Christmas unveils a new favorite beer.

Great Christmas. Not hectic, drama free, great weather, great food. The highlight was probably little Tommy coming home as a surprise to his mother. It’s great having a midwest, liberal journalist to joust with. From my perspective the funniest thing to happen was to learn that Tina had bought Simon a harmonica for Christmas before we started opening gifts. He’s an amateur musician, guitar, ukulele, keyboard and sax player who often plays at amateur nights and similar events in Gainesville and entertains kids under his care at summer camp so she thought that a harmonica would be a great addition. So did we. We were sure when we got it that it would be unique and a big surprise. We were half right – it was a surprise. Ours came in a set that included the book “Harmonica for Dummies” so, considering Simon’s proclivity to forgetting things, and the small size of the instrument, having two harmonics is probably a good thing. The other surprise was that in all places, I found my new favorite beer at Tom and Tina’s, neither of whom are known for drinking. It was Organic pomegranate wheat beer. Now I just have to find a source closer to home. It displaces Trader Joe’s Blueberry ale.

About a month or so back I planted some spinach seed. Spinach is a long germinator so I anticipated not seeing anything for a couple of weeks and so it was. I did expect a higher germination rate than I saw and there were large gaps in the nice straight row I had planted. Fast forward a month and I decided to weed about 2 feet from the row of spinach and to my surprise, amongst the weeds were several spinach plants clustered tightly. I know I planted all the seed in a row so either birds or bugs must have picked the seed and dropped it to the new location. I carefully dug up the small plants and replanted in the gaps of the original row so it ended up looking exactly how I’d planned. Surprising how much weird stuff goes on in the garden.

Joey and Mark came up last weekend and finished off the sprinkler project. We replaced one of the control valves that had mis-functioned and, as if by magic, the system works again. That was my Christmas present from them. While we were at it, we added a turnoff valve to separate the house water plumbing and the sprinkler plumbing so that I can work on the sprinkler system without having to shut off the water supply to the house.

Nancy whipped up a batch of Rustic Radish Soup. Delicious. The variety of radishes I planted this year are a bit spicier than last year’s crop and the soup definitely has some zip. Our salads are now loaded with radishes and cherry tomatoes and within the next few weeks, will be based on our garden lettuce.
These particular cherry tomatoes are great trading material since they are virtually seedless. A friend of Nancy’s can’t eat regular tomatoes because of the seeds so these solve the problem. That same friend has a vegan daughter who gets heart flutters when she even thinks about our garden. We just gave her a load of collards and kale.

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