Tag Archives: peaches

Fooling God

plants
Saturday morning on the veranda

THIS SATURDAY is somewhat different than most, so I thought I’d gossip with you about it.

Normally, Saturdays are identical. My child bride is in her private kitchen out by the property wall, preparing her pastries for the afternoon sale on the big plaza downtown.

But not today.  She’s going to church this morning.

But first, here’s what I’m doing, and it’s not much different than what I do every Saturday morning. I make rounds under the cursed peach tree scooping up fallen peaches to toss out.

Then I sweep the veranda. I hear the shower running in the bathroom, and I hear a lively Mexican tune blaring from the backstreet neighbors. I also hear the electric pump that’s sending water from the underground cistern to the tank atop the roof. And I hear birds. Lots of stuff to listen to.

Soon I’ll be hearing the lawnmower and weedeater because Abel the Deadpan Yardman arrives later to trim the grass.

The sky is blue. The air is crisp. The lawn is wet because it rained quite a spell last night, making sweet sounds.

Now here’s why she’s going to church. It’s to fool God.

Relatives often ask us to be godparents to the endless array of babies they birth because we look like the best deal going in the family. Problem is that our marriage was only a civil one, not a religious one. A judge connected us, and that’s not good enough to be godparents. I suppose we’re seen as living in sin.

There has been a recent spate of new babies among the bunny-breeding kin, so we received at least two new invites to godparenting. I pass. But my child bride really wants to. There’s nothing she loves more than babies.

This morning, she’s pretending to be single to get the proper paperwork, so she can be a godmother without me tagging along. The proper paperwork requires a three-hour instruction from a priest. She’s doing that in a church downtown.

I hope she remembers to remove her wedding ring.

This amuses me while I sweep the veranda and wait for Abel to cut the grass that I’ve already liberated of fallen, rotting peaches.

It’s a lovely morning.

Damnable fruit

Green peaches muscling up. This is just one of many sagging branches.

MY CHILD BRIDE and I agree on lots of stuff, but the damnable fruit trees are not in that category.

She loves them. Were I living here solo I would uproot them all. Why? I’m not much of a fruit eater, and these trees, which were here when we purchased the property, toss their wares on the grass en masse, and there they rot.

And who has to clean it up? It ain’t her.

The peach tree, first photo, is unpredictable. Sometimes its bounty is beyond belief. Other years it does very little. Alas, this year is one of the bountifuls.

Pears, not quite so abundant but bigger. And the tree is very tall.

And then there is the pear, the second photo. Its output is always the same, too bountiful for my tastes, but certainly less than the peach. By the way, I’m a Georgia-born boy, and I know peaches. These Mexican peaches are sorry versions.

Throughout the summer, every day I go out and scoop up fruit from the grass, most of which have been pecked by birds or gnawed by God knows what beasts roam by night.

It is not an enviable chore.

I add this last photo, the red-hot pokers, because I love them, and I want to end on a positive note. They offer beauty instead of bother, and that’s what you want in life, especially as you age.

And it’s also why I have a Mexican child bride.

Beauty, not bother. Except for “her” fruit trees.

Red hot pokers. Pretty and peaceful. A summer blessing.

The orchid peach

AND ONWARD we slog through the overly warm afternoons and evenings of May.

Praying for rain.

But there are fun distractions. One is the orchid peach. It’s my own invention.

Here’s the recipe: Take one peach tree. Any tree will do, but I use peach. It’s out there.

Tie orchid bases to the peach tree. That’s Step Two. Patience is Step Three. Most of the year, they just hang there, but in Springtime they bloom.

These orchids grow wild in the area, attaching themselves to trees — they’re parasites — and in Springtime, vendors walk the streets and stand beside highways, selling them.

I try to purchase at least one a year.

They can grow high, making it difficult to grab them. Once, a couple of years ago, a tall part of a tree on our main plaza broke off and thundered to the sidewalk. Nobody was hurt.

But the hunk of tree lying on the sidewalk was chockablock with blooming orchids. People went at them like a pack of wolves. I happened by after most of the orchids were plucked.

Darn!

This year I purchased yellow, a first. All the previous orchids on my peach tree had been pink. You like a little variety in your orchids, color-wise.

The blooms in the photo look a little weary. That’s because they first erupted weeks ago, and they’re just about pooped out for this season. You can see my new yellow one.

The orchid peach. My own invention.

Patent Pending. Or not.

Accidental hippie

pear
Hacienda pear.

I CAME OF age in the 1960s, heyday of the hippies, but I never was a hippie. Didn’t suit my personality.

So it feels strange now that I am harvesting organic pears, tons of them, more pears than we can easily dispose of.

We don’t do anything to make them organic. We don’t fertilize with donkey poop. We don’t light incense. We don’t smudge. We don’t howl at the moon on summer nights.

It’s what we don’t do that makes them organic.

We do nothing.

We have a pear tree that is perhaps 25 feet high in the yard. It was already planted when we purchased the property. We also have a sour orange, a peach and a loquat. But it’s the pear that provides most Hacienda fruit.

Some years the peach gives the pear a run for its money, but the peach is unpredictable. Some years, nada.

The pear is steady, reliable.

We pick up and haul away incredible quantities of pears.  We give them to relatives, amigos and acquaintances.

You will notice two things about our pear:

One, it’s not shaped like a pear. Two, it’s butt-ugly. Of course, being butt-ugly adds to its modish allure. It would likely warrant a high price at Whole Foods.

You’d want to buy brie and skinny crackers.

In spite of its shape and a face like Danny Trejo, it’s quite tasty. I ate the one in the photo after snapping the picture.

Felipe Zapata: organic pear farmer and accidental hippie.

* * * *

(Note: Photo is the first here with my Fujifilm Finepix F850exr, a sweetheart of a pocket camera with a 20X zoom.)

Living with fruits

WHEN I LIVED in Puerto Rico a million years ago, there was a lime tree in my yard. Whenever I made a Cuba libre, I had only to step outside to pluck a lime.

I don’t drink Cuba libres anymore — and I cannot fathom why I ever did due to their cloying sweetness — but I still live with fruit trees in my yard.

Some were already here when we purchased the lot almost 14 years ago, and some were gifted to us by a friend who brought them up, unannounced, from the tierra caliente.

We have a loquat, two pears, a peach and a sour orange. There was also a fig when we arrived, but it was removed to add a carport. The biggest bugaboo is the peach, which tosses crap on the grass nonstop in summer.

If I had total say, I’d remove the entire lot of them. I’m not a fruit man, but my child bride is fruit for fruits, so there they stay. I would like an avocado, but we don’t have that.

And we’re not gonna.

The sole plus to this plethora of fruit is that if you squeeze sour orange over a bowl of pineapple, yum!New Image

And there’s the organic element. Our fruit is organic, which is to say we do nothing to them one way or the other. It makes me feel like a freaking hippie.

The orchid run

patio

A HUGE LIMB fell from an old, towering ash tree on the downtown plaza yesterday, luckily crushing no one passing on the sidewalk far below.

But the limb crashed to the sidewalk with a heavy load of orchids, and people swarmed rapidly, many with plastic bags, to take advantage of the freebie from Mother Nature.

By the time I walked by, not long after the fall, the limb had been picked clean, and workmen with saws were reducing it to manageable pieces for hauling away. The limb was really large.

I contented myself with the thought that I already had orchids living in the peach tree in my yard.

Peaches and the slow life

peaches
These are the actual peaches on the Hacienda tree.

THIS DAY dawned perfectly — cool, almost completely blue above, and stunning sunshine. This being the rainy season, we often do not dawn sunny, but today we did.

You’ve heard of slow cooking. Well, one of us (not the other) lives a slow life here at the Hacienda. This means nothing much gets done most days, and life tastes better for it. Some people thrive on activity. I am married to one of those people. Others thrive on the slow life. That’s the one she is married to.

But let’s move on to peaches. The peach tree in the yard is loaded. They are starting to drop on the grass, which I do not appreciate because it requires action, the antithesis of the slow life. If anyone in the area wants to pass by the Hacienda, you may have as many peaches as you can tote. Free.

I have a ladder. No charge for its use.

Have to contact me first because we do not answer the bell if we’re not expecting someone. Since the front gate is almost a block from the house, you can see how knee-jerk responding to a doorbell is also the antithesis of the slow life. Be warned, however, that these are not nice Georgia peaches.

To me, they are crappy peaches. They are to nice Georgia peaches what my bananas are to a fine crop from a banana republic. Poor excuses. But they are free. My child bride eats them and declares them passable. She has also eaten grasshopper tacos. Just so you know. Maybe you could make a peach pie.

There is also a pear tree, which is full, and the pears are pretty good. Take a few. The sour orange bush is loaded, and sour oranges serve some purpose, I am told. Take a few of them too.

Now pardon me. It’s time for a nap.

The water jungle

water

And the rains came . . .

The change seems to come overnight, but it actually takes a spell.

And things happen, large and small.

* * * *

Swallow this!

Saturday night, during a downpour, I opened the steel door from the kitchen to the service patio. There’s an overhang under which runs the clothesline, a clothesline that draws no attention to itself most of the year.

But swallows like to sleep on that clothesline during the rains because the overhang keeps them nice and dry, and that would be okay if they didn’t crap on the floor. They are nasty guests.

On opening the steel door that night, I saw one swallow there, so I yelled at him. He ignored me even though he was only about three feet away.

Smart ass, I muttered to myself as I went for a broom. I whacked the clothesline with that broom, and he sped away, leaving white poop on the cement floor.

Of all the nerve.

* * * *

Like the goat Hefner

Later, I was in the downstairs bathroom, the big one, brushing my teeth, getting ready to lay my aging carcass on the king bed with my child bride, like the goat Hefner and his preposterous playmates.

Drip, drip, I heard, alarmingly. There’s a skylight over the tub, and it was a leak. Fortunately, it was falling into the tub so no harm done. I checked the two other downstairs skylights, one in the hall, one in the closet.

No leaks, but the season is fresh and young, as I once was.

I sealed those skylights with silicone in May, and what good did it do me? The other two will give out before September for sure. One cannot win against water.

* * * *

Making lakes

Depending on which way the wind blows, a good stiff rain can leave lakes on the floor of the downstairs terraza. Sometimes they are small ponds. Other times, the lake covers almost the entire terraza, a roofed terraza, mind you.

Later, it’s necessary to push it all out with a broom and squeegee.

* * * *

Blame is mine

The windows have never worked well, probably because I designed them and then hired a third-rate carpenter to build them. There’s no one to blame but me.

No matter how much silicone I squeeze along their edges, water still finds a way. Paper towels are the permanent, stopgap solution, it seems.

* * * *

Curtain mice

Years ago, I lived alone in a two-story rental closer to downtown. The summer rains would drive mice inside. I set out sticky paper nights, and mornings I would fling the little thrashing buggers over the property wall into a sewage creek.

I was an unkind man.

One night, lying in my bed reading a book, the drapes pulled shut nearby, I heard a scurrying sound as the curtain jiggled from bottom to top, as if something were climbing up from the floor on the far side.

He reached the curtain top, and peered over, and our eyes locked, yes, another dratted mouse! I shut my book, closed the door and slept that night in the upstairs bedroom. He was gone by morning. I think.

In that rental, on three occasions, I found rats in the toilet bowl. I just flushed them back where they came from. Don’t live next to a sewage creek.

A rat flushes easily, if you didn’t know.

* * * *

Poison and peaches

But that was then, and this is now.

Outside, the yard is going wild. Abel, the deadpan neighbor and lawnmower man, cuts the grass on Saturdays, and by Monday it needs it again. That’s just not right. We await the following Saturday anyway.

Snails come out and eat my poison. Flowers burst forth. The fruit trees muscle up. Soon, peaches will litter the grass, to rot and annoy me. I must wipe the glass-top table and web chairs every morning if I intend to sit out there.

* * * *

The good finale

It’s a superlative spot to sit, that stone patio, when the sky is partly blue, the temperature is 75 at noon with a gentle June breeze, and the hummingbirds and butterflies are making rounds to the riot of bougainvillea, banana tree blooms, nopal flowers and anything else with a hint of tasty color.

I sit there amid the grass under the big brown umbrella with a book which usually gets closed swiftly because one cannot read and sufficiently appreciate the cool, clear air one inhales in this damp summertime world . . .

. . . making me sleepy.

So much better than the dust of spring, no matter the leaks.

And there are no mice. It is a joy.