New Year’s seedlings

Regular readers of my now few-and-far-between blog posts — all three of you — know that New Year’s is my favorite holiday. I love the concept of starting anew, and my philosophy has always been that each year is better than the last. Somehow, I haven’t felt that way in a few years.

But then as I was put some dirty dishes in my sink, my calamansi plants caught my eye. Last year, while taking my daily walks for what scant exercise I can get between work and kids, I’d discovered that a home near my work had an enormously fruitful calamansi tree. Calamansi is a fruit I’d grown up with, with a sweeter tart taste than lemon that I love to put on everything when I have it — fish, steak, shrimp, pancit, whatever. But since moving from my childhood home, calamansi and white-meat guava (as opposed to the very sweet pink-meat type) have been hard to procure. When I happened upon the calamansi tree, I took a few of the fruit that had fallen on the sidewalk and cultivated the seeds.

My first batch of calamansi seeds planted in the fall of 2015 did really, really well…until I tried to move them into bigger pots and outside at the same time as a particularly cold weather spell. They withered away from the cold, and I learned then that I’m supposed to temper citrus plants to be moved outside. Whoops.

So I tried again in April — and two out of the 10 seedlings I cultivated survived. Pictured above is A, and as you can see its thriving, so I’m going to have to move it to a much bigger pot soon. I nearly threw away J, which sprouted, then looked like it withered away — then I spied another shoot that saved it from the trash can. I have five more seedlings that I planted maybe back in October, but only one of those has sprouted.

Anyway, what was the point of all this background on my calamansi plants, which may not fruit for another three years or so? My eventual goal with these calamansi plants is to plant them at the house we hope to buy whenever this crazy real estate market cools down. We literally ran ourselves ragged looking at houses all summer, and eventually came to the conclusion that we couldn’t afford the areas we wanted to be in, even at the lower end of what was available, while still paying for after-school care for Michael and Chris and full-time care for Elliott.

But my calamansi growing efforts are also an apt allegory for these past couple of years. I’ve planted many seeds, but not all of them have sprouted. None of them have borne fruit yet. But its still a period of growth and even when there’s immediate signs of growth, it may still take more time to enjoy any fruit. And in that time, there’s still all sorts of other decisions to make — how big of a pot to transfer them into next? How often to give plant food? Keep them indoors or try to temper them for outdoors?

In the meantime, I have to just keep watering these plants, making sure they’re not attracting any pests (you can’t see it in the picture, but one leaf is misshapen because I had scraped off some pest’s eggs), and celebrate every time I see a new shoot.

This year hasn’t been fruitful for me, similar to how my calamansi plants have not necessarily been fruitful, but we’re all still alive, growing and trying. And, while I didn’t get exactly what I wanted — to buy a house and finally move — we still managed to have fun and enjoy the year — even though Michael and Chris can’t remember all that we did.

Which is why I put together this slideshow. We managed to do a lot this year, much of it for free, because we were trying to save money to buy a house. LOL. So this year hasn’t been all bad, contrary to what a lot of people think, but I’ll be glad to move on to a new year to create new memories that the boys will promptly forget, and also hopefully reach that goal that we’ve been working toward for the past two years — moving into a new home.