Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sorry to See It Go

It took me a while to discover the reason I love winter.  Some people look at winter storms as stressful events.  They clear out the grocery shelves, and huddle inside in fear watching the weatherman.

Although we have all the modern conveniences, we're also chosen to have a wood stove, a gas furnace and a pantry full of canned goods.  We could have been snowed in for a month or more and been fine.

Also, we really like our kids, and we've taught them to be self entertainers.  We are happiest when we are all together - just the four of us.  We didn't lose power so we did gather for a nightly family movie, and the kids were allowed their 20 min. of technology time, but mostly we either played together or the kids found ways to entertain themselves.

Although there's still snow on the ground, and winter isn't over yet, I miss the feeling of security, warmth and family togetherness we have when the snow is coming down by the bucketful and we're stranded here together.  I love winter because of this feeling.   The Norwegians have a name for this warmth and happiness with winter - koselig.  Norwegians look at winter not as a time to be survived, but as one of enjoyment.

My winter hating, Northern dwelling mother tells me that I would feel differently if I lived in the snow belt, but I'm pretty sure she's wrong.  When I retire I'll be moving North to find winter.

Stay warm everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow Day Reading

Normally a snowy day finds me on the slopes, but even this winter loving, Subaru snow tire driving, Northern transplant girl knows when to listen to reason and stay put.  Today's agenda?  Reading, reading, reading (with a little de-cluttering and kitchen magic thrown in for variety).

I'm an early riser, even on a day when I could sleep in, so I've already logged over an hour of quiet with my coffee and a few chapters of this gem:  Grandma Gatewood's Walk:  The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Brent Montgomery.  It's well written and makes me want to plan this summer's backpacking trip.

I'm also halfway through Anne Lamott's new book Small Victories:  Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace  a good pre-Lent read.  As always Lamott shines through with honest, and sometimes brutal, storytelling which leaves you thinking and working toward being a better person.

Yesterday I finished Nadia Bolz-Weber's Accidental Saints:  Finding God in All the Wrong People.  Nadia's writing provides a refreshing reminder that liberal Lutherans (and others focused on the message of love) are working hard to combat the myopic, close minded and exclusionary version of Christianity that often has the loudest voice in our society.  I'll be rereading Nadia's writings throughout Lent - her writings rank among the best sermons I've ever read.

I also have school related reading to do in preparation for next semester's English 11 Honors class, but they're all old loves - The Scarlet Letter, The Bluest Eye, Beloved, The Awakening, Ethan Frome, The Grapes of Wrath and Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  I'm so excited to teach those texts again that even though it's "work" it will be pure pleasure.

Happy reading and stay warm!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Winter Warm Up Recipes

My Dad blessed us with a freezer full of venison, and I've made two great warming winter recipes so far.  They're exactly what you want to come home to on a cold and snowy evening.  Bring on the winter.

Pizza Turn Overs

I browned and drained one pound of venison burger.  Then I added a jar of pizza sauce (I used what I canned this summer).  I divided pizza dough into eight small circles and then added about 1/2 c. of the filling.  I then folded them over to make turn overs. sprinkled parmesean cheese and greek seasoning on top, let it rise for 20 min,  and finally baked them at 400 for about 20 min.  We also fell in love with Buffalo Cauliflower and at the last two heads for our fall stash that way.  

Venison Goulash

I browned and drained a lb. of venison and dumped it into the crock pot.  I then added a quart of tomatoes and several peeled and chopped carrots.  I shredded about 1/2 a cabbage and added it to the top.  I then stirred in 1 t. smoked paprika (that's an important ingredient - don't skip it.  You can find great smoked paprika here) and 1 t. salt.  I let it cook in the crock pot on low all day.  Right before supper I made mashed potatoes.  I put a scoop of potatoes on one side of the bowl and ladled the goulash on the other side.  Serve this one with bread to sop up the left overs.