My family heritage hails from Minnesota. It makes little sense that my Scandinavian ancestors left their homeland, traveled across the ocean, then built new fireplaces in a place with sub-zero winters.
Maybe it’s because winter sports are built into their DNA. My winter-ready relatives can’t wait to dig out their snow shoes, hockey pucks and ice-fishing paraphernalia.
This year we can pretend we’re in the Midwest at the ice skating rink at Terry Ashe Park in Paradise. We checked it out Saturday night as a reconnaissance run.
Upon arrival, a proud-looking young man was riding purposefully on the ice resurfacing machine. A throng of skaters shuffled from skate-to-skate along the outside boundary of the rink.
When the gates reopened, there was a rush of arms and legs reminiscent of Black Friday at Toys R Us.
For $10 for the whole day, including skates, this is a great bargain, http://www.paradiseprpd.com/IceRink.html.
An even better bargain was taking in the scene for free.
Children who first skated like newborn fawns became brave.
A couple in their late teens skated while clinging to one another. As they became comfortable on the ice, they still clung to one another.
The newest, or perhaps most fearful, of the skaters borrowed a metal balancing device that looks a lot like Gramma’s walker.
I searched the crowd for someone at my skating skill level. My bundled-up twin kept to the perimeter and moved as if she was made of glass.
Outside the rink, merchants made it easy to contribute to the local economy: warm cider, hot chocolate, and lemon slushies. My beau informed the lemonade man that in the Midwest vendors make big bucks on hot lemonade. The vendor didn’t seem very interested.
However, my co-worker Laura has a ginormous Meyer lemon tree in her backyard, which was planted before Meyers became “improved.”
This is no ordinary fruit, and if Laura had waited, the big, beautiful crop would have frozen.
Laura’s lemons have skin so smooth and so soft I’m surprised Italians haven’t used lemons to make gloves.
The juice of one (very juicy Meyer) lemon. Two tablespoons starthistle honey. Hot water.
Other variations include replacing the honey with simple sugar. Optional items include a dab of butter, a cinnamon stick, three whole cloves, a dash of ground ginger, or a combination of your favorites.
Keep the lemons coming
If you forgot to take precautions, the citrus in your backyard might be destined for the compost pile.
Yet, if you currently have a pile of lemons or other citrus in your garage, you can freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Or better yet, set the ice cube trays on your back porch tonight.
To make hot lemonade, use about two cubes of juice per serving.
The blog greenlitebites, http://goo.gl/RfE8Nu, suggests peeling and washing a whole lemon. When needed, grab the lemon and grate on some flavor.
You can also freeze bags of lemon zest (the grated rind).