Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A blooming tree

We didn't expect our grapefruit tree to blossom right now (we are used to seeing citrus trees bloom during spring around here), yet it is all covered with flowers, which were soon found by many buzzing bees. The nectar also attracts beautiful sunbirds. It smells divinely, and the birds are fun to watch while I hang out the laundry in our back yard.

When we moved in, there were a few grapefruits on the tree, but they were tiny and sour. I'm not sure if it's because the tree wasn't taken care of during the Sabbatical year, or because it's still young, or simply because it's not a high-quality variety. We'll have to try to give the tree better care this year, and see what happens.

For Jews, "inheriting" a fruit tree in their yard bears a certain risk, because it is forbidden to destroy fruit-bearing trees (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) even if the fruit is bitter. There are a few exceptions to this rule, specifically if the fruit tree causes damage in some way, but it isn't so in our case - which means we are probably stuck with this tree for better or worse.

Right now it's raining outside in the most delightful way, which means this is going to be an indoors day - which I'm perfectly happy with. I'm glad for every bit of rain we are getting, because this winter has been a little dry so far.


Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

I am wondering what your native language is? You write so beautifully in English,yet from the little I know of your background (USSR, then Israel), I'm guessing it's not your first (or only)language.

I'd be curious to know all the languages you speak/write. What will you teach your soon-to-be-born little girl? Do you and your husband have a common native language?

What a talent you have with words! Even your 'simple' post about your tree and the weather is beautiful to read.

Many blessings to your family during this season of miracles (esp. miraculous for you and your husband this year!!)


Mrs. Anna T said...


My first language is Russian. My second language, in which I'm just as fluent, is Hebrew. English is my third language, and I also speak/write a little Spanish.

Mr. T and I normally speak in Hebrew, and our children will, of course, speak Hebrew as their first language as well. We also hope to teach any children we have Russian, and of course English, and any other language they might want.

Tracy said...

If the above picture is from your grapefruit tree, the blossoms are gorgeous! I wonder about the fragrance they give off. It must be lovely.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"My first language is Russian. My second language, in which I'm just as fluent, is Hebrew. English is my third language, and I also speak/write a little Spanish."

Wow! *Doffs hat*. I can stumble along in Japanese and that's it. You are the man! Or woman...but that just doesn't roll off the tongue as well.

Anonymous said...


How do Jewish people decide what laws of the Old Testament (or I suppose the Torah to you) to follow? You obviously don't sacrifice animals anymore...but why?


Mrs. Anna T said...


We don't decide which rules to follow; the laws of Torah are unchangeable, but sometimes following them is impossible due to our present situation.

For example, currently we don't have a Temple or High Priest, therefore no animal sacrifices.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon number 2 - or are you the same Anon? - I read and rejected your comment. I wonder if you expected me to actually publish it.

I received dozens of similar messages in the past year, but at least, others had the decency to identify by their name.

You, too, can identify by your name and email me, rather than anonymously bombard me with religious propaganda through this blog.

If you like my blog and read it on a regular basis, you should know by now that I do NOT allow religious debate here, and certainly not anything that goes against my faith. Sorry, but this is a Jewish blog.

And it's not because I don't have answers for you. Oh believe me, I do.

If you are interested in mature discussion, email me so I will have a way to contact you privately.

Bethany Hudson said...


Well, if the grapefruit tree doesn't bear edible fruit and you're stuck with it, at least it still smells pretty :) We had a lemon tree like that when I lived in San Francisco. It only ever bore about 2 lemons that we could use, but I loved to climb up in it as a girl and read books amid the lemon blossoms.

I'm sorry that you had to deal with an anonymous prosyletization--especially during the holidays. Hopefully, it will not sour the day.


Anonymous said...

I'm CB anonymous. I read somewhere that it takes some years of diligent care to get a crop of sweet grapefruit and the fruit needs to be left on the tree to ripen. If there is a service that checks the PH factor in the soil, you might send a sample from your tree's soil and see if there is some additive that could help it. Meanwhile, enjoy the flowers and the scent. Happy holidays and many prayers for your little one.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Bethany, I kind of expected this... it's THE season now, after all.

Katie S. said...

I wish that I could grow citrus trees where I live! It would be so cool. It just gets to cold here during the winter for any citrus trees to survive it. I do have a small fig tree that I planted in a protected area, I've had it for 2 and a half years, but this is the first time that it has been in the ground during the winter (before I just had it in a pot and I would bring it in for the season.) I can only hope that it survives the cold in its little corner.

p.s I've been following you're blog for a wile now but this is the first time that I have left a comment. Your posts have been encouraging as I figure out were I want to go in life, you have helped me to realise that I want to be a stay at home wife and mother, witch was a pretty hard decision to come to, considering that I'm an unmarried 20 yearold liveing with her parents in the USA. I have to admit that I have yet to speek to my parents about what I want my life to be like, I have a feeling that they wont have a verry good reaction.

Anonymous said...

We moved into a house in June this year, that has an amazing fruit tree. I had never heard of this one before, but it is delicious... rather like a sweeter version of grapefruit. It comes from the grapefruit family... it is a Pomelo. When the tree produces the fruit, it produces dozens of them, and they are huge! Like the size of a small basketball.

Blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna!
I live in Oregon, the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We have gotten SO much rain :) I'm used to it - I love it - but there's been quite the snowfall this year which is definitely out of the norm. I'll pray that God will send some rain your way!! You can have some of ours!
Is your tree old enough to eat the fruit? I know there's something in Torah about not eating until the tree is a certain age (the verse escapes me at this moment) so how will you figure out what with your tree? :) Good smelling trees are a blessing. I ventured down South a few years back and was overwhelmed by the Magnolia trees blossoming. It was utterly divine just basking in the scent (although I could do without the humidity!).
Many blessings!!

Devyn Karyn said...

I just wanted to say I'm happy to see you're so far along in your pregnancy, I haven't read your post in awhile, but I hope all is going well. I don't think I've ever commented before, but I've been sporadically reading your blog since before it was called "Domestic Felicity" And I just wanted to say 'Hi!'


Mrs. Anna T said...

We don't know how old the tree is - it looks young, but definitely older than 3 years, so eating the fruit is allowed. I'd say it's 5-7 years old, judging by its size.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Oh, and to Anon 2, again: what you presented were misquotations, mistranslations and taking out of context. I have studied the matter, and luckily for me, I'm a Hebrew-speaker, so I can study *Scripture* and not someone's twisted mistranslation of it. It can work perhaps with a Jew who doesn't read Hebrew and doesn't know their Bible, but not with me.

LisaM said...

We used to have a grapefruit tree in Florida, and I remember as it grew up from the little "sapling" we planted, taking pictures just like this one. What a warm memory you brought me today. :)

Rachel said...

How cool to have a grapefruit tree in your yard! I've never seen one. It seems a bit odd to be forbidden to destroy a fruit tree, but I guess it makes some sense. We had some new neighbors move in a few miles down the road, to what used to be a pear orchard, but they've cut down most of the trees. It looks kinda sad now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
My DH grew up in Florida and I have heard LOTS about citrus fruits!! lol Are the grapefruit the pink or regular variety? Only the pink ones get 'somewhat sweet'. Otherwise I would recommend googling for grapefruit recipes! I did find one place that had a recipe for candied grapefruit peel (I love candied fruit peels!) and also for grapefruits marmalade. It could make for some great gifts! The recipe for grapefruit icing sounded terrific, especially on an angel food cake!!

And citrus flowers do smell wonderful! Enjoy your bounty.
~Evelyn Mae

Mrs. Anna T said...

Evelyn, our grapefruits are white. I know they aren't supposed to be sweet, but the ones we had last season look a bit under-developed.

If we have some nicer ones this time, I could try making marmalade. I love orange marmalade, and wonder if grapefruit would taste as good. I also love candied citrus peels.