Lotsa Juice

The laptop is working out pretty good insofar as toting it off to find high speed internet access. We do that a couple times a month and it usually involves eating at a place set up with wi-fi. But the fastest connection is the Comfort Inn in Deland. They have a big sign out front that says free internet so I have no trouble pulling in and cranking up the laptop. Here’s the question – the sign also says free breakfast. Would we be out of line to go in and check the internet while munching on a bagel???

We are in serious need of some global warming here in north Florida. We have a stretch going of 5 days with daytime highs in the 50’s and nighttime lows in the freezing range. I think it’s the longest stretch of cold weather since the last ice age. I’m thinking of doing a big, smokey, bonfire to create my own localized carbon cloud. Or moving my gas guzzling F-150 up and just have it billow exhaust fumes in the general vicinity of the grapefruit tree. Try that with your Prius. I’ve double blanketed the garden so I’m reasonably comfortable that most, if not all, the veggies will make it. Tomatoes and peppers could be the weak link but the rest of the stuff can handle a bit of cold easily.

This morning I stripped the grapefruit and tangerine trees. If they freeze on the tree, they’re destroyed and right now, they’re at the peak of perfection insofar as sweetness is concerned. Even after eating from the trees since early November, I still picked a couple of bushels. We started converting those to juice and stoke the compost pile with the rinds – 100% utilization. We quit juicing when we filled up all the available containers – 3 gallons worth – and still have maybe another gallon in the queue. We have a dozen or so yellow grapefruit left then a bushel of mixed tangerines and ruby red grapefruits. So this last gallon will be an exotic mix.

I’m waiting for the wind to lay down a bit so I can go troll around for spec’s. They love the cold water. The only negative is that when you catch one you have to grab hold of it and freeze your hands off. Nancy has no interest in riding along while I catch them and have her remove and string them. The whole idea was a non-starter.

Home again

Our Christmas trip to NY was a total success. No flight delays in either direction and a fun time with Chris and Jamie. Other than the fact that it was incredibly cold, we managed to spend a day just walking around the city, two trips to Harold’s Deli and a visit to Marie and Eddy’s on Staten Island. We left with full suitcases and returned with full and even heavier suitcases. We found Wegman’s – a super market on the order of a Whole Foods – and loaded up with pasta, sauces, and many other items we can’t get in Florida. We were also loaded with Origins product and I picked up a couple of guaranteed indelible pens for my garden markers. If we’d have stayed another day we would have had to buy more luggage. As it was we had a case of wine shipped home.

The first trip to Harold’s yielded a pastrami sandwich that was about a foot high and included enough pastrami for several sandwiches at lunch plus enough for dinner that night. People at the next table ordered an X-large pastrami which was more than double the size of ours. They also had a gigantic salad platter and were feeding 5 adults and 3 kidlings. My guess is they still had enough left over to eat for the remainder of the week. There’s a great pickle bar that includes stacks and stacks of bread so you can break down your monster sandwich into as many smaller ones as you want. But the surprise was the pancakes another customer ordered. No exaggeration, each cake was about 30” in diameter and 3” thick. The platter was 3 of those pancakes. We also split a piece of cheesecake 5 ways and struggled to finish even that. The second trip netted a BLT which fed 4 of us. It was made with several pounds of crisp bacon, a head of lettuce and several sliced tomatoes. I could go on and on about watching what the other customers ordered. I knew about the sizes but what I didn’t appreciate was just how good the food would be. Without a doubt, the pastrami and cheesecake were the best I have ever eaten – anywhere, anytime.

We were going to eat at a restaurant in the city which Chris said was the best Italian in the city but we approached it without reservations since we just were not sure where we would be at any particular time. It was on Sunday and when he went in to see how long the wait would be, they told him the first opening was on Tuesday. So much for Carmine’s.

All in all, the experience was good for me since I had never really been back to an inner city residential area since we left Philadelphia in 1952. Jersey City is exactly the same environment as South Philadelphia where I grew up. It was a time warp for me. I for sure wouldn’t want to live there but an occasional visit would be fun. Nancy had an Aunt and Uncle that lived in Jersey City and, as it turned out, not too far from where Chris lives. She remembered the address, of course, so we drove by to see if it was still there. It sure was and she knew it immediately. The facing of the building had been changed but you could tell that the neighborhood was exactly as it was 60 years ago.

One good thing about it being so cold in NY, it conditioned my body for winter in Florida. We’re having it this coming week. The forecast is for us to have the longest stretch of cold weather in 5 years. Of course our low temp is not as cold as the high’s we experienced in NY, still, I feel better prepared. You also have your clock reset with respect to traffic. I think the traffic in Orlando is unbearable, and it is, but compared to NJ/NY………………. One thing that jumped out at me is that the powers that be must spend close to zero on road repair. Clearly the roads, in general, are the worst I have ever driven on and there is not the first sign of any road work going on. NY/NJ are notoriously the highest taxing states in the country but they sure aren’t using it for road maintenance.

Go Gators. Not sure what to expect. The urban Meyer thing is strange. There was a strong local rumor that if Meyer decides to go away, Utah’s coach is in the crosshairs. Sorry about that.

In closing, hit the lake as soon as we got home and snagged a quick dozen spec’s. Nice coming home present.