Tag Archives: Percy

Harvest Update

Percy the fig tree is producing! This is from one day. We’ve been getting about this many each day all week.

Here are some historic pictures of Percy for your memory.

On the side is a yellow tomato and a tiny cherry tomato. I have some still-ripening tomatoes out there that are gigantic. I can’t wait to harvest. I can’t remember the last time I had tomatoes that big.

This is just a tiny fraction of the potato crop. This batch weighed in at about 5.5 pounds. The little dish at the side is for the tiny potatoes that I will bury in the fall and next year we will have too many potatoes, again.

I am hit or miss with my potato recipes. It seems like they never cook enough. I roasted some last night and kept them in there 3x as long as the recipe said. I finally dumped them into a Pyrex and nuked them and then put them back in the oven for a final roast. Last week I made a quiche and cooked the potatoes as instructed but they had a good bite to them.

We will be having potato salads and whatever else we come up with.

Not pictured: Peas and green beans. We had some delicious fresh peas earlier and we are still eating green beans but not as good as the first crop. The blueberries aren’t too impressive. I need to fertilize for next year and I need to research bird discouraging tactics.

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Day of the Figs

Wow, it’s the middle of August. What happened?

Our next door neighbors have a giant fig tree and it was really loaded. I looked at it with envy even though I love my little fig tree.

As we got closer to harvest time, we would check in with the neighbors.

Figs yet? No, still hard as a rock. How about you?

Then we had a few days of 100 degree weather.

And then the figs were all ripe at the same time.

This is part of our crop. I ate most of it standing outside next to the tree.

Our neighbors were inundated. They said we could pick over the fence. And then just said come over and pick. And also gave us bunches.

They also had a murmuration of starlings discover the tree and do a number on it.

I threw my stash into the freezer and will be making jam when I have time.

Just as fast as it started, it’s finished. Just the second crop nubbins out there now.

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Look Who’s Taller Than I am

This is Percy in their first year which was already 5 years ago. (GULP!)

And here they are now!

So many figs in our future.

We have a super busy couple of weeks coming up (or probably most of the summer) but I’m going to schedule a few posts to hopefully cover until I can get back to it.

The Project of Forever, Part 2 of 3:

11336 / 40000 words. 28% done!

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This Little Figgy

This is Percy in the fall — I guess that’s frost? I can’t remember when I took the photo. (More groundhog daikon radishes in the background.)

I came *this* close to announcing that there were interesting developments next door.

Bob said he saw a moving van over there. During the holidays we had gone up to a regular 6 (six!) cars parked over there every night. But then it went down to two. Then for a couple of nights there was one and no lights on and not a sign of life.

Percy is the kind of fig tree that only has a summer crop. There’s probably some interesting reason why he produced a couple funny little figs in the fall. I don’t know what it is but I hope it’s foreshadowing for next summer.

I foolishly alerted the neighbor on the other side and asked if she’d seen or heard anything. She also complained about the six cars and was hopeful for good news.

False alarm. We’re back to 4-5 cars and they woke me up once last week at 1:30am.

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Everything Changes, Everything Stays the Same

Here’s a shot of the irises. They only last about a week and they’re kind of a pain. I don’t know why I feel bad every time I accidentally pull some of them up. Pretty while they last.

Here’s Percy — look how cute his leaves are. I found some fig forums online so I will be learning everything about figs. People who love figs are very passionate about figs. People who don’t know about figs are sad.

This is a giant dark opening behind the alien bush and inside the hedges in the backyard. Every time I do yard work there, I imagine a growling clicky sound like you hear in a horror movie while some unsuspecting lady hums while gardening and a giant creature with claws and teeth gets ready to tear her apart.

If you don’t hear from me, that’s what happened.

Still trying to fix the 90% draft and some sad back tracking happened this week. I nuked two chapter because they were a huge mess and sometimes it’s better to jettison stuff than try to fix it.

64163 / 75000 words. 86% done!

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We’re at 98% of a Flimsy First Draft

My goal was to have a first draft by the end of the month and I’m mostly there. I’m still working on it. I have a series of about five scenes that are more framework than actual draft and I am still filling those out so this is even skinnier than I would normally refer to as a first draft but I need a win so I’m giving it to myself.

I have almost two full months to get ready for first readers and I am going to need it. I struggle with all of these books in different ways which is exasperating. I want to have figured this out.

In other news, I nuked my Instagram account. This article helped me decide because this is my experience. People are posting fewer photos and more stories and often the stories are too long and I HATE that herky-jerky thing — I don’t need to know what it’s called. Also the ads are creepy — I will talk about something, like say, pizza, and then a pizza ad pops up in my timeline. We were talking about the opioid crisis at the office and then a drug ad showed up in my timeline. Creepy.

I still have a Twitter account and I reluctantly log in about 5 minutes or less a day, except Timbers games, when I spend a lot of time logged in because I like being with people sharing my joy or my pain, depending on what the team is doing.

A fig tree’s first spring leaves. There will be lots of photos of Percy.

A couple of miscellaneous notes:

New Yorker story about heirloom beans. I love everything about beans: stories about heirloom beans and other people who like beans, cooking beans, eating beans, pictures of beans, bean recipes, the bean store. I make lots of different kinds but generally we’re perfectly happy with pinto beans.

Neighbor report: woke me up again last night. *sigh*

I don’t know what’s going on with my word count meter. It was gone and then it came back and last time I checked it was gone again. Here’s a different one:

66254 / 75000 words. 88%

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The House with Sad Plants Out Front

Look — sad tulips. I have these two plus one more with ragged green leaves that look like they narrowly escaped a garbage disposal. I have the world’s longest list of projects and problems to solve that I will tackle as soon as I finish these books. (So, starting in summer of 2019.) “Improve bulb situation” is on the list.

I never got an apple tree either but I have a huge hole in my backyard. I impulsively bought a fistful of seed packets because that always works out well. After my great tomato success of last summer (scroll down past the dog) I bought four (4!) tomato plants online including a cherry tomato that is supposed to be VERY PROLIFIC.

Place your bets here by which date I will be complaining about cherry tomatoes.

Now look at the sad rhodie. It’s shown signs of giving up on us for several years. Then we had his bush companion removed and he’s never been the same. Now we will be one of those sad houses with nothing planted out front. Except for the fig tree. As soon as Percy sprouts leaves there will be more photos.

I might be back on track with the book. Every time I say that I get thrown off again so I’m not going to elaborate. It looks like the word count thing I was using died so I’m trying a new one. I’m still writing out of order but this is close:

44290 / 75000
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Little Black Backpack

This is Percy, all piled with leaves to keep him warm. I don’t know why Bob named our fig tree (is it really a fig tree when it’s this small?) but now I drive up and I think, poor Percy is just some sad little sticks.

One of the good things about driving home from the coast was I got to drive along Highway 101 between Eureka and Crescent City which means I had some beautiful ocean views and drove through the redwoods. I know the world is filled with amazing beautiful things and places but there are few places or things that can compete with the redwoods in NW California. One of my very favorite places to be.


I made an off-hand remark a couple of days ago that I was considering giving up all non-essential Internet for the month of January. I can’t really give it up completely because I use it for work and streaming exercise classes and certain kinds of research and apps for writing.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I have unsubscribed from almost everything. I cleaned out my feed reader and left only friends and work related. I took Instagram and Twitter off my phone. I’m keeping a list of what’s allowed and what’s not. I am making an exception for Timbers and NCAA gymnastics — which starts NEXT WEEKEND. Here’s a link to my case for watching NCAA gymnastics.

Bob asked what I was going to be doing to fill the void I was creating and I’m like: getting my brain back. I let myself get so distracted. Hopefully I will do more reading and writing and learn new stuff.

My brand new backpack, which is not little or black. Did I ever write about what a hassle it is to find a new backpack? I started looking two years ago but it was like looking for a car with all the different kinds and configurations. Last year I found one to buy — it was nothing special but had nice colors and would carry my crap to and from the office every day and was reasonably priced. But the first three comments said: don’t even think about using this backpack in the rain.

Clearly, that wouldn’t do.

Then I started looking at waterproof backpacks which weren’t pretty and said things like, “Mt. Everest compliant.” I need to keep my stuff dry while I walk from the bus to the office. I don’t need to keep it dry in a monsoon.

Finally I found one I liked and bookmarked it and when I went back the company was out of business.

Then I found this one and it was not cheap but I figured, I have a big girl job, I can treat myself to a nice backpack that I will use and enjoy every day. So I bought it immediately, months ago. I opened the box to make sure it was the right thing, then I gave it to Bob to give to me for Xmas. I have been counting down ever since.

I can’t wait to use it. It’s from Waterfield. I bought several laptop sleeves and a laptop bag from them. I have never been disappointed.


This post is kinda all over the place but I will conclude with some podcasts I listened to while doing so much driving lately.

My favorite is Gymcastic which is for gymnastics nerds. I love the hosts – they are shameless fan nerds, they are extremely knowledgable, and they are funny but have covered the criminal abuse case with dignity.

My Dad Wrote a Porno — I feel like I might have mentioned this one. SO SO FUNNY. I haven’t listened consecutively but you can drop into any episode and get a good laugh.

My friend Tina does a podcast Toasted Cake which is spec flash fiction. I like that the episodes are short so if the story doesn’t work for me, it’s over quick, and I get to hear so many different writers.

I especially like long car rides for listening to writing podcasts because during my regular life if I have time, I’d rather be writing than listening to a podcast.

I like Writing Excuses because they keep it to 15 minutes and almost always hit something interesting even if the topic isn’t something related to what I’m doing.

Finally, I recommend with reservations, Narrative First. This one discusses stories using Dramatica which is story theory that I love. It is not for everyone. It takes some effort to learn. Narrative First works hard to make it more accessible but it isn’t something you study over the weekend and then get. Recommended only for deep story study nerds.

I will try to post once a week going into the new year. I’m still getting my bearings on my manuscript after my trip down south. As soon as I get a grip, I will start posting my word counts. I’m way behind where I want to be but I think I’m further along than I realize.

Happy New Year.

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I’ll Take that Bag for You

I spotted this when we were having all the fires and ash everywhere. I think this is a raccoon print. I think our yard is on the raccoon circuit. We spot them sometimes if we’re up really early.

Confession: I’m writing most of these posts in bursts and then scheduling for the different days. Sorry — I just can’t reliably post every day.

I am writing this almost the same day as I’m posting.

I finally got outside and did a bunch of raking. I put the leaves in the garden areas where I want to keep the cats out. I piled leaves around Percy (fig tree that is now three sticks and no leaves) and the blueberries. The lady at the nursery said we didn’t need to worry but landscaper Vu thought we should pile him with leaves.

The garden is about 90% put to bed. I yanked the last tomato plant and harvested any tomatoes I thought might have a chance. I found a couple pounds of carrots and a million pounds of beets out there. Oh, and potatoes.
There are always potatoes.

Everything has been cleaned and prepped. Next weekend I hope to make borscht and do a quick refrigerator pickled beets.

And I’m doing my Thanksgiving menu — this always sneaks up on me. It’s summer. Summer winds down. Then it’s the holidays.

I have been searching for a new backpack. It’s like buying a car. So many kinds and options. I found one I liked but the first three reviews all said it was no good in the rain. So then I tried filtering by rain-proof backpacks and found all these ugly bags for bike messengers. Then I found the perfect backpack and bookmarked to buy later and when I checked the store was closed. Finally, I checked Waterfield where I have purchased a fantastic laptop bag plus three laptop sleeves. It was a spendy backpack but I treated myself. I admired it when it arrived then I handed it to Bob to give to me for Xmas.

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Remember When Banking Was Harder?

This is Percy the Desert King fig tree, year one. It’s going to be so sad when he’s just a couple of little sticks with no leaves.

I’ve been complaining about how technology makes me want to pull my hair out but remember the olden days of banking?

I recently received a letter from my bank telling me that my branch was closing and they would be “moving my account” to another branch.

I haven’t been in that branch, on the Washington side of the river, since we opened the account. I do about 99% of my in branch banking in Portland at one of two branches that are an easy walk from my office.

But remember when you had to do business with your branch? And had to move branches when you moved? And doing stuff out of state was giant pain in the hoohaw?

I remember waiting in a long line on Friday afternoons when I got my paycheck from Jack-in-the-Box to get cash for the weekend. I was only allowed to work 19 hours a week while I was in school and I earned $3.10 an hour. After taxes, what was my paycheck? $90 for two weeks’ work? I have some really old check registers somewhere, I could probably figure it out.

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