Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Height of Mid-Winter Luxury

I fiiiiiinally got to the small grocery store in the village on Thursday, and even more amazing, the produce was actually decent. This is most often not the case at this small store. Maybe they re-stock on Thursdays?

Anyway, this means I am now in possession of such thrilling items as broccoli and bell peppers. Even highly perishable mushrooms! It's a mid-winter vegetable bonanza!

And that means . . .

Stir fry for dinner, HELL YEAH.

It doesn't take much to generate excitement in January.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Mid-Winter Refrigerator and Pantry

I sometimes joke in the summer and fall that we're working on our winter provisions. It's only half a joke, though, because there always comes a time in winter when, due to weather, illness, and other things (ahem, newborn baby), I don't get to a grocery store for a couple of weeks. At least. At such times, I rely on the freezer, the pantry, and the immortal vegetables, i.e., cabbage and carrots.

This is what my refrigerator looked like yesterday:

At least there's a gallon and a half of milk in there for the sacred coffee.

There was also plenty of lamb broth (in that big pot on the top shelf). But everything else was pretty scarce. That carton of eggs had all of two eggs in it. The produce drawers contain a single lonely carrot (see? I knew I shouldn't have been so generous with the snowman noses), two apples, maybe ten clementines, four lemons, and half a head of cabbage.

The refrigerator door was looking similarly bare:

But at least there was still a little of the Special Sick Child Orange Juice for the sick child (Cubby) who had to be picked up at school yesterday after a relapse.

A. did go to the dairy store yesterday to get more milk, plus cream and eggs. But that's it.

The freezers have plenty of meat still, but only half a bag of peas and the last bag of green beans from the garden. Not much help in the produce department.

There are still several jars of applesauce, though, plus some jars of tomatoes and sauerkraut.

And a bag of potatoes. No more squash, though. I already ate the entire banana box full. Should've gotten a second one.

Last night we had venison, potato soup, and cabbage. Tonight we're having sausage, pasta with tomato sauce, and that last precious bag of green beans. Tomorrow we'll probably eat the last of the peas and cabbage, and then I really, really, REALLY have to get to a grocery store. Really.

Let's just hope we don't get an ice storm or something, or we'll be reduced to nothing but canned tomatoes and sauerkraut, like our pioneer forebears.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Good Ole Dog Mia

There is no denying that my baby dog Mia is old. She's almost twelve, which is not young for any dog, but is particularly advanced in age for a large dog.

She's stiff and gimpy, thanks no doubt to some arthritis in her shoulder. I suppose this is a natural result of being the World's Biggest Collie (seriously, she's 80 pounds and looks like a mastiff up close) and having a very active life. She takes a pill for pain every day, as well as a pee-pee pill for incontinence.

She's pretty shaky in the legs, and is particularly unstable on the slick wood floors in the kitchen. Too bad, since that's her favorite place to be. She still patrols the kitchen for dropped food, but then retreats immediately to the stability of the rug in the living room.

She has a benign tumor on her eyelid. Fortunately, it's so cold here that when she stays outside during very cold weather--which she will do, even if it's below zero--the tumor will actually freeze off. I find this natural cryosurgery hilarious and joke that we should open a cryosurgery clinic. It would be so easy: Just go outside and expose your mole to the weather! Done!

She can't take any kind of heat anymore and starts panting when the house gets to 70 degrees.

But despite all these things, she's still happy and amazingly active. She's been trudging through the snow in the back field lately to get to the beaver carcass A. put out there to draw wild animals and study their tracks. He thought it was too far for Good Ole Dog Mia to bother with, but she was determined.

She still goes on walks, though we have to shut her in the house for her own good if it's going to be a particularly long one or if it's too warm outside for her.

And she still watches over the hairless puppies:

Or maybe she just wants to steal the blanket. Either way, she's still a good dog.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thrift Is Ever My Watchword

On Saturday, the boys made snowmen. It was all very classic and wholesome, and of course, required carrots for the snowmen's noses.

Though I think Jack was quite right to ask why snowmen have carrot noses. Why not a stick? I do not know why a carrot is the only acceptable nose for a snowman, but it definitely is. So I provided three carrots for snowman noses.

But not without some inner complaining, because that's just a waste of carrots. They freeze, obviously, when shoved into a snowball, and what good is a frozen carrot?

It's not as if we were going to starve without those three carrots, though, so I handed them over with nary a word, in support of wholesome childhood activities.

Then, this morning, as I was throwing various things into the large stockpot to make lamb broth for A. (he drinks it throughout the day as a hot beverage alternative to tea or coffee), I remembered the snowmen and their noses. So instead of getting a carrot from the refrigerator, I went outside and retrieved one from the snowdrift where it landed after its snowman host was demolished*.

Frozen carrots are fine for broth, and this small thing provided a very satisfying start to the day. The rest of the day may go to hell--particularly since at least half the family has again succumbed to a cold, including me and Cubby, who is staying home from school--but at least it started with a small and satisfying triumph.

We take our victories where we can get them.

* Of course it was demolished. Wrecking the snowman is almost as much fun as making it. If you're my sons, that is.