Posts Tagged With: oranges

 
 

Winter Wonderland, Desert Style

Misty morning.

Misty morning.

Hey! It’s Gratituesday! Look at this!! Can you believe it?

Homegrown heaven!

Homegrown heaven!

Tomatoes!!! Yes! Fresh hanging on the vine tomatoes in February! Holy pico de gallo!

I’m so excited to see this. I tucked these babies in every night for over a week while we had freezing temperatures in January. I mean I literally tucked sheets around the plants to keep them warm and alive in the cold hours of the night. These are four-foot tall tomato plants too, so bedding them down took more than a few sheets and some perseverance.

Sunshine captured!

Sunshine captured!

Just a few steps to the south hang these beautiful shining orbs of sugary delight.

I squeezed a few for breakfast this morning. Oh my. Nothing else in the world smells like a freeze squeezed orange and nothing can imitate that liquid gold taste. I didn’t even need to add ice since it’d been a brisk night.

And then there’s walking at the Riparian. A hoodie is all that’s needed to keep warm enough  while walking at sunrise lately. A nice change from the twenties of a month ago and a vast distance from what I experience during the summer.

Puffy pearls.

Puffy pearls.

These puffy pearls captured a bit of sunlight as it passed by, the dew still clinging and cool. A mist hangs over the ponds until the sun peaks over the horizon chasing it away. Geese clamor and honk as they travel overhead. Such drama queens.

Winter mornings like this one, with homegrown tomatoes, oranges just plucked from the tree and scenic walking conditions count as just a few of many things that make living through a Phoenix blast furnace summer worthwhile.

It’s odd how that all works out. A sort of a balancing of the scale in terms of weather.

Do you suppose the scale balances in other ways as well? I like to think while going through tough times that seem relentless and unbearable, that life eventually balances out the scales. That joy, with a greater heft and depth than sorrow holds, brings things even. I could be wrong. But today, that feels true. I hope it is.

I’m feeling extra blessed by our mild winter gifts. What more could a person ask for?

Always making a ruckus!

Always making a ruckus! But hey, it’s a nice day anyway.

 

 

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

When Life Gives You Oranges

Oranges!!!

Oranges!!!

Who hasn’t heard the “When Life gives you Lemons make Lemonade” speech? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Okay, yes we’ve all heard it.

You make lemonade.

How about oranges? What if life hands you oranges? Then what do  you do?

Let’s line up the two side by side and see what we get, shall we?

We should.

Have you ever actually made lemonade? From a bowl of lemons sitting sweetly on your counter? Or from the tree in your backyard? That’s an important distinction.

Those pretty orange globes hanging on the tree make for a cheerful sight.

Those pretty orange globes hanging on the tree make for a cheerful sight.

Citrus trees have fierce hidden thorns and grow thick and tangly. So picking the dang things is like having life hand you lemons. Scratches on your arms, neck and face can definitely happen. I suggest you wear long, heavy-duty sleeves to pick lemons or oranges.

That bucket, box or bin you pick from that “small” tree fills up fast and gets heavy even faster. Hope you brought your muscles along, or at least some helpers. Our “little” orange tree we picked from yesterday filled up a large laundry hamper, a small laundry hamper and two five gallon buckets. It sure didn’t look like that much hanging on the tree.

Between rain and dust and birds the rinds of those fruits need some washing up. We had a two-year old on that job. She found it funner than bathtime. “I get to play in the sink with these hundreds of orange balls and this cool scrubby brush thing?” Oh yeah, she had a great time.

MSH invested in a juicing attachment that fits on my big mixer. That sure speeds up the process of getting the juice from the little round orange balls. Cut in half, press and the squeezing practically does itself. Sort of.  MSH has slightly sore muscles on his arms today.  A strategically placed bowl fills almost magically with copious amounts of juice. Personally I like to strain off most of the pulp and all the seeds. That’s a bit of a process too. MSH loves chunks in his juice. Me, not so much.

Here’s where things kind of split out between oranges and lemons.

Mmmmm. Makes you want to pour yourself a glass. Try squeezing a glass, it's better.

Mmmmm. Makes you want to pour yourself a glass. Try squeezing a glass, it’s better.

To get a useful amount of juice from either lemons or oranges requires more fruit than you’d expect. An eight ounce glass of orange juice takes roughly five or six medium oranges. Granted, ours aren’t specifically juicing oranges, but still, that’s a bunch of oranges for one glass to drink.

After yesterday’s long process, I can tell you I’m not going to chug a freshly squeezed glass of juice like I do a store-bought carton of the stuff. Personal time and effort give that juice a rarified, vintage wine expensive kind of flavor.

Juicer than oranges, lemons might yield eight ounces from four lemons. But you certainly aren’t going to drink that much lemon juice.  Oh no. That’d pucker you up for a week or more, right there. For lemon juice drinkability you’re going to want to add about an equal amount of sugar, maybe a little less, to two quarts of water and ice then stir well. Eight people can enjoy that sweetened lemon juice.

That’s a bunch of sugar right there. About a tablespoon and a half of sugar per eight ounce glass of water and lemon. That whole adage about life/lemons means you gotta add a ton of sweet to the sour stuff life hands you. Is it even possible to balance life that way? Some sour events life dishes out would require a sugaring of, oh I don’t know, a super sweet six month cruise to the Bahamas every half a year to achieve any kind of juice, water, sweetener balance.

Oranges, however, juice out ready to drink. No sugar required. A bit of ice is nice, but not necessary. It does take a hefty bunch of oranges and work to get that glass full enough to drink. Is the work worth it? When’s the last time you had a glass of orange juice, freshly squeezed? It’s a different experience than a processed glass.

Given the choice, we’d all pick oranges over lemons in the grocery store of life, wouldn’t we. Or would we? Some of us like a bit of tang and pucker. Some of us just need the easier route.

Either way, we make the best of what we’re given. And that, my friend, is the sweet and low of it.

Categories: Food, Gardening, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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