Saturday, August 3, 2013

Figs and United 93

In July 2012 I commented that I thought United 93 was a good movie and was trying to figure out just when the grandkids could watch it.  The older teen boys saw it when they spent the night a few months ago.  Boy wanted to stay up and watch it with them.  I said no.  Tonight the kids wanted to watch a movie and since they were actually good all day I said OK.  They had to agree on a movie.  Boy likes the Love Comes Softly series and westerns and Girl likes Disney princesses.  Sometimes they like action movies.  Boy came in with United 93.  Can we watch this?  Did you both agree?  I figured that Girl would want her usual princess movie. 

Boy said they agreed, and he was standing there waiting for me to say no.  Instead I said yes.  They could watch the movie.  I would watch it with them.  Normally I will provide commentary when they watch movies but in this movie I told them they just had to watch.  I wasn't going to tell them about it or really clarify much of anything.  It was interesting that even at 10 and 12 they still were confused as to whether the actors all died.  Nobody died in the movie but they all portrayed real people who did die. 

Less than 30 minutes from here is Todd Beamer park.  They'd heard of him.  They didn't really understand the story until the end.  But when it was over it clicked for Boy.  So that's why we are at war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Yes, this is what started it.  Then they wanted to know if all Muslims were bad or just the terrorists. 

This was a tricky question.  Not all Muslims are terrorists.  In fact, very few are terrorists but very few Muslims have the nerve to stand up and condemn what the Muslim terrorists are doing.  And because of that, they too are bad.  Does this mean his Muslim friend from school is bad?  Is that what I was saying?  Well, Boy, when school starts in a couple of weeks you can ask your friend what he thinks.  Of course, he too is 10 and probably doesn't know much about what happened prior to his birth.  But ask him anyway.  If he says bad is bad no matter the religion then he's good for a friend.  If he is going to defend them because they have the same religion, then that is not the friend for you.

Today we picked figs.  We have about a dozen fig trees growing on our property.  The neighbor has more.  We grow two varieties and the variety I like best is a young tree with few figs.  So we picked from the neighbor's tree.  Fig trees were initially brought to America and grown in Virginia.  From there they spread south then west.  They are a huge commercial crop in California.  They are easy to grow and if you live where they will grow you should plant some figs.  You can space them as close as 10X10 although further apart is better.

A fig tree can produce 150 pounds of fruit per year.  From one tree!  And you can dry the fruit easily as well as can it and freeze it.  Some people don't like figs.  I'm not one of them.  But even if you don't like eating figs the trees and the fruit are useful for many things.  Up until now I just thought figs were great for eating fresh and dried. 

First off, the leaves of the tree makes good food for your animals. A fig tree is related to a mulberry tree.  Mulberry trees were initially planted to provide feed for cattle.  The fig tree will do the same.  Not only can you get 150 pounds of food for you but you can probably get that many pounds of food for your animals, whether it's cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, or chickens.  They will all eat fig leaves and figs. 

The milky latex liquid that oozes from the stem of the fig can irritate your skin.  They used to use this liquid as a dish washing soap but the ladies hands were affected so that practice stopped.  Still, if you need a good cleaner and you have something to protect your hands, it's worth using.  If you don't need it for washing dishes and pots and pans, instead the liquid can be used to treat skin diseases and irritations.  The liquid is applied on warts, skin ulcers and other sores.  Once I was weed-whacking some figs and got lots of the juice splattered on my leg.  The leg ended up blistering.  To this day I have a sensitivity to things touching my leg right in that spot. 

The fruits can be boiled and the liquid gargled to relieve a sore throat.  The liquid can be used as a meat tenderizer.  You can also put figs between your gum and cheek, like chewing tobacco, if you have a sore on your gum.  Drying the leaf and powdering it and sprinkling the powder over your food is known to help with insulin problems for diabetics.  It's also good getting rid of kidney stones.  Figs, when you eat more than one or two, are good as a laxative. 

One thing that I just learned about figs, but haven't yet tried (although I will!), is that the milky latex liquid and be collected, dried, and turned into a powder.  This powder can then be used in coagulating milk to make cheese!  You don't need to use a piece of animal intestine.  In coming times, I will be able to make cheese from our goat or sheep milk using figs rather than rennet.  That I have to try! 


  1. Thanks for the fig info. When I was young figs were grown around our town. Mow they are gone except for a few in yards. I do love fig newtons and I'm sure there is an easy way to make fruit leather with figs.

    You have good thoughts about the movie and related topics. I'm guessing many have forgotten Todd Beamer and the Valley connection to 9-11. Our children are older, so some of the discussions have taken place. You reminded us that these talks need to happen more than once.

  2. I'm always a little envious of your fruit tree's, but you have the climate for it.
    "Bad is bad, no matter what religion". Nailed it.