Tie dye

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Celebrations…celebrations are rituals we perform. They are important.  I think holidays are a  way of stopping and marking time, to remember, to reconnect, to reach out. I once worked for someone that didn’t want to observe holidays, it was strange to me. In the United States we are such a melting pot which is great on one hand because you can adopt all kinds of traditions from varying cultures. But on the other hand, our traditions are watered down with so many other influences, it’s hard to remember it’s not just another sales event. I like a reason to stop and do things maybe a little out of the ordinary. Almost all celebrations are centered around food, and one thing is for sure, that gives me reason to go over the top with cooking and baking!

This past weekend was no different. Jerry and Scott are back and so began a wild frenzy of shopping and prepping, cleaning and cooking. After a delicious breakfast of fresh picked blueberries and peaches, blueberry pancakes, eggs and sausages.  We started cooking at 9am we smoked ribs three ways, smoked a pork butt too. We grilled corn and made cole slaw and baked beans and fruit salad and banana cream pie.

It was a crazy strange group of friends and family, with all the regular drama and issues people bring together, I imagine it would look like a tie dyed shirt from afar. Energy and excitement, pain and despair, sickness and health, love and hate, old and new. The human condition, in a microcosm of a group all brought together to hopefully enjoy lovingly prepared food in our humble backyard! A reason to celebrate.

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False Sense of Security

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It is true… I live in Florida and we have amazing weather! Don’t get me wrong it can get brutally hot in the summers but…well…it is Florida, ya know! Any way it is spring here and it is amazing on the farm everything is bursting out in bloom, the trees are a vibrant lime green, there are honey bees and birds everywhere! It just makes me feel happy to be alive, and sometimes around August I feel a little bit guilty complaining about the heat, especially after the paralizing winters our neighbors to the north have been having. Tons of snow, ice, freezing temperatures, and mud, I couldn’t even imagine not being able to leave the house or go out to work. Most of the year it is warm and sunny here with an afternoon thunderstorm or two. On most days you can get out and about to do whatever needs doing.

Right now gardening and yard work is taking up a lot of my time and my thoughts. We have a ten acre farm and we are working towards becoming a bit more self sufficient.  We have citrus trees orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, and lime. We have pomegranate, peach, plum, pear, nectarine, persimmon, fig, loquat, and olive trees. We have blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and mulberry bushes. We have bunches and bunches of herbs. Oh it can be a wonderful cooks paradise! I love incorporating these delectable delights into my meals. But it requires quiet a bit of work too!  Weeding and planting and trimming and fertilizing and mowing and on and on and on!

This weekend was the local master gardeners spring festival. We go every year and even though you would think I have enough stuff…I had to get more! I love Hass avacados, so I bought a little avacado tree, which I have no idea where I’m gonna plant it, I do my research and apparently they can grow up to 50ft tall! I also got some beautiful nasturtiums to use on cakes and salads. This time of year is so exciting! All the promise of the new and delicious!

So, most of the time we have mild winters. Not too bad at all, a couple of light frosts, a few nights to blanket the horses and cover the plants. This year we had a really mild wet winter. Lulled into a false sense of security the plants were happy, blooming, and some were even setting fruit! I was getting spring fever and then it hit! We had one night of a twelve hour freeze! Even things I covered got frost bite. I lost all the loquat fruit this year,  some peaches, and it almost killed my lime trees, which are very sensitive to cold and were covered. Very sad, but that’s the way Florida is in the winter, it can be in the 80’s one day and freezing the next. I guess this just gives me the opportunity to plant new stuff!!!