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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My good fortune

Persimmon and Pepperina
At this time last year, this was something I was fairly sure I would never see again. It's our little persimmon tree, about which I wrote with such reverence in June last year. I've been told by friends that their trees this year have no fruit on them at all.

   I guess we must just be lucky. All the rain we had must have come at the right time for them to benefit. I've asked Tracey to wait till she sees the first evidence of a bird peck on one of the fruit before she harvests. That way they'll reach full flavour sun-ripened on the tree.

   But... I will also ask her to pick about a dozen now to ripen on the kitchen window sill. There are flocks of white cockatoos flying over daily and if they decide the time is right, we'll wake one morning to find the tree stripped. That's certainly what happened to the cherries!

   There's no point repeating everything I said when I wrote about them last time, but there's one thing I discovered since then. There are quite a few varieties of persimmon, so what I wrote there doesn't apply to them all.

   Even so, having tasted several varieties, I have to say that none of them come close to the subtle and delightful flavour of the ones from our tree.

   Now is a good time to share with readers of the blog who may not know about it what I called "The perfect Australian Short Story." I posted it at the same time as the one on persimmons last year, for a reason that will become obvious if you read it too. Maybe I was a little over-enthusiastic in my praise, but not all that much. It is a delightful story.

   Finally, let me end with words I quoted from Christopher Hitchens, ones I included in last year's posting but clearly are worth recalling, for obvious reasons. Hitchens ("Hitch") died of cancer in December 2011. I know of few who wrote so powerfully on life and death.
I make preparations both to live and to die every day, but with the emphasis on not dying, and on acting as if I was going to carry on living.
   That is why I will not say anything about this being the last year for the persimmons, although I "make preparations both to live and to die every day". 

The fruit of Armidale winter
All photo credits to Tracey James


  1. Though for you so ever-present, I can't help but lament that all of us do not similarly understand how vital it is to "make preparations" as well as delight in the living of each day.
    From the outside looking in, and as one who cherishes your thoughts and the way in which you commit them to your blog, you do it so well, Den.

    1. We are all pretty brave until we face the real crunch time, Ros, so I am not sure how well-prepared I really am.

      I am pleased to see Tanya Blibersek has a wonderful new initiative that should benefit people in future. It will take a while and is always in danger of being undone by meddlesome do-gooders in the future, so keep your eye on this one.

      Plibersek launches eHealth palliative care initiative"

      Health Minister Tanya Plibersek is launching an eHealth initiative that allows people to specify what types of treatments they would prefer at the end of their lives.

  2. Are your persimmons yellow or is it just my computer? Cockatoos are the louts of the bird world, much as they love them - so mindlessly destructive.

    1. Good question. No, it's not your computer. Somehow this year in particular, perhaps through less strong sunshine, they do seem to be yellower at this point, and slower to ripen, even on the tree. Rest assured that when it comes to the time that they are fully ripe, they should be that beautiful deep tangerine colour we associate with persimmons ready for eating.

      My biggest regret is that after scooping out the flesh, I won't be able to stand at the kitchen sink and slurpily suck out that delicious, juicy last bit just under the skin. [Now see what you've done - my mouth is watering.]

    2. Once you eat homegrown things, shop bought are such a disappointment. A neighbour grows kiwi fruit. They don't look great but the taste is so much better than anything you can buy. When we lived in Belgrade, food in the markets was seasonal. I can never decide whether it's better to only have tomatoes for some of the year but to have wonderful tomatoes or to have tomatoes all year round but often insipid and a little floury. I do remember when Chernobyl blew up and my family wanted me to come home, because our daughter was only a baby, all I could think was, 'But I've just bought tomatoes for the first time in eight months. I want to have lunch on the terrace and eat a tomato salad. I can't get on a plane and leave the tomatoes behind.'

    3. Oh zmck, how sad but touching. A poem!
      Denis, that little persimmon tree is burgeoning its heart out for you!

      PS I love my fig tree:)So do the silvereyes!

      Julie M xxox

    4. My youngest sister Kay was a great gardener. In their yard was an old apricot tree. I was staying with her and John once and the apricots were ripe. I never tasted ones before or afterwards anywhere near so sweet, juicy and flavoursome. So I know what it feels like (with the persimmons on top) to be spoilt with homegrown fruit.

      Our childhood was full of homegrown mangoes, peaches, mulberries and vegetables from our very productive garden. We just took them for granted. Not these days!


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