Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Let’s Go Bend The Fig Tree
The Bengal Tiger first coined the words to the love sonnet “let’s go shake the mango tree” when we lived in Hawaii in the 1970s. She sang that sweet song every spring as we formulated plans to go harvest ripe mangos from our special Itamaraca tree on the campus of the University of Hawaii, a full two months before mangos were ripe on the trees of other mango varieties.
More than a decade later she intoned another love sonnet, “let’s go shake the apple tree.” And, predictably the anticipation extended to the shaking of the pear tree, and to the last of the plum trees. Truth is stranger than fiction, thus it was that during harvest season in Pennsylvania, we were able to shake 30 or so apples from her 3-variety grafted tree in the back yard, a few pears from the nearby Japanese pear; and finally just enough plums from the diseased and dying plum tree to fulfill the fantasy that has become a yearly ritual.
Doubtless, some people won’t believe that such descriptions are true. Others may wonder. The least thing that the Footloose Forester could do was try to take notes on the journeys into fantasy and then record some of the details in his chronicles. “Let’s Go Shake The Mango Tree” and “Let’s Go Shake The Apple Tree” have already been recorded in his personal blog. Any story about the pear tree or the dying plum tree would likely be boring because the trees themselves are too small and inconspicuous to arouse any interest.
When it comes to a story about the fig tree in our front yard in Virginia, there are better prospects. It is a small, bushy tree but produces so many fruits during harvest season that we had to devise a plan to take advantage of its bounty. Also, its fruit-laden branches are so low to the ground that the theme song is going to be “Let’s Go Bend The Fig Tree.” Since we harvest ripe fruits three or four times a week, we will be overwhelmed when the fruiting period reaches its peak. The plan is to process the figs in a food dehydrator and preserve them as pressed and dried wafers. We have already started with that technique and it works well.
Short fig tree burgeoning with fruit
First fruits of the 2017 harvest
The beautiful hand of the Bengal Tiger