Monday, September 13, 2010

When life doesn't even give you lemons...

Yes, those are lemons.  Not grapefruit!
Ask and you shall receive...

In Auckland, it seems like every other house has a lemon tree or some other citrus tree. My neighbour has a lemon tree.  I wish I had a lemon tree.  More accurately, I wish I had a lemons tree - the tree growing in our backyard has produced one (1) lemon in several years.  I don't blame it.  If I saw as little sun as it does, I wouldn't feel fruitful either.

So every once in a while I reluctantly buy a bottle of lemon juice from the store and am always on the lemon hunt so I can make hummus and guacamole and winter chill potions.

Sometimes I visit houses with lemon trees and try to remember to beg politely.  The neighbours of our Plunket clinic have a good tree which overhangs the fence - and a few of us mums have gleaned what we can.  I once did this before noticing the resident working at a computer in clear view.  He waved me to continue, thank goodness!  But I'm not going regularly there anymore.  What to do, what to do...?
I just can't stoop to buying the pale lemon imitations they sell in the stores.  I don't know why that bothers me more than buying the juice, but it does.
But while exercising on our big neighbouring hill each morning, I finally clicked - there is a very nice-looking lemon tree in a yard halfway down, an older couple also walks at a similar time as I do, and I've spotted them going into that house!  The next time I met them on the hill I...begged politely.  

Well!  Not only did I meet some nice people and immediately end up with 3 of the largest lemons I ever did see, I also received an invitation to visit their even more fruitous lemon tree further into their property and their lime tree in the back yard - "just knock on the door!"

So I have fresh lemons when I want them, and a couple of happy tasks:  a thank you note, and perhaps a lemon seed planted in a sunny spot sometime this spring.
Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat. - Peter Paul and Mary

War and Peace
 We have moved into a house in the eastern suburbs of Auckland, an area where the cockroach life is prolific.  I was born in the United States and have an ingrained horror of cockroaches, as they represent filth.  If you have cockroaches, you might as well vacate, you dirty thing you, and they are almost impossible to get rid of.  Cockroach jokes are endemic, from New York to south of the border.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest - we had huge slugs instead.  I don't recommend them either. 

So in our new house, when I encountered a cockroach, my "all life is beautiful" attitude disappeared entirely.  Stomp.  Or sometimes, call DH to handle.  I would get very grumpy with him when he would toss them outside, as I knew they would probably wander in again.   In my own defense, I once found one on me in bed

However, as I have learned, although all cockroaches are rather ugly, they are not all the same. These are  "Gisborne cockroaches."  They live in woodpiles and eat wood or paper, rather than infesting the pantry or swarming the walls of your house or carpeting your floor at night.  They wander inside mostly by accident, although they do find an old toilet paper tube to be a tasty treat so watch out.

They are actually no more offensive or ugly than spiders or the native New Zealand weta - an insect I first met soon after my arrival in New Zealand.  I turned on the hot laundry tap and it crawled out, feelers waving!  Yes, it was horribly freaky...

So I have declared peace with these insects.  I have actually retrained my instant disgust kill reflex back to my normal wary mild distaste I have for large, swift, but harmless creepies and unless they are in my way, they can go on their way.  If they are in my way, I dump them outside as I would a spider.  I'm proud to say that I hardly quiver when I find them on the gate latch.

The only thing that has changed is my attitude - and a good thing too.  Unless you constantly poison around your house and yard, you can't get rid of these cockroaches either.

The answers to your challenges are in yourself and all around you.  
Look there first, and you will save time, effort, or money!

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