When we think of Christmas, most of us conjure up a nostalgic image of “White Christmas,” or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and dream of open fires and snow all around. I often wonder how many of us have actually had a Christmas like that? I certainly haven’t! I suppose there’s always the chance of snow here – we do live pretty high up in the Los Filabres, but its probably unlikely. We do have a wood burner though, so I guess we’re half way there!
At this time of year, I tend to turn my hand to a few home made Christmas arrangements. They’re the usual thing; holly and ferns and berries. This year, despite my friend Steve swearing blind he’s seen a holly tree complete with berries “somewhere,” in the village, I’ve had to rethink. We couldn’t find the holly tree despite hours of searching, so I settled for some local greenery instead. I’m no botanist, so I’m not entirely sure what I ended up with. Suffice to say it was mostly grasses, a few ferns, something that looked a bit like laurel, something else with big seed pods on it and some small red berries. Oh and some fir cones. I did pick some Lavender, but it was a bit delicate and didn’t really appreciate being stuffed in a bag with all my other selections. Will have to try again on that score.
It’s also orange season at the moment. Although there’s a definite chill in the air, we’ve been blessed with some glorious sunshine and with orange groves round every corner, it really is a sight to behold. Now, you don’t have to have your own orchard to take advantage of the crop. Everyone always has more oranges than they know what to do with, so you can always find someone trying to off load their harvest or you can make use of the windfall by the side of the roads. I’ve already had several bag fulls from obliging neighbours. Waste not want not thought I. I’m going to make use of some of them around the house. The smell is wonderful and they really brighten the place up.
As well as fresh oranges, I’ve had a go at drying some slices for decoration too. Thinly sliced and placed in the oven on a low heat for a few hours and they’ve turned out well – well not bad for a first attempt anyway. If I get enough time, I think I’m going to try making marmalade. I’ve used both fresh and dried in my arrangements around the house to bring some seasonal cheer – along with my hard won greenery from the rambla. Hope you like them!