There are birds including a warbler lurking in my plum tree. Last year the tree took the season off but right now it is so laden with fruit that limbs are bent to ground level for easy plucking. I literally have low hanging fruit in my front yard in Carbondale right now.
One of my neighbors had to put a “no tresspicking” sign on her lawn because human scavengers were helping themselves to all of her apricots. Most people with heavily-laden fruit trees in their yard don’t mind if you pick but it is a good idea to ask permission first. We haven’t had that issue with our plums yet, but a bruin bear-handled our plum tree a couple of years ago and broke off a significant branch.
I’ve heard that the commercial apricot yield was compromised by frost this year but Carbondale has plenty of ’cots going off right now. I can walk outside my office, get on the Rio Grande Trail and be plucking ripe apricots from a public tree in about three minutes.
Come to think of it, we have quite a bit of public domain food out here. Wild asparagus in the spring, mushrooms, apples, apricots, watercress, dandelion and datura, yes datura in the summer. I am not suggesting that anyone eat datura but I have seen it growing in public pots in downtown Carbondale. I’ve always called datura “Groover Lily” because it grows wild in the desert river corridors in some of the most scenic places.
Do not just start grazing out of Carbondale’s planters thinking that everything in there is edible. You might trip over the planters.
Wkipedia says this about datura: “Due to the potent combination of anticholinergic substances it contains, datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an anticholinergic delirium (as contrasted to hallucination): a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy; hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.”
Painful photophobia? No thanks! I might not mind a small bit of amnesia but it sounds too risky. Stay away from the Bonedale Groover Lillies!
Gardens are bursting in Carbondale this year and people are sharing. Jerome Osentowski walked into my office last week with a bagful of perfectly ripe figs which he had grown in Basalt of all places. These plump and delicious fruits are grown at his Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute.
Luis Meyer, president of the Carbondale Rotary Club, brings beans, greens, cukes and goodies to each week’s meeting as a door prize. He also gives a brief update about what’s happening on the farm.
There has been a dramatic increase in community garden plots around Carbondale with new opportunities at the Third Street Center and the Orchard, to name a couple. One of my neighbors provides raised beds for senior center residents who want to get outside and bend over.
On my walks to work, I stroll past the community garden on Hendrick Drive. I can barely see the beds because of the 10-foot-tall sunflowers and the hollyhocks pushing up, up, up. A closer look reveals garlic, onions, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, beans, peppers, spinach, radishes, beets and a whole lot of herbs doing quite well. Gazing into the heart of the sunflowers in the garden reveals a world of wonder as bees move in and do their sack dances, paddling pollen-encrusted nectar toward bulging bottoms.
You can watch the circle of life without having to turn on the Internet.
I’m working to get some local bread culture going. The last time I was baking bread at the community oven there was a large sack of local wheat from the Nieslanik Ranch available to bakers. I quickly discovered that hand-grinding wheat is a lot of work. Purists may want to get a horse and a large grindstone to help grind local wheat.
I’ve let the local airborne bacteria influence my sourdough bread starter and now I am making wheat bread from a local, one-of-a-kind bread culture. Hopefully those honeybees at the garden don’t mind sharing a little nectar to go on my toast.
Steve Skinner encourages you to eat pine nuts when walking to Mushroom Rock. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org