The Festivities

Open with some garden news. Picked a couple green peppers. More often than not, they don’t make it this late in December. They’re very sensitive to temp and it’s fairly normal to have a light frost by this time that dooms them. We actually bought a couple last week and they were outrageously priced at $3/pepper. So at this point we’re totally supplied in lettuce, peppers, kale and parsley; oregano and rosemary in the herb department. Made the first green smoothie of the season using White Russian Kale and home grown pineapple as the main ingredients. And made the first “little old lady” lettuce delivery to one of Nancy’s bridge partners in Palm Coast. Started two new seed beds – Spinach and Celery. The spinach will probably do just fine but maybe not so much the celery. That’s based on prior history. Without a doubt the celery seed is the tiniest of anything else I plant. It really looks more like dust than seeds. The closest to that is parsley. Carrot seed is micro but seems quite large compared to either parsley or celery. I can buy pelletized carrot and lettuce seed but haven’t found celery – sorely needed.

Reading a “new book” that deserves mention. Simon and Amy put me onto “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens last month when they visited. I looked for it at the Flagler county library but no luck. This past week Nancy’s friend that usually takes her to crocheting had to cancel and I picked up the duty. It was too early for Persimmon Hollow so I dropped her off and drove a few blocks to the Volusia County library where I found it quickly. I decided to read a few pages to see if it was something I’d like – I’m kind of a CJ Box Joe Pickett guy or a Jack Reacher guy and this definitely sounded softer. After the first page I was hooked. I’m a few chapters deep into it now and have stayed hooked – maybe deeper. To top it off, Chris always gets me a couple books for Christmas. Guess what one of the selections was this time so I quickly returned the book to the library and picked up reading my own brand new one.

We had great house guests for the Christmas events. Chris came home and brought two friends with him, Vic and Vic’s brother Versage. The program was for us to host a Christmas eve dinner with Tom’s local family, Joey and Mark. We did a turkey on the Holland grill and I made fresh cranberry sauce. Then Chris and the guys did all the sides. They’re all great cooks so we were in for some specials including a pumpkin soup. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Pumpkin Soup but Wow! It was incredible as were the carrots and green bean dishes they prepared. Real gourmet cooking. Tina made the most fantastic chocolate cake you’ve ever seen. I’m sure there are plenty of pics of it on her Facebook page. The events moved to Tom’s on Christmas where the turkey was replaced with prime Rib. We had a repeat of the oven problem from Thanksgiving but Tom was prepared to use the smoker and it couldn’t have turned out better. I think the roast was 18 pounds – a serious piece of meat – and it was done to perfection. For me the most interesting dish was something I thought was cole slaw but turned out to be a creation of Tina’s using shredded Brussel Sprouts and turnips. The original recipe called for Jicama but she couldn’t find that so decided to substitute the turnips. I put that right there with the pumpkin soup for outstanding new eats.

Lot’s of great gifts. Nancy got a new robot sweeper that is a “wet mop”. We gave it a test run today, the 29th, and it worked as advertised. So now she can run the original roomba to get the dust and sand off and follow it with a wet mop of the tile area. I got one of those “heavy” blankets. You’re supposed to be able to sleep much better but I really had my doubts. The first night I tried it, I had it draped over the side of the bed and some time after midnight it slid off onto the floor pulling me with it. I tried it again the next night and had a full uninterrupted 8 hours of sound sleep. That’s really unusual for me. I’ve repeated the same for the following two nights so I’m sold on it.
The other “event” was an introduction to a male friend of Olivia’s, aka her boyfriend. Nancy and I both had an opportunity to talk with him and learned that his family lived in the same neighborhood as us in Altamonte back in the 70’s. And Nancy learned that his grandmother plays bridge in Maitland so what more could she ask for. Seemed like a really nice guy.

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