life is good because God is good. Heartaches and/or other bad things may come but God has always helped us through the rough places and He always will because He doesn’t change!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

BBH 472

Blueberry Hill report 472 – Wow, it’s hard to believe it is nearing spring again and I haven’t finished pruning all the fruit or nut bearing entities. Over the last month or so I have finished pruning all 7 of the muscadines. The vine growth from last year was trying to take over that part of the ‘hill’. Many of the vine runners that were cut off were up to 20 feet long.

The lone pear tree was severely pruned as it had been so heavily laden last season that the limbs were weighted to the ground. The fig tree was also cut back harshly because it was growing too big. This tree almost always is a heavy bearer; the only exceptions would be the few times that a late freeze has hit the area. All three of my blueberry patches need attention and there seems to be too little time in the day.

The hazelnut bush/trees have yet to be started on and they are way overgrown – they put out shoots and these have to be cut back to 5 or 6 main branches every year. The pineapple guavas seem to have survived their first year on the place with one actually blooming last year, although no fruit resulted. Only one of the pomegranates is left alive – I plan to replant these shortly – or it will be too late.

My main occupation (or preoccupation) at the moment is repairing and rebuilding the back porch. The end goal is to make a sunroom out of it and since it is on the upper floor level this will also recreate the storage room beneath the porch. This area of the house had been neglected for years now to the extent that much of the support lumber had rotted places in them – to the point of having to be replaced.

My bro and I had constructed a cement pad and a room beneath porch several years ago and that part was still good since the studs were out of treated lumber. Almost all of the upper support parts had to be torn out and this has been done and some wood has already been replaced and braced to the point that it’s almost ready for the floor joists – it has taken much longer than I thought at first.

Still and all, spring is my favorite season by far because God’s creation really puts on an awesome show of buds and blooms – God is so good to me, and to us all. ec

Thursday, February 04, 2010

battle

Just beyond the well cared for shrubs and such of the doctor’s office parking lot – in which I waited for the Spice – was a whole other world. This was an untended strip of land betwixt and between several commercial plots. This area was a war zone of epic proportions, albeit the actions were very slow moving – or more accurately, slow growing – and it seemed that none save I noticed the desperate struggle.

Many species of trees and plants were involved in the conflict – types of coniferous, evergreen and deciduous growths were in the competition. My main focus was the four large trees in front of my vehicle. Three of which were of the same species and the other was a pecan – seen so because of the remaining nut hulls on the limbs after the drop of the trees nutty produce.

These trees were being set upon or attached to by at least three kinds of vines. One of these had attached itself to the bark and was probably more of a threat to people than to the trees – this since I took it to be poison ivy. Another type of vine was a briar, which had grown its way nearly to the top of all the trees and was competing with the trees for sunlight.

The third and most ominous of the vines was wisteria – identified by the legumes still attached. Wisteria is a deadly beauty because the flowers are beautiful but left to its own devices it will eventually grow to the top of the tree and choke – or shade – out the sunlight necessary for the life of the tree. This truth was shown because one of the trees was already dead with most of its limbs rotted and fallen.

The irony was that the dead limbs couldn’t even fall to the ground because they were so tangled in the vine growths. But this is the way God made these natural formations – only the strongest survive. I am always amazed at the way God created this natural world to continue no matter what we humans do. I’m also awed by the way He loves us and made a way that we could be saved from ourselves – and our wrong doings. ec

Sunday, January 31, 2010

TX 0110-5

Looking back in time to finish the narrative on our TX trip, we awoke on Tue., Jan 12th, without a lot to do except to wish our visit could last longer. The Spice and I did go back to the acupuncturist for treatments but spent the rest of the day just being together. Next morn was the one of our departure and we arose to do last minute packing while OD got GM2 off to school. We took GM5 to K4 on our way out of town.

It was a sad leaving day from our TX dear ones but just one of the emotional speed bumps of life. We did our serious hugging before we left the house and applied the finishing hug after OD deposited us at the airport gate at Hobby-Houston. We went through security without problems – except for long lines. Then on to Atlanta and enough time to get a bite to eat – not thinking to check to see if our gate had changed.

We went over to another concourse only to find the gate had changed back to just a few gates from the one at which we had arrived from Houston. We did not miss the flight but we were one of the last ones to board – the up side was that we got much exercise changing gates. It was then on to Augusta and BIL transported us home from the airport. Our SC home place really felt good that night.

Fast forward to Friday, Jan 29th, to the arrival of our 7th grandchild - a girl weighing in at 8lb and 3oz and 19 1/4 inches long. Our youngest daughter was the Mom and the Spice and I took the two oldest of her young ones to see the babe.

On Sat, Jan 30th, We went to the hospital in the afternoon and took all of YD’s progeny to see their little sister. They all got to hold GM7 as did Granna and Pop pop. It had been many years since our girls were born and several since the last gruntmonkey came into the world and it seems that I had forgotten how quickly a very small human can wrap it’s tiny fingers around my heart.

As I held this precious one in my hands and gazed into her miniature face I was awestruck with emotion. It doesn’t take much to rattle my cage in that respect and I couldn’t help but think that if I had actually witnessed her birth moment I would have been a real basket case. When my girls were born the fathers were locked out and were just accessories after the fact – I would rather have been there. God still does all things well. ec

Thursday, January 28, 2010

TX 0110-4

Still relating the TX trip. With the Spice and I having our various grunts and groans on Thurs. we both went to an acupuncturist that she had visited on a previous trip – my hip had been cramping the whole time we had been there. The change was slow but it did seem to help and it started to get back to somewhat normal. Other issues of upper respiratory natures had started to manifest themselves to me as well.

Friday came with an opinion expressed from TX that there should be a rule somewhere that a person can’t be afflicted with the upper respiratory crud when they are visiting this far away from home. It’s no fun trying to play with the “grands” while feeling like tepid toad spit. Not that I am an expert on amphibian salivary excretions or the ramifications of the various temp thereof, it’s just the worst thing I could think of.

Saturday, Jan 9th, came and I was glad to be feeling some better – also glad that toad spit didn’t have to be in the description of my condition. Chinese herbal meds really helped my throat. Even got a few of the small projects completed for OD that PM. Sun, Jan 10th, happened and although nobody was feeling like going to church, I received my pastor’s sermon via computer. Awesome word concerning relationships.

Our church’s web page is a real blessing in that one can not only receive the sermon live but can also enjoy other recent sermons at any time. I had to chuckle at myself in that the Sun sermon showed a pie chart for an illustration – great chart but I found myself thinking of the fruity dessert from which it got its name. I refocused quickly and got back on track with the message.

Monday came and though still a bit snorky I was feeling much better and charged ahead to complete all the projects on my requested to-do list. The last and the most time consuming one was completed in the PM. With the loan of a motorized miter saw from their friends I was able to custom cut some braces for their rickety ottoman. The braces worked when installed and it was sturdy once again – God is good! ec

TX 0110-3

Reaching back once more to the annals of our recent TX trip, I bring more details to light. It magically became Monday, Jan. 4th and I did a solo walk today – OD had errands. It was cold in TX but not as cold as back home. Later I finished taking down the outside Christmas decos and started the storing process. With this and keeping company with GM5 the day sped by.

Chilaxin’ is defined in the urban dictionary as a combination word that carries the meaning of chilling out and relaxing. On this trip I was searching out the depths of the word to see if anything can be more laid back than that – I didn’t find anything, unless I made up a new word – I have done that before. But somehow I did miss the outside work back home – I think Ethyl (the chainsaw) is just pining away for me.

Then another relaxing day burst into the present tense in TX even if I did get up feeling a little below par – I came close to achieving metaphorical par later in the day. Two thirds of my lady folk in TX went shopping this day – two young ones were in institutions of learning and FSIL is still out of town. The afternoon contained a few chores, sitting with GM5 and the holding down of the home fort.

The most difficult of the things accomplished this day was the cleaning out of burned residue in the bottom of a pot used for rice pudding cooking – and no, I didn’t do the burning. I tried comet cleanser, pot scrubbers, scraping with a knife and finally got the last of it with a sharp putty knife – tough stuff! Didn’t walk this day – got enough exercise with the scrubbing. Besides I was not feeling very perky.

“God’s call on a life is specific, extensive, thorough, and eternal. A life set apart by God cannot remain the same. Moreover, when we respond to God’s call, the kingdom of God will not remain the same.” We are all called to be a witness of what God has done for us. We don’t need a PHD, a lot of money or to be very talented – simply do what you can, use what you have, say what you know and start where you are. ec