I notice that a lot of my recent pictures are dark... it's the season. I actually looked forward to winter this year. I looked forward to the hibernating comfort of being warm against the cold. Of resting while the land is under snow. Well... rest for me. The work of snow removal and feeding animals in subzero temperatures falls entirely on Mike's shoulders. And I think it causes those strong shoulders to ache.
It never topped 0 degrees F yesterday. School was delayed two hours due to da vistlin' driftin' snow. Mike reminded us over dinner that the last entire day of subzero temps was January 15, 2010. We are passing the coldest days of the year. The shortest days of sunlight have come and gone.
It's funny to wake up to 13 degrees above zero and be excited that it's so warm! Walking on a windless 13 degree day makes you warm enough to unzip your parka. It's all perspective and what you get used to. Like the monochromatic world all around us. The senses slow down. You have to search for the subtleties in the landscape, to see the different shades of white in the wind sculpted snow drifts. It's a kind of sensory deprivation.
Local foods-wise, the pantry stores are getting lower and the choices seem to come down to squash, sweet corn, beets. Oh... we've still got the jalapeño relish and Italian tomato sauce left. But it's seems ok to limit the palette for a while-- to have some calm monotony in the diet to match the calm monotony of the land. I am going to confess to cooking with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup two nights in a row-- a first in my life.
Oooo!! I just remembered there's a potluck at church on Sunday. Frankly, could there be anything more pleasing than a Lutheran church potluck in January? You can smell the coffee brewing from your pew and you know it will be all you can eat Calico bean hotdish, rice pudding, and hopefully someone will bring the Rueben Meatballs* again. The kids run around like maniacs, the adults have all you can drink coffee, and the comfort food is abundant. Let the good times roll. That will provide a brighter picture for Sunday's blog entry.
There's no point in these ramblings except, it's the season to let the world narrow to the very simplest of comforts. Warmth. Basic food. Good company. Close to home. The dark closes in and just a little candlelight makes it safe to curl up and enjoy the cold stillness.
*At the last church potluck dinner I raved about the Rueben Meatball hotdish. Didn't find out who made it, but the next week I found the handwritten recipe anonymously place in our mailbox. Thank you!