New Years Day 2018 & the Deep Freeze

Southern Tradition for a New Years Day meal dictates a few things not commonly (ok – not at all) seen while growing up in the Midwest.  These are supposed to bring you good luck for the year to come:  black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork.

Let’s start with the black-eyed peas.

black eye peas

They are supposed to be ‘mystical’ and bring good luck.  They became much more common after the Civil War when it was one of the few things readily available to eat.

Greens, our own home-grown collards are mixed with mustard greens.

collares 2These are to symbolize wealth.  They are green  like money and will ensure you a financially prosperous new year.

Pork and cornbread are also generally part of this tradition.

cooked meat

A lot of cultures associate a pig with good luck because they use their snout to ‘root forward’ as they eat, embracing challenges.  The cornbread represents gold and who doesn’t want more gold (or wealth).

So let’s talk about the pork.  There are sooooo many ways to eat pork, but is any way better than smoked?  Not in this house hold.  Eric spent a good part of the morning, smoking the pork roast.

grill

But he bumped it up a notch…by covering the meat with bacon while it smoked.

bacon pork

Really? Really!  You just knew it was going to be mighty tasty……….and it was.

I couldn’t find any tradition that mentioned a specific dessert, so I made one of my favorite.

cake 1

It starts out with a yellow cake mix and through the addition of various types of chocolate and other secret ingredients,  it comes out like this.  One of the finest cakes around!

cake 2

While the weather on New Years Day was okay, within a few days, we had some of the chilliest weather to hit Florida in years.

forecast

OMG – cold, wet, rainy, windy, yikes!  I pulled out my flannel-lined jeans (a life saver – just saying) and spent time outside preparing our plants.  In years past, this was really involved, bringing every pot into the garage and covering in-ground plants with frost-cloth, pegging down the corners and building-up edges to keep everything protected.  Not so much anymore.

I look at the cold weather as nature’s opportunity for pruning.  The plants may suffer some cold damage, but don’t totally croak.  Most of the plants we grow now are generally cold-tolerant. They may not love the coldest temps but I finally outgrew the fascination with tropical plants that grow only in south Florida where it never/rarely freezes or has a frost.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to be growing something that only gets better with the chilly temps, such as cabbage and the collards seen below.  There is a little tiny head of cabbage forming in the left photo.  Last year we harvested almost 10 full heads of cabbage and enjoyed the fruits of our labor for months.

The other potted plants are clustered near the side of the house in front of the garage doors.  The escaping heat is usually enough to keep them alive.  That and being sure they are well watered.

plants 1

plants 2

My tomatoes are a different story.  They look beautiful!  The developing fruit is about the size of my fist.

tomatoes 1

tomatoes 2

The vines have grown so well, the tomato plants are surround by an additional 5 wire cages to keep the vines off the ground and the stems from breaking under the weight of the fruit.  Again, absolutely beautiful plants and fruits – just saying.  🙂

This is where Eric got to play.  He built a framework around the tomato plants.  You just never know when you will find a use for duct tape.

cage 2

Added some lights……….

light 1

light 2

Yes, those are Christmas lights in the second photo.  The next step was to wrap the plants in frost-cloth.  Once the temps plummet, the micro-climate inside should be enough to keep the plants alive and relatively untouched.

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Thursday night and Friday should be the worst and then a gradual warming.

thursday forecast

So, no we don’t have it nearly as bad as most of the nation, but once you live in Florida, your blood thins out.  Temps that most people tolerate by wearing a long-sleeve shirt, we wear coats.   That’s life in Florida.

 

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