Fiction #46 Fig Trees

We had several fig trees in the garden on the farm where I grew up. This was in the Murray Mallee area of South Australia. It was dry, dusty country for much of the year. Winter and spring rains were few and sparse, sometimes coming just at the right time, often at the wrong time. Farmers like my father eked out an existence somehow. It was a tough life.

A feature of our farm was the vegetable garden and orchard. It was like an oasis in the parched desert. Water came from the Murray River about twenty miles away but the pressure was never good. Dad made a large storage tank near the vegetable garden which filled slowly during the night and when other taps were switched off. This water was then used to water the garden as needed.

But back to the fig trees. We had at least two of them, perhaps three –my memory dims a little after all these years. Lovely lush green leaves a bright splash against the surrounding drab grey-green leaves of the mallee trees. In season the branches bowed under the weight of the luscious fruit. The rest of the family gorged themselves on the fruit when ripe, and mother gathered the leftovers for fig jam.

I was the odd one out. I didn’t really take to fresh figs and still won’t pick one up to eat. Not sure where this phobia came from. I cannot ever recall even tasting a fresh fig. Strange that, seeing I love and devour most fruits. I do occasionally eat fig jam, but then, very few people actually make fig jam like when I was younger. In fact, most people don’t make any jam these days. The only jam you see offered these days are those insipid globules of stickiness grandly called ‘conserves.’ They are so far from the taste of true home-made jam they deserve a different name.

No – fig trees and their fruits do not make the list of my favourite things.

Now – home-made strawberry, apricot or peach jam – well, where do I start? Fortunately my wife has excelled in making these jams over the span of our married life.

Pity I have diabetes.


© 2015 Trevor W. Hampel

All rights reserved.


  • Although I have listed this piece of writing under fiction, most of it is true, based on a real life. Mine.
  • This piece was originally written as a warm-up writing exercise.
  • You can read more of my stories here.

Comments are closed.