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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, July 28, 2006

figs and flowers

The next fig picking session was even more productive than the first, with more than 7 gallon containers harvested. But a slightly painful problem developed during the time I was cutting up the batch for the fruit dryer. It seems that the tips of both forefingers became very irritated and raw around the nail. I had noticed it a little on the first batch, but this time was much worse.

I was beginning to think that I had developed an allergy to this sweet fruit until I checked out the web for something that might give me a clue as to what was going on. After much research – several minutes – I found a simple sentence that explained the whole thing. It said: Use gloves and long sleeves when harvesting figs to prevent skin irritation from the fig latex. These measures may be a little inconvenient but if it saves me from the irritation, it will be worth it.

It is a bit of a mystery as to why the skin problems started now, after years of raising this fruit. Maybe I’m just not as tough as I used to be or this is just the largest harvest I have had. For whatever reason, I will use proper precautions in the future.

This time of picking also offered the same type of excitement as the last, this when I discovered another wasp nest on another part of the tree. The war was on again, except this time I donned gloves as well as using my trusty fly swatter. These were the same kind of wasps but evidently not as feisty as the others and didn’t have to be ‘tagged’ to get them out of the area; they just left as soon as I knocked the nest down – the wimps.

From figs now to flowers and to tell that a new flower has possibly come into my life – if I remember to acquire some of them next spring. This flowering plant is lantana. It came to my attention just this summer down at Myrtle Beach along the pathway from the condo to the beach. From what I understand so far, this plant is very drought resistant once it is established. This is translated in my mind as thriving on neglect, just the thing for my yard and flowerbeds. My neighbor has a fairly large bed of them down close to our driveway.

As I have mentioned before, my garden contains two rows of marigolds – one on either side of the tomatoes. These have grown up even taller than the tomatoes – mostly because the tomatoes are only supported up to about 3 ½ feet. These flowers are a bit acrid in smell but the bloom is a very attractive golden color.

The smaller zinnia bed is in its customary spot and they have been blooming very well. They are now a little dull in color because of the dry, hot weather. Next to them is a mix and match bed with a few zinnias, some butternut squash and three sunflowers. This is the first effort I have made at growing sunflowers but they seem to be doing very well with their very large flowers and the promise of seeds later on.

If by now you have gotten the idea that I enjoy seeing God’s creations grow and am glad to help them do so – you are absolutely right. ec


Blogger Granny said...

For what it's worth, I used to have hands like rawhide. Not much bothered them.

Not anymore I'm afraid.

7/28/2006 02:38:00 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Mr Eddie ~~ Wow that is quite a lot of figs. Kathy used to dry fruit
in a dehydrator??It is time consuming.
Lantanas are hardy. They grow beside the roads in Queensland and northern NSW. Some are grown in gardens in Vic.
They have a rather unpleasant smell.
I hope the gloves solved the problem with the skin rash. Take care,Merle.

7/28/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I know little about figs, not crazy about em, but I've had plenty of experience with these danged tomatoes we're growing here. My cupboard is full of jars of tomatoes!

Thanks for visitin!

7/28/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - I think that may be part of my problem, my rawhide has become raw skin - just too thin anymore, it would seem.

merle - It is time consuming, but they keep for a long time. Hadn't really thought about the smell of lantana - I might ought to check that out by smelling my neighbor's patch of them.

brenda - I haven't put up tomatoes this year, just squash, okra and blueberries. Sounds like you have really been busy with the tomatoes. ec

7/28/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I also like lantana, zinnias, and marigolds....but then, I'll like just about anything if its got a flower. The sweet peas were my favorite this year - the fragrance was just astounding.

7/28/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

- OK but how can you eat those many gallon containers of figs if the latex is going to roto-root your insides?

- At my Work, we have an "Apple Pie" scented candle that *I* think smells like marigolds. My boss doesn't like it when I relate that to customers. I wonder why.

- My in-laws spend half the year in Lantana, Florida. And I have seen a Lantana plant before. It was about 7 feet tall and had bright pink blossoms. Very pretty.

Take care!!!

7/28/2006 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - I have to agree with you - I like most anything that blooms. I don't know if they have them anywhere else in the country, but down South we have what is known as 'sweet shrub' - and it has a very pleasant sweet smell. Folks used to plant it to draw insects away from their doors out in the country.

jayleigh - It doesn't seem to bother me after it goes through the dryer or is cooked - strange. Lantana comes in several sizes and colors - or so I read. My neighbor's and what I saw at the beach were very low growing. Yet at a friend's house I saw some of the taller varieties. ec

7/29/2006 10:23:00 AM  

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