Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

If you've been reading our blog (or at least browsing the pictures), you've probably come to the conclusion that we have no pets and no babies roaming around.  While this is certainly true (much to the disappointment of our parents), we do spend a lot of time caring for one special little guy.  


For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of meeting him, let us introduce you to Harley, our Meyer Lemon Tree.  Meyer Lemons are a cross between standard lemons and mandarin oranges giving the fruit a sweeter taste and and a rounder shape.

Meet Harley

Born 1-3 years before 4-29-11



I'm not entirely sure where the idea came from, but last spring Deanne started talking about getting a lemon tree.  I let my parents in on her most recent obsession and they ended up getting one for her 26th birthday.  Harley came from www.meyerlemontree.com; which as you might guess from the name of the website is a pretty good source for lemon trees (actually they also sell lime, orange, lime grapefruit and kumquat trees).  A few days after my parents placed the order, a tall skinny box arrived on our front porch.  We opened it up and out popped our 1 to 3 year old lemon tree. 









One important thing to know about citrus trees is that they won't survive in temperatures below 40 degrees (and they will start to go dormant below 50 degrees).  They also require 8 to 12 hours of sunlight per day.  This is why citrus trees are typically found in Florida and California and not in places like Northern Illinois...  Deanne and I already have enough trouble keeping plants alive so we knew that this was going to be a challenge. 


  
During the summer months, we have been able to keep Harley outside without any problems.  He loves basking in the sunlight and has made friends with all of the bumblebees in our neighborhood.  The other 9 months of the year are where things get a little interesting.  During the months of April and October Deanne and I are constantly checking the weather forecast.  If the temperatures are expected to dip below 50 degrees at night, Harley gets moved into the garage when the sun goes down and is wheeled back outside before we head to work.




During the winter months, he is even more spoiled.  He sits perched next to the window in our office with a grow light hooked up to a timer.  At 7:00 am his light goes on and at 5:00 pm his light goes off.  We can only imagine what our neighbors must think we have growing under a grow light...haha.




Although it hasn't happened yet, Deanne and I are eagerly awaiting our first lemon harvest.  We have grand visions of using our home grown lemons to make lemon bars and fresh squeezed lemonade (or lemon beer anyone?). Our tree started growing tiny lemons last fall but most of them fell off during the winter.  Harley grew a few more lemons during the winter and those little guys actually seem to be doing well.  From what we've read, lemons take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to ripen so we're keeping our fingers crossed that a few of them will be ready to sample around the 4th of July.  




Even if we don't end up with any lemons, it's been a lot of fun caring for Harley.  He may not be pet or a child, but at least he doesn't make any messes around the house (except when he's shedding his lemons) and we don't have to worry about leaving him home alone for a few days (unless the temperature is approaching 50 degrees).  


(Harley & his big bro)


Keep dreaming buddy.  If you ever get that big, we might need to move because you'll never fit in the house.  

8 comments:

  1. That is ADORABLE!!! I think Harley needs to make monthly check ins on the blog to let us know what's going on with his lemons and I'm sure he sees a lot of good things around the neigborhood too.

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    1. hahaha maybe yearly check ins... Harley's life isn't too exciting these days- he's just anxiously awaiting leaving the office & making his way back outside. We will be sure to update once his lemons are ready though ;)

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  2. Harleyyyyy! My favorite nephew!!!!

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    1. He's pretty great, isn't he? :)

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    2. also, the description of "pets and babies roaming around" is hilarious.

      is the tree in the last picture the one the city wants to take down? :-(

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    3. Yeah, that's the tree that will be coming down. You can't see it in the picture, but there's a big white "X" on the other side of the trunk. We're not-so-eagerly awaiting the day when we come home from work and it's gone.

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  3. I think I peed a little when I saw the last picture. Hahaha you are too funny!

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    1. hahaha it cracks me up too. I really need to frame it and put it on my desk with the caption, "Dream Big"... Don't worry, I'll make you a copy.

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