|Arctic Jay White Nectarines-Bird Back 40|
If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you've probably come to realize that I'm just a tad fanatic about fresh fruit from the backyard. Some might say I'm just a tad off my rocker. Still others might suggest a little white jacket and some time in a padded room.
You see -- a normal backyard fruit enthusiast will select a perfect spot in the backyard and plant one (1) fruit tree and be done with that. Someone who loves citrus, for example, might even take it a bit further and plant one (1) lemon tree and one (1) lime tree together. Still others -- again on the normal side of the ledger -- will search for that perfect lemon tree that yields a special kind of lemon juice.
|Fantasia Nectarines: Delicious|
And then, there's someone like Bill Bird. He's anything but normal. He is the "anti-normal." The "what the heck are you doing," normal. My line of thinking goes like this: One fruit tree is just that, one. As Three Dog Night once crooned, "One is the Loneliest Number." One is also boring. Why have one when you can five or six. And why stop with just one variety of fruit when you have so many to choose from?
You can see how this thing called "reality" can easily slip from your grasp.
My evidence in this case questioning my sanity? Easy. It's that Backyard Orchard Culture adventure that I set out on several years ago in a quest to bring fresh nectarines to the Bird Back 40. Ever heard of Backyard Orchard Culture? It's a practice of the mildly insane. The thinking goes somewhat like this: why stop with one fruit tree when you can have three? Think of a harvest season lasting a solid month rather than just a week or two. Go ahead -- make my day -- and plant three fruit trees in that hole you just dug for one and see what happens.
|Tree Ripened Nectarines Sweet with Juice|
This sickness is fed by horticulturists who tinker with this and that -- call it the "natural order of things" -- when it comes to fruit trees. At one time in our recent past? You couldn't grow blueberries west of the Mississippi River. Blackberries without thorns was an oxymoron. And who had heard of a pluot 15 years ago? Get my drift? Thanks to our friends at Dave Wilson Nursery and others, there's so much new stuff to experience that it's tough to stop at "just one."
When you catch a sickness like this, that "perfect spot in the yard" for a fruit tree is snapped up fairly quickly. Oh, sure, you might find another "perfect spot" or two over time, but conventional backyards in conventional subdivisions only offer so much room. Pretty soon you'll find yourself tearing out shrubs against a lonely wall of your house because "shrubs are boring."
|Our Nectarine Jungle|
That's what I found myself doing some four years ago -- during an NFL Playoff football game no less. There are times in my life where it would have taken a loaded gun to drag me away from an NFL playoff football game. Instead -- on this day -- my life was consumed not with football, but rather, Flavortop and Fantasia. Those happen to be the first two nectarines I planted against that side wall. I would add the Arctic Jay, the world's best white nectarine, a few days later.
Why nectarines? If you get afflicted with this "grow your own" disease, the answer is "why not." People will question your sanity at the time, but will eventually come round to your way of thinking. They'll tell you: "It will never work." But, in reality, who can ignore that white nectarine tree in the front yard? Suddenly, and without warning mind you, the people who either laughed or questioned your moves, are stealing fruit from right under your nose.
This is why I've chosen to rename my white nectarine tree from "Arctic Jay" to "Ghostly White." Do you recall what Casper the Friendly Ghost was most famous for? If your guess is "vanish," you're right on the money but you don't win a white nectarine. You see -- I don't have any left to give. I didn't get any myself. Over the space of ten days this month every last white nectarine on the "Ghostly White" tree up and VANISHED. I mean GONE.
Where did they go? Good question. Did a bird invade and take them all? That would have been one big bird, and no, this was no thieving bird. I have a strong suspicion that this was a thief of the two-legged and no wings variety. Someone in the neighborhood developed a taste for tree-ripened nectarines.
This is your reward for planting those nectarine trees in the FRONT yard. On this fine morning I am singing the farmer's lament: There's always next year...