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About ten years ago, or so, my brother Danny planted a variety of fruit trees. The peach trees seemed to fair well with the climate at his southern Iowa home. Occasionally, we get to reap the benefits of his harvest.
Dan brought a large bag of fresh peaches with him when he came up to Minnesota. He arrived at our house around ten-thirty at night, and I ate two peaches before bed.
A couple of days later, I took a road trip to southern Minnesota with my granddaughters. We packed a lunch and some snacks for the ride. Dan prepared a peach for each girl, putting the pieces in two small plastic containers. When we stopped to eat, the girls were thrilled with the surprise. Addison ate about half her fruit. Evelyn ate all her's, then asked Addie if she could have the rest of her peaches; Addison gave them to her. Good, ripe peaches are magical; they put people in a happy, loving mood, and these were good peaches.
A short time later, four-year-old Evelyn struck up a conversation in the car, "Hey Papa, guess what."
Sensing a possibility of being pranked, I answered cautiously, "What."
Evelyn said, "Your daughter Sydney (her mom), Aunt Delaney, and Aunt Annie are pretty."
I smiled while looking at her in the rearview mirror, "What about Nana Mac?"
Ev quickly responded, "Oh yes, she is very pretty, and June Bug is very pretty too."
Addison piped in, "And Edgar is cute."
I quizzed Addie, "Edgar's not pretty?"
"No, he's a boy," Addison answered as if I should already know this. "Boys aren't pretty; they're cute. Edgar is a cute cat." I agreed.
"Wait a minute," I muttered under my breath, "they addressed everyone in the family except me, even the dog and cat. What am I, chopped liver?" Maybe it was the sweetness of the peaches, and extra peaches at that, which inspired Evelyn's nice compliments. We finished our travels, then headed home.
I thought more about Danny and his peach trees; I don't know their variety, but I wouldn't mind having a couple of peach trees in my yard. Although I'm not sure they would survive the harsh winters of northern Minnesota, it couldn't hurt to try growing them indoors to start.
A few weeks earlier, I had purchased some Colorado peaches at a fundraiser for the Encounter Youth Center in downtown Duluth. After eating the peaches, which were terrific, I dried the pits, cracked them open, and retrieved the seeds from the center; I was surprised how small they were compared to the pit. But that wasn't the first time a small seed baffled me.
A few years ago, I met my friend Tony when I delivered a trailer to him on the west coast of northern California. Tony gave me a tour around his yard. Living in the Redwood Forest, he had sequoias in his yard, over one hundred feet tall! I was amazed at how tiny the pinecones were lying on the ground beneath the trees. I mean, these came from trees that are of the largest in the world. So I asked Tony if I could take a couple of pinecones for the seeds.
Tony said the seeds in those cones had already been eaten by squirrels and birds and such, but when the new pinecones fell, he would harvest some seeds for me. He did and sent them to me, but I failed to plant them and doubted they would germinate after two years in an envelope. I thought about trying to grow them anyway.
Planting new trees from seeds would be a good idea right now, especially with the wildfires that continue to burn through Minnesota's north woods. Fire is nature's way of cleaning the forest, making way for new growth; I understand that - still, it's scary! Some of those fires are only about twenty-five miles north of our house. We've been in a drought all summer, and the winds have been brisk, so we've been monitoring the fire's movement daily.
It's very cool, almost poetic, that amid all these trees burning near us, I got an envelope/postcard from Tony in the mail. Inside were more sequoia seeds; on the outside of the package were directions on how to plant them. And, so the process begins.
I'm planting sequoias to start my career as a tree farmer. I know these trees will not withstand Minnesota winters. And peach trees that most likely will not either. With this in mind, it would seem futile to even try, but…
If the seeds germinate, I will transplant the redwood trees into pots, and when they grow a foot or so tall, I'll give most of them away as gifts, keeping a couple of them in the house for myself. Maybe when they get big enough, I'll decorate them with colorful lights, ornaments, and shiny tinsel every year around Christmas time. Then, when they get as tall as the ceiling, I'll have to give them to someone in a suitable climate that could plant them outdoors.
I had a funny vision that I was away from home for a while, and when I returned, the sequoias had grown, pushing their way through the ceiling and rooftop. Like in the story, Jack and the Beanstalk. They were growing taller than the pine trees in our yard. Maybe one day I could climb them through the clouds, all the way to the sky where I'd find a hen that laid golden eggs.
The peach trees could present a problem. Protected from the outside elements, I could imagine them growing in pots and producing fruit in our three-seasons room. June would be in paradise. Thinking she had her own grove of tennis ball trees, she'd jump up and pull soft fuzzy peaches from the branches, then look for someone to throw them for her. Well, I'm getting way ahead of myself here. First, I'll have to see if the seeds will germinate.
I decided to keep some pits from Danny's peaches to plant along with the Colorado peaches. I'll keep you posted on how this all turns out.
I don't know anyone who doesn't like peaches. They make people happy and happy people are more friendly. That's why they call a nice person "a real peach."
My granddaughter is a peach. It was fun to hear Evelyn's compliments after eating a peach. I'll bet Tony likes peaches too.
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