A Little Christmas

Our tiny Christmas display

I very seriously debated putting up a tree this year.

There’s just Ron and I.  There’s no other family around.  It’s doubtful we’ll have holiday company.

But then I decided that we really need the cheerful lights, the tangible celebration of faith, and reminders of Christmases past.  So I had Ron pick up a tiny live tree this evening to decorate.

As I went through boxes of decorations, each piece brought back memories of where I got it and what was going on in my life at the time.  Some memories were sweet.  Some bittersweet.  But the effect was to envelop me in the sweet peace and contentment that is Christmas.

I put out a few other of my favorite decorations, but kept them to a minimum this year.

Tonight I have beautiful music playing and am in a very special place.

My LEDs for the Casita arrived today.  I installed them earlier this evening and am very pleased with the effect.  They are warm white, and while not as warm as the incandescents, they still give a pleasing, natural light.  What was really fun was watching the battery monitor register the drop in current they drew compared to the original bulbs.

So the Casita got a Christmas present, too!  🙂

Wild Black Cherry Syrup

ripening wild black cherries

Ripening wild black cherries

Late this afternoon I checked out our wild black cherry tree.  It looked like a little over a third of the cherries were ripe.

Usually I hold the branches down and pick the cherries by hand.  But it’s pretty time consuming.  So today I put a tarp under the tree and whacked the branches I could reach with a long stick.

It worked, but a LOT of the cherries rolled off into the grass.  And I also got unripe berries, twigs, leaves, two kinds of spiders, inchworms, and a tiny grasshopper in the mix.

It took a while to clean them.  I may have done just as well to pick them by hand.

wild black cherry syrup

Wild black cherry syrup

We don’t eat a lot of jelly, so I decided to make syrup with them.  It didn’t take too long.  I boiled the cherries about 30 minutes, poured everything into a jelly bag and let it drain another 30 minutes.

Then I mixed the cherry juice 50/50 with sugar and simmered it for another 5 minutes.

I made two jars, plus enough left over for immediate use.

I’ll probably use it in tea, lemonade, over ice cream, and to flavor other desserts.

The rest of the cherries should be ripe soon.  I love having wild food growing free for the taking!

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