When I moved to California, one of my requirements when looking for a home was that it have fruit trees. I wasn’t greedy by wanting every kind of fruit possible. I simply wanted a lemon and a lime tree. I love lemons and limes. I used lemons all the time but thought that limes were so exotic and smell so incredible that they were always a treat for me. Being in a warm climate with very little freezing weather, it was a no brainer to me to have some citrus trees right in the yard to walk out and grab some fruit from. When we moved into our house after a few months of searching for just the right place, I was so excited that the yard had several fruit producing trees. There was not only a lemon and a lime tree but also a pomegranate, orange, avocado and apple tree. It sounds excessive, I know but let me just clarify that they were new, little trees so the pomegranate and avocado had yet to produce fruit. But the lemon, lime and orange trees all had fruit on them. I’d never had fruit trees before and the only thing that had come close was that my dad had a couple fruit trees in his yard when I was growing up and I hated them! When I’d cut the grass, the bees were so bad that it was terrifying to go near the trees for fear of getting stung. Luckily, with these trees being so small, I don’t have that worry. What I didn’t know was how the fruit trees work. I guess I thought with the weather being warm, the trees would just constantly produce fruit. That’s not true! I picked and used all of the lemons within the first few weeks and then that was that. I moved on to the lime tree but I don’t like limes in the same applications that I like lemons so I didn’t use them as much. I picked the three oranges that were on the orange tree and then that was that as well.
We moved in at the beginning of November. It was getting cooler but not cold. By the beginning of the year, we did have a couple of freezing nights to which I covered and protected my precious trees. In the spring, the lime tree immediately got buds on it and is now once again full of key limes. I thought at one point I was going to lose the lemon tree but nurtured it and just got the first lemon off of it a few weeks ago. There’s four or five more lemons on it. The orange tree didn’t bud or bloom and has no fruit on it as is the same with the avocado and pomegranate. I’ll be patient with them. I hope that they produce before we end up moving from here. The apple tree did bud and bloom and get a bunch of apples on it. I picked them all, ate them and made applesauce out of them. It was awesome. We ended up buying a cherry tree as well to which I hope will fruit one day too.
Now, to the reason that I wrote this post. I took some pumpkin muffins over to my neighbor on the left a few weeks ago and she gave me a grocery bag full of giant lemons from her tree. I mean, those things were the size of grapefruits and had such a great flavor. The ironic thing is, I’m not crazy about the lemons that my lemon tree produces. I think they’re meyer lemons but my neighbor says hers are meyer lemons and they’re not the same so maybe mine are something other than meyer. They’re like a cross between a lemon and an orange. They have a strange taste to me.
Anyway, I loved that my neighbor gave me lemons. I didn’t even realize she had a lemon tree. It’s a massive tree in her backyard. Not like my little tree that comes up to my waist. She used a ladder to get her lemons. Now, that’s my neighbor on the left. My neighbor on the right has a huge orange tree in the front yard that is overloaded with oranges. When we first moved in, I was excited that I’d be able to get fresh oranges once we got to know one another. There’s also another fruit tree out front that my neighbor across the street informed me was a kumquat tree. I told her I’d never used kumquats before and she said that unless I was going to buy them, I still wouldn’t be using them. Apparently that neighbor, the one to the right of me, won’t share their fruit. My neighbor across the street had asked them once, many years ago, if she could have a couple of their oranges and they simply said no. I understand, or at least I thought I did. It’s their fruit. They can do with it what they want.
We’ve lived here for a year now and I don’t understand. The oranges fall on the ground, rotten. The tree is so overloaded with oranges that the limbs are sagging and they will not share them. It is obvious that they don’t use them just based on the look of the tree. What’s awesome is that the kumquat tree has started to grow around the fence so since it’s on my property, I pick the kumquats on my side. I’ve not gotten any protests so I think everything is still kosher with them. As I sit here, I can see a towering persimmon tree over the back fence in the neighbor’s yard that must have 100 or more persimmons on it, many of them rotting on the tree. What a waste. Why would people want to be that way? Is it a, ‘I don’t want them but I don’t want you to have them either’ scenario? What is that? I think if I had that much fruit, I’d either have a fruit stand or I’d be bartering for other goods from more neighbors. Not to mention that the homeless would probably love some fresh fruit. It just drives me crazy and when things drive me crazy, I write about them. I think I’ll go make me a limeade.