Monday, January 16, 2006


I picked oranges yesterday while my wife was on top of the house sweeping the roof and cleaning out the gutters. Not that I haven't been the one who normally does this task (on a metal roof I might add - the closest we can get to outdoor ice skating in these parts). Still, what started out as a request to put up the 10' ladder so she could trim the crepe myrtles became instead a marathon of physical torture. For her.

So, as I kept a wary eye on her in case 911 needed to be called, I rolled up the Christmas lights & piled up the Oak tree limbs she lopped off (the crepe myrtles were apparently not challenging enough). And I removed an Orange tree that had died back a couple of years ago during a freeze. Oh, it had tried to fake it as a real Orange tree. It grew back tall and green. Flowered with the best of them and set some fruit that looked as though it was painted a perfect orange, chemically dipped and placed in your grocer's fresh fruit bin. It was an imposter and I had been its willing enabler. Deep down I knew it had not sprung back to life from above the graft. No, this was a true root stock offspring and its fruit bore the truth. Sour. Sour, as in pucker your face, tingle your cheeks, make your tongue feel funny sour. So I did what any of you would do. I wrapped a chain around its trunk and tied it off to the hitch on our truck and with a few series of go, stop, back-up, go faster -- I tore it out of the ground. I was so proud, not as proud as I was of my ski slope braving wife still "sweeping" the roof but still proud. Until DW joined me to cut the Orange tree up and move it to the debris pile. Here's the deal. If you decide to jerk an Orange tree out of the ground anytime soon - use a chain long enough to keep the tree from coming in contact with your vehicle.

I wonder how much a paint job costs to cover scratches left on a tailgate? Or should I think of the scratches as manly reminders of how hard I worked? I didn't think so. I elected to tell my wife that I thought she did a great job up on the roof but maybe that's where I need to be next time since all I accomplished was devaluing our principal ride and nearly destroying the Navel Orange tree that somehow survived the extraction of its neighbor.

Oh, the oranges I picked came from the Navel tree... I picked most of them from off the ground where they had fallen after having been "brushed" by Mr. Sour Tree as it was leaving. You may notice that they aren't a perky bright orange the way you see them in the stores. Maybe you thought that fresh oranges really came in that stunningly waxy, unblemished orange perfection? Oh well, ours may not be Norman Rockwell beauties but they're real, they're fresh and they're sweet. I only wish they could take scratches off the back of pickup trucks...

And yes, the roof looks great. Thank you Aly...

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