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Photo courtesy of L Tindenbaum

On the weekend we heard our first cicada, a harbinger of summer on the North Island of New Zealand. After 2, 13 or 17 years below the ground, in November or early December the mature nymphs bore to the surface. They climb onto nearby shrubs or trees (in fact any vertical surface). They then molt into winged adults. To listen to a cicada recorded in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, click here.

At the same time, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Today, we put our wreath on the front door and wrote out our Christmas cards –  we sent “real” cards this year for the last time because we have found a very good site for animated e-cards, which we’d like to share with you (see the link at the end of this post).

Photo courtesy of A Lau

Tomorrow we’ll be making our favourite mincemeat, Mincemeatless.  If you’d like to try it, we’ve included the recipe at the end of this post. It’s divine, especially with  mascarpone pastry. Closer to the day, we’ll make a delicious Christmas ice cream, more befitting of the hot Christmas temperatures in New Zealand.

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Postscript: For beautiful animated e-cards, visit Jacquie Lawson.

Disclosure: The website mentioned in this Boomer Life Today blog post was not solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.


  • 3 lbs. apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large, or 2 small oranges, juice and peel
  • 1 large lemon, juice and peel
  • 1 pint (or about 1 1/2 bottles) apple cider
  • 1 lb (2 2/3 cups) brown sugar (suggest Demerara)
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 lb. (2 2/3 cups) raisins
  • 1 lb. (2 2/3 cups) currants
  • 8 oz. (1 1/3 cups) glace cherries – halved (optional)
  • at least 4 fl. oz of dark rum.

In a saucepan, (you’ll need about a 5 qt. Dutch oven or similar for this) bring apples, juice and rinds of citrus (peeled thin or with the white skived off with a knife) to a boil in the cider, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in sugar, spices, raisins and currants. When sugar has dissolved, simmer about 20 to 30 minutes, or until enough liquid has steamed off to reduce mixture to a desirable consistency for a pie or tart filler. Remove from heat and stir in cherries (if using) and add rum. Taste when cooled and adjust rum, and/or add a little brandy.

Source:  http://www.VegWeb.com