The Fig “Bush”

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This past winter was harsh, there is no doubt about it. We experienced continual and bone-chilling cold for too many months. When spring arrived, it was joyous and we looked forward to the renewal of the earth. But our hearts sank, when we looked at the dead branches on our beloved fig tree.  Despite the devastation of superstorm Sandy, our tree survived another season and we enjoyed the delicious fruit.  But this winter looked like the death knell for the tree until we cut away the dead parts.  We saw a growth of green leaves, almost like a bush.  They are healthy and strong and exposing the growth to the sunlight has been a miracle.   After Sandy, we were reluctant to put any plants into the ground.  We still think that the soil is contaminated from the ocean covering everything.  So we put all the plants in pots and we are elated at the success we see.  The tomato plants are flourishing as well as the basil which needs to be picked very day.  We have strawberry and zucchini and some dill and even a fennel pot. But the fig “bush” warms our hearts every day and we watch and wait as it grows, hopefully into the two-story high fig tree that once graced our backyard with elegance.  As the stone tablet says most clearly, there is no place like home.

fig bush

This is the fig “bush” today ready to grow into a full sized tree.

Our tree was not the only one, many across NYC were effected by the frigid winter.

tagged in fig, gardening

Signing off… for the RD

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We’ve had a hell of a time throughout the years on the roof deck. Thanks to all our friends and family who made them so memorable.

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Gokce’s going away party.

drawing art party

Drawing art party, we created some great work that day.

the hold steady
Photo by Katie Sokoler/Gothamist)

Listening to The Hold Steady –  Live from Gothamist House recording. (thanks Jen!)

Ed Kowalczyk and me!
Photo by Katie Sokoler/Gothamist
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My friend Jackie introduced me to the band Live one weekend when I was visiting her at college in New Paltz. I became a fan then and still am. I’ve seen Live in concert a bunch of times but hanging out with Ed Kowalczyk on the RD was EPIC. He’s super nice and friendly. He prefers red over white wine – we have something in common! And his performance for Live from Gothamist House is fantastic, check it out.  (thanks again Jen!)

Fiver's Birthday Party

Fivey’s first birthday party  and his first steps in the snow.

Barbara's Baby Shower

Barbra’s baby shower!

And there’s been so many other festivities, Mother’s Day party’s, dinner parties, and impromptu jam sessions!

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I thought it would be appropriate to close with some photos of the RD in it’s infancy. It was built before we started The Glorified Tomato and I’ve never posted these.
(Above) Ben Simon and Dave building the bar (which we’re taking with us of course!)

Ridgewood

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Jim and John building the pallet planters and crushing beers.

That’s a wrap, on to another adventure!

Garden Update: #11 – Paper Wasps

This week I had planned to post a final RD recap but then I found this…

paper wasp nest

Nature is so fascinating, I spent almost an hour observing these paper wasps last night.

Paper wasps are 0.7 to 1.0 inch (1.8 to 2.5 cm)-long wasps that gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests

The nests of most true paper wasps are characterized by having open combs with cells for brood rearing, and a ‘petiole’, or constricted stalk, that anchors the nest. Paper wasps secrete a chemical which repels ants, which they spread around the base of the anchor to prevent the loss of eggs or brood.

Nests can be found in sheltered areas, such as the eaves of a house, the branches of a tree, on the end of an open pipe, or on an old clothesline.

Unlike yellowjackets and hornets, which can be very aggressive, polistine paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. Since their territoriality can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas may present an unacceptable hazard.

Most wasps are beneficial in their natural habitat, and are critically important in natural biocontrol.[4] Paper wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae. Because they are a known pollinator and feed on known garden pests, paper wasps are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.

Read more, it’s super interesting.

In past years, we’ve had problems with these wasps. With all the wood from the deck and pallet planters, the RD makes for a perfect habitat. I know that nests multiply fast and the wasps will sting if they feel threatened but I don’t have the heart to destroy this beautiful creation … so I’ll leave it up to Fivey’s Godfather (sorry!), who’ll be taking over our beloved apartment in the next few weeks.

Fiver

Fiver getting a little too close! The nest is in the upper left.

GentriFiver

gentriFiver

Too many knit caps in  Ridgewood.

tagged in beer, fiver, queens, ridgewood