I am sure some of you are wondering why we are sitting with a pile of oranges between us, and looking very happy about it. Well, these are not just oranges; they are our oranges. You may remember that last April, on our wedding anniversary, we bought a small orange tree, and a very large pot to plant it in. What fruit it had on it at the time, quickly fell off, but we were excited to see a decent amount of blossom on it which then set to a good number of tiny oranges. Of course many of these fell in the wind, but we have carefully tended it, and nurtured the remaining fruit, which are now big, ripe oranges. I knew they wouldn't last until our anniversary to pick, so I thought Valentine's Day might be a fitting day to harvest them. However we were busy all that day, and by the time we got home the sun had disappeared and somehow I wanted to pick them while they were warm from the sun. So after lunch today, we picked them, all fifteen of them, and tonight we will be eating the first ones with our tea. (As a diabetic, I am supposed to eat my sugar items at the end of a meal!) You might well wonder what all the fuss is about in a land where oranges are two a penny, and they lie rotting under the trees everywhere, but when we moved here we inherited a tiny lemon tree which we were told was dying, and despite all my efforts, it yielded one shriveled lemon and gave up the fight. We then bought a baby mandarin tree which died before producing any fruit, so we are justifiable happy to have at last managed to grow these oranges. Let's hope our little tree now goes from strength to strength.
You will probably have realised that I don't often take photos of people, preferring to try to capture the beautiful views and skies we have here. But my first choice of subject has to be wild-life, from birds and bugs, to flowers and trees, so here are a few I'd like to share with you. The first is a little sparrow that was pecking away in the almond tree at the back of our house. It was so far away, and the sun was too low, so I couldn't really see where he was on my camera screen, but I managed to catch him all the same.
This is a succulent plant that I bought at a church coffee morning a year ago. It was a spindly little thing, in a tiny pot, much too tall to support itself, but I thought it had a pretty flower so I bought it anyway. This picture shows it as it was last March, just after I got it, and on the right you can see how it is now. It is very tall, but also strong, and it doesn't need staking. It is a strange plant, because at it dies, each flower will produce a new plant. Also the edges of all the leaves grow tiny. tiny 'plantlets' that fall off if you rub passed it, so in a way it is a good thing it is in a pot, or it may well take over. In fact this year we have spotted a patch of it over our back fence that wasn't there last year, and I suspect we may have thrown a baby over there that has taken root! I still think it is a lovely flower. You can see in this photo just how big each umbrella of flowers is, and this one taken from below shows haw very pretty the individual flowers are. It is a shame they hang down really, as they hide their faces.
And these last two I was very pleased with. We woke up on Friday morning to the sound of steady rain. It soon stopped but looking around, I think it has been raining for some time. While I was waiting for the dogs to finish their breakfast I took several photos of this little plant which is in a trough that hangs on the back fence. It had trapped raindrops like jewels between its leaves, and they sparkled in the early morning light. And the second photo is the same plant on the next day. The rain had gone, and in its place we had bright sunshine, so bright that it almost shone through the leaves making them glow with inner light. I've said it before, and no doubt I'll say it again, "Nature is beautiful!"