The Apple Plant

She had bitten into the core of an apple she was eating and noticed two shoots emerging from seeds in the core. Responding to her immediate instincts, she saved the shoots with the seeds still connected to them and planted them in a small pot.  The shoots were placed diametrically opposite each other towards the sides of the pot. The pot was placed on a shelf in front of the kitchen sink.  The window in front of the sink provided plenty of light for the plant.  After a short period of time and some TLC, the shoots began to grow further.  But one of them became sick and had to be removed.  The shoot that was left was now moved to the center of the pot.   And it has continued to grow, with new leaves emerging and growing to their full size every now and then.  I think this one will survive the pot.

But soon it will be time to move the plant to a bigger pot and also a different location because it will become too big for its current setting.  Days, and even months, of suspense will probably follow as we try to make sure that the plant survives.  And if we are successful and the plant grows to a reasonable size….

We would face the final test when we try to move the plant outdoors.  This would be the most risky stage in my opinion, not because of the change in the conditions that the plant will now encounter, but mostly because of the danger of being eaten by the deer.  You see, I have had to give up on having any kind of a garden with flowers and/or vegetables because the deer here are very aggressive and do not allow much to grow outside.  You should see the state of our holly, evergreens, and azalea in Spring.  It is a disaster, and it is exhausting to deal with the problem of the deer without much encouragement.  The discussion point is always presented to me that the deer also need to survive.  But not by eating my plants, I say!

Anyway, I do have my stories of success to also talk about.  This includes three maple trees, a plum tree, a crape myrtle and a cherry tree.  I have somehow managed to wage a solitary battle with the deer during the times when these trees were young saplings, and have lived long enough to see these grow into mature trees that provide shade and privacy, and which look particularly beautiful during the changes of seasons.  It would be fair to say that the deer have played a significant part in shaping these trees since there was no way to completely prevent them from getting to the plants when they were small and more vulnerable.  But now they are beyond the reach of the deer, and the ungrateful animals even rest in the shade of the trees that they tried to destroy not very long ago.  More recent additions to our yard are the birch and the dogwood.  I have a suspicion that the dogwood will not survive.

Which brings me back to the apple plant.

I am hoping that it will continue to grow.
It should grow to the point that it needs to be transplanted to a bigger pot.
It should grow to the point where it then needs to be transplanted outside the house.
It should grow to the point where it survives the battles I am going to wage on its behalf with the deer.
And it should finally grow to the point where perhaps some time in our old age we can get to enjoy the fruits from our own tree.

And don’t ask me what kind of apples to expect, because I have no clue!

My Sister’s Garden

We were fortunate as kids to grow up in a university campus in India surrounded by the beauty of nature.  Our house had a yard and we had a garden that was probably the best on campus, with a lawn and garden with all kinds of colorful flowers.  It took all kinds of effort to maintain this garden, but my parents were really into it, and also up to it.

Fast-forward to the present and my siblings and I find ourselves all grown up and in different parts of another country with our own homes and families.  Time passes and things change. Fortunately, we (the siblings) end up seeing each other quite often these days even across the miles that separate us.  But this summer happened to be particularly hectic for me in this regard with four visits to my sister’s place up north.  I always look forward to these visits, although at this point over 4000 miles of solo driving over a period of just a few short months in this regard has taken its toll on me.

One of the things I look forward to during my visits up north is my sister’s garden.  (Well, everybody calls it her garden, but I am sure she has significant help from others.)  It is really magnificent, especially in the middle of summer when all the flowers are blooming.  It is a colorful feast for the eyes. The birds and bees that are there to feast on the flowers are indications of the great shape that it is in.

The pictures below are in celebration of My Sister’s Garden.  They are probably not the typical pictures of a garden that you are used to seeing, but fortunately or unfortunately my camera has a mind of its own.

The hungry beeThe Hungry Bee

The honeysuckleThe Honeysuckle

The shy sunflower

The Shy Sunflower

The coneflower

The Coneflower

The unidentified flower

Shapes in Flowers

Interstate 10 (September 8th, 2014)

One evening during my trip to New Mexico…..

I am driving west into the sunset on Interstate 10 after a day spent at Cloudcroft and White Sands.  The land is perfectly flat.  The sky is still lit up in front of me but it is quite dark behind me.  The sky is clear except for a few wispy clouds.  The universe opens up in front of me.  I wish I could take a picture but it is not possible at 80mph.  There is no place to stop in the desolate countryside that I am passing.  I can see for miles. I drive by a mountain range to the left of the highway, not too far away, wondering if I was looking at some place in Mexico.  As I approach Deming, I see the rail cars of a freight train caught in the orange evening light, framed against the beautiful sky in front of me.  The train is also heading towards Deming, and pretty soon the railroad line and the highway are running parallel to each other.  I catch up with, and pass, the freight train as I enter into Deming, NM, my stop for the night.

Deming is a very small sleepy town not too far from the border with Mexico.  In fact you can see the occasional Border Patrol truck being driven around town. I do not think that Deming is well known for anything at this point. I had passed through this town during a cross-country trip in 1987 and was curious if my faulty memory matched reality.  This is primarily a railroad stop for freight trains.  The town itself lies around a one to two mile stretch of road that parallels interstate 10.   It  feels typical of a place along a highway that survives by offering services to travelers.  There are quite a few motels and even some chain restaurants. The streets are quite empty as a enter town late in the evening.  I need to to get me some authentic Mexican food. The local restaurants close early for the evening and I have to eat at the Dennys.

Went roaming around the town early in the morning as the sun was rising.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI checked out the railroad yard. This gas station in the picture below was just off the Interstate and next to the railroad tracks.  The sun was rising up behind me.


I parked my car (seen in the picture below) at the gas station so that I could walk around and take pictures.





Went searching for Irma’s and managed to get me some real Mexican breakfast.  The restaurant is around the corner in the picture below.


I could stand in the middle of the road to take pictures.


My nice little hotel room cost only $40!  I must have stayed at some similar place on Interstate 10 in 1987.


Soon after breakfast I checked out of the hotel and took off north on a local road (Route 180), heading for the Gila National Forest and the Gila cliff dwellings.

Summer Storms and Stories

Summer storms can come up on you quite quickly and silently in our part of the world.  This one had been threatening us the whole day.  Although the air temperatures had been very reasonable, it had also been quite humid, and the clouds floating overhead looked distantly menacing.  The air was unstable!

It was later in the evening that I noticed that it was turning unexpectedly dark in the house. I slid open the blinds in the living room to notice that the sun had finally given up its struggle to penetrate the clouds, and that the sky had turned ominously dark. It was now filled with low black malevolent clouds swiftly scurrying across its expanse to some unknown destination. It had not started raining just yet.   It was a camera moment.  I found myself standing on the furniture on the deck taking pictures of the drama unfolding in the skies.  I can never get tired of this spectacle.  Can you see what I saw?  There are stories to be told behind these pictures!