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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Better than Shakespeare

It has been necessary to work around the weather this weekend, and chores have been tackled that are short duration, so that one can pick up and run inside as needed.

I did make it over to the reservoir for the first time this year. There was snow on the hills all round, and the water stood up grey and choppy with an east wind, which usually makes fish close-mouthed, but I had not been on the water five minutes before a nice trout came to the kayak to stay -- the only one of the day, however.

There were thousands of coots, another sign that winter has not yet left us, if I needed one.

The rowers have begun their season, and the water was populated with singles, doubles, fours, and a couple of eights, with shouting, red-faced coxswains. Rowing, for whatever reason, attracts a lot of women around here, and we outnumbered men on the lake five to one, easily.

Back at the house, I made two loaves of wholewheat/rye/buckwheat/oats/apple/kale bread, and, having soaked runner beans overnight, made a soup on the woodstove, as well.

My soups do not turn out as nicely as my breads, but they are not too bad over rice and this one will get me through the week, for lunches. Also on the stovetop I had potatoes and onions going in a saucepan, to have with duck eggs for the week's breakfasts. Lattkes are all well and good, but it is time to transition to the spring menu, snow squalls notwithstanding. And the bread will go nicely with whatever is for dinner -- if only to make apple sandwiches.

I have just carried the last of this year's wrapped apples from the storeroom. They have been a success, seeing as it's March and they are not the best storage varieties. Every fourth or fifth one I unwrap has gone brown, but the chickens and ducks love these, so they are not a complete loss; the rest I use in breads, pies, and cobblers, or sliced thin on the homemade bread with a little mayo, one of my last non-local food vices. And we have some crunchy peanut butter from the co-op, from an organic twenty-five pound batch bought last year, pre-salmonella-outbreak.

Beloved is not around; she works weekends. Fortunately we have the morning coffee; otherwise we might become strangers. Her chicks have taken over the living room, in a pen arranged on a tarp, and they are big enough now that they have reached that less-cute stage with the cigarettes and switchblades, and leap upon one another from the great height of a bucket full of straw. Better than Shakespeare, it really is.

Another clue that she has been here is the disarray in the cold room. She's bought several large galvanized trash cans, and has been freezing bags of grain for two weeks to kill any mealy bugs and then transferring the bags to the trash cans.

Between the spates of darkness with snow, none of which sticks, it's been sunny and quite warm so I've been able to plant a few peas under hotcaps, and fifteen more potatoes, and done some mowing. The bagged shredded leaves and grass I have divided between the compost drum and a thin layer on the beds. When I get started mowing across the creek, which is possible now with daylight savings, I'll make mulch around the new coppice trees, one by one.

In the garage, with a symphony by the Emperor Frederick I (the "too many notes, my dear Mozart" guy) playing on the radio, I sorted and repaired pop tents -- it's nice to have enough room to do this. Last Son gets the best one, as he uses tents the most. We get the one with the duct tape and baling twine, for any one-nighters we manage to work in on the shores of wilderness lakes -- age, home responsibilities, and the economy have taken a toll on our wanderings -- folded, wrapped and tagged, they are ready to go when we are. The third one has no poles but I think I can find those online, and Daughter can have that one if she does not yet have a better.

I thought I would go get a jump on the year's mowing across the creek, but I see a heavier than usual snow squall coming in. I think I will bring in some wood and sit by the fire, instead.

Yes, I think that is just what I will do.
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