Friday, October 3, 2008

Delightful Contraband!


I can NOT believe my good fortune! I am planting some trees today, and a really special tree just came into my world here in Armory Park, Tucson. I have been tossing around the idea of putting some sort of deciduous tree in my back yard. Something to let the sun in during winter, give me shade in the summer. Such a tree will likely have to be watered, and I'm not known to be very reliable in this regard. I'm hoping to have laundry facilities soon, and the only way I can deal with the waste water will be to use it as grey water, rather than tapping into my sewer (not possible with my current, 1916-old house set up.) But it's the perfect solution for watering a tree. And, I figured, if I am actually going to WATER something, it should return the favor in the form of food. Maybe an almond, maybe a fig...

Well today I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I acquired a little Black Mission fig tree. This is not just ANY fig tree. It's a "Kino" fig tree from the Kino Heritage Fruit Tree Project. Coincidentally, I had read about the project just a few days ago. The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, The Desert Survivors Nursery and an organization called Native Seeds/SEARCH have joined together to identify, preserve and propagate direct descendants of fruit trees brought to this area by Spanish Missionaries centuries ago. The name Kino refers to Father Eusebio Kino (1645-1711), a Jesuit missionary and explorer who made about 40 expeditions to AZ. These trees will be used to replant ancient orchards at The Tucson Origins Heritage Park, and the Tumacacori National Historic Park. The trees (fig, apricot, pear, quince, pecan, walnut, pomegranate...) are not, at this time, available to the general public. Unless you're lucky enough to be me! (I've been sworn to secrecy regarding my source.) As tiny as the tree is now, I'm told it might even have a few figs this summer. My glee is uncontainable! What is it that makes this living link to the past so special? I hope I can manage to be a good custodian to this wonderful tree!

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