Recently we decided it was time to pick the remainder of the grapefruit from our tree, and yesterday I made several batches of juice, knowing we couldn't eat all of the fruit itself before it spoiled. Actually, that's fine with me, as I love grapefruit juice. Not the juice you can buy in the grocery store—although that's tolerable if you get the "not from concentrate" kind—but real, live, non-pasteurized, fresh grapefruit juice. It's unbeatable!

If I'd known how wonderful it would be to have our own tree, I'd have planted more than one when we moved here 20 years ago. This is truly one of Florida's great treasures. And yet if you drive around and look at homes with citrus trees on the property it seems that most people don't appreciate the gift, but let the fruit fall and rot.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 21, 2005 at 8:38 am | Edit
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I borrowed a cookbook from the library: the Beat That! Cookbook by Ann Hodgeman (Chapters Publishing, Ltd., Vermont, 1995). This is not a book review, nor a recipe review, but a brief comment on a remarkable coincidence. Flipping through the book, I came upong the entry for Sarah's Tomato Sandwiches, which begins with the following note: "Before she embarked on a church career, Sarah Gaede was a caterer. This hors d'oeuvre recipe was one of her most popular." The author lives in Connecticut, but who can doubt that this recipe is from the Sarah Gaede we knew at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando?
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, March 17, 2005 at 11:45 am | Edit
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On Saturday we went to the Central Florida Fair, old-fashioned fun with rides, a midway, cotton candy, and hundreds of exhibits. I particularly enjoy the 4H and Future Farmers of America presentations. What I like best, perhaps, is that it is SO NOT DISNEY.

alt This year I again visited my favorite fair vendor, Our Vital Earth. I like them because they sell worm condominiums. That's Porter's term for the product, which I like better than the official name, Can-O-Worms. Whatever the appellation, it's a nifty system for dealing with home garbage. The tiered container (shown here expanded) takes up about as much room as a large kitchen garbage can. You put your organic garbage—scraps (except meat and bones), grass clippings, leaves, newspapers, dryer lint, old cotton socks—into one of the three trays (the bottom tier holds liquid) along with the garbage-eating worms. When that tray is full, put another on top; the worms migrate upward as they run out of food. After a while the worms are out of the bottom tray, leaving fine fertilizer behind. Water and worm urine collects in the bottom; the resulting liquid makes a good, natural insecticide as well as fertilizer. (They also say it's good for sunburn, but I don't think I'd try that one.) It's supposed to be a rapid, odorless process, big in Australia, where I'm told the device is often kept in the kitchen. I'd probably opt for the back porch, but the one I saw at the fair would not be out of place in a kitchen. It smelled better than most garbage cans.

We have no affiliation with Our Vital Earth, nor any other Can-O-Worms seller. We don't even own a worm condo; I just think it's a cool idea. And we may get one yet, once I figure out how to keep a straight face when arranging for a worm babysitter when we go on vacation. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 14, 2005 at 5:58 pm | Edit
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Recently I discovered Li’l Writer Guy living in my head.

That sentence is enough to make half the readers of this blog think I’m insane, and the other half think I’m possessed. Be that as it may, it’s the best way I know to explain the way I think. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 4, 2005 at 10:21 pm | Edit
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Having made so much of the Red Sox for their World Series win, I must also congratulate the Patriots for their Super Bowl performance. Not quite so heartily, however. For one thing, for the Patriots to win the big one is not quite so rare as for the Sox; for another, half my heart was also given to the Eagles. I care even less about professional football than about professional baseball, but I have pleasant associations with both teams' cities. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, February 7, 2005 at 6:51 am | Edit
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Florida has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather recently, though here it is not as welcome as the 60 - 70 degree temperatures in the Northeast has been seeing. I'm not ready for shorts and temperatures in the 80's yet, and neither are our plants, which must have been dreaming of an early summer this week.

What a change this morning! Suddenly the air pouring through my open office window has a welcome chill, driving off the computer-generated warmth. Time to switch back to long pants, maybe even break out some soup and our Christmas hot chocolate. Alas that the cooler weather that brings blessing to us brings hardship to more northern climes!

I'm not unmindful that the new temperatures that are wonderfully cool to us are the same ones that were wonderfully warm to our loved ones just yesterday.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 14, 2005 at 9:12 am | Edit
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Lime Daley is the name of Jon Daley's Internet hosting and embedded hardware and software systems company. It is also the name Porter gave to a great drink Jon and Heather invented. For the curious, here is the recipe for a Lime Daley:

ice to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 drops Boyajian lime oil
1 twelve-ounce bottle Blenheim “Old #3” (red cap) ginger ale

Put ice in a tall glass. Add lime juice and lime oil. Slowly pour in Blenheim. Stir well. Be prepared for the strongest kick a non-alcoholic drink can have. (To remember the proportions, think “3, 2, 1, blastoff!” It’s appropriate.)

(I predict will be a powerful business.)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 10, 2005 at 1:21 pm | Edit
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Many churches have early evening "family services" on Christmas Eve, so that young children don't have to stay up for "Midnight Mass." That's a mistake, I think. Children who stay up past midnight are less likely to awaken before the dawn on Christmas Day. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 25, 2004 at 2:15 pm | Edit
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'Tis the final day of Advent, and family is gathered around. Tonight we hear the penultimate story from Jotham's Journey, which we have been reading each night while the Advent candles are lit. Soon we will travel to church, bracketing our worship with fondue: cheese before and chocolate after. A white Christmas is unlikely, for the snow has been washed away by yesterday's rain. Perhaps we will have some Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music instead, which is almost as good.

The Season of Waiting is almost over. It is hard to observe Advent in our culture, where "Christmas" begins in October and ends about noon on December 25, just as the Christmas Season is beginning. But our small attempts have succeeded in shutting out some of the clamor, and drawing our eyes to greater wonders.

Billy, age five, is greatly excited. He hung his stocking from the mantel, and moved the large airplane cockpit control panel toy from in front of the fireplace, so that Santa will find no obstruction tonight. Then he solemnly declared to his cousin, "It wouldn't matter if Santa doesn't come, because the important thing about Christmas is Jesus' birth."

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 24, 2004 at 3:51 pm | Edit
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One year ago today we were basking in the sun of an unusually warm November day, and in the healing joy of the birth of a beautiful, healthy baby boy. This has truly been a Year of Thanksgiving.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, November 18, 2004 at 10:01 am | Edit
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I know this will not impress you Northerners, but I'll tell the story anyway. When I jumped into the pool today, I thought that the water was a tad on the chilly side. After doing my 10 warm-up lengths, I checked the thermometer: 67 degrees, a drop of six degrees since Friday. It was actually quite pleasant, after a lap or two, though I'm sure it's colder than the Maggie P. in summer. Probably not colder than Lake Bomoseen, however. My goal is to keep swimming until Thanksgiving. This time it was easy, as I had no idea before I stepped in how cold the water was. The real test of my determination will be the next time I venture in.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 at 7:32 pm | Edit
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We're watching the lunar eclipse. The first time I saw that beautiful phenomenon, my father awakened me in the early hours of the morning, and we drove to a place where we could see the moon well. I was cold and sleepy. But it was worth it: to see the moon, and to have that special time with my dad.

Tonight we have it easy. We step out of our front door into the warm Florida night, and there is the disappearing moon, clear and lovely and perfectly framed. It reminds me of watching space shuttle launches, which we also see from our front yard. Except that this time I have no lingering fears that the beauty will splinter and fall as I watch.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 9:39 pm | Edit
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Being originally a New Englander, Porter has been a Boston Red Sox fan since before he learned that those things he put on under his shoes were actually spelled s-o-c-k-s. He loves the team so much that he usually refuses to watch them play. (We lived near Boston for nearly two years, and never went to Fenway Park.) Demonstrating that paganism can still lurk in the deep recesses of a Christian's life, he is (or pretends to be) superstitious enough to believe he can jinx them just by watching. And I must admit that the anecdotal evidence is pretty strong. He has the opposite effect on the Yankees, too. During the first round of the playoffs this year, he watched seven seconds of a Yankees-Twins game, with Minnesota well aheadójust in time to see Rubin Sierra hit a three-run homer to tie the game, which the Yankees went on to win. Chastened, he watched not one second of the Boston-New York playoffs. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 23, 2004 at 6:26 pm | Edit
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With the nonchalance of season passholders, we spent the day at EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival. The park was not crowded by their standards, but it was by ours; we prefer to go when time spent waiting in line is minimal. Today, however, we found ourselves in line again, and again, and again…each time at a small booth with a long queue, that featured a different country’s food and drink. Portions were appetizer-sized, and prices were Disney-sized, but the idea was great. If the portions had been any larger, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy so many tastes. It helps to have a partner in this situation: you wait in this line, I’ll wait in that one, then we’ll meet and share the food. It was a strategy that worked well.

Waiting in line was a social event, too. Floridians seem to have made an easy transition from exchanging hurricane preparation tips while in line at Home Depot, to exchanging food recommendations while waiting at EPCOT. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, October 16, 2004 at 8:55 pm | Edit
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We went to a high school football game tonight. It was a great night for it, cool enough for long pants and a sweatshirt, our first cool weather in months. We actually went to see the halftime show, which I understand is pretty good despite the efforts of four hurricanes to thwart practice. But there was no halftime show: the Marching Patriot Band played their music from the stands. Why? I'm not sure, except that it's technically Fall Break, and a significant portion of the band was elsewhere. (Why the sports teams, band, cheerleaders, and associated people should be deprived of their Fall Break time is another issue.) Even so, it sounded pretty good. Too bad those people at the gate thought we paid our $12 to see the football team.

Ah, well, it was a fun night anyway. We had friends to talk with during the first half, and the second half had several exciting plays, exciting even to me, whose interest in football is something less than one of those mathematical epsilons.... Besides, there's nothing quite like a Band Booster hamburger.

This is the first year there is no one in the band who was there when we were involved. Some siblings, though. And they still play the same songs.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, October 15, 2004 at 11:02 pm | Edit
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