by cheri sabraw
The John Deere tractor—looking like a green scorpion with its powerful backhoe attachment—will cross the creek for the umpteenth time this year and instead of digging long trenches for irrigation pipes, will finally begin to fill them.
Sixty olive trees, babies in their fifteen-gallon tubs, wait in the Central Valley for a ticket to the Rancho. Here they will find a permanent home in soil that suits them.
All of the man hours and preparation for this project have been completed by the Judge and his high school buddy Don, who is a citrus nurseryman by weekday and a dear friend by weekend. How many hours have they worked side by side, saying little? (This is what I admire about men–how they can be together and enjoy time without saying anything.)
Me? I’ve done nothing noteworthy toward the completion of this project other than to hop the creek on occasion, delivering water tuna sandwiches, chips, and oatmeal raisin cookies to my human gophers, working the land.
My charge has been to guard the 27 newly planted olallieberry babies on the western side of our meadow who are trying their level best to fend off insects, heat, and birds. The judge tells me to let go of my worry that the sneaky deer will clear the fence in one astronomical leap and then chew my baby berries down to nubs.
Our olive trees should be producing enough olives for a harvest and oil in two years.
Cheri’s Olallieberry Jam.
Why, all we need now is to plant a vineyard to be self-sustainable.