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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

sneaky figs

They did it again, I tried to be on the alert but they snuck up on me anyway. The figs had almost all been green about three days ago. I did eat three ripe, juicy figs as a sideline to my last blueberry-picking mission, but the rest were comfortably green. There were a few more on Saturday morning but I didn’t think they were enough to pick. Then we had a busy day on Sunday and I didn’t even look at the tree.

When I looked at the fig tree Monday morning, the ripe ones had come on the branches like a whole herd of turtles. Mentally I added fig picking to my to do list and continued my other chores for the day. First was the gathering of the trash and the cardboard that had been piling up. After a visit to the landfill, I stopped by the post office and then it was on to Bi-Lo for a few grocery items.

Back home and in the process of browning some ground beef, I decided to pick a few figs while the heat was doing its thing with the meat. Using the same gallon containers in which I gathered blueberries, I quickly filled up two of these receptacles. The tree was taller than I thought it was, and I finally had to resort to the 6ft stepladder. Back and forth with the picking and stirring the meat, the tally finally came up to over 5 gallon containers of figs – I was duly impressed.

The picking of figs is fraught with danger, especially when working from a stepladder. Most of these hazards have to do with falling off this handy climbing device since one cannot escape the gravity of the situation – slight or no sleight double meaning there. But there was another danger that usually only comes into play later in the season.

This danger is the one of wasps and yellow jackets – they usually congregate at ripe figs that have been pecked by birds. The danger is getting stung when reaching for one of these occupied fruits when you don’t see the hole that the armed and dangerous insect is in. The danger for today was somewhat the same, except it was different.

It seems that the figs were not the only things that were sneaky since two sneaky wasps had built their nest on the underside of one of the fig leaves and of course this is very difficult to see. When I put the ladder near them, they flew out to drive the danger away – me. I took exception to these squatters interfering with my picking and went inside for a weapon – a fly swatter. I realized that these insects were not flies, but I was almost certain it would work on them.

The war started right after I came back out – it was me and the wasps, ‘mano a mano’, except I was the only mano. In all the excitement one of the wasps ‘tagged’ me – this one was soon stunned on the ground and was ‘tagged’ back – since I was ‘it’. The other was more elusive but after many swings and bruised, torn and fallen leaves, it too hit the ground and was ‘tagged’. ‘Tag’ is the only game I play with wasps – with the meaner yellow jackets it is a different story, since they don’t play.

It was a busy but fulfilling day for this old retired person – God is good, all the time. ec


Blogger itsboopchile said...

In Memphis my grandparents had big fig trees so you bring back memories.
Some not so good.
I saw an ant on a fig I was about to eat and forever after I thought I was eating ants in the figs.
So, to this day, I don't even eat fig newtons!!
Betty G

7/27/2006 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Mr Eddie ~ What a busy and dangerous day you had. A lovely lot
of figs resulted - What do you do with them all? Do you freeze some? Or make
jam? All yum things to do. Thanks for your comments. It is amazng how far we have come in 100 years.Cheers, Merle.

7/27/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Oh boy, am I the only one wondering how the hamburger is browning on the stove? My attention span is so bad, I'd be picking those figs after my cooking was over....or, I'd be hearing a smoke alarm whilst out playing tag in the orchard.

7/27/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

I bet those figs were good pockled!

I just ate mine fresh this year!


7/27/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Rice said...

It sounds like you had a good day. I had fun reading this post. But I don't like to do battle with stinging creatures.

7/27/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

boopchile - Both my daughters will not eat grated coconut to this day, I will not turn your stomach with an in depth explanation. Suffice it to say that it reminds them of a certain insect's larva.

merle - One pot of figs was cooked with some sugar and lemon juice and so far the rest have been dried. I do believe dried figs were a biblical sweet treat.

bonita - It was a bit tricky, but since it didn't take long to pick a gallon of these fruit morsels, and the heat under the meat was on simmer, there was no danger of the smoke detector going off. Both chores were pulled off without a hitch.

junierose - Some of the figs didn't make to the dehydrator - I had to taste to see if they were of the proper ripeness. The dried ones were then properly stored for later eating or cooking.

tim rice - I'm sure it would have looked comical to see me swinging away at the tree and wasps, but I finally got the job done. It raised my ire just a bit when one of them 'tagged' me and I was determined to 'tag' them back. ec

7/27/2006 11:37:00 PM  

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