“Don’t you know this isn’t southern California….

“…what don’t you get about this whole seasons thing? This may be the South but we do have seasons you know, as in colder weather, as in frost and freezing temperatures…!!!! turn orange already for Heaven’s sake!!!!”

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This is what I could be heard saying to my Kumquats yesterday, nice green little, unripe, orbs. What’s up with this tree, doesn’t it understand we don’t have all summer, in fact, Summer officially closes with the passing of Labor Day!

I bought this Kumquat tree two years ago. I wrote a post about it, and my meyer lemon tree, back in the Spring. Yes, Spring, when things were hopeful—then came the Summer of deluge rains and grey skies. Let’s just say the Lemon tree is now just a few shoots growing out of its former little trunk. Yet on the flip side, I’ve got to hand it to the Kumquat tree—persevere it has!

Remember how I told you that I roll these puppies back and forth throughout the winter??—outside on the sunny warmer days, back in the garage on the cold wet days??—and of how many times they have fallen off of their dollies in mid transport… sending pots, dirt, trees and Julie, donning her pjs, every which way??…as this is usually happening around 10:00 at night when I finally catch the weather report with the warning of freezing temps…..

But I’ve been bound and determined to nurse these babies to full fruit production!! The meyer lemon tree is bound and determined to die—which I simply will not allow . It may be sprigs of it’s once former self, but there will be lemons again—one day–despite the fact that I’ve only gotten 3 lemons off of the tree, ever.

The kumquat, well, for some reason, it thinks that late summer is the perfect time to form fruit. The first year I bought the tree, it was indeed late summer–and it was loaded with fruit. I waited and waited, checking it each and every day for the perfect time for my small harvest. August came and went, as did September…into October—-are you kidding me!!!??? Our first freeze is early November, I can’t have unripe Kumquats sitting around waiting to freeze.

Just days before the first freeze, I’m out plucking beautiful orange fruit along with the green orange tinged stubborn orbs. “Whew, just in the nick of time…” That first batch of kumquats was bound for my calamondin cranberry relish—of which I use kumquats as there is nary a calamondin within miles of Georgia. This is a top secret family recipe and essential for fall meals, not to mention a Thanksgiving Turkey.

So here I am, once again, beginning my late Summer/ Fall panic watch of the kumquats. And to top off my worries, look what I found while pruning the bushes….

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Do you know what that is? It’s a wooly-bear caterpillar!—well at least that’s what I’ve always called them. Do you know what it means when you see wooly-bears this time of year? It is a sure indication that there will be an unusually cold winter. “DO YOU HEAR THAT KUMQUAT TREE?”