To Fig or not to Fig ... that is the question.
It is early March, the sky is slightly overcast but the weather is warming up nicely. 18C today. Looks like double digits until fall now.
The end of March brings the first of the local Fete of the season. The Bed and Breakfast side is already fielding inquiries for bookings and a good portion of July and August are booked. Its looking like its going to be a good year for the boss.
Giving the BnB areas a fresh coat of paint and some new lighting to make it look more homey and beachy instead of sanitary and institutional. The true test of character is getting the yard looking less like an abandoned forest. The winter storms blow through every so often with 100 km per hour winds and leave natural debris strewn everywhere. Last year was a hefty month of clean up and flower planting to look inviting and ready to welcome the guests. We'll be heading to the greenhouse for our first set of bedding/container plants shortly. This year we are choosing some new varieties to manage the July heat. More grasses and natural herbs to combat the garden pests and... this year those pesky caterpillars are not getting in our fig tree.
The fig tree was almost cut down last spring after the previous challenging summer of wasps and crazy messy fig splatter on the terrace, but an executive decision, ahem the Boss said no, stopping the process. I love all the gourmet sauces and jams we've made with our fresh figs. I did not love the mess and the trouble that first summer. This summer we'll try producing a new fig marinade for chicken and vegetables, made with sweet onions, balsamic vinegar and a touch of curry. We had an official Fig Picker last summer and the jams and sauces were plentiful. The trouble with the fig tree is if the caterpillars get it, it is not pretty to look at with its giant leaves all wrinkled and full of the little chompers bite marks. It is the centre piece of the larger sun terrace by the pool and if it looks sad, the whole yard looks sad. Figs need to be picked fresh or the birds make an unholy mess on the terrace, we were so lucky to have a great staff that scrubbed the terrace and picked the figs every day before the guests ever woke up. Let me tell you, figs on the terrace are slippery little suckers. The wasps are essential to fig production and the more we read on the subject, the more important the tree is to the ecology of the area. These tiny little African Swallows had been nesting on the property for years because the fig tree provides a plentiful variety of meals for them. The previous owners had cleaned away all the nests to sell the property but that changed the whole ecology of the yard. It became a breeding ground for wasps, hornets, giant black carpenter bees, but no honey bees. Not one. This last summer the tree was left to survive on its own steam with a little extra water in the July and August heat. Read between the lines here ... not one wasp was alive for long. I daresay those little African Swallows will be back to stay in a few weeks again. So, Buddha Bob's fig tree gets to stay another season. ... It won't be voted off the island just yet.