Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bringing In the Chicken

Jasper Mountain with snow plow.

This morning we awoke to the proverbial winter wonderland. I was wondering whether to attempt to go to work, so I walked (in almost five inches of white stuff) out to the end of the driveway and found no traffic at all except for a snowplow, something I had never seen on our road before. Beloved checked all the news programs, and concluded that everything, even the Federal courthouse, was down for the day, except of course the University, which traditionally ignores anything short of a half inch of glare ice.

And tonight it's supposed to go down to 10 degrees (f.) with a lot of moisture still on the roads.

In days gone by, I would have chanced going in, which I could have done by about 11 a.m., and getting stuck in town, maybe. Daughter has a roommate and a boarder, though, and Last Son hasn't been feeling well and has nowhere for me to sleep but his armchair. I'd have to go to a motel.I'm less comfortable having such adventures than I was, possibly partly because I'm grandmother age, but partly because I'm a girl now.

Being stuck in a ditch is a little different for us than it is for guys.

So I called in and took a Personal Leave day. I have three of those to burn as it is, and they have to be used up by July.

I felt confused when I made the call, as though I were letting down the team, But immediately after I hung up, Beloved announced that lines were down on Jasper Road, and there were wrecks blocking the main highway, so there was no way I could get there in any case.

Then the lights went out. But they came right back on a few minutes later, so that hardly counts as an outage, But there were clearly things going on around us.Maybe it would be okay to hunker down a bit.

I went back outside and gathered a few beets from underneath the snow, and a few chard leaves and cabbage. I discovered green shoots of the border of elephant garlic protruding from the snow in a circle all round the garden. Some of the shoots are eight inches tall already!

I took over the kitchen and made a steamed veggie dish for brunch. Also baked whole wheat/oatmeal bread, with chopped fresh garlic in the dough, in our new oven, which turned out well. And steamed a sweet potato and shucked and whipped it, to have with a trout dinner later in the day.

The sweet potatoes or yams (we have both on hand) are a revelation. Simply slice lengthwise and leave in the tray of the rice steamer for twenty minutes on the timer. Set aside and let cool. slip the skins off the halves, drop in a bowl, add a small pat of butter or margarine and stir a fork around vigorously in the bowl until the halves have combined with a pudding-like consistency. Serve hot or cold as you wish.

Beloved has announced that she is Bringing In the Chicken (in a guinea pig cage) for the night. A sure sign of cold. I had better put a lamp in the wellhouse for tonight. This, if the power stays on, should keep the pump from freezing. I'll also fill some gallon jugs with water, in case the lamp isn't enough...

risa b