Happy Friday friends! I am loving the flexibility of these “Naming the Good Stuff” posts to write a quick post on Fridays about what’s good, what I’m thankful for, and what’s been on my heart this week. And this week, I’m feeling so very thankful for my lemon tree!
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me post stories and pictures about our lemon tree. I just can’t get over what a gift it is! I’ve laughed out loud so many times seeing the huge bags of lemons I’ll pick—I’ve probably picked close to 200 lemons this winter. I can’t believe it. What’s most striking about it, to me, is that I’ve done no work whatsoever to cultivate this lemon tree. It was here when we moved into the house (it was off-season, so I barely noticed it). It doesn’t even really have soil; it’s growing on the edge of our driveway wedged up next to a fence. The weather has been all over the place this year in LA—a super dry, hot summer, followed by an incredibly rainy winter. Smoke has filled the air from fires across our county. And yet, this lemon tree just keeps on making lemons.
And we’re not talking scrawny, scrappy lemons. These are huge, beautiful, juicy, better-than-grocery-store lemons! The smell is intoxicating right when you pick them (also, I’ve learned, the branches are spiky and getting cut with one feels like you’ve had lemon juice poured into a wound. But worth it). I would honestly say that this lemon tree is one of the top 10 things I’ve been grateful for this winter. And it’s taught me a few poignant lessons.
First, radical generosity. We didn’t plant this lemon tree. We did nothing to earn it. And yet, it just keeps making lemons for us, and I’m overwhelmed with what a generous gift it is. There have been so many lemons that I’ve had to come up with new and creative ways to use them. THAT is radical generosity—giving not just enough, but in abundance.
Second, rekindling childlike wonder. I have felt such magic seeing lemons ripen seemingly overnight, climbing in the branches of the lemon tree (yes . . . it’s so big there are lemons I can’t even reach!), and reflecting on how this amazing plant came to be. From ONE little lemon seed—the tiny things I fish out of a lemon slice before squeezing it into my tea—this tree grew. Big enough that birds perch in its branches.
And third, simply gratitude and balance. The funny thing is, we’ve lived in this house for two winters now and this is the first one that I’ve enjoyed the lemon tree. Last year, I was so busy and juggling WAY too much, and I probably got a handful of lemons all winter and the rest fell on the ground and rotted. I’m by no means an expert on achieving balance, but right now, I feel pretty good about it :)
Here are some of the fun things I’ve done with my lemons!
Used them in all kinds of cooking (soups, roasts, sheet pan dinners, salads, etc.):
Gifted bags upon bags of them to friends:
Made preserved lemons (kind of like dry-pickling lemons in salt, sugar, garlic, and paprika, turns them into an AMAZING pickled pantry staple):
And made sheet pan roast dinners using the preserved slices:
And last but not least, made my lemon bars!
Thank you, lemon tree.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!