The Last of the Satsumas

I was surrounded by 3 different types of carpenter ants. They all thought my walls looked like a safe place to store their babies when it rained heavily and their tunnels flooded. it was necessary to have pesticides sprayed twice a year if i wanted to keep them from eating the place out from under us. However, my stance on this surprised many who knew me to eat mostly organic and refuse exposure to chemicals or additives. Eh, it is what it is. I haven’t yet found an organic way to kill carpenter ants so, for now i am doing what i know works. However, we don’t inhabit the space until the spray dries and we open all the windows and go outside for hours after they visit to give the place a chance to air out. The Satsuma tree was in the shed, which was to be sprayed, so, ready or not all the satsumas had to come off the tree before the spray fumes hit. I grabbed them one by one and piled them up in my apron. I held the end of my apron, carrying them back to the house in a sort of makeshift cloth sling. I put them in a ziplock freezer bag and placed them in the refrigerator. When all the spray was dried i went back in the house and tasted the mandarins. I was amazed. I had been starving the tree, giving it just enough water to survive, hoping the sugars in the fruits would concentrate. It worked. This last batch of mandarins was the sweetest yet, like sticky juicy candy. I sat and enjoyed them thinking, “i’ve got to keep this tree alive.” I imagined i’d plant it in late spring and hope its roots were well established by winter. What a lovely wonderful tree! For a second i wondered why i had other types of trees, why i hadn’t just planted 8 or so satsumas. Then i regained myself and decided no single person needed 8 of one type of fruit tree. It was an intoxicating thought though. Drowning in mandarins 🤤.

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