Lemon-Aid

During a particularly trying time in my life, a summer filled with stress and drama, I bought myself a lemon tree. 

Lemon tree

They were half price by late July, so I also bought one for my mother.  I had read in Oprah magazine that was the thing to do to cheer yourself up, a reminder of the old saying – when life hands you lemons make lemonade.  (Oprah was always keen on the visual stuff).  Of course, the photo in the magazine showed a smiling model beside a waist-high plant covered with big lovely lemons.   Being optimistic, I expected that’s what I would be getting eventually, with some TLC.      

lemon tree in pot (2)

I might also have been inspired by one of those posts which circulate from time to time on Facebook, a real estate ad depicting an abandoned Italian castle you could buy for cheap (it might even have been free) if you were willing to spent millions restoring it – an enormous stone monastery-like building which came with it’s own lemon grove.   It was the lemon grove which appealed to me – I already owned a building which required extensive renovations.    

Italian castle with lemon grove

I’ve never seen a lemon grove, but it must be lovely.  I’ve passed orange groves on my way to Disneyland as a child, but never paid much attention.  We don’t grow lemons here in Canada, our winters are way too cold to grow any kind of tropical fruit outside of a greenhouse.  While my southern readers might be amused at my nativity, I had high expectations of being able to pick my own fruit.  I envisioned making lemon cake from scratch using my own homegrown lemons.  

Lemons

Photo by Ryan Baker on Pexels.com

My plant did smell heavenly – I placed it outside in a sunny spot, and made sure it got watered and fed regularly, and it rewarded me with fragrant flowers right on schedule.   By fall when the nights started to get cooler, I brought it into the garage, and went they got downright chilly, it was brought into the house and placed in a sunny spot by the big front window.  With such a prime view it should have been happy.   By then it was covered with small green dots, which grew to the size of big green olives which then shriveled and dropped off one by one.   My mothers did the same, so I know, it wasn’t anything personal, it just wasn’t able to adapt to the change in conditions.  (It’s not like I expected a bumper crop or anything, but could not one or two of them have reached lemon-hood?)                  

Ah well, the best laid plans sometimes go awry, but I could just as easily buy shriveled-up lemons from the grocery store in the dead of winter if I needed to.   If you’re looking for a moral/life lesson instead of food, this has definitely been the year for way laid plans and being adaptable to change, but if you are looking for recipes, I don’t have any to share this week because although I’ve tried multiple lemon recipes, with mixed results, nothing was worth bragging about.   

blueberry lemon loaf

                                     Just-okay blueberry lemon loaf

I could never seem to get the right proportion of lemony flavor no matter how much zest I used, so I don’t bother experimenting anymore as I found an excellent Lemon-Curd Cake at the grocery store which can’t be beat.  (sometimes the easy way out is the best….)

It has lemon curd in the middle so it’s in the frozen dessert section, which is a bonus as it keeps well and you can just slice off as much as you want, for company or not.   Sometimes I add more lemon curd on top for an extra dollop of lemony goodness.  Mackays lemon curd

However, while lazing on the swing recently, reading the June issue of Victoria magazine,

Victoria magazine summer

                                      Such a pretty cover….

I noticed a culinary feature on lemon and lavender,Lemon and lavender - Victoria

And the lemon and lavender scones looked very tempting.   Plus I just bought some creamed honey at the Farmer’s Market.  They also sold a lemon-flavored creamed honey which I may get on my next trip.     

Lemon and lavender scones  Victoria - Victoria

              Lemon and lavender scones drizzled with creamed honey

And then there was this lemon tart – although decorating it with dried roses and sprigs of lavender does seem a bit over the top, my August garden yields plenty of both.

Lemon tart - Victoria

         Lemon tart decorated with lavender sprigs and dried roses….

So many lemony-good recipes, so much time to experiment this summer, so yes, my own lemon grove would definitely come in handy.   Best to pick up a couple of lottery tickets when I go to the store to get some lemons….  

lemon grovel

                                                        Limoneto

PS.   My apologies for the somewhat deceiving title, see the Victoria magazine website for a recipe for lavender-lemonade. (link)  

37 thoughts on “Lemon-Aid

  1. Joni says:

    This was my first post in the new classic block editor. I’ve never used anything other than the editor they just retired, so the classic editor is new to me as well. I’ve noticed some of the photo captions are off centre, but trying to post an already saved draft (I had a few ahead) in classic was traumatic enough, so I’m not going back in to edit anything. The Happiness Engineers were helpful, although how intuitive it is to have to click on the post title to bring up tags and categories as a side menu, is debatable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne says:

    Good on you for trying the new editor – why scratch where there is no itch – I gave up and am continuing to use the classic one for as long as I can. As for lemons, I can hardly imagine a garden without a lemon tree – the fruit is useful for all sorts of things, apart from cooking and baking. Having said that, I am desperately trying to keep my lemon tree alive in this very long drought. The fruit grow scarcely larger than a golf ball and then fall off – not yielding even a teaspoon of juice! I am greatly hoping it will be able to recover should we get some decent rain in the spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I didn’t have any choice as WP had already switched me over, but at least they put my drafts in classic, so they didn’t disappear like some people’s. I think it will be okay, with a bit of exploring, but I don’t want to waste these blue sky summer days we’re finally having inside figuring it out! I hope your lemon tree survives the winter!

      Like

  3. avwalters says:

    I had a wonderful pair of lemon trees in California–way too much fruit! I finally went down to my local co-op to see if they wanted to sell some. At first they had no interest, but my lemons were Eurekas, the standard tart style you see in grocery stores. Most of the folks pandering excess had Meyer lemons–so they took my excess. Actually they wanted perfect fruit, so they took my best. Also had access to Meyers when I lived in Two Rock. Now in Michigan, I can only dream of fresh lemons. They populate my dreams, along with the emus we raised. Snow has its charms, but it doesn’t include lemons, or emus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jo Shafer says:

    I’ve been tempted to get one of those “indoor” lemon trees from our favorite garden nursery, but in this northwest climate Hubby says we’d need more than our front south-facing windows. In short, a sunroom with windows on three sides and a way to control moisture/humidity. Nevertheless, I enjoyed your piece today! You’ve whetted my appetite for blueberry-lemon muffins when fall arrives.

    And your pages from the June Victoria magazine made me realize my mistake in allowing my subscription to lapse — on purpose. I had such a stock pile of past issues that I assumed I didn’t need any more. Oh, well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Jo, I had mine in a big south facing window, but it could have been the hot water furnace rads it didn’t like. Likely we need a conservatory! One year I brought a bougainvillea plant inside and it did okay and flowered in Feb, but then got too spindly. I get a 2yr subscription to Victoria as it’s $9 an issue here on the newstands, and that gets it down to about $4 even with the US exchange rate, even if it does come 4-6wks late through Canada Post, or sometimes doesn’t arrive at all and then I have to call them. For awhile I was borrowing the library’s copy, but they stopped subscribing because i think I was the only one who took it out, and they had to save money. I tend to like the spring and summer ones the best, and the British (too many castles) and Christmas issues (fussy decorations), the least. The January winter issue is usually nice too, but I sometimes wish they would have more articles. Some of the covers are like works of art. I have quite a collection of back issues down in the basement too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ally Bean says:

    I just made lemon blueberry bread this morning. How timely!

    I still use the Classic Editor and will not be happy IF WordPress takes it away from me. Your assessment of the blockhead editor it is pretty much spot on to what others have said: annoying, not intuitive– and considering this is summer, a time to be outside, it’s the last thing anyone wants to be messing around with.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda Schaub says:

    This was such a cute post Joni. You had me fooled that you would be reaping lemons big-time by the time the growing season was over. My mom’s favorite pie was lemon and when we moved to the States she did not like any of the lemon pudding mixes here; she deemed them tasteless, so my grandmother would buy her Shirriff Pie Filling and we’d bring it back. I just Googled to get the spelling and of course it is available on Amazon. Anyway, that’s the only lemon pie filler she uses for years. My grandmother had a small orange tree someone bought her. I was just a kid, but remember that tree and it had a “crop” of oranges that were the size of ping pong balls. No orange juice coming from those oranges. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      My mother used that brand too…..she would occasionally make it for my dad with meringue on top. I don’t mind a piece but wouldn’t crave it. Your grandmother in Toronto had an orange tree? I didn’t think they would even survive the winter here! Another gorgeous day, went to another waterfront park today, will spent Sunday sorting out photos. Tomorrow I’m getting peaches at the fruit stand and Sunday is peach jam day…..must get provisions stored up for the winter in case we’re stuck in again, which we know we will be. Enjoy these days Linda…….even the hot and humid ones!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, my mom said it tasted like real lemon and she was upset they didn’t have it here in the States. She usually made lemon meringue pie, but sometimes at Christmas made those little tartlets and they were “lemon creme” which maybe is like your lemon curd? I liked lemon pie, but I always preferred cookies to pie/tarts and even cake. I like the texture and find cookies more satisfying for the crunch. I’m not a big fan of soft cookies – just crispy ones. I should have clarified that she never put her orange tree outside. My grandmother had an older house and it had a back kitchen. Near this back kitchen she had a really big window – I can picture that little cubbyhole area like I saw it yesterday. She had her Singer treadle sewing machine there. She had the Christmas cactus on the very top – it took the entire top of the sewing machine and plants along the window. So someone gave her the orange tree and she took a step stool and put it right at this big window so it got lots of sunshine year around – it thrived, but the oranges were never bigger than ping pong balls. I wonder what happened to it? I wonder what happened to the Christmas cactus – she had it for years and it was gorgeous. We went to Toronto and spent Christmas with my grandmother, just one month before she passed away – that cactus was in bloom and just gorgeous. I went to Lake Erie Metropark today – I actually intended to go to two parks, but it was too late when I left and too hot – 87 when I got into the car! I am no heat/humidity fan, but the cold and snow could be here in another 8-10 weeks. Enjoy it while we can.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I was thinking before Covid of taking a bus trip to the Detroit Institute of Art to see the VanGoth exhibit. It was scheduled by one of the art galleries here for June, but I see the exhibit has been moved to Oct-Jan. Tour was cancelled with Covid and the border closing anyway. I let my gallery membership lapse anyway, and not likely mom would have gone as too much walking, but it would have been nice to see. I see they are planning timed entry tickets when they reopen, same as the gallery here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Gee, I thought that exhibit happened already. I guess they advertised it such a long time ago that I thought it happened. I’d be leery to go down to Detroit right now – we have had had multiple random freeway shootings this Summer … at last count I think it was 16 in two months. I just looked and it will not be for two years now rescheduled to Oct. 2, 2022-January 22, 2023.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Well that’s a long way away….I’m sure Covid will be over by then! I wouldn’t even consider driving there myself, Linda, I don’t cross the border, but a bus trip/tour where they drop you off at the museum would be okay. I think they had scheduled 4 hours there, with a cafe for lunch and then right back home. That’s a scary number of shootings!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I figured it might be a tour Joni – they have a bus company here that does that. I get e-mails from them regularly … they have suspended their trips due to COVID, but had some great one-day trips I would not mind to take. Since I am not a fan of driving long distances, nor expressway driving, I would like some of the trips they offer, but unfortunately now they are always during the week. Something to look forward to in retirement, post-COVID, etc. The fly in the ointment for me is that you have to drive to their boarding bus area and some of the trips leave at 6:00 a.m., return at 9:00-10:00 p.m. … that is not something I like. I don’t go out in the dark here … too much crime in the area to begin with and yes, the shootings on the various Detroit expressways is very scary … no shooter has been apprehended yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I think this one left at 8am, from the mall parking lot, so you could park your car there, still plenty early for me, but not too bad, and returned at 8pm, but there were no stops for meals. I did one of those 6am-10pm bus tours once to Pelee Island with mom, and while it was nice, it was way too long a day, and I was so tired I couldn’t properly enjoy it. It didn’t bother her, she’s always up early anyway, but I like to sleep in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I was looking for one of their ads – they have multi-day trips as well and all looked interesting to me. I can’t find one – must’ve deleted all of them before COVID. The lavender field had appealed to me as it was farther than I would drive to and that was home earlier than the others. That is a long day for sure – that’s what most of them were 6:00 a.m. and return at 10:00 p.m. Long day but going out and returning the dark was a big “no” for me. I don’t take chances with anything out of the house in the dark anymore. Sometimes I think about walking to the bus stop in the morning or walking home after I got off the bus at night – I was wary, but now I would be scared to be honest with you. I did have one guy come up behind me and it was Winter so pitch dark at the bus stop. He sneaked up behind me – was a Jehovah’s Witness (or so he said … it was in the 7:00 o’clock hour). I angrily told him he scared me by creeping up behind me. He said “sorry” and walked away. I am trying to get to bed earlier so I can get up early and out the door … the sun is getting up later and later.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Annie. Good luck….it wasn’t too bad for me as my post was already done, the true test will be starting one from scratch. It will be short for sure!

      Like

      • Jo Shafer says:

        I miss the earlier issues of Victoria when (now I can’t recall her name!) was editor-in-chief. She had really good taste, and blue & white was her “thing” and inspired me. The Fall issues featured classic tweed and plaid clothing; November was the best for Thanksgiving celebrations and recipes with the history behind them. Christmas issue was not so fussy and overdone as today, and the spring issues featured English gardens. I agree that not enough space is devoted to stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I liked the early issues too…..and if I can find some of them at a garage sale it’s like buried treasure! A friend who owns a tea shop was purging some of her back issues and gave them to me and that was a real treat and when my neighbour moved she gave me a whole box full. I bought the Victoria DVD about 7 years ago with all the back issues from 1987 to 2012, I think it was $80, but it just isn’t the same as flipping through a magazine, and now I don’t even own a dvd player. For the same reason I can’t read a magazine online, it’s just too annoying to have to keep sliding the page around with up and down arrows.

        Like

  7. J P says:

    I was kind of afraid that the lemon tree would not succeed in Canada.

    I do love a good lemon meringue pie, but we have never had a fresh lemon within a mile when we’ve done one. Adding bottled lemon juice to the box pudding is as close to an actual lemon as we have come.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jo Shafer says:

    Yes, Joni, I agree about flipping around with arrows to move articles up and down. My patience wears thin, these days. Maybe I’m trying to cram as much as possible in the few days (years?) we all may have left? Perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

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