My Winter Drink . . .

. . . is not hot chocolate! While the northeastern United States has spent the week digging out from two or three feet of snow, Florida temperatures have reached 80 degrees and higher, and oranges are ready for picking.

When I moved into my current home, I became the beneficiary of three orange trees and one tree of pink grapefruit, shown above, in my back yard.

Though the trees have since died of old age (they were planted in the 1940's), I got a lot of enjoyment from them. I quickly learned that three large oranges would fill one tumbler with orange juice. In the evenings, I'd go pick three oranges, and then I'd squeeze them the next morning for breakfast.

 My trees would produce dozens and dozens of oranges. I'd squeeze gallons of orange juice for my coworkers, and still have oranges left over to give away, and to last me through the season.

I even made my own label.
Internet image from realtruck.comSome friends discovered that the children of Florida's migrant workers didn't get to enjoy any of the orange juice. And so we devoted an afternoon to pick my remaining oranges to distribute to migrant workers' children. That day, we were able to fill up the bed of a pickup truck.

As long as I'm in Florida, I'll want my electric orange juicer to be close at hand! You'll notice in this photo that I've put a return address label on the juicer. That's because every once in a while, I'll be invited to the home of a friend for a juicing party. We'll pick all the oranges (someone younger will climb up to the top branches), and we'll form a production line of juicers. It's a good excuse for celebrating afterwards with a potluck dinner.

So here's my winter drink, from the orange tree of my friends, Sandy and Greg.