Protecting Our Figs!

I’m enjoying backyard gardening now that we’re settling into our summer routine. This can be challenging in San Antonio with our blazing 100+ degree days in July and August, but a bit of gardening can still be done. I planted 18 sweet potato slips in a few of our box gardens a couple weeks ago because sweet potatoes thrive in the summer. Yet, even they wilted in the hot afternoon sun the first few days after putting them in. Then I improvised a bit of shade for them, and that seemed to help a bit.

Box Gardens

This week, we began getting rain almost every day, breaking a long drought, and this is helping a lot. I’m seeing new growth on almost every vine, and that’s a good sign. I’ve removed the “shades” and we’ll see how the vines do over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I noticed that a few figs on our backyard fig tree were beginning to ripen. I planted the tree as a small “start-up” five years ago. It’s grown to a 15-foot fig tree that shades our back bay-window. About 3 dozen figs were growing on it in June. These are Black Mission figs, but they stay green most of the time. They begin to turn a deep purple – almost black – a few days before they’re ripe. I noticed one was almost ripe a couple days ago, but I decided it needed one more warm day to fully ripen. Unfortunately, that’s when our neighborhood cardinal found it. I wound up picking a well pecked fig.



Ripening Figs

Backyard Fig Tree












After giving this some thought, I decided to see if our “pet owl” could protect the remaining 3 dozen figs. I bought the owl a year or two ago to keep the cardinal from dashing it’s head against its “rival” image in our window. That helped, but the cardinal does not fear the owl nearly as much as it did last year. We’ll see what happens over the next weeks. So far, so good! 

Owl protecting our figs



An Eventful Day

Tuesday, June 5th is a special day. It’s been highlighted on my 2018 calendar for nearly a year because it’s the day that I and several members of my extended family are beginning a long-planned trip to Africa. We actually began talking about the possibility of such a family trip over a year ago. Ten months ago, 14 of us bought round-trip tickets from Ethiopian Airlines for this trip. A 15th member of the family subsequently decided to join us. Why Africa? That’s a long story. The quick version is that my parents felt a call to Africa over 80 years ago, and Africa became their life-long passion. Three generations of the Dodge family have had some kind of ties to Africa since then. Now, we’re going back to explore old family memories and perhaps create some new ones. We start today!


Hibiscus Bloom

It’s great to be home again. Our small backyard is at its best. Our little garden plot is producing nice organic radishes. The tomato plants are loaded with blooms, promising a good supply of cherry tomatoes in the next few weeks. The small hibiscus plants I set out a few weeks ago are starting to bloom. As you can see from the one in the picture, these blooms are beautiful. It’s a gorgeous time of the year to be in San Antonio! Even the birds seem to celebrate the season as they play in the bird-bath. Thanks be to God for the beauty in our world!