December 25 – Another chilly morning is here, and in my option, the worst time of year is approaching weatherwise. We’ve had some frosts and in the region even a few snow flakes. I hate to think of snow lying thick on the ground and having to find a way to get rid of it. With this peripheral neuropathy that I have, shoveling snow will be difficult. Let’s see, maybe a snow-blower would help.As I have mentioned previously, all of my houseplants have been brought in and are sitting on a long low table in front of our large living-room window. A beautiful pink and rose geranium plant is adding much color, and keeps sending up new buds.
Sad to say, we were surprised a week or so after bringing them in to find one of my cacti lying on the floor, broken in half, with a lot of dirt on the carpet. It was one of my largest cacti, one that flowered every summer and had a lot of baby cacti growing out of the lower stem area. It hadn’t been growing straight up and probably just got unbalanced. So I am saving the larger upper half to re-pot, once the break area has dried up a bit so it won’t be so prone to rot. All the baby cacti will be potted up and given away.
We were given a mandevilla vine this fall, on a wooden trellis in a pot, and there were several blossoms and buds on it. The flowers are a beautiful pink and last for several days. I don’t know if the plant is going to thrive during the winter and already a few leaves have turned yellow and fallen off. Mandevilla comes from South and Central America, and seems to be a fairly new arrival to modern flowerhood, as I don’t see it in any of my older plant catalogs.On the fruit front, David brought us a box of apples that he says are great for making apple sauce and came from Midlands Adventist Academy where his wife is the custodian and overseer. The academy buys citrus and apples every fall and winter, friends and parents would buy cases of them, and the money would benefit the school. This is the last year they will be doing the apples, but citrus is an every-year event and they sell hundreds of boxes I believe. Earlier in November while David was here to help out with some random tasks, we went out and over to our old pear tree in the pasture. It is ancient and mostly hollow but still bears a lot of pears some years and had a good crop this year. Chris had knocked a lot of them down with a long bamboo pile with a four-prong fork attached to one end, but a lot were too high to reach. So, David climbed up into the tree and shook the branches very vigorously and how those pears did fly! We picked up over three large buckets full of them, and Chris canned them when they got a bit softer. Since our son David and family were coming to visit for Christmas for a few hours, Chris and I spent some time in the kitchen earlier making cement. Making cement in the kitchen, you say? Well, yes, it was edible cement, one of David’s favorite foods that he has loved for a long time. It is made of flour and oatmeal and cornmeal and malt extract and vanilla and cinnamon and raisins, moistened with water and mixed up, formed into balls, then rolled flat with a rolling pin.
My mom came up with this food way back when we lived in Rhodesia, a way to make home-made grape nuts since they weren’t very available in Africa back then. The balls are rolled out flat on the kitchen table with a BIG rolling pin, and then cut into narrow strips and put on metal trays that go into the oven. When they are brown and crisp, they are taken out, allowed to cool, and stashed away in a big metal can for future consumption.David eats most it (although he does share some of it now and then!) and often carries the can around with him in his car for casual snacking. Originally the strips were ground up like grape nuts but now they just remain strips until chewed up.
While the family was here, Chris fixed up some soup, snacks, strawberries and biscuits, and a (very hot) chocolate drink, which is David’s favorite drink, I think, and he likes to make one for himself every day. It was so hot I couldn’t even hold the glass it was in and had to add cold milk, but Chris and Dave just took wee and cautious sips!
Have a Merry Christmas! – DALE