Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Great Fig Caper!

This might be a bit rambling, but I’m going to take a stab at it, so here goes.  Yes, it has been a while, and yes I know it’s a lot longer than I promised in my last post.

Everyone is fine on my side of the screen.  A lot of things have happened since we last got together here and I’ll try and go through a few of them.  I think it all started in August with our fig tree.  We had a bumper crop of figs this year.

As I grew up, many of my relatives had fig trees in their yards.  My paternal Grandmother had a couple of them.  Every year she would can her figs and would give me four or five jars to take back home and remember her by.  I loved her figs.  They were in this sweet syrup and tasted so good on a hot buttered slice of toast.

I got very excited when I learned that we had a really nice fig tree in the back yard of this house.  As the summer progressed and I saw what a bumper crop it was going to produce I started making my plans.  I searched the web and got twenty or thirty recipes for canning figs.  Culling through them, I found the one I thought must have been the one my grandmother had used.  I then searched for a canning outfit with the double boiler and pressure cooker, oh and don’t forget the mason jars.  Thank goodness I didn’t go out and buy this equipment.

I had made my lists and located local sources of everything I needed.  I was going to put up this fruit myself and then I would have some nice homemade goods to share with friends and relatives.  I watched the crop mature and about a week before I was going to press the go button on everything, someone snuck into our yard and stole the entire crop.  I stood in our back yard with my mouth agape as I realized that our tree didn’t have a single fig on it anymore.  There wasn’t a single fig on the ground underneath the tree, either!  On close inspection, it was apparent that some sort of snipping tool was used to cut the fruit from the branches.  You could see the fresh cut marks.

I was pretty upset, as you might imagine.  I decided to talk to the widow who lives next door to warn her of what happened in our yard. Sandy caught up with her the next day and let her know of the theft.  The neighbor had a bumper crop on her tree, too, and kindly invited us to have a few of her figs if I wanted.  Then the thieves came back a few days later and stole all the figs off of her tree.

Poof!  There went my faith in humanity.  Sigh.  It seems that figs were commanding top dollar on the grocery shelves this year.  My crop became someone else’s profit, at my expense, I’m sure.

There are several areas of the county where you can expect to see roadside produce for sale during the season.  These are different operations from the larger produce venders with brick and mortar buildings and year round inventory.  No, these roadside operations quite often sell right out of the back of a pickup truck.  When you see these micro produce stands, you can reasonably expect that the produce is absolutely right from the fields, fresh, and of very good quality.  I’ll bet my nonexistent canner that my figs ended up on the back of someone’s pickup truck with a handsome price tag.

I was having a pretty decent summer right up to this little incident.  Oh, well, next year I will rig some kind of surveillance equipment and train it on the fig tree during the month of August.  I’ll catch those sticky fingered miscreants!

I thought this entry might be a little longer, but I’ve got to run right now and get busy.  I’m taking a few days off and trying to clean out the storage unit we have kept for so many years.  It’s time to try and cull out the items we have discovered we really can live without and bring the rest home.  Believe me,there are several days’ worth of work ahead of me.  I’ll check back in here soon and share a little more of what has been going on in my part of the word.  Take care!