Monday, January 8, 2007

Backyard Nature Study

Living in southern California has it's benefits, and they are numerous. But like every other good thing in life, there are drawbacks as well, and for those of us residing in the suburbs of Orange County one of those drawbacks is the lack of grand verdant pastures possessed by homeowners in other states. OK, yes, properties on an acre or more of land do exist around here, but who on earth can afford them?

We are one of those southern residents with a closet-sized backyard. It is my dream one day to live on an acre of land here, a piece of property with ample space for my girls to run and dance and play on their swingset, which I intend to buy as soon as I have a backyard big enough to hold one. But for now we have what we were given, an answer to much searching and prayer and nagging poor Saint Joseph, and we are grateful.

Little did we know when we moved in almost two years ago, that our tiny, ninety percent hardscape backyard was filled with the most wonderful hidden treasures! Hidden to us, because we settled in at a time when nothing was blooming. But last spring, these gems were revealed to us, one by one in their glory. So I pulled out my camera and fruit growth charts and voila! The girls and I had our own backyard nature study. It was so much fun!

Here are some of the treasures we discovered:

Grapes, just before harvest

Pear Tree

Plums, just before harvest
Peaches at harvest

Lemons (in season now)
[We also have oranges, limes and roses, as well as some rosemary and thyme that I potted last year, but for some reason I didn't photograph those.]

We may not have the huge backyard of our dreams, but we are certainly blessed with abundance. I have learned a great deal from my humble backyard, not only about fruit growth stages and indigenous worms and insects, but even more about how to make the best use of what I have. No matter how small our gifts in life, they can be turned into bounteous fruits when graciously accepted and enjoyed.


helene said...

What an excellent example of gratitude and BLOOMING where you are planted! Beautiful!

Jane Ramsey said...

How wonderful! It proves the point that you can do nature study just about anywhere.

Kristen Laurence said...

I am so honored to have a comment from you, Helene! I've admired you for years from afar. Thank you.

Jane, if only you could see how small the yard really is!

Cheryl said...

Kristen - your backyard is wonderfully prolific!! One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is "backyard lemons" - If you owned more land than you currently have we might have to change your name to "Martha" :)

Beth Pack said...

Wow that is beautiful! We used to live in Thousand Oaks and had all kinds of things like that in our back yard. My favorites were the calla lillies and the delicious plums!

Michelle Halpin said...

Kristen, I know what you mean about SoCal...we live up in the Antelope Valley, tip of the Mojave Desert, and I nearly went into shock when we first visited to find a home. It's so UGLY!! Arid, desert landscape, brown mountains and tumbleweeds! I'm from the South, and this just. wasn't. going. to. cut. it!! I made Phil promise that if we had to live here (only place we could afford!), then he had to find me a house with a beautiful back yard, so I could at least have my own little oasis and forget I lived in the awful desert! Well, he came through for me, and we have a nice sized back yard with about 30 rosebushes all around the property!! Who knew that roses thrive in the dry heat up here? :) We also have a plum tree (though the squirrels get all of those goodies), and grapevine, too, though uncultivated. So like you, I found some lovely little treasures in my desert exile! :) Orange county has to be so much more lush and green and verdant, though. Enjoy! :)

Jamie said...

I used to live in California, and still have relatives living there, and in Orange county! SO I know those backyards. You have found a treasure in your home--just like your blog, a treasure to all who read. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the great post! God Bless you!

Jennifer said...

Those photos are gorgeous.

forget me not said...

I have a pretty big yard, and although peaches are not in season until summer, oranges, lemons and tangerines abound in my back yard. Italy is also a heavenly place to live in, and this year we're having really warm weather. In fact I think I'll go take a walk right now!

Genevieve said...

Oh my! The fruits bring back such wonderful memories. A few years ago we lived in So Cal too. Ahhh... what I would give for freshly picked lemons. :) Perhaps someday again.