Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake and Fig Trees

Yes, I felt my whole house shake with the earthquake that occurred on the East Coast this afternoon! My house felt as if it was moving up and down and my chandelier began to swing slightly and my dishes were clinking in the kitchen cabinets. I didn't know what to do at first, but I quickly grabbed my phone and ran out to the front of my house and I saw most of my neighbors also running out of their homes.  It was definitely a scary situation!

Earthquakes are a common occurrence world wide, judging by this link on the United States Geological Society, but we don't often feel them here in New York. I heard an explanation that the East coast shakes much more at a lower magnitude and extends further from the epicenter because the crust under the East Coast is colder and firmer than the West Coast.  The epicenter of this earthquake was reported about 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Va., near Richmond, Virginia, and about 80 miles south of Washington, D.C. It was felt as far north as Boston, Massachusetts. The magnitude was rated between 5.8 and 5.9.

The video below shows the White House and the Capital Building in Washington DC, shaking during the earthquake. Direct link is here.




The East coast is also preparing for Hurricane Irene which is expected to come on shore by Thursday morning. The storm is expected to be traveling due north toward North Carolina as a Category 3 hurricane, meaning that it will have winds of 111 to 130 miles (178 to 209 kilometers) an hour in South Carolina and move up the coast towards New York by Sunday.  Mother Nature has certainly been keeping us busy!


The photos on my last post (click here) of figs on my fig tree generated a lot of interest, so I thought I'd show you exactly how I grow a fig tree in my small urban backyard. My tree is 15 years old and began as a sapling that a friend's Mom gave to me from a tree that was growing in her Brooklyn, NY, backyard.  Since my backyard is composed of cement and a wooden deck, I planted the tree in a large flower pot, and it has flourished ever since. I get about 100 to 150 figs a season, as long as the squirrels and birds don't eat them first.  I water the tree about three times a week, as tree roots that grow in a flower pot dry out more quickly than if they were planted in the ground. When all the leaves fall off in late October I roll the fig tree into my detached garage (if you double click on the photo above to enlarge it, you will see it is on a wheeled platform). Since the garage isn't heated I throw an old quilt over the tree to keep it warm.  In March or April, when danger of frost is less, I roll it out again and it will soon grow leaves.  Fig trees seem to do well in the cold New York City climate if they are planted near a house or building and protected from severe winds. If you live in a cold winter area I suggest that if you want to try to grow a fig tree you place it in a sunny spot close to your house and try to protect it in winter as best as possible. Click here to read an article about how to grow a fig tree in a cold climate


As you can see I grow quite a bit in flower pots. I guess this city girl is a frustrated gardener!

I am adding this post to Jenny Matlock's "Alphabe Thursday."  The letter this week is "S" -- I think shaking in an earthquake qualifies!



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80 comments:

Annie said...

Felt the earthquake down here on the NJ Shore . Bedroom furniture was rocking around.
I hope Irene peters out by Sunday, was supposed to come to city to see the Pompei exhibit.

Linda Chapman said...

My goodness! Thank you for describing YOUR experience during the earthquake. I hope you experience no aftershocks!

I LOVE figs and have made fig jam a few times. Tastes very much like strawberry jam. I do not have a fig tree of my own but Louis
Dean is interested in getting a fruit tree of some kind and I think a fig may be just the one!

Barbara F. said...

Pat, I thought of you this afternoon, when the tremors started I was heading out my door to go to Brooklyn to meet my friend! We decided to postpone and reschedule. I would not be a happy camper driving over the Verrazano Bridge with aftershocks. My whole house shook, china cabinet rattled the entire time, and my poor birdies fell from their perches! My fig tree which I planted my first summer here three years ago is doing well, it is huge and loaded with figs but they are still smallish and hard, I hope they ripen. I wrap mine up every year and cut it back. I may have to share a photo of it in a post. xo,

Claudia said...

My friend in Canada felt his house shake! Amazing!

My grandfather had a fig tree in Queens which lasted many years until he died. My grandmother did not have the gardener's thumb. I asked for a fig for Mother's Day. (Didn't get it - but one of these days - I will. I hear there's mail order!)

ellen b. said...

We've been hearing about the earthquake from several friends on facebook. I'm glad none of your dishes broke. Earthquakes are so weird and scary. Growing up in Southern California and now being in Washington State I have felt my fair share of them for sure. Suprisingly we have never had any damage...
Love your fig tree!

Maria M. Boyer said...

Neat video from D.C., Pat. I wonder what was going through the minds of those Secret Service people on the roof??!

More importantly, your fig tree is gorgeous. Happy beautiful, albeit a little shaky, day.

betsy said...

Figs in Brooklyn! When we cannot get them to fruit in Middle Tennessee- It must be the maritime influence. Who knew!

Mister Meatball said...

People felt it here in Maine too.

Love the fig tree. This is my 2nd year in a pot. No figs this year, though. Hopefully next year.

Snap said...

Yes, I think S for shake certainly qualifies! Now, the next time the earth shakes in 100 years, you'll be prepared! :D :D :D Love the fig tree!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Glad to hear you are safe. Here in CA we are used Earthquakes and it wouldn't have been a big deal but you guys not used to them must have been scared to death. I bet the people in the high rises were freaking out.

Sure hope the storm misses you guys too!

Love that you plant so much in your garden. I may try to grow a fig tree here next year. It was something I never really thought of but now I wish I had one so I could make and can some homemade fig preserves. YUM.

Stay safe!

Old Kitty said...

Oh Pat!! Oh wow!! I've just read the BBC news about this earthquake! Oh my goodness, how frightening and even more when I see that clip of the white house shaking!

Are you all ok? I hope so!!! Oh then you have this storm coming. I pray that it'll lose its power as it travels up to coast. Please stay extra safe and take extra care!

I hope your fig tree is ok too! I love that you've cared for it so much it's rewarding you with yummy fresh figs!

Take care
x

Sheila said...

I hadn't heard of the earthquake yet so now I can think of you as a reporter...added to wedding planner, photographer, historian, writer and all the regular things you do in life. I hope that there are no aftershocks and that Irene fizzles out before she hits land!

Anne said...

Your earthquake was even on BBc news here!

I'm pleased that you suffered no real ill effects from it.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I felt it too Pat! Gave me a good shake and left the pots that are hanging on the pot rack clanking together! I thought it was odd that not one dog was barking:@)

Vee said...

Is the street the safest place to be in an earthquake? I'm a little surprise that you all ran outside. Penny did, too, at The Comforts of Home. Guess it makes sense if I think about it. I'm praying that Hurricane Irene behaves herself for all our sakes. Fun tale about the fig tree and how cool that you get so many figs a season. Do you eat them or bake with them? Your garden looks fantastic!

lissa said...

you're early with alphabe-thursday. I felt the shaking of the earthquake where I was in Manhattan. I was on the 9th floor of a rather tall building. I was shocked but did not move until the shaking is over. I was shocked even more when the news said it was an earthquake. It was the first time that I felt such thing. it was strange and scary but compare to other cities, I've got no complains. that is, I shouldn't complain at all.

glad no one was hurt. hope you are enjoying the rest of the day with a calmer demeanor than me.

Sandy said...

Hi Pat,
I felt the earthquake here in SE PA. Hubby was not home but out and about running errands. I was sitting at my little computer desk in our kitchen pinning and blogging away when the house started to shake violently. It lasted about a minute. I've never been in one that strong. But I knew what it was because we had a small one last year too. It was scary.
My neighbor has a fig tree that he treats very special. It's planted in the yard next to his house and he covers it up every winter. I don't know if any figs grow on it.
What an exciting day this has been!

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious? said...

I definitely would have been freaking out at the earthquake, glad to hear you were safe!

I am so jealous of the success of your fig tree, perhaps I should add that to my garden growing list too! :)

Sarah said...

Pat, you and all my blogger friends on the east coast have been on my mind all afternoon. I never think of the east coast having an earthquake. I hope there are no after shocks and that Irene doesn't cause any damage.
I grew up with a huge fig tree in our back yard. Mother made fig bars every summer. They were delicious! If I can find her recipe I'll send it to you.

The Gathering Place said...

I'm glad the earthquake wasn't too damaging. They can be frightening. I'm still impressed that you grow figs!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Just when I was worrying about my friends in the Bahamas preparing for Irene, our phone rang. It was our BIL in Mineola, NY saying he felt the quake at his bank in Queens. Mother Nature is on the rampage. Where are you going to hide.

Glad to know you are safe. Maybe you should be getting ready for Irene now.
Sam

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I don't ever recall an earthquake or even worrying about an earthquake up there. The only hurricane I recall was in 1954 and that's only because I have a letter my mother wrote to her mother in Florida describing the hurricane. That will really be something if you get a hurricane after the earthquake. Strange things are happening.

By the way, I know someone that has a palm tree growing in her backyard in Canada. It's planted in the ground and they wrap it each year to protect it in the winter. She's along the west coast where I think it's a little milder.

Ginny said...

What great fig pictures! We are at the epi-center of the quake! About forty minutes from it. It howled like a train!!!! And so did I!!!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Flea Market Makeovers said...

We felt it here too in Asheville NC....lol.

So, when you bring your fig tree into the garage in winter and cover it, do you water it?
Hugs,
Penny

ButterYum said...

We felt it here too.... hubby works very close to the epicenter. Created quite a commotion.

podso said...

Quite a bonding thing, to think so many of us felt it at the same time! Actually I did not feel it as we had just gotten in the car and were driving so didn't notice but others around us did. I remember another earthquake when we lived in Jersey. It was shocking then too.

Jojo said...

People in our D.C. and NY offices were so shaken (no pun intended) by the quake. On of my friends in our NY office said several offices in the area were evacuating and all I could think of is falling glass...eeeekkkk!

Hope the next few days are not as shakey!

Love your fig tree and 15 years old! That's fantastic.

La said...

I felt the quake in Ohio too. It was my first.

I've never tasted a fresh fig. I need to broaden my horizons.

steviewren said...

I saw video of the earthquake when I went to lunch today. Amazing! I'm glad it didn't do any damage.

We had a fig tree growing up. My youngest son has one in his yard. My parents love figs, but I've never really developed a taste for them. It is a beautiful fruit though.

Farmchick said...

Glad you are okay and I hope you don't have any aftershocks!

Riet said...

Oh my goodness Pat, I didn;t know earthquakes did go so far north. What a scary experience. And now Irene is coming north too. Wow, nature sure does strange things. Have a good and safe week,
Riet

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Can't believe that earthquake was felt so far away. We never felt it here --but if you all felt it in NY--all the way from VA, just imagine how powerful that was --UNDER the ground... Yipes!
Hugs,
Betsy

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks everyone ... I finally stopped shaking from fear..lol. We don't often have an earthquake experience on the east coast, so it was a big deal. I heard today that the safest place to be in an earthquake is under a study doorway. That is good to know.

Penny, I water the fig tree about once a month, or every other month. I just throw a bucket of water into the pot. The tree seems to go dormant so water isn't a big issue. Once it is outside again in the spring it needs regular water again.

Jo said...

fascinating post Pat! the earthquake must have been something else to feel ... and now waiting for a hurricane ... that's scary! Your fig tree is beautiful ... I am amazed that all it requires is a pot!

Cindy said...

I think your Earthquake was felt as far north as Ontario, from what I've heard on the radio.
Glad no one was seriously hurt.
Your fig tree looks wonderful and would be so fun to grow. You do have quite the container garden, good for yoU!
Hugs, cindy

Pondside said...

Out here in earthquake country we take the shake-ups for granted, but we were very concerned when we heard that you'd had a quake out your way.
Your fig tree is quite a producer - great way of making the most of a small garden!

Cheryl D. said...

As a quake veteran, I just wanted to share that you shouldn't EVER leave your house during a quake. There are so many dangers outside, include pieces of chimney that could fall on you!

Lovella ♥ said...

It is just amazing how some things we just never expect to happen to us in a day ..just change our day so drastically.
Between the earthquake and the hurricane. .you certainly are not bored there.
I haven't ever tried to grow figs. .but I'm picking cukes and beans like there is no tomorrow.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

The earthquake was something, wasn't it? Like a GIANT washer out of balance.

Marilyn said...

Yep.... We had the tremor here too!! You are right.... Mother Nature is about to keep us REAL busy!!
Glad all is well with you!
Have a Great Day!
Marilyn

Ola said...

good that you are safe!

Tracy said...

So glad you are OK, Pat! I didn't even know what happened until this morning having emails from my Mom and sis in PA. I was out of news shot for much of the day yesterday... LOL! Just glad all is well. Your figs are beautiful! I love fig jam...mmm... Happy Day ((HUGS))

Gracie said...

I hope it didn't leave much damage around there....

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Pat, that earthquake gave this momma bear a scare. My daughter and those grandson live a little over 100 miles from Richmond. I am glad all of you were okay!!

That fig tree is amazing! You've got a green thumb girl! blessings ~ tanna

Ellie said...

Hmmm...I wonder if I can grow a fig tree!! Great photos :) I felt the earth move under my feet here in Buffalo also. Never a dull moment in life!!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I still can't figure out why east coast airports got debut down due to the earthquake. As we seasoned So California earthquake riders know, once the shaking stop it is over. So much nicer than the angnst fill minutes before a tornado or day before a hurricane. After "doing" all three, I will take an earthquake any day!

You have spawned an new project for me: get a potted fig tree. And I am going to name it after you.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Stay safe:)

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

hi pat...i saw the earthquake from another blog buddy...seems so strange out on the east coast...out here in california..well...we have had some doozys....

love your fig tree in the pot...my next door neighbor has a huge old one that he ignores...i sneak over and pick a few...it's a beautiful tree... i should have planted one here... but i am full with apples and apricots !!!

happy to stop by today, my friend

kary and teddy
xx

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

That's so interesting that you can grow a fig tree in a pot! I never knew that was possible...to keep it such a long time in a pot. I don't know about other fig trees, but mine sends its roots winding out several feet in all directions so I assumed they need lots of room.

Glad all is well after the earthquake. I'm sure it was rather frightening, especially for those who never felt one before.

WhiteStone said...

Oh! I would love to try a fig tree. In Iowa!!! I could try wintering it in our attached garage!

Your garden looks very nice!

Mary said...

Hi Pat~ I felt it yesterday too. I was on my porch taking photos of a table when the porch floor started shaking and the ceiling fan blades started turning...I was so disoriented from looking thru my camera I couldn't figure out what was happening. My first thought was "Who broke in my house and is running upstairs hard enough to make the ceiling/fan vibrate and shake the porch?" :-)

I'm hoping Irene is going to miss us in NC other than just bringing us some rain without the side effects of flooding and damaging winds. Hope you miss the brunt of it too!

Raindrops and Daisies said...

Beautiful photos and a lovely blog.

Wondering if I could grow a fig tree here in Ireland but guess probably not :(

Thank you for visiting my blog.


FiOna

EG Wow said...

Thanks! A friend just gave me a fig tree that's about five years old. I hope it will like being in my unheated sun room in winter. She assures me it will.

I didn't feel the earthquake as my brain must have registered it as a train that goes by many times a day. lol But Canadians north of where I live felt it so it was felt far and wide.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

My family that lives on the East Coast all felt the quake also...

Stay safe when the storm comes through!!

Kathleen said...

We felt it too! No damage though. The porch chairs were rocking like they were haunted!
I hope your fig survives Irene. We have a lot of putting away to do if it hits LI. I hope it is a flop!
Stay safe!

H said...

I felt an earthquake once. It wasn't severe, but the mirror rattled and I could feel the floor shaking. It was a surprisingly unsettling experience!

Jacqueline said...

I didn't hear about the earthquake until a minute ago while blogging! How scary and a hurricane coming too! Hope you are all safe and sound!

Such pretty figs. I just ate my first fresh one this year. They are marvelous.

Judie said...

I love PJ's comment about the earthquake!

I adore fresh figs, but rarely find any at the market in Tucson. You are lucky!!

Jenny said...

Oh Pat, shaking in an earthquake would be soooo scary. I didn't realize it had impacted New York City. How frightening for everyone.

Figs grow like crazy around here, too. It does surprise me they flourish that far North.

Thanks for a super link to Alphabe-Thursday!

I'm so glad you're all okay.

A+

JDaniel4's Mom said...

My dad is in Arlington, Va and he had many things that fell off shelves.

Your fig tree is beautiful.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We shook a little bit here, too! I love your plants and flowers in the post before this! You live life to the fullest! I love that! ♥

mrs. c said...

What a week you are having! Between the earthquake and the upcoming hurricane please take care my friend! I have such fond memories of figs, as a young girl I would go with my grandfather to southern mississippi to visit my great aunts. They were amazing southern women who taught me so much....well they had a fig tree and made the most delicious fig preserves that hey served on "cathead' biscuits. I can still taste them! Thank you so much for reminding me!

Annesphamily said...

Hi Pat! Glad you are safe! Love that fig tree!
Southern Colorado got an earthquake too. I saw a store video on the news. Bottles were flying off the shelves and people were scared!
The earthquakes are moving all over the place. I am very fascinated by it though. We are the near the center in Golden, CO.where they measure them!
Be safe and enjoy your weekend.

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

Makes ya wonder what's up when we have our little quake here in Colorado then you have one there. Whole lotta shakin' going on...for some strange reason.

I love your fig tree. And the story of you rolling it in and out of the garage. A well-loved tree, for sure.

edenhills said...

Earthquakes certainly do seem scary. Glad it wasn't too severe for you. I really found the part on growing fig trees interesting.

Teresa

Oliag said...

Hi Pat! Now that I am back from vacation I have been trying to catch up! I see I have missed a lot here:) Your potted garden looks so healthy and delish...and here I am in the country with no garden at all! The fig tree is amazing! I have heard that those who grow figs in RI lie them down and bury them over the winter...I think I would rather roll it into the garage:)


As far as the earthquake goes I didn't feel a thing here in RI...it must have been scary!

Cheryl said...

Your fig tree story and shots are fantastic.

Folks as far north as NH claimed to have felt the quake. Probably construction but dreamers need to dream. When we get 'em, there's no guessing about it; we feel 'em.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I'm 30 miles north of Boston and we felt the earthquake too. Figs are so delicious. I have always wanted to try making fig squares

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You are giving me inspiration to plant a potted fig tree. the one I've had in the ground rarely gives me figs. this year there are only five or six on the tree. you've obviously got a green thumb. I missed the whole earthquake since I was in Chicago, but I'm not complaining - just happy it wasn't worse.

Raindrops and Daisies said...

Following you back now!!!


Fiona

jfb57 said...

It certainly does qualify! Hubby & I are visiting NY in May. Hope the weather behaves itself!

Lola said...

Hi again!

Love your ‘S’ post! We can grow figs here too - my favorite fruit!

Hope the weather behaves itself - & look forward to *seeing* you again next time,

XOXO LOLA:)

Alphabe-Thursday

Sue said...

Boy, you guys on the east coast are really under fire this week. Hope all is well.

"/

PS. Love your fig tree and can't believe how many figs you get!

Yvette said...

Well, Pat, as you know Rocky and I felt absolutely nothing. I feel as if I missed out on all the excitement. (Well, maybe that's because I did.)

Who even knows how the hurricane will affect us this far inland.

It's not even raining now.

I love your container garden, Pat.
That's how I garden as well. Though this year I only had flowers and basil. (On a much smaller scale than yours.) My favorite thing is my lavender which, though in a pot, comes back every year.

Great post.

Self Sagacity said...

I had a fig tree too. It was not very healthy and we had to take it down.
Double link with the conversations every Thursday and Post your questions on Thursday Two Questions Meme

La Petite Gallery said...

Well Pat I tried to buy a fig tree, no one has them. I didn't feel the quake. That must have been a moment of fear.
If you scropp my blog maybe you can tell me how to get my sidebar back up. I have spent 2 days now. Frustated and my Art tour is this week end with heavy rain. Good news is I am Cancer free.. have a restfull weekend yvonne

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I am in awe of your fig tree! I have a Jasmine that I overwinter in the garage - all other kinds of plants that I have tried have failed. How tall is your fig tree, Pat? The number of fruit you get is amazing! A tree really does grow in Brooklyn :)

Scary about the quake! I hope Hurricane Irene behaves herself!

beckyp said...

How scary. I have been through tornados and hurricanes but never an earthquake

designgivesback.com said...

Thanks Pat! I can eat this! And fix it... we are vegetarians and a great recipe for us!

Be careful in the storm.

Love, kelee

Susan NZ said...

HI here in NZ we have extremes of weather and extremes of earthquakes. Friends in Otago grow figs all year round as do Greeks and Turks (and it gets mighty cold there. After pruning - try wrapping your fig (pot and all) in a couple of layers on newspaper and burlap - tie is tight. I live in Wellington (we shake often) - we sometimes have snow but it is rare. I planed a fig in a pot about two autumns ago - last year I had four figs - this year I'll have more than 200. I throw some bird netting over the top when the figs start to ripen, peg the net into the pot with a few bits of wood - bamboo skewers work fine and pinch the sides of the net closed with close pegs. The birds are deprived but there are plenty of other things around for them to eat. Try putting planting borage (in their own pots in there's no room in your fig pot) around the fig in spring. The borage will bring the bees. Fresh figs are best - but fig jam is divine!!
cheers,
Susan