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Flame-Red Meets Ruby-Red

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I waited, waited almost a year from its conception to pick that second Ruby Red grapefruit. Its sister fruit fell off about a month ago and Phoebe wasn't here to share, but Bill and Liam got some, and it was amazing (as documented here in video)

But this second fruit hung on, through the fall and early winter with the giant heater with the bad thermostat that almost cooked all my plants to death. When I finally admitted that everything in the Groanhouse was dying as a result of my bad heater choice, I took my precious tree into the living room as a last resort.  I distributed all the other plants around the house and tower room. Here I stopped to fill a watering can and take it up to the gardenia and Rex begonia still enjoying its cool, well-lit confines.

When the tiny tree finally got to the relative safety of the house, it immediately dropped more than half its leaves. In relief or protest, I do not know. I figured I was looking at a done tree. But I kept watering it, and that great big fruit hung in there on its naked stick.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I took the monster heater back to Menard's (my new favorite mega home/tool/outdoor store) and exchanged it for a 20K BTU blue flame heater that is juuuust right for the space. I re-installed my plants (all of which I'd brought indoors when I realized I'd lose them if I kept subjecting them to 30-degree temperature swings each time the heater kicked on). And watched and waited anxiously for signs of recovery.

It seemed only fitting that Phoebe's first act upon waking up in her own bed would be to proceed to the Groanhouse to pick the fruit she'd known since it was a fragrant white blossom. The theme of the year being sending her off to grow and thrive, after all.

So on this rarest of sunny mornings she did just that, with great ceremony, four attendants, and a gentle twist.

Nobody loves citrus like Phoebe and her mama. 
Homegrown in can imagine the excitement. Even though she's still half-asleep.

She likes to peel it, too.

Took the skin off all in one go. What she'll do with that particular skill I know not.

The feeding frenzy was too intense to get photos. We ate it section by section. Didn't want to waste a bit, even of the striffen. Unbelievably tender, quite sweet for a grapefruit. We didn't give the boys very much of it. They are not quite as enamored of sour things as we are. They don't go into the transports of ecstasy that are required when one eats Ohio-grown citrus. They do the Sour Dance, screwing up their faces and twirling around. Bah.

When we got into the sections, we found two seeds that had already sprouted roots inside the fruit! Well, you know what we had to do with those.

Back to the warm peaty soil they went.

The little tree was so thrilled to be installed in a safe, warm, sunny place, so thrilled to be freed of its burden (and of a good case of scale I found upon close examination) that it put out two ginormous leaves (second tier up from the fruit-in-training)

and a bunch of new green shoots from the naked half!!


Rock on wit yo green self, Ruby Red. I promise to treat you better this round, little mama.


Is it a female thing, the sour loving? In this house the man slops honey all over his grapefruit and watches in horror as I'm eating it unadorned. But enough about me - amazing accomplishment, the Groanhouse raised grapefruit. Well done!!

Another new word! Tho not in my dictionary app nor my dictionary. Google found it for me in the dictionary of the Scots Language. Striffin. Thanks.

How lovely! I am not a grapefruit person, though I almost could be after watching you! (oddly, I am a sour candy person though). Whenever I get my own house and I have space for strange things like lemons...*dreamy face*

Grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits; I particularly craved it when I was pregnant.

How is it when children go off to college, they come back looking like grown-ups instead of adolescents? Great Scott, Flame-Red looks like a lady!

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