An Unexpected Treat

ripe cherries
Every now and then the garden is full of surprises. Last weekend was one of those times. The cherry trees were full of blossoms last March. Then, in April or May, it seemed like a lot of the developing cherries were hit by a frost. The ones I looked at then were soft and spongy. I walked back by the cherry trees this past weekend, and guess what: One of them was full of cherries!

A tree full of ripe cherries is a great and rare thing for us. It rarely happens for us because of the weather. We typically have early warm weather and the trees blossom. Then we have a cold snap and the fruit is killed. We also have a bunch of apples and even pears this year. If we get the pears before the pesky neighbors or birds (I don’t know which is worse, but, I’m leaning towards the neighbors), that will be a first in nine years.

Baby Excelsior Cucumber

As for the rest of the garden, the cucumbers are busy setting fruit. Almost all of the plants I brought up to the garden are doing great. We even have baby pumpkins starting. This time last year the cucumbers and pumpkins were being eaten by some garden predator. We never did determine if it was the birds or lizards. This year, whatever eats our small seedlings cleaned out our beets. I replanted them last weekend and covered them with fencing. Hopefully that will be sufficient protection and we will get beets this year.

Baby Cinnamon Girl PumpkinBecause of advantageous weather this June, namely cooler and wetter than past years, the tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplants, and most everything else should be a good three or four weeks ahead of schedule. I’ll have to prepare for those harvests better than I did for the cherries. Because we did not anticipate harvesting over seven pounds of cherries, all we did was make a batch of spiced brandy cherries and froze the rest. The spiced brandy cherries are very similar to the cherry bounce we have made in the past, except we added clove and vanilla, and we’ll add cinnamon when I remember to bring it over. By this fall we will have yet another warming liquor to help us make it through the brutal Arizona winter.

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