Well, it is that time of year again, when citrus trees are full of fruit and that includes the lemon tree at Double S Farms.
Growing up in California, we always had a lemon tree in the backyard and I kind of took them for granted.  Then I grew up and moved into my first house in Arizona, which didn’t have a lemon tree although we did have grapefruit and oranges.
I love lemon trees and will maybe plant one in our side garden next year.  
You know who else likes lemon trees….. Jose, the migrating hummingbird.  Jose is a Costa’s Hummingbird and he is quite tame, letting us approach him fairly closely to take pictures.  You can read more about Jose here.
Okay, back to lemons….. I am so thankful that my mother and sister are very generous with their lemons and I frequently have more lemons then I know what to do with. 
*By the way, it is time to fertilize your citrus trees, if you have not already done so this year.
In order to make the lemon harvest last longer this year in my kitchen, I filled ice cube trays with lemon juice and then put them in a ziploc bag that I keep in the freezer.  So, when I need a little lemon juice for a recipe, I just grab an ice cube or two.

I also zested the lemons and have also frozen that as well.  So, I am well prepared for cooking.  

You can learn how to freeze lemon juice and zest, here.

Another thing that you can do with your lemons is to make natural air fresheners.  They really do scent the air without having to use ‘air-fresheners’ made from chemicals.  You can learn how to make your own, here.
Each year, my mother (Pastor Farmer), makes a delicious lemon cream pie.  It is very light and just so yummy.  She graciously wrote out the recipe so that I could share it with all of you.
I hope you enjoy it!
Graham Cracker Pie Crust
Two 12 oz. containers of whipped topping (Cool Whip)
One 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
Beat together whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk.  Then add the lemon and grapefruit juice.  
Pour into graham cracker pie crust and chill for at least 2 hours.
*This pie can be frozen and you can substitute more lemon juice for the grapefruit juice if desired. 

Earlier this week, my husband and I decided to get outdoors and enjoy our beautiful spring weather.  So, we visited our local Riparian Preserve.  We had a great time walking and talking, but we also brought our camera so that we could take pictures of some of the feathered creatures that congregate around the preserve.

As we were walking, I would look upwards at the trees to see if I could see any birds.  Sometimes they weren’t always easy to spot.

Can you see it?
There is a hummingbird at the very tip of the flowering Palo Verde tree.
As we walked, we noticed quite a few hummingbirds perched high above.  
An Anna’s Hummingbird perched in a Mesquite tree.
An Ash tree is the perfect perch for this little hummer.
We were able to get some really great photos, but because of our location, could not always identify which species of hummingbird we were looking at.
But, we did get a great photo of this Costa’s Hummingbird.  His sharp eyes never left us.
Costa’s Hummingbird in an Acacia tree.
As we were walking along the trail, I heard the distinctive sounds of a hummer nearby.  But, it took me a little while to locate it.
Can you see it?
Anna’s hummingbirds do blend well with their surroundings, except when the sun reflects off of their bright pink throat…
As we were leaving, we saw a few more of our feathered friends…
Black-Chinned Hummingbird
We were fortunate enough to have seen 3 different hummingbird species.  Anna’s and Costa’s are year round residents, but the Black Chinned hummingbirds are summer residents, so it was especially nice to see them as well.
You know what?  I think the fact that hummingbirds are so tiny might account for their preference for perching up on the tallest branches of trees?

What do you think?

I am very blessed to have my mother and my sister live very close to me.  However, this was not always so.  Twenty-four years ago, I moved to Arizona from California as a new bride.  The rest of my family remained in California.  Of course, there were many visits back and forth.  But I never really knew how wonderful it could be to have them living close by.  Until about 3 years ago.

My sister and her family along with my mother purchased Double S Farms just over a year ago and so began a weekly tradition of us having dinner over there once a week.  I always look forward to this day because for one, I don’t have to cook dinner – but more importantly, it is a wonderful time of visiting with my mom and sister.

With our beautiful weather, we have recently been eating outside in the backyard, surrounded by their garden full of flowers, the vegetables, the fruit trees and some feathered visitors.

Each week, as soon as we drive up, I love to check to see how the fruit trees are doing in the front garden.  It looks like the peaches will soon be ready…

My son is always the first to reach the front door and upon entering the house, he is promptly wrestled to the floor by his two little cousins (Little Farmer and Littlest Farmer).

Each week, my mom (Pastor Farmer) always cooks something new for us to try along with fresh-baked bread.  We love to eat outside and enjoy the sunset and our food.
Then it is time for the kids to play and the adults to sit back and relax in the garden.
Of course, there are usually new vegetables to check out….
As well as seeing how the apples are growing on the trees….
The kids love to play as well on the cool, green grass.
About this time, the newest residents of Double S Farms come out of their chicken coop to come and visit.
Ramona is the first to come out to visit.
Followed by Flo.
By the way, did you know that chickens like macaroni & cheese?  Well, these chickens do…
Especially Lucy.
We enjoy watching all of the chickens and their antics.  But, our favorite is Effie. 

 Now, Effie will not win any chicken beauty contest.  She is decidedly awkward looking and has fluffy cheeks.  But, it is her personality that is so endearing.  She is very friendly and lets us all hold and pet her – even the kids.  

Effie is not camera shy, like Flo can be and the other day, she hopped onto my sister’s (Chicken Farmer), lap and promptly lay her head down and fell asleep.
Not to be outdone by some chickens, Double S Farm’s resident hummingbird, Jose, makes an appearance as we eat our dinner.
The sun is setting and it is time to go home.
I hope you have enjoyed our evening visit to Double S Farms.
Good Night….

Yesterday was a glorious winter day accompanied with warmer then usual temperatures; 68 degrees F.  I went over to Double S Farms to help my brother-in-law (Farmer Dad), prune the fruit trees – (the fruit trees had sadly been neglected and mistreated by the previous owners, so we had to quite a bit of corrective pruning).

I brought along, my now repaired camera, intending to take pictures of how to prune fruit trees for a later post.  Once I arrived, I was so happy to see early signs of spring all around me….

A single peach bud, just beginning to show a flash of pink.
Snap Peas beginning to grow in the vegetable garden.
The grapefruit tree is heavily laden with delicious fruit.
The “Formerly Overgrown, Neglected Rose – Glamis Castle” beginning to leaf out.
The apple trees were full of buds and I was able to find this glimpse the pink petals impatiently waiting to burst out.
Double S Farms resident Costa’s Hummingbird, was happily perched on top of the almond tree watching over our activities.
I would like to introduce you to one of the littlest residents of Double S Farms.
He is what we call a ‘snowbird’.  Now, where we live, a snowbird is a seasonal resident , usually human, who lives in the desert during the winter months.
However, this particular snowbird is a little hummingbird.
I first met him when I was taking pictures of the citrus trees for a future blog post.  I was quite close when I noticed him sitting in the lemon tree.  Unlike many hummingbirds, he was perfectly content to sit still and have his picture taken.
On another visit to Double S Farms, I saw him perched at the top of the Almond tree. 

This is his favorite place to perch, probably because the Almond tree is the tallest tree and he can see the surrounding farms all around him.

Although Costa’s Hummingbirds are year-round residents in our area, this particular one left for the summer, but came back in the fall.  
Now every time I visit Double S Farms, I go out of my way to look for my little friend. 

*On another note, I will soon be introducing you to “The Refuge” and it’s garden, surrounding beauty and the residents.