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Amparo Bertram

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07:56 pm: The root of the matter
The pace is really picking up in the garden. On Sunday I spent the morning harvesting 5 pints of cherries. I also managed to pick my one plum before the squirrels could get it (I think they were distracted by the figs); it was so sweet, it tasted like it had been dipped in honey. I hope the tree produces more in future years. I started picking the first couple of blackberries, though most of them are still green yet. I even found my first cucumber of the season, which turned out to be okay, but slightly on the bitter side.

The Yukon Gem potatoes are dying down, which means they should be ready to harvest in about another week, maybe two. I got a handful of ground cherries from the volunteer plant in the front yard, which is much happier this year than the previous ones I tried growing in pots. The beans are continuing to climb up their stakes and cages.

One of my biggest concerns this year has been that my sakura tree isn't doing well. It never flowered in the spring, and it has a lot of dry, scraggly branches with only a few tufts of leaves here and there. I would have blamed the drought, except all the other stone fruit trees (cherry, plum, ume) are doing fine. The main difference between the other trees and the sakura is that I planted all the other ones, while the sakura was planted by a professional company because it was so big.

When a large tree is planted, it is generally inserted into a pit so that water will collect around the roots and help it become established. Over time, the edges of the pit wear away, and the ground becomes mostly level again. I suspected that as the edges of the pit wore down, they actually washed down into the pit, burying the base of the tree trunk. Trees are only supposed to be in soil up to where the base of the trunk flares out into the roots; if the soil rises any higher, it is detrimental to the tree's health. I dug around at the base of the tree, and sure enough, I found that the actual base of the trunk had been buried about three inches underneath the surface of the soil.

I excavated all around the trunk of the tree to get the soil level back down to where it should be. I don't know for certain whether that was the cause of the sakura's lack of vigor, but if so, I hope it will start to recover. I probably won't know for sure until next year.

In the evening, I went with my neighbors and their friends to eat out at a posh place in San Francisco before attending a showing of The Book of Mormon. I keep thinking I need to do more things in the city, since I live so close, but it's hard to make plans when so many other tasks need doing.

Monday I spent about three hours pitting and freezing all the cherries. My freezer is now full. I will need to do something about that before the blackberries start rolling in. (I suspect this will involve eating a lot of ice cream...) I also spent several hours weeding. Now that it's the dry season, the weeds aren't actively growing, so it's starting to look a little less like a jungle out there.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:June 24th, 2015 06:20 am (UTC)
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I watched the book of mormon 2 years ago in the city too. I was a bit late in getting my tickets - $350 a piece, I think was what I paid. I hope you got a better deal on it than that.

Good detective work on the sakura tree!

Have you had a chance to look at my trip? Let me know if you've been to the same places.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 26th, 2015 02:17 am (UTC)
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Have you had a chance to look at my trip? Let me know if you've been to the same places.

I just looked it over, and it seems like you had quite the adventure. That tale about getting to the bus stop with 1 minute to spare is epic.

I've been to a number of the same places. Tokyo, of course, and Yokohama several times. I also visited Kenrokuen and Himeji.
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:June 27th, 2015 09:14 pm (UTC)
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I sure did. I'd love to go back again next year and go the southern parts of Japan. Or maybe northern, Aomori or Hokkaidou.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

What did you think of Himeji, Yokohama and Tokyo?

And... What is your favorite place in Japan?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 27th, 2015 11:42 pm (UTC)
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What did you think of Himeji, Yokohama and Tokyo?

Himeji was beautiful. I would certainly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.

Yokohama has great food and great shopping.

Tokyo is where all the best stores and events are, so for modern entertainment, it can't be beat.

What is your favorite place in Japan?

That's hard to say. If I were only allowed to go to one city, I would pick Tokyo, because that would give me the most options. On the other hand, there are other locations that offer a richer experience. Kyoto, for example, has lots of touristy things to see, excellent restaurants, tons of craft and souvenir items to buy, flea markets, temples, and festivals. Miyajima has cute deer, scenic views, and luxurious traditional inns. Hokkaido has a number of fine cities to visit, each with its own character. Even Niigata can boast about its skiing and hot springs.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:June 24th, 2015 10:40 pm (UTC)
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Trees are only supposed to be in soil up to where the base of the trunk flares out into the roots

What did nature do before there were gardeners?!?!

My problem with doing things (other than my inherent laziness) is that there's so much that can be done. It's easier to ignore the opportunities than to keep on top of them all month after month. I mean, the offerings here on campus already overwhelm me. Anyway, did you like the musical?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 25th, 2015 12:37 am (UTC)
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What did nature do before there were gardeners?!?!

It had to rely on wind and animals leaving seeds at the proper depth, I guess. None of this transplanting nonsense.

Anyway, did you like the musical?

It wasn't entirely what I had expected, but it was entertaining. It touched on a lot of serious topics, despite being a comedy. The actors portraying the Mormon missionaries did a great job of performing choreographed dance numbers while still maintaining the "awkward white guy" stereotype.
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