Thursday, September 29, 2011

coco -- but not chanel

Yesterday I got a hair cut.

Today the coconut palms in my garden got one of their own.

In the past I have written about the amazing men (and they always are men in our little community) who trim the palms and harvest the coconuts.  It is usually a two-man job.  One scampers up the palm trunk and cuts old fronds and coconut bunches while the other lowers the harvest with a rope.

It is fascinating to watch.  But I have posted photographs of that work.  What I have nor talked about is the result of all that labor.

If you look at the photograph at the top of this post, my coconut palm is on the left, my neighbor’s palm is on the right.  The biggest difference is the mature coconuts missing from my tree.  Those left are too small to harvest.  But my neighbor's should be harvested.  Instead, they have been bombarding walkers on the andador.

You can get a better perspective of how large the coconuts are in this photograph. 

Those of us raised north of the border are accustomed to coconuts being the bocce ball-sized brown interiors of the coconut.  My cousins in Hawaii would occasionally mail one to us in Oregon.

But there is a large green husk surrounding the interior.  And it is that husk that gave the coconut its ability to send its progeny throughout the Pacific.

The coconut is not native to Mexico.  The Spanish brought it to Mexico with Filipino workers to set up plantations.

The majority opinion is that the coconut palm developed in southeast Asia.  From there, it spread to the south Pacific islands.  The green husk makes the coconut buoyant enough to float, as well as being impermeable to salt water.

When the coconut beaches itself, the husk will deteriorate, and a tree will sprout from the inner seed.  If you want a coconut palm for your garden, you can buy a sprouting shell from plenty of local vendors.  Or you can try starting your own.

The question is whether you want one in your garden.  They are beautiful specimen trees.  But they provide little shade and produce plenty of problems.  Such as skull-cracking falling coconuts.

During the last coconut cleanup, the fellers failed to ask me to move my truck.  As a result, I now have two permanent dents in my truck-top carrier.  It is easy to extrapolate the effect on an unwary pedestrian’s cranium.

For all of their inconveniences, there is no doubt that the coconut is a versatile fruit.  My gardener decapitated one with his machete and drank the milk out of the nut.  He then cracked it in half to share the meat with the workers.

I demurred.  After all, it is a “c” food.  Coconut is one of those food dislikes I inherited from my Dad.

For  me, though, the coconut palms in the garden are one of the best symbols of my tropical retirement.  They came from The Philippines; I came from Oregon.  And we coexist in my little piece of Gilligan's Island.


Dave Nic Nichols said...

coconut facts you may not know.

Dave Nic Nichols said...

gee steve, you are a good writer. like your sentences. especially like your paragraphs. (san) (but dave agrees)

Steve Cotton said...

Thank you very much -- from two of my favorite artists.

Steve Cotton said...

Part of my tropical information service.

blog said...

We have a nice coconut tree right next to our wall - on the neighbors side. Wonderful that they deal with it and we enjoy seeing it. Two beautiful iguanas live in that tree. However it and a family member were blocking our view to the beach - now it has grown above the view and since its most recent harvesting - we see the beach and the beautiful coconut palm tree.  Life is good.

Oh and I am with you - not a coconut fan - but I love chocolate and other 'C' word foods ;-)

Steve Cotton said...

At least, they grow fast enough to not act long as view blockers.

Jimmy larry said...

thank u so much for another good post its easy to understand and talk about coco my favrte.

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