Tag Archives: Plum Tree

August 15: Flash Fiction Challenge – First Homemade Low Sugar Plum Jam

August 15, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a sweet jam. It can take you to the kitchen or the smokey room of a back-alley bar. What makes it sweet? Go where the prompt leads you!

 

jam logo

 

It was a long, wet, cold winter this year. The surprising news welcome us back from our trip to Hong Kong and Japan in the middle of January. The previous wet winters came and left in a hurry, so I didn’t expect anything different this year.

The rain was persistent and heavy, dropping week after week. It didn’t let the sun come out even for one day. The sky wore a gray cloak in prolonged mourning. For eight weeks, the first thing I did in the morning was to look out the window, checked the color of the sky. There wasn’t any contrast of fluffy white and clear blue. Then I went to the backyard to check on the two plum trees and the clovers on the slope next to the trees. There were scattered white buds on the trees, and yellow spots on the clovers, but the flowers only smiled to the sun. The bees were not there because only the yellow flowers could invite the bees that time of the year. Without the bees, even if there were plum blossoms, there was no promise of any plums in early spring. I repeated the same routine every morning.

By the first week of March, the white plum blossoms formed a party. What a precious sight that my camera couldn’t resist. This protective mom checked every white bud and flower, then checked the yellow clover, and the sign of bees. They must be synchronized, and the conductor of this orchestra is the sun. I counted the number of white pedals got wet and folded and dropped.

A check of the ten-day forecast was in order. There was a glimpse of hope for a clear sky. I would believe it when the sun shows up. And it did in the middle of March. It synchronized all the players.

The plums kept me picking. For the sake of curiosity, I tallied them. From June 16 to July 15, 2019, one thousand and one hundred plums (1100) were picked. What a year!

 

 

First Homemade Low Sugar Plum Jam

 

“What are we doing with all the plums?”

“We eat them.”

“How many can we eat?”

“As many as we can for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

“You picked 475 in two weeks but only ate less than 75. They are getting mushy.”

“I know. I’ll take them to some meetings to give them away.”

“Can we sell them?”

“Are you kidding? How do I do that and who would buy them?”

“What if we can’t give them away fast enough?”

“I’ll find some low sugar plum jam recipes and do my first homemade jam.”

“It sounds like a plan.”

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction, August 15, 2019 – First Homemade Low Sugar Plum Jam

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50 – Tree Stories

This week Ann-Christine gave us the theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50 – Trees. She wants us to post trees from every corner of the world! Anything about trees is free for us to explore in this theme – leaves, forests, fruits, stumps or saplings…maybe tree houses?

 

Here are some of my tree stories.

 

I’m thankful for having many trees in our front yard and the garden in the back of the house.

Our county is named Orange County known for the orange groves.  In 1948, a vast forest of five million Valencia orange trees grew on 67,000 acres. The postwar population boom triggered an almost wholesale conversation of farmland to suburbia.

Our home was built before 1948 with an orange tree planted in the backyard. The Valencia tree produces two crops a year yielding several hundreds of oranges each crop. The juice we squeeze and freeze from each crop lasts for four months.

 

1.IMG_9631

 

I planted two plum trees in my garden several years ago. The plum blossoms start earlier than any flowers. In 2017, when the trees were mature and started having full blossoms, I worried there were no bee attracting flowers to pollinate the plum blossoms. Well, I said there were no bee attracting flowers around, it was not entirely true. There were clovers with yellow flowers but yellow was not my favorite color of flowers. To one person is flower, to another person is weed. I consider clovers weed and always pulled them to give room for planting other flowers. That year, after I pulled two handful from the slope blanketed with clovers, I spotted bees. I was surprised and happy, but sorry for what I did. I quickly plugged the clovers back to the soil. Ever since then, I leave a large area on the slope for clovers.

 

2.IMG_3212 (2)

3.IMG_0057

 

This year, with five months of winter rain, both plum blossoms and clovers grow wild. There are several hundreds of plums on each tree.

 

3.IMG_4891 - Copy

3.IMG_1601

3.IMG_4892 - Copy

 

Without giving too much thought on many kinds of apples, I planted a Granny Smith apple tree several years ago. It turned out that Granny Smith apples were too sour for me to eat. My friends recommended to use them to make apple pies. We don’t eat pies too much for health reason. I ended up chopping down the tree and planted a Red Delicious apple tree. The tree is three years old with thin branches, but with the help of heavy rain this year, there are a couple hundreds of apples. I had to use heavy sticks to pop up the weighed down branches.

 

5.IMG_4485

6.IMG_2563

 

Cypress trees require little water to grow to a maximum of 100 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Many homes use them as natural fence for privacy or border of the property. We grow them for privacy reason. The home on the hill on the top of our slope has the backyard facing our second story. Even though people don’t purposely intrude other people’s homes, we wanted to have the added beauty of the trees and privacy.

 

 

 

There are three Hibiscus trees, two in the garden in the back of the house and one in the side yard. Hibiscus tree has gorgeous flowers without requiring too much water. I used to water them the same way I did for other trees and flowers. Then I noticed white flies growing from the back of the leaves. My gardener asked me to rinse the leaves with soapy water. I got rid of the white flies with soapy water, but I decided not to water the trees at all. Since the roots of the trees are deep and draw water from the deep soil, the trees grow beautifully with dark green leaves and bright color flowers.

 

Hibisbus-poem-flower-Miriam Hurdle-blog tour-new release-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The WriterNext Door-Vashti Q

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50 – Tree Stories

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Promise

The spring came late this year. The winter rain kept the sun away when the plum trees needed the warmth to bring out the blossoms. Regardless, the hard-working bees pollinated the blossoms as much as they could. It looks like the trees promise a fruitful harvest in the summer. The top right photo is apples and the bottom right is plums.

Just thought that I could relax to look forward to the harvest, I found out that the homeless and hungry cat has eaten three mourning doves in my backyard. The doves are not very alert. The cat hid behind the flowers and dashed out to the doves. I’m heart-broken and try to do my best to fence in some area for the birds. He’s behind a gate my neighbor installed to keep the dog in their yeard. The cat is flexible to go through any tiny area to get into my yard.

fruits

cat

flowers

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Promise

Debbie’s Today’s Forgiving Fridays is about…Happy-ness!

Photo Challenge – After the Rain

My plum tree is four years old. In March 2017, the tree was full of blossoms. Thanks to the hard-working bees, we had a prolific harvest in the early summer. I took photos of the plum tree in March this year, the blossoms were scattered. I was puzzling about the difference between the two years. Then I remembered that the rain came late this past winter. The air was still cold in February and early March. As a result, there was not enough sunlight to call out the blossoms. Only after the rain and a couple weeks of warm weather, the blossoms started to appear. The harvest this year may not be as bountiful as last year.

We are thankful for the rain!

prolific

prolific 2

rain

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rain

 Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific

Bees and Butterflies in My Garden – Blossoms to Plums

This post was originally posted on March 11, 2017. I worried about the plum blossoms didn’t get pollinated. I was surprised by the visit of the bees and butterflies. Three months after I wrote this post, I’m happy to report that I got about 400 plums from two plum trees. When I went to my poetry class on Thursday, I took about 100 plums with sandwich size ziploc bags, asked the classmates to take some home. At the end of the class, all the plums were taken.

I love plums because of the fiber content. I would like to dehydrate some plums. I ordered a plum pitting machine to take out the pits. I also found a recipe to use regular oven to dehydrate the plums so that I could keep them longer. All I have to do is put the pitted plums in the oven with 125to135for 12 hours. I’ll check on them every hour. I’ve never done that, so I hope that it will work. I added the photos of the plums at the bottom of this post.

52-week

This is my “52 Weeks of Thankfulness” Week 2 at Haddon Musings.

March 11, 2017

What an exciting week in my garden.

I worried about my plum tree two weeks ago because it was the first tree to blossom after the rain. There was no bee attracting flowers close by the plum tree. I manually pollinated the blossoms with a fine paint brush.

B n B 9
The plum tree is against the retaining wall. There are different plants on the slope behind the wall. I climbed over the wall to look at the plants. I had some bee attracting plants on the slope last summer.  Right now the whole slope is covered by clovers with fellow flowers. Somehow yellow flowers were not my favorite color. I started pulling them out to expose the ice plants with purple flowers, only to discover that they were dead.

Before I got disappointed, there was a shocking surprise. I saw BEES. The bees hovered over the blanket of sixty feet wide yellow clover flowers. I almost wanted to plug the clovers back into the soil. Then I was thinking how to get some clovers close to the plum tree on the other side of the wall. First, I wanted to take a few photos of the bees.

B n B 3

Suddenly, I caught the sight of some bees hovering over the plum blossoms also. Oh, how excited I was. I felt like the whole burden just fell off my shoulder. Now I could just leave it to the nature. Let the bees pollinate the plum blossoms.

Yesterday morning as I was having coffee and doing reading in the backyard. I caught another exciting sight of butterflies hopping from flower to flower on the plum tree also.

B n B 1

How thankful I am for the nature. How delightful I am to see the bees and butterflies in my garden this week.

Post note – June 17, 2017

I’m so happy that the bees and butterflies brought 400 plums to my trees!

52weeks

Daily Prompt: Blossom