Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Sand Pear

It's been too hot and rainy this summer to spend much time at Tree Ring, so I haven't written much.  Instead, I've done a lot of researching and thought that fellow Floridians might be interested in some of it.

Eventually we want to grow food on our Tree Farm.  Last week my co-worker mentioned she was visiting her Grandmother in Northern Florida and was hoping her Gma's pear tree had some pears ready.  I asked her what kind of pear tree grew in Florida, and she told me it was a Sand Pear.
First, with my black thumb, I want to know if it has a chance of living.  Yes, this looks like my kind of tree, as it seems to be fairly disease resistant.  One web site said you can just put a branch in the ground and start a new one.  


Some web sites equate the sand pear to an apple pear, which is crunchy like an apple.  Though it has a high water content, it can be used to may pies just like an apple.  It supposedly has a slightly gritty texture, but I really didn't notice it at all when I ate the one my co-worker brought me after her visit.

It isn't a Florida native plant.  Rather it is from Asia.  In China it is a sacred fruit and apparently many sayings come from it, but in my research I couldn't find any.

It apparently grows in the northern half of Florida, so I assume it can potentially be grown in the Tampa or Orlando area.  The trees with the lowest chill requirements are 'Hood' and 'Flordahome' and would be suited for the southern range.  Some varieties listed on the University of Florida's web site:

Pineapple, Baldwin, Tenn, Flordahome, Ayers, Hood, Orient, Carnes

Here are links to some web sites that I used for my research: this has excellent pictures - a newly discovered Florida blogger - another newly discovered Florida blogger

Here are some online resources for purchasing a Sand Pear tree: 

If any of you are successfully growing pears, please share the variety and your experiences.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Give Me My Snow Back"

No not that snow.

That's what Retro Man said as we tried to watch reruns of our new favorite show Criminal Minds.   

"We're going to need to stake **&#(*$&% place out as soon as (*&#@$.* hhhhhhhhh  all night."


No picture.

"No Signal" waved around the screen.

Yes, we're "one of those people" that refuses to pay for porn (cable) TV.  We can watch it for free on ABCBSNBC if only the dang signal wouldn't break up.  We live in the city for Pete's sake.

In the old days, the snowey picture wasn't great, but you could make out the words.

Ah, the Government.  They always know what's best for us, don't they.

Maybe we'll hate it enough to throw the TV away.

I guess that would be good for us!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Polaris Escaped The Garage

I have good news to report.  The Polaris is finally free!

After looking at it sitting forlornly in the garage for a year, we finally saved up enough money to buy a trailer.  The trailer is 6x16, and was really easy to load.

We got to Tree Ring without incident (not a small feat for us).  I had fun unloading the Polaris off of the trailer and parking it at the entrance of the trail.

Retro Man decided he should get the machete out of the Camper, so we could hack our way through the woods.

Surprise!  In true TRC style, the camper door lock has broken.  The key cannot unlock it.

Retro Man had to break in to open the door.

To do this, you have to lift up the cushion above the storage compartment, put your arm through, and reach for the door handle to unlock it from the inside.

Fortunately, Retro Man can contort himself like a pretzel.

Excitedly, we jumped onto the Polaris, and started her up.

And then she died.  

We started her up, and she died again.  

I can't express the disappointment we both felt not being able to proceed with the Polaris maiden voyage.  You can't really ride them in the city, so we've looked longingly at the dang thing for a year, waiting to save the money to get a trailer.

With a few choice words, Retro Man pulled off the seat, and looked at the engine.

He determined that the fuel line fell off inside the fuel tank. 

How bizarre is that?

We set off to the auto parts store, bought a $3 piece of hose and returned to Tree Ring and pouring rain.

It lasted an hour, but the wait was worth it.  Retro Man fixed the line and we were off.

We discovered we have a bunny that lives on Tree Ring.

With the machete, we made our way to the back of the property.

The view was great.

We came across a tree stump.

Which was no match for the chainsaw.

We took GPS points on the trail, and I will try to plot them on a map so we can see where the trail is.

Thank goodness I married McGuyver, or we still wouldn't have had the chance to ride. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hell On Wheels

I'd rather give birth again without anesthesia than have hot flashes in the middle of summer in Florida.

But that's not what this blog is about.

It's about this.

And this.

And this.

It all started because City Girl and I decided to go on a Road Trip.  She is interested in Colleges that are about as far away from from her Dad and I Florida as possible.  We decided to leave the men at home (Retro Man and Sammie), and head out.  We'd see a few colleges in North Carolina and Virginia, visit her grandparents in Roanoke, see my college roommate and her kids, and then return home.

We left on a Friday, and decided to stay overnight in Savanna, Georgia.  Since we'd never been there before, we headed to the historic downtown to eat dinner.  Now we live in an historic downtown when we aren't at Tree Ring.  But this city was extraordinary.  After just an hour wandering around, City Girl and I fell in love with Savannah.   

The next morning, after detouring for pictures, we reluctantly continued on to look at a few colleges.  Every college we looked at paled in comparison to the coolest town ever.  We arrived at G and G's house on Sunday night.

Monday afternoon, City Girl, her Grandpa, her Uncle and I decided to check out Radford and Virginia Tech.  On the way to Radford, I noted that the odometer slid past 85,000 miles.  I remember thinking, "Oh well, the warranty expired.  Thankfully we never needed it."

Note to self:  Duh.  You have got to be the dumbest person on the planet.  Never tempt fate without knocking on wood (your head you idiot).

Radford was a yawn, and half way around the Virginia Tech campus, City Girl said the air smelled weird.  By the end of the campus, I smelled it too.  But it wasn't the Campus air, it was the Van's air.  My Dad and I thought it was the radiator overheating, even though the temperature was fine.  We turned off the air conditioner.

Thinking that back roads would be easier on the radiator, we drove 15 miles through winding roads in the middle of nowhere.   

The smell seemed to be getting stronger, so we decided that getting home quicker would be better.  I pulled onto the Interstate at Ironto, Virginia.  Never heard of it?  Me neither.  But it sounds an awful lot like 'ironic', which is what this blog is.

As soon as I merged, I knew we were in big trouble.  The steering wheel started shaking. Thankfully there was a Rest Area.  I parked and pulled out the warranty information.

The odometer read 85,014.  The warranty expired at 85,000. 

I called the 800 number.  We were covered for towing (who knew), but out of luck with whatever was wrong with the Van.  "I'm sorry ma'am, but the odometer reading is over 85,000.  It doesn't matter that your car had a meltdown at 84,999.  The Tow truck will be there within 45 minutes."

I was never so glad to see a Tow truck.

My Dad left with the Tow truck driver, and City Girl, my brother, and I hung out on a bench in the shade under a tree waiting for him to come back.  There were vending machines, and I got to try out some expired Cheeseburger flavored Doritos.   

They tasted as crappy as they sound.  I felt like the homeless in the City where I live.  Maybe I could find some paper and make a sign:  "Automobile Warranties Suck!  I kill cars, and need money to get home.  God Bless." 

I called the Shop the next day and they were able to look at it that afternoon.  Frozen brake calipers had warped a rotor.  It got so hot that the cap to the tire melted.  I think given those hills, we were really lucky.

We got the van back from the shop on Wednesday, $550 lighter, and decided to head out the next day to visit my college room mate.

I woke up Thursday morning and City Girl came into our room and whispered "I think Dad died".  WHAT?!  "No, hun, I'm sure Dad's all right", I said as I got up quickly.  

But...... he had gone to Tree Ring by himself and God knows what he did with that chain saw.


"Grama said she has to talk to you, and you're going to need a cup of coffee."

Oh Lord.

So I went out and got a cup of coffee.  As I came into the living room, my Dad said, "We have to talk".

Now I started getting concerned.  I've never heard my Dad say those words before.  And certainly not with such a somber look on his face.

I started to worry.  Maybe the love of my life really did saw off a leg. 

"Your Mom ran into the Van this morning."

I just started laughing.  My Mom was crying, my Dad looked like someone died, and all I kept thinking was that my husband still has two legs.

Well, the Van sure looks lived in now.

When I got back to work and told my story, two of my co-workers said their parents had driven into their cars recently.   Must be something in the air.

As for City Girl, she decided she loved Roanoke College, but we really can't afford it.

I hope our next look at Colleges isn't so fraught with peril.