How big is your baby?

Spring time is a time of rebirth and renewal and much focus is given to cute bouncing bundles of joy like this one

 

and in our area, babies like these…

(picture of a local postcard)

 

Yesterday I was out looking at other babies.  Subtropical fruit babies.

This is an avocado pear

 

and some baby mangoes

 a litchi

and some oranges (not on the farm we live on)

So here is what I am pondering…………

All of the above fruit trees blossom and start bearing fruit around the same time (spring)

We will be eating the mangoes and litchis by the end of this year  (3-4 months to mature ripe fruit depending on cultivar) yet the avocados and oranges will only be ripe and ready in 6-11 months time (winter fruit for us).

Why would some fruit be able to ripen and mature so fast and others take so long?

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Not so Nutty.

In front of Tiny House there is a pecan nut orchard.  When I got here at the beginning of the month they looked like this

and today they look like this

I just love watch everything come to life in springtime.

Today I realized that I know very little about them so I asked B lots of questions as he showed me around the trees.  On the dryer trees I spotted clusters of growth quite high up like the picture below.

These clumps of growth are mistletoe.  I didn’t even know that we had mistletoe in this country and really have only seen plastic kissy ones at Christmas time.  These unfortunately are not so friendly and are semi-parasitic weeds which cause loss of nut yield and make the tree sickly. Mistletoe has to be cut out of the trees.

The trees will flower near the end of spring and then as the flower wilts the nut begins to grow.  It is not a true nut but actually a “drupe”.

(picture of pecan from Wikipedia)

Health benefits of Pecans

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Antioxidants present protect against cancer and infections
  • Pecan nuts are rich source of vitamin E and are therefore great for skin health
  • The nuts are very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins
  • The nuts are also rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

I will definitely be making pecan nut pie soon and I also enjoy putting them in my banana bread and salads. Do you have any favorite pecan nut recipes to share?

Giving up the hippo fight.

One of the farms along our sand-road route home has an ongoing battle with hippos.  The farm runs alongside the Blyde river – our road separates the farm from the river itself.

Hippos come out of the river at night to graze and they just love the grass on this farm.  They are constantly breaking through the farmers fence to get to the grass.  The Bean and I have even seen a hippo just walk right through the fence once when we stumbled upon it unexpectedly on our drive home.  The wires of the fence snapping and the rest of the fence waving wildly as poles bent.  I don’t think the hippo even noticed the fence . It was that easy.

The poor farmer keeps on repairing the fence and the hippos keep breaking through. This week we noticed that the farmer was again fixing his fences.

Hippos are creatures of habit and always follow the same pathways to their grazing ground.  Most mornings we can see exactly where they cross the sand road as they make quite a large pathway as you can imagine.

Yesterday on our way home we noticed a new development in the fence.  There is a saying here in South Africa ”  ‘n boer maak ‘n plan”  which means “a farmer makes a plan”.  This farmer surely did too.

The fence now has “hippo holes”  wherever the fence and a hippo pathway cross.  Bravo Mr Farmer 🙂

Citrus season – The beginning or the end?

It was with great joy that we greeted the news that we should finish packing our citrus at the end of this week.  It’s been a long hard season having packed in excess of 12 million kilograms of citrus fruit since April.  We have worked long hours with quite a bit of physical exertion – our bodies and minds are tired and the coming break will be welcome.

Last night when driving home I was assailed by the most beautiful scent when driving past the orchards.  Puzzled, I looked around – and this is what I saw.

Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!  Please no!  I just can’t anymore!  Before the last fruit are plucked from the trees, they are starting to blossom!  Yes, a most heavenly scent – but please – NO MORE ORANGES!  In a panic I asked around – are we expecting another crop?  The good news, I found, is that the orange fruit takes 10-12 months to form from blossom to mature fruit.  Whew!

Now I can look forward to working half days till the mangoes start coming in.