Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fruits of May

I was just in the backyard taking pictures of some of the lovely fruits I saw, and I thought I’d share them with you.

First, an update on our walnuts’ progress. The last time I showed you (May 8), they were about half the size they are now. I love their pebbly texture, and their black walnutty smell.

The male catkins have all fallen off now; at their peak, clouds of yellow-green pollen would fall from the walnut boughs each time a bird landed or launched. It was a good time to be a stigma, or an investor in Claritin. There’s a fallen catkin in this picture, caught on one of the leaf stalks. . . . See how the stigmas are starting to look kind of dry and worn out? I guess their job is done, too.

So this time I got the bright idea of putting a coin in the picture for scale. Yes, that’s a Missouri quarter. Appropriate, huh?

Next is a little wild strawberry; we have them like weeds in our yard. This little guy is between a quarter and a half inch in diameter. Isn’t it pretty? It makes me kind of sorry to cut the grass. It makes me wish we had more box turtles in our neighborhood.

So do they taste good? Well, yeah . . . kind of. If you like the flavor of strawberry stems. Let’s just say: They don’t taste downright bad.

Next, we have a crucified orange! Holy orange hemispheres, Batman! I hung it on a nail and strung it to our peach tree yesterday when I noticed a Baltimore oriole couple passing through our yard.

I spent about ten minutes yesterday constructing my homemade oriole feeder, and roughly half of that time was spent hopping around clutching my fingertip after I whacked it good with the hammer.

I’ve only seen pictures of orioles feeding at oranges, but I figured this year I’ll give it a try. As far as I could tell, the oriole couple dropped by our house to check out our peaches (which are still, and forever, as hard as rocks), so I hung the orange in that tree.

Yes, Mr. Oriole was lovely. After inspecting our lame peaches, he stood on the perch above our birdbath and admired his own loveliness. He didn’t drink or bathe; just gazed at his reflection.

Last, one of the aforementioned rock peaches. What else do you call them? If they are the “cling” type, then these win the supreme award, for they remain practically solid during their entire development, until they rot and fall off. But the tree—which grew up in a compost pile, so what do you expect—at least flowers nicely in the spring.

There have been some years, when we have bumper crops of both walnuts and these peaches, when it has been hard to stay afoot in our backyard.

Yet like the bright little strawberries, the peaches possess a beauty that forces us to like them just as they are.

No comments: