Sunday, February 12, 2006

Winter Strikes Back

Yes - my daffodils were peeping 4 inches high a few days ago. The phlox had some blooms. The cherry in the back was peppered with pink flowers.

Not today. Today, nearly 18 inches of snow showered over it, and covered it all with a soft white blanket, and our family of cardinals sought refuge in our feeder. Thankfully, I filled all of our feeders yesterday, and the birds (dozens and dozens, of all species) have found us today. Bless them.

The hills behind us are a rolling wonderland, the sledding promising screams and shouts and laughter for later today and tomorrow.

I spent about 2 hours shoveling this morning, after it stopped falling, at around ten (our church was closed, the highways were closed, everything was closed). Thankfully, a neighbor with a snowblower came and helped, and I was able to focus on the end of the driveway: the plows had yet to visit us, so I figured, if I could clear the street, my driveway was in no danger of being plowed in. Damn, but my shoulders ached.

My iPod blared. My legs burned. It was time to come in.

We made hot cocoa from scratch, topped it with a tipple of Bailey's, sparked up the fireplace, turned on our favorite get-ready-for-spring film (Field of Dreams - pitchers and catchers report this week!), and relaxed, rested, and napped for a moment or too.

By afternoon, a gorgeous stew was in the pot - spice-dusted chunks of round, stewed tomatoes, spices, a ton and a half of onions, half a bottle of cab (big, fat, scary cab), a quarter cup of hoisin sauce (ah - there's the secret - ask me for the full recipe!). Mmm. The place smelled great.

It needed to bubble for at least two more hours. So we had time to go sledding.

The is this hill a short hike from our home, a great hill, a trail in the warmer months, next to a ridge full of wildflower and clover, a ridge that is an empty canvas in winter. You can take a sled from just behind our house, down this trail, jump the trail over this ridge, and coast through what will be a blooming meadow in the spring.

We did this for two hours. We were surrounded by all the neighborhood kids, who shared their (better) sleds with us, and laughed and jumped and pushed us along.

After a while, wore out, tired, I lay back in the snow. The cold seeped through my ski pants, my red fleece coat. The sun was dipping low in the sky. The fading rays grazed across the field of snow, the windswept ridges glowed orange and yellow and red and purple, the wind swept wildly over the our sled tracks. I looked up into the deep deep blue, and I fell in love again with the world.

The stew was ready on the stove. I prepared my grandma's old Slovenian reciped for spaetzle (after a call to her for advice, of course. Are you all OK, she asked? Dick Goddard says you're getting a lot of snow?) We opened up another bottle of cab (or was it a syrah?), cranked up the fire, and found the right mix on iTunes.

Outside, a new mix of cardinals and jays and sparrows and mourning doves shouted and clattered and argued and then found that their dinner was waiting.


Blogger Robert said...

this post is so absurdly pastoral, i expected you to write "JUST KIDDING!" at the end of it.

some things we're missing during snowstorms downtown:

a) rolling, snow-covered hills
b) kids, esp. kids sledding
c) fireplaces that aren't bricked up
d) birds

oh, and i want that stew recipe.

9:10 AM  

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