A Summer Home for the Family, On Earth and in the Sky

Here we are in a community garden in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland, an old roman fortress, and before that a 4000-year-old settlement where Lake Constance becomes the Rhine.

A shaded picnic bench for the parents, in the middle of the garden, and a magpie nest for the kids, up in the sky, where they like it.

Rome, and the old sub-alpine culture might be gone, but its shadow can be very fiine!

Apples Make Their Own Heat

Here’s my Spigold opening up last week. Note how the sun drew the leaves out quickly, but the flowers take their time, drawn out more slowly by the heat their fur traps close to their skins and the heat the red spectrum of their first show of petals gathers from the sun. What tiny worlds. What tiny energy effects!

This isn’t global warming. It’s local warming!

In the end, 500 gram apples are the result. It takes time. We have that.

Grapes are So Celtic

There are many ways to grow after visiting the land of the dead. Grapes do it by pushing out shoots from the eyes we call “buds.” Each shoot is a vision. Wood without eyes is said to be blind.
This is the essence of celtic (and Greek, and Byzantine and Catholic) culture: the living rising out of the dead. For that, vines are often best: they rise on the blind limbs of trees and carry sight and vision up with them. This is the time of year when seeing begins. Soon will come the time of year when each eye becomes a bee’s-eye cluster of grapes in our hands; if we give them over to death, they will come back with a god in them. For Christians, this god is God; Christ is only an iteration of this wisdom.

Every Nectarine is Chosen by Hand and Eye

Every single one. Note the pruning cuts to separate the fruits from sharp angles, where they will be trapped and rot, and the edges of the twigs tipped to help the tree lay down next year’s twig in a place to renew this one.

Poor Man’s Bonsai!

Thinning will follow in June, to complete the selection, removing scarred fruits first, spacing the rest, and removing any remaining trapped fruits. There are millions of nectarine trees, each with hundreds of fruits, and each one is chosen by hand and eye, every single one.

Beautiful Old Tree

Image

Peaches are scrubby little bushes from the Gobi Desert, that live to be fifteen years old, more or less, before they succumb to their many fragilities. Here’s one I’ve been caring for twenty years, after another man cared for her for nearly twenty before that. A quarter of her sisters have died, but a week ago she was the first one blooming this year. Her name is Glohaven.
Still gorgeous after all these years. Some fifty-five years ago I remember images of blossoms like this, with my father as the photographer, and it was a tree like this (her name was Vee), with just the right branch, who taught me how to climb trees. I worked at it for weeks. I have a whole lifetime to return the gift.

Of Apricots and Organic Time

She’s a lovely one, Apricot.

She lures me. I have a body that is eager to be lured.

The blossoms are so pretty and smell so sweet. Finding fruit, and caring for it, is a task not done all at once.

 

It’s not that I am the domesticated one, or that Apricot is. We are in this together.

 

Well, plus Mme. Robin.

Yes.