Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"My Grandma could make a bowl of rocks taste good."

Wind, snow, short days, floors cold to bare feet, icicles hanging from the eves, sun dulled by clouds, yet here in the deepest , dreary part of winter, when the suns glow is almost totally for show, the warming pot of homemade soup,  sitting perched on a glowing burner, warms ones soul and well as ones body.  It fills the air with welcome savoryness, as it gently simmers creating  a steaming blend of colors and memories.
that's my wooden spoon over the pot so it doesn't boil over 
Friday was always soup night when I was growing up, but I seem to get up every wintry Saturday morning and think, "Lets see what I can find in the fridge that I can make soup out of."  And if I am really ambitious, I make some bread to go with it.  I keep a container in the freezer to collect leftover carrots, corn, green beans, peapods, even leftover mashed potato, just anything that might be good in soup, and there are always cans of light  and dark kidney bean cannellini bean, butter beans, navy beans even fava beans under the counter to enrich the pot.
However I was out of onions and you can't make soup without onions.  Wrapped in several layers to keep out the chill of a nearly a sub zero morning, I went out to my car and much to my delight it started right up. And I drove 14 miles into town under a frosty sun for a bag of onions, a big bag of onions.  Actually I did buy a few other things, also.
The staff was busily stocking shelves and I picked out several things I needed, and a few I didn't need but wanted.  There were very few customers, but then most people aren't even awake this early on a Saturday, at least I don't think so.  Several times I wished I was back home in my warm bed.   'Are you making soup too?" a voice said from behind me, I turned to see a well dressed older woman reaching for a can of mushrooms, "Yes" I replied as I retrieved a can for her.  "Why thank you." she said " Nothing warms you up like soup."  "That's quite true, and nothing tastes quite so good on a cold day." I said."My mother and my grandmother always made soup especially over the weekend.  And it always tasted so good.  they didn't have a recipe just took what was  left over." 
She looked down at her cart then up at me and said,  "I can still taste my Grandmother's spetzel soup.  My Grandma could make a bowl of rocks taste good."  And of down the aisle she went, to be meet up with a couple who  called her Grandma."  I was hoped she told them about the "bowl of rocks", it is something I will remember.
On my way home I thought about what she said, I wondered what her Grandmothers kitchen looked like, if she cooked on a wood or more likely coal fired stove.  Did they have biscuits or bread with their soup, I was feeling a warm glow  like being in my Grandmother kitchen by the time I got home. 
I decided that my soup needed some spetzels as well as onions, so I blended 2 large eggs, salt, pepper, some dill, or whatever you would like even some grated cheese or bacon crumbles  will work, set that aside and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  While I was waiting I blended a cup of flour and  a generous tablespoon of melted butter into the egg mixture.  the water came to the boil and I scooped up forkfuls of the mixture and stirred them into the boiling water, they float almost instantly meaning they are now tender little bits of dumpling or gnocchi like yumminess.  I usually stir them directly into the soup,  they enrich and thicken the soup.  However I wanted you, my dear reader, to see what they looked like before I scooped them out with a perforated spoon and plopped them into my soup.
The amount of fragrant steam this generated made photography a challenge,  the soup was more good.  I  ate and watched the snow drift down over the silent garden and dormant forests, though about when I read "Stone Soup" to my son, and smiled.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

silent sunday spent daydreaming



Saturday, January 24, 2015

passing the time by thinking about the passing of time

With each passing day we are one day closer to Spring than we were.  The sun sets a little bit later, and travels a bit higher in the sky, but bitter cold is still the order of the day. 
We are much closer to Spring than we were on the day of the first snow. When even  I paused to admire the first delicate flakes of the season drift  gently across the landscape. " I" , I said haughtily,  " am one who doesn't buy into the warmy fuzzy notions about winter" ....oh! wait yes I do.   For those few minutes,  I drifted into the snow globe of drinking hot chocolate as the snow swirled  across the lawn.  Reading a novel whilst curled up in the rocker.  And of enjoying the warm glow of Christmas lights as big beautiful flakes flutter past my window.  Notice all of theses things happened indoors. Snow  at Christmas, we yearn for a white Christmas.   The Christmas season is brief, but the snow lingers and get deeper as the chill strengthens.   This is something I have always wondered about, was winter perhaps shorter in past centurys? 

And let me bring to your attention that winter has two distinct parts, the lovely, cozy, candle glowing, nostalgic  Christmas card part that lasts if one is fortunate into the first week of January, where upon it turns into the realistic, cold, slippery, windy, gray, sleet, slush and dirty snow, of true winter.   Where did all the all the charm and magic go to so fast?    

No where it is still here.  I can only speak for myself when I say that a part of what I like least is caused mainly by my impatience with it's length; and secondarily  being indoors far more than I want to be.   And the inevitable need to tug on mountains of clothing to go outdoors in relative comfort.   

Time filled with reading and doing taxes, planning the garden and general day dreaming.  Wistful thoughts of warm spring days and flowers,  which give way to hot humid summer days. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

silent sunday at Awosting Falls

~~~all photos by   Gone Hiking  Photography
visit them on Facebook

Monday, January 5, 2015

Some thoughts on the Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon, so named because hungry packs of wolves once prowled  the woodlands and edges of settlements in search of an easy meal, and still do in some places  The full moon happens early in the month this year and if it were later, as the lengthening days and deepening chill  made food even more scarce, the wolves would most certainly have come even closer to farmsteads and villages. 

A full moon on fresh snow is almost bright enough to read by and certainly bright enough to see the yard and woodlot beyond, if it weren't so bitter cold it would draw me out into the frozen garden so I could look up at the stars that are not masked by the moons icy glow.   But sometimes like now I prefer the warm glow of the fire and to dream of the warmth of spring while I am wrapped in the warmth of my quilt. 

  january's moon has other names, Ice moon, Breaking trees Moon, and the Moon after Yule.  Since we are still in the Yule Season, ending with TwelfthNight on the 6th.  I think I the  Moon after Yule,  is most appropriate now, the twinkling stars are so like the twinkling lights on my Christmas Tree.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 page 1


Someone wrote, "Tomorrow is the first page in the book "2015" what will you write on it?" and that started me thinking, how is a year like a book?  It has a definite beginning and end and it does have a story line.  And then I got more than a little hung up on the idea of keeping a diary or journal, being like writing a book.  I used to keep a journal and it very much resembled this blog.  But that was  long ago, there are times when I wish I had it here still to reread.

So here goes, page 1.   Brilliant sunshine, just a touch of snow and bitterly cold.  No that would be my gardening journal, which is dull as ditchwater.
 I have heard it said that what you do on New Years Day you will be doing all year long.  So that would include, talking with friends, sharing memories with my family, working on my blog, admiring my Christmas tree, napping, and working just hard enough, not too hard.  Enjoying the quiet, not thinking too hard either, reveling in the strong and peaceful essence of my home.  You could say, and I would not argue that that is a part of that old belief.   You could also say that writing down what you want is a method for making wishes  come true, and I wouldn't argue with that either.  Does verbalizing a hope make it come true?  

Page 1
The calendar page turned and here I am ready to step off into new adventures, no matter how humble they might be, they are still my "adventures of everyday life."   Ready or not, like do I really have choice, here I come.

                                                ~~ARTS Oil City

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

When do you take down your Christmas Tree????

When do you take down your Christmas Tree?   Is there a special rule about that?  I know it was the custom to have all Yuletide d├ęcor down by January 6th, but then there is the superstition that states that it is bad luck to have any greens left up on Candlemas Day, Feb 2nd.

Probably it is just as well that there are no hard and fast rules.  In the day when trees were real and lit with candles, it probably a good thing if they were not left up long enough to become dry and even more of a fire hazard.
but now with all of the really realistic fake greenery, and much safer electric lights that is not as big a concern.  

The season begins a my house with Dec.6th and ends with January 6th, still my tree isn't brought in until the about the 12th-15th of December and then it is decorated over a period of days.  Ornaments are not so much carefully placed as they are admired and  the memories they bring back are savored.
And for many days and nights the tree gets more watching than the TV does.

It can take just as long to take down the tree as it does to decorated it, and for much the same reason.  But the day does come when its time to return  my "green pipecleaner" tree to it's place in the rafters.