Hello Monday - Gathering Lemons (those galling gall wasps)

Weekends are slow in our home, it's important to us not to fall prey to the glorification of busy, but instead to stay in touch with our days and the rhythm of being together.

Saturdays are for swimming and farmer's markets, Sundays are for ticking off a job on the endless renovating to do list, both days buffered with ample space for good conversation and good food taken together. But things don't always work out to fit the slow ethos,  this weekend didn't fit into our preferred rhythm and instead I had to make peace with the flow.

On Sunday morning I excitedly popped out to visit our gnarled old lemon tree, this is the first year that we've been here that it's managed to bear a full crop of fruit. I'm not sure how long before we bought this place but at some stage it had been hit by lightening leaving the tree half dead. I've been watching it and watering it for over three years, willing it back to life, and this year it finally showed more than a glimpse of promise. 

My excitement turned to dread when I noticed bumps on some of the stems and branches, just a few weeks ago I'd have had no idea what this meant, but my pottery teacher is also an organic gardener had shown me the same lumps and bumps on a tiny lemon tree at her place and I sadly knew what they meant. Gall wasps. 

There aren't a lot of options for getting rid of gall wasp, and while they don't ruin the fruit, they stifle the productivity and weaken the tree. Our tree was already weak, so I made the decision to strip the tree and cut out the gall affected parts.

Over the course of the afternoon I removed one hundred and thirty nine lemons (not bad for a tree that gave me three last year) mostly under-ripe. I also removed nearly all the new growth, but attempted to save as much as I could and took the opportunity to remove those branches that never made it back from the lightening strike. 

We lit a fire and set about burning each and every affected bump and nodule, warming our lounge and filling the house with a vaguely lemony scent. As for the rest of the tree now we will watch and wait and hope that I have removed all of the gall wasps and avoided the further cycle of infestation.

Today will be spent searching for ways to save and preserve as many of these lemons as possible, just as soon as I am done marvelling at what one hundred and thirty seven lemons (two got squashed) look like on my bench top.

I hope it's not another three years between crops.