Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Orange "Tree"

Sheila at The Gardens of Petersonville posted pictures of her orange blossoms as a celebration of the starting of spring.  Don't confuse hers with ours at the moment.  But, don't panic, we will catch up in due time.

Our Valencia Orange has started to awaken.  We are breathing a collective sigh of relief here at Castle Turling.  During the winter we were ravaged by a gopher.  I'm quite convinced it was the same gopher to star in Caddyshack.

caddyshack_gopher.jpg I have never had the best of luck with the various methods of gopher destruction.  I refuse to use poisons for what I hope are obvious reasons with the pictures of my two little one's already on the blog.

I have tried the traps, as well.  My father-in-law can catch anything with those gopher traps.  I'm chalking it up to his childhood on a farm in Ohio.  I place the traps and come out the next day to the trap being sprung without gopher, of course, but then being buried by said gopher as it filled the hole the trap was in.  I'm convinced it was mocking me and I half expected a little picture of the rodents favorite finger to be sitting in the sprung trap.

I then proceeded to use a third method, which will forever become my method of choice.  It is done as follows:

  1. Dig up a fresh hole until the tunnel is located.
  2. Stick hose into tunnel.
  3. Turn hose on.
  4. Return to the house and prepare a proper cocktail.  I had a gin and tonic for this particular one.
  5. Go to shed (see previous post) and grab pan head shovel.
  6. Get chair.
  7. Sit in chair with shovel drinking previously prepared cocktail.
  8. Wait for movement from a hole.
  9. When discovered LEAP from chair (be sure to be holding the shovel and not the cocktail as it is not effective in the slightest).
  10. In one motion bring shovel straight down on to creatures head.
This, thus far, is the only way I have been able to remove these creatures from my yard.  I am also assuming it is the most satisfying.

Now, back to the tree.  Before the above took place, the gopher had been dining on the roots of this tree for some time.  To the point where the majority of the leaves had fallen from the tree.  We were very concerned it was not going to make it.  We decided to give it another season, as it's less than a year old, to see how it did.  Luckily, as you can see from above, it has begun to sprout (grow? is sprout the correct terminology?).

It is not the most intimidating of trees, but it was the right price.  In this spot my son and I had erroneously removed a ficus.  We found this out when my lovely wife returned and informed us of our error.  We quickly drove to the local home improvement center (I'll give the name when they send me a check) and bought this to take its place.  As I said, it's been in the ground about nine months and using a rhyme I heard from P. Allen Smith, "sleep, creep and leap", this tree would be starting its creeping phase this year.  At least, that's the plan.

In the meantime, I'm going to remove the fruit as it begins to mature this year, so the tree can put its energy into growing.  Unless, of course, someone who knows more about these things then I do (keep in mind the Greenhorn portion of the blogs name) tells me this isn't a wise thing to do.

P.S.  Because it's my blog and I can technically write about whatever I want, I wanted to write about my beloved Tottenham Hotspur's victory of Portsmouth today, 2-0.  Further solidified into fourth place, now.  Keep your fingers crossed we can hold it through the last seven games.


  1. Hello,

    I must say that I am enjoying reading your blog. My husband is the amateur wood worker in our family. I am rooting for your orange tree. Some tips - do not fertilize until it has been the ground for one year. In the summer, citrus trees typically drop all of the tiny fruits it cannot support. So, I don't know if you need to remove the blossoms right now, since the tree will only retain the fruit it can support - which may be none. I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future :-)

  2. Thank you Noelle for the kind words and the words of wisdom, especially the fertilizing.

  3. So here's the thing; how does someone on your side of the pond not only get into English football, but also end up supporting a team like Tottenham?

  4. Well, IG, we went to London some time back and I wanted to see a game. Unfortunately, it was a mere couple of weeks before the start of the season, and no tickets were really to be had. While there, I was really taken in with how much passion there is for the sport there. Also, about the same time, our local cable tv provider started offering Fox Soccer Channel. We get to see three live games each weekend and two on tape. Throw in Setanta and pretty much every game can be seen here.

    I decided I wanted to start following a team. So, I set up some criteria (luckily, I didn't have anything such as city I was born in to dictate whom I supported). The first item was the team couldn't be part of the big four. No fun in that. Second, they had to be in London, because when we visit, that's most likely where we will go. Third, they needed a minimal chance of being relegated. Very little (we get one game per weekend) coverage of the Championship here. I know, Spurs have come pretty close, but they've never gotten the drop. Lastly, they're called Tottenham Hotspur. For a Yank, how cool is that? And, they play at White Hart Lane. How cool is that? So, it was decided.

    As it turns out, the largest Spurs fan club in the US, I believe we are, is called the LA Spurs. We meet at the pub at the crack of dawn and watch the games when they're on.

  5. Well, that's nearly right. They went down in 1977, albeit just for one season!