Today I scored a bucket full of organic oranges from yet another generous neighbor. How fortunate am I? My neighbor warned me that these oranges are never terribly sweet. Needing to see for myself,  I peeled one and ate it. No, it's not like candy, but it has a wonderful orange fragrance and flavor that I quite enjoyed! With the addition of a little sugar, any recipe with these will be delicious.

on the tree


I think I'll make an orange and honey sorbet, and maybe some chocolate orange biscotti. Those sound like good Christmas Eve desserts, don't they? Do you crave citrus this time of year, like I do?

Speaking of Christmas, that's generally what's going on around here - preparations for and celebrations around the holiday. We've had a night caroling with friends, a day watching Adam perform at the Conservatory, fun excursions to find stocking stuffers, and plenty of baking time in the kitchen. We've had such a glut of eggs that I've been making egg-centric dishes; mini frittatas for the caroling party, a sponge cake today. Thank you, chickens!

I have two very attractive things to show you. One is our new 'rain barrel.'

note the corner of a sand bag to the right

We noticed a breach in the gutter in this corner, which caused waterfalls, which caused our garage to flood last week. So our very elegant solution was a plastic trash barrel (and some sand bags). Listen, I really love it, despite the way it looks. I love that I can just dip my watering can in and get it filled up, rather than having to attach a hose to some wonky valve near the bottom and then haul the hose around, bent over. And I can keep the ever-drippy hose nozzle inside to catch the drips, too. Not that I'm having to use rain barrel water; we've been getting some regular rain, thank goodness!

The other very attractive thing; the legs of the bee hive.


We still have an ant problem. We've had enough rain that I can't keep up with the need for diatomaceous earth. (That stuff is expensive!) So I've tried every other trick I could find. I sprayed the legs with vinegar. The ants crawled right through it. Then I tried cornmeal. Ants crawled right through it. Then I tried cinnamon. You guessed it, ants crawled right through it. Lastly I added coffee grounds. All together now: the ants crawl right through it. What a mess. I'm about ready to use borax.

The garden is creeping along, with some things doing better than others. The garlic and shallots are acting like it's summer. The greens are coming along great, as are the peas. I have incremental growth on the brassicas, and no growth at all on the potatoes. (It's looking like winter potatoes are a bust, but maybe come February they'll surprise me.)

The narcissus continue to bloom early.

Onward to the holiday. I hope wherever you are, you're enjoying some time off, some homemade treats, and lots of time with loved ones!

Check out the nearly-empty canning shelf.
We did a great job making many of our gifts this year!