First figs of the summer | 2019

by The Darwinian Doctor

The first ripe figs of the summer have become a celebratory event in our household. It’s also somewhat of a marker of the age of this blog. One of my first posts was about the summer’s first figs in 2018. So call it a one year anniversary event!

As an investor, I really value anything that gives a consistent return, year after year.  Whether it’s the dividend from VTSAX or the fruit from the trees in my garden, I get a thrill either way.  

The elephant ear fig tree

Poor spindly elephant ear fig tree

When it comes to this elephant ear fig tree, I had some fears that it wouldn’t bear fruit this year.  I aggressively pruned it in early spring right after I took this photo. It was probably about a month into the growing season, and when I cut the branches, ample sap poured from the cut ends. This hinted at the growth that I had just sacrificed.  But if I had let it grow further, the spindly branches would have led to a really odd, droopy tree shape.

Full recovery

Despite my fears, it recovered really well and sprouted tons of new branches and leaves.

In fact, just a few months later, it started to bud figs!  And not just a few figs. Dozens of figs!

Each weekend I’ve poked and prodded the figs, waiting for them to change color and soften.  I carry my two year old up to the tree, pointing out the figs and whisking him away before he pulls off the unripe fruit.  

Last week, the first few figs enlarged to the size typical for ripe elephant ear fig (about the size of your palm). Their skin softened and started to crack delicately, showing yellow crevices that peeked through the mottled green and purple skin.

The first figs of the summer means summer in full swing.  It means a new season of growth has come. It’s a reminder to start harvesting gains and to move projects along.  

Jelly fig tree bounty

The mysterious jelly fig tree also is having a banner year. Perhaps it was the ample winter rains. Or maybe it’s the daily watering and attention my parents are paying to it.

Since moving into our converted garage a few months ago, my parents have become our de facto gardeners, and they’re doing a fantastic job maintaining all of our fruit trees.

Just last week, we harvested a veritable cornucopia of jelly fig bounty! Their jelly-like, sweet and minty flesh was such a treat.

Harvesting bounty from the markets

Perhaps all these figs have gone to my brain, but I took the fig bounty this summer as a sign to push forward my efforts in real estate investing.

After the markets dropped a bit (but before they dropped even further), I sold a bunch of index funds and some individual stock. In all, I converted about $120k into money market funds. While some astute readers will point out I locked in losses, my crystal ball is telling me this is a good time to cash out and gain liquidity to fund my real estate adventures.

As I deploy these funds into more rental property, I’ll record it all here on the blog. I’ll include my failures as well as my successes. Do I expect failures? Unfortunately I do.

While it will be painful to experience, I assume it’ll get easier with time.

Excited to read about my adventures? Me too.


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