Cooler and damper weather finally has prevailed here in the Texas subtropics, allowing me to slow down a little on the twice-weekly watering trips I’ve been making out to the Polka Farm since before our fire. Over the past few years it has felt as if the seasons are compressing; it’s winter, it’s almost spring no wait it’s summer, summer, summer, summer not fall yet, now fall wait winter again.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve planted three crepe myrtle, and three Japanese persimmon trees to add to the farm fruit collection. We have a wonderful Hachiya persimmon here on our home grounds, and I wanted to make sure that, some day when we’re old and finally decide to move to the farm, there will be more Hachiyas waiting. They’re just beginning to ripen now, and I’m fighting the birds and squirrels for the fist-sized orange globes.
There are two kinds of Japanese persimmons: astringent and non-astringent. Hachiyas are the former, and if you bite into one before it has become very soft, your mouth will pucker. But once ripe, the fruits make a great dessert just the way they are – turn them over, cut an X through the thin skin with a sharp knife, and spoon out the delicious custard. Or you can freeze them whole, then thaw them about half way for a natural sherbet-like treat.
So I planted another little Hachiya at the farm, and another astringent variety called Giombo that’s supposedly later-ripening. To extend the season further, I also bought a dwarf non-astringent early ripening type called Izu. They are like Fujus, the best-known of the non-astringents, in that you can eat them while their flesh still is crisp – as long as they’ve changed color from green to orange-red.
Back at home, I’m still waiting on a fence contractor to show up and repair the burnt wood from the fire. I’m no longer nagging insurers, as they’ve paid out most of what they owed, however, the cement slab behind our house remains bare because the city of Richmond hasn’t yet looked at our building plans.
But the plants have come back, showing their resilience. Shell ginger and our South African pink trumpet vine burned to the ground along with everything else, but their roots are incredible, and they’re already back and growing strong. Likewise the Raja Puri bananas, whose leaves were burnt and brown. Today they are lush and green again. Ditto for the big in-ground plumerias and a 10-foot red banana plant.
It’s still touch and go for a medium-sized pecan tree that grows up through the cement at the end of where the carport used to be. Its trunk was burned on the side facing the fire, up several major branches 20 feet or so. I’ve been giving it extra water and good vibes, and it’s been sending out green shoots along some of the most badly burned places. But bark has begun lifting off of a section at the base of the trunk, maybe a foot wide and twice as long. My guess is it’s probably going to survive.
The key is to keep moving, and apply liberal applications of quiet persistence.