The Fig Thieves

I have a big fig tree in my back yard. When I moved in, it was nothing more than a twig, but through the years, it has grown straight and strong as an ox with no help from me. By August, its burly branches are loaded with the purple globes that are as sweet as pure cane sugar. Let me clarify that: I assume they are sweet for it is rare that I am allowed to taste them. Before I pick them — poof! – they vanish like rabbits in a magician’s hat. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling One of…

Continue Reading →

The Garden Guys

At the end of Hazen Street, where the cars on Astoria Boulevard whoosh by like rockets, a garden center grows. Verni’s, as it is called, is shaded by a green awning that is the color of a woodland forest. The sun is out, the plants are panting for a cool drink, and Frank Verni puts down his breakfast, a bowl of cold cereal, and takes up the hose. He and his brother, John Verni, divide up the daily duties, and he is the water boy. “To do it right,” he says, “you have to go up and down every …

Continue Reading →