I got up early and got everyone here fed and out to potty, and then it was off to the Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale. I had been planning to go to this for a year, and as it happens, Roberto promised that the two trees would be my Christmas present (I’ve got to get around to ordering the rest of his).
I got to Robertson Stadium and UH a little before 9:00 a.m. and there was already a very long line. (I had arranged to meet Roberto and Bar there.) I got in line and a very nice lady was asking people to fill out invoices on clipboards. One rather rotund, senior, paranoid guy refused. The woman simply stated that he wouldn’t be able to buy any trees without it. I wonder now what happened with him.
Just as the line started to move, I saw Roberto up ahead. And the line moved quickly. It wasn’t like other lines, where you stop and start. Once it started, we were on the go. R called Bar, who was parking her car, and we caught up with her around the bend — R kept saying, “we’re coming your way!” and we did.
When I first walked up to the line, I had a face-palm moment: why hadn’t I asked Roberto to bring his dolly (named Salvador) to haul our purchases? Several people had either dollies or trucks or little red wagons — which I found out later were being rented. I thought — we can carry the two little trees I wanted to buy. . .
After I filled out the invoice, some other very helpful person (there were tons of them) gave me a map to the sale. I knew exactly what I wanted, based on this book (which was the greatest present ever!!!!!! also from Roberto!!!!!): a persimmon and a tangerine. They were in different places. We scooped up Bar and then went straight to the persimmon — my first priority. They were in HUGE pots — maybe 30 gallon ones. I panicked. There was more than one variety. I pulled out my gardener’s bible. All I could think was: hurry up idiot. I found the part about which persimmon to buy, and left Roberto there to get one — after finding out that they were pulling them out of the big pots one by one.
Bar and I headed to the tangerines. Which to pick? We consulted the book again, and I turn to the page that said “the Pong Koa is the best fruit tree you can plant in Houston” or something very authoritative. And there they were! Bar went back to help Roberto, and I picked out a Pong Koa — not the biggest, not the smallest, not the fanciest, but just the right one.
Then I headed back to the persimmon area. Roberto was holding a bare tree about 4 foot tall with its root exposed. He said we need a bag to put it in. Once again, a very helpful young person got us a bag, put our tree in it and added some straw, which they had there in bales.
With our two trees in hand, we consulted the map and found our way to the check out. It was all very organized and we went the cash route. Along the way, young people, including a very young boy (very confident), filled out our invoice, stared it, and checked it again. One older woman tried to sell us the book I already had, as well as a membership, but otherwise everything was smooth, courteous and efficient. As we left, a woman at the exit wished us “Be Fruitful!” It was only 9:35.
A friend of mine is in town from New York, and we arranged to pick him up and go for brunch. He’s Japanese, very funny and wonderful and just saying — used to comment on this blog until he got addicted to Facebook :(
We went to Croissant-Brioche in the Village — which has the best French onion soup. It was crowded when we got there, but we quickly snatched a four top and everything was cool. Good friends, good food, good conversaiton — you just can’t beat it.
Roberto said that while he was waiting to get the persimmon, he over heard that it should be planted today. I wasn’t quite ready, so we parted ways from brunch, and I took my friend from New York back to where he was staying. I returned home to build the raised bed for the new persimmon.
I’ll have pictures tomorrow, because, by the time I got home and got the tree set up, it was getting dark. It was a lot of work, but I think the finished product is good. I put two rebar stakes in and tied them loosely with some strong cloth cord even though it seemed pretty stable — we’re supposed to have thunderstorms tomorrow, so I don’t want it waving around in the wind.
The most amazing thing today — though that might just be a timing factor — the Tree Sale was pretty darn amazing — was how easy it was to trim the bricks for the raised bed I built. I had never done it before, but just following simple instructions, I was able to cleanly trim two bricks. I was all like, “damn that worked like it was supposed to.” It says everything about having the right tools for the job and following instructions. That’s one of my strong points, I think.
Today was a very good day. It was exciting, fun, and satisfying, spent with friends and kittens and the earth and promise of things to come. There’s nothing better than that.