when life was figging simple

My friend Bob gave me about thirty years ago  a cutting from the fig tree that his father-in-law gave to him about thirty years ago . I  put it in the ground way back then and it grew . The little fig tree is still out back , producing a handful of delicious figs each year . It never grew more than a couple of feet tall .fig tree 004

” Do you think it might be a dwarf ? ” someone asked me last night . Yeah , it might be . Bob’s father-in-law kept his fig trees in pots back in New York and he moved them indoors in cold weather . It had never occurred to me that the fig might be a dwarf . With that off-the-cuff question I experienced one of those light bulb- in- the -cartoon-bubble moments . Thirty or so years late ! Obvious insights come to my mind all of a sudden  several years late . That’s why I never could be a courtroom lawyer . If I were standing in front of the Supreme Court ( I know ; I’m exaggerating ! ) the justices would be firing questions at me , one after another , and I’d be standing there silent , dumbfounded . Years later , maybe in the middle of the night , perfect  answers would pop into my head , too late to save the country . Of course it must be a dwarf tree ! For thirty years I’ve always thought that maybe I planted the little fig cutting  in the wrong place . Maybe the soil in that part of the yard was no good . Maybe it should have more sun . Or less . Maybe it needs half-shade . Maybe I should have gone out and sung to it ,  maybe Italian arias . Bob’s father-in-law is Italian . Maybe he sung to his trees .

I haven’t seen Bob in years but I hear that he  wants a cutting from my fig tree . He asked a mutual friend if I still had the tree .  So I decided to root a cutting or two for him . It was Bob’s  long since dead tree that was start of  mine .

So , of course , I delved  into the internet to collect ideas about how to root a fig cutting . I started with YouTube . Get some newspaper , one guy said , and wet it ; get some sphagnum moss , put it in a plastic bag ; get a plastic shoe box , mix vermiculite with perlite ;  air the thing out every so often and wait two weeks . He didn’t say anything about singing arias .

My friend Bill , who knows orchids inside and out ,  said that he in the past  had rooted cuttings from fig trees . ” Don’t cut them off the tree , ” he said . ” It won’t work.” Bill knows stuff , so I listened  .  He told me to wait until late Spring . In late Spring make a cut in the dry part of the branch , deep but not too deep .  If the cut goes too deep then fashion a splint to hold the branch together so it doesn’t break . Get some sphagnam moss and use plastic to hold it to the cut on the branch . Wet it . Tape it .  Keep the whole thing wrapped in aluminum foil . Then wait two or three months .

” Will that work ?” I asked .

” Sometimes it works .”  Sometimes ?

Maybe it’s the time of year that I put the cutting in the ground thirty years ago . I know it must be some bit of lucky circumstance like that that made it grow , because I know I didn’t do any of this fancy stuff . I hadn’t even heard of sphagnam moss back then .  I hadn’t heard of the internet either , as far as I remember .

Times were simpler then . Back then I talked to Bob face to face . We both sat at a table in the school cafeteria . He brought me a cutting a few days later , handed it to me ,  and I took it home and stuck it in the ground .

Now I am in contact with Bob only by Facebook . He’s out there somewhere in web land .  I’m researching fig cuttings on the internet . I can bring my laptop out to the garden and someone inside my rebuilt Dell  can sing an aria to the planted cutting  . I’d bring my i phone to do it but I don’t have an i phone . I’m  still resisting joining  the 21st Century . I’m dragging my feet .

I think I’ll just stick a cutting in the ground and see what happens . Cross my fingers . Cross my heart and hope to die , stick a needle in my eye .

4 Comments

Filed under humor

4 responses to “when life was figging simple

  1. Time to stop dragging your feet. My mom is 85 and I got her an iPhone for her birthday. She just needed a few pointers, and now she texts, takes photos to send me and checks her email. I resisted too, but found that easier is better. Good luck with the figs!

  2. daniel

    would you like to trade some fig tree branch cuttings? if so please email me at ediblelandscaping.sc@gmail.com I have several varieties and would be happy to trade a few 6-8 inch cuttings with you

    • Sorry , no . If you saw how measly small my fig tree is , you would laugh . I have another one just started — waiting to see how it goes . But , keep in touch for next season . Thanks for stopping by .

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