It’s starting to get hot in the desert. The kind of hot where I don’t want any of my skin exposed to the unforgiving sun. The kind of hot where when you walk into the scrub, you worry about snakes and occasionally see a sand-colored iguana dart past you. The kind of hot where it’s more quiet than usual around noon. And the sky seems bluer than usual.
It’s also peach season. Our peach tree, which yielded 18 peaches last year, has a few hundred this year. So I’m blanching and freezing them for smoothies. And on Saturday, I made my first pie ever from scratch, using this crust and this filling. I cut the sugar in half and didn’t put any on top. It was Meditteranean-style delicious where we could actually enjoy the sweetness of the peaches. Last night, A. and CM walked freshly-picked soft peaches to the neighbors.
A. is working hard on building bunk-beds for the boys. Over the past few weeks, he’s taken over the garage cutting and sanding and assembling the wood. This weekend he painted. CM wanted green, so we picked out three shades on Friday, ultimately deciding on Happy Camper. We ordered mattresses — splurging for organic to avoid chemicals — and I’ll pick out some sheets this week. We hope to move CM into his new room by next month so we can shift CP into the crib.
As for the boys, CM now has six imaginary friends, who are always with us, on our hikes, in the backyard, in the car: Bevi, Doc, Wood, More Wood, Mud and … wait for it… Jason. CP, who’s not quite three months, rolled over and is kicking and coo-ing and smiling all of the time. He’s a calm, happy baby who sleeps well, and that makes for a calm and happy me.
Over the weekend, I checked the peaches on our tiny peach tree in our backyard — a tree we didn’t know we had until March when the pits appeared. I felt the fuzzy skin of one that turned a deep red, and it gave a bit under my fingers.
“The peaches are ready!” I yelled to A., who was lounging on the patio.
Except it wasn’t just one or two that were ready — it was 18 succulent California peaches. (The birds pecked five more to their rotting, crumbling deaths.)
A. and I pulled off the peaches dripping with juice, and I excitedly hauled them into the kitchen and boiled half of them so I could slip off the fuzzy skin and freeze the chunks. Then I made a batch of peach butter to enjoy with my homemade bread.
We also ate a few on our road trip to Sequoia National Park, our laps full of paper towels, our fingers sticky, the warm air blowing on our arms and legs, the speakers blasting “The Lone Bellow,” the sun stretching in the cloudless sky.
Now I have my eye on our apricot tree: Hundreds of apricots are starting to turn yellow. I bought canning jars yesterday and I’m searching for recipes for anything apricot. Please share if you have any!
About two weeks ago, I wrote about how surprised we were to discover an apricot tree in our backyard. It had started to bloom beautiful pink and white flowers and then we saw a few wrinkly pits from last year. At first we thought it was a plum tree till our neighbor told us otherwise. Now the flowers have given way to gorgeous green pits.
It was kind of odd that we didn’t know that we had a big fruit tree, but we moved here in November when the trees were hibernating for the cold winter nights. I was giddy when we made the discovery. (Hey, I’ve lived in big cities the past 15 years — this country living is new to me.)
And then we made another discovery last week. My mother-in-law was taking a tour of the backyard. And she said, “Look at this! I think it’s a peach tree.” (It’s a small tree, behind the apricot tree.) It has long leaves and fuzzy pits that perfectly match pictures of budding peach trees.
She also pointed out a lilac bush in full bloom and three grape plants wrapped around wire trellises.
There are two other as-yet unidentified trees with pits growing on them. Based on the leaves shooting out the end of the branches, our best guess is one is a fig tree. (I spent about a half hour on a website comparing photos of the leaves.)
Pomegranates! Apricots! Peaches! Grapes! Figs!
I feel like I stepped into a gold mine. Really. I’m so freaking giddy that we have all of this fruit right in our backyard and our landlord pays for the gardening. I’m already starting to think about creative ways to use them. Desserts, dried fruit, smoothies … what else?
In my pure happiness, I told my MIL: “I’m never going to want to leave.”