Forget about beans being the magical fruit.
At my place the magical fruit is the orange.
Even in the desert, the winter time can be cold and dreary. At Thanksgiving time, just as the weather is starting to get cold, we go and visit large numbers of family. We all stay inside to visit (all day). We hug strangers and kiss the little petri dishes. This is a term that I use for children. Think about it, they go to daycare every day and are exposed to other children’s
germs. They all lick and chew on the same toys. Their noses are always needing wiped. A mommy that I know asked her little one after going to the bathroom; “Did you wash your hands?” “Yes, I washed my hands” Mommy; “Did you wash your hands?” “I couldn’t reach the sink!” Sound familiar? Of coarse it does. We love them all, but they stick their little hands in our mouths and noses and then we get sick- From Thanksgiving til Christmas- and then we do it all over again.
This is all said in love, I love my little petri dishes. But it is a great example.
So what can we do? Oranges to the rescue. God in His amazing smartness gave us citrus full of vitamin C just in time.
I have over 20 orange trees on my property. Their life giving abundance is amazing to me.
When I trim them, I feed the goats the leaves and the tender branches, then I use the harder branches that are left over and put them through a wood chipper for mulch. The mulch is a soil builder, or a soil protector. I also use the mulch around other trees to act as a sponge to hold and release water when needed. The mulch makes a great absorbent bedding for the animals- much like a great big diaper. They poop and pee on it, it keeps them clean without diaper rash and their little heineys, It degrades and them I move the pen. It enriches the soil right in the same spot, or I can rake it out and put it in my compost bed.
I can also use the thickest pieces of wood-that will not fit into a chipper- as fire wood. I need to keep my “Kum bi ya” voice in tune. Besides- telling stories around the fire pit is a great way to build lasting friendships.
Last but not least is the orange itself. The peel can be used to make orange oil. I am learning about the benefits, but I know that as a household cleaner, it makes your house smell fresh and clean. I have a friend that makes orange liquor with oranges that I give here. I intend to learn that next year. You can eat the oranges fresh, you can freeze the sections, I have canned them like mandarin oranges, you can make fruit leather by dehydrating, and you can juice them- like I am.
I have an electric juicer that I bought at a yard sale for $5. I juice the oranges, and store them in my freezer in half gallon canning jars Like these
My children each got a juicer for Christmas This is the one and whenever they come over, they get to pick a bucket of oranges to take home, and juice for themselves.
We will have orange juice, and orange products all year long. Then starting next December- we will do it all over again.
Hooray for the magical oranges!