New Year’s Day Thoughts

Everyone has returned home and Ray and I are still here at the orange grove with the dogs. I have just taken a shower in our roofless showerhouse, which, with its heat-on-demand water heater, remains at the top of the list of best improvements for the orange grove second only to our freestanding kitchen, which will probably never be outranked due to its exceptional practicality. Alas, it is 5:28 pm and almost dark,  proving that while we are past the winter solstice, we still have a wait until the days visibily grow longer. 

The highlights of this past week would be hard to separate. We had several wonderful days early on that were marked by the presence of daughter Liz, her boyfriend Ron, our friend from Texas Jared and our youngest daughter, Rachael. These were work-until-you-drop days while everybody focused on individual or group projects that all signal major improvements for the grove. Liz and Ron have in fact bought one of our old Spartans and are in the processs of a major restoration.  Jared has his own small project he’s comcentrating on and Ray and I emptied out the larger of the Spartans so that we could have a gathering spot for the family since it was forecasted to rain at least part of the time we were here. This Spartan is close to its own redesign and restoration and we are excited about that. So, that was all wonderful in its own right. 

The latter part of the week brought the arrival of Sarah, Gregorio, Luna and Nico. This, of course, shifted my attention to grandma duty, which suited me just fine. I like nothing more than uninterrupted time with my grandkids. 

We also had the departure of Jared and the arrival of several friends of our kids who were here to help bring in the new year. They were also here to be part of a major tamale-making party spearheaded by our son-in-law, Gregorio, who succeeded in making lard-free tamales that all the no-pork folks could eat (which includes Ray and me).  These were the BEST tamales I have ever eaten and came in all sorts of varieties, such as chicken with mole; mushroom, spinach and cheese; potato and cheese; and pineapple, raisin and (maybe) cheese. There were others I still haven’t tasted yet and am looking forward to trying. This was all accomplished under big tents in the rain, just in case you needed more reason to be impressed and then steamed on an open fire after the rain finally cleared. I think Gregorio, Sarah and the rest of their crew made 350 tamales so you can only imagine the focus and work involved. Ray and I were the happy recipients. 

I am deeply grateful for this wonderful period of my life and the people who populate it. That includes any of you who take time to read my blog. Thank you for making my life so rich. 

Happy 2017. 

                       Liz and Ron

          Nico, Me, Sarah and Luna

                       Ray and Me

Bri, Gregorio, Casey and Emilio

                 Tamales Steaming 

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