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Copyright © Sheryl Williams - Yardfanatic 2016. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gullible But Still Hopeful

I have a friend that breaks promises, says things to be nice that have no meaning, and is completely unreliable. Doesn't sound like much of a friend I bet you're thinking. But there are other reasons for my affection. Unfortunately I can be gullible to flowery words, something that can make me an easy mark, so I try to be careful and remember who I'm dealing with. 

Trying to grow fruit in Central Texas is exactly the same thing. I carefully prepare the planting area, dig the appropriate holes, add the correct amendments, prune, and do all the other horticultural practices. This time of year my efforts are rewarded with a whole garden of promises.  The grapes, loquats, and oranges have all set fruit (unlike those traitors the apples, plum, and peach.)

I want to believe.

I guess that's the very definition of gullible. My heart leaps with joy as I watch the loquat bend over with the fruit load - and then sinks when I see the mockingbirds swooping in for a snack. The little globes of happiness at the top of the tree seem to be ripening faster than the rest - but that's because they've been pecked and half-eaten. I climb the ladder to inspect the damage and see that it's not just the mockingbirds. The fruit also has tiny pin-prick holes and escaped frass - worms.

I harvested some of the riper ones this weekend and am now cooking them into pulp to freeze and use for smoothies. The next batch, if there is one, will go into a curried chutney. I've left the ladder out so I can pick fruit after work. Hope.

The citrus is also shouting at me. "Look at me!  A whole BUNCH of fruit!  It's going to be amazing!  I promise". Like my friend, I know the intention is there, I don't doubt the sincerity, again, which is why I'm so gullible. Yes, I've been toyed with before - a full tree of fruit one day and the whole crop on the ground the next.  "It was cold!"  "The squirrels were after me!" "Penny knocked them off!" Always an excuse. Gullible, gullible, gullible.

I think the ones that really hurt are the grapes. Those tiny little clusters that promise to be juicy explosions in just a few months always seem to be attacked by thrips and marauding birds before they can be consumed by me. The intoxicating smell of ripening fruit I've enjoyed in prior gardens has been completely elusive here in Austin. But still, right now, I want to believe.

So why go to this trouble? Why risk the heartache and disappointment? Why not just go to the farmers market or HEB and get anything I want? Because there are always other reasons for my affection. The grapes, even with thrips sucking the life out of them, provide a nice leafy screen and shady arbor in the summer. The loquat towers over my roses like a dinosaur and provides a nice contrast for the delicate blossoms at its feet. The orange trees laugh at our Texas heat and provide stunning green foliage all through the summer - not to mention habitat for black swallowtail butterflies as big as wrens.

I know what I'm dealing with. I know I'm at the precipice of defeat and humiliation. I know I'm gullible. So I hope, I believe, I try harder, I think up new approaches, I plan better, I persevere.  I've got this. I promise.