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Posts Tagged ‘snow’

It’s beginning to smell a lot like brisket…

And yes, the title may be hummed to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” – which it is that, too. In fact, if it were December, the white stuff on the ground would be a welcome novelty. As it is, it’s just another cold, wintry day. Three days of snowfall. What can it mean? We’ve never had this much snow since we moved here in 2000. At least it’s a good excuse to continue making comfort foods.

And so the crockpot is burbling away with a nice lean brisket, approaching tender perfection. A bowl of bread starter was puffing and bubbling along all day, basking in the radiant heat from the crockpot.

My family’s favorite brisket recipe is called “Mrs. Ringle’s Brisket” and was part of the Once-a-Month Cooking menu, where it was described as an overnight recipe, cooled and frozen in the morning. (Confession: I have no idea who Mrs. Ringle is.) I rarely prepare it overnight, as I’ve found the smell of food cooking wreaks havoc with my sleeping pattern: I tend to wake up and smell it in the wee hours, and then I can’t go back to sleep. (It’s not hunger, it just somehow offends my sensibilities – and olfactory senses – to smell food cooking all night.)

I braved the frigid temps long enough to dart into the greenhouse and find my 20-row seed starting trays. I think I have about 18 varieties of tomatoes, and another 4 or 5 of peppers, plus some eggplants. If my math is correct, I can parlay these into 24 six-packs, nicely filling two flats with 72 cells each. A manageable grouping of plants to keep indoors during the next 6-8 weeks, depending on weather. (Really must get the greenhouse fixed soon.)

In April I’ll plant out 1 or 2 of each variety and offer the rest to family and friends. Of course, that assumes the seedlings are up and growing enough to survive a week of neglect at spring break. That week away has been known to throw a real wrench in my seed starting in past years. And can the seed trays stay safe from the threat of the paranoid nocturnal wanderings of Luci(fer), the Mainecoon feline? Only time will tell. Tomorrow, a bag of seed starting mix and a new grow light are on my must-get list.

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T-2 and counting

I teach 3rd grade Bible class. From the first Sunday in September until the last Sunday in February, my co-teacher(s) and I diligently prepare and deliver over two dozen lessons to give a new group of 8- and 9- year olds a solid grounding in the book of Acts. We discuss who wrote the book, who the main characters are, where the church began, how people became Christians in the first century (and still do today); how the church was (and is) organized, why we have missionaries, and the important work they do. And most of all, we show these children how God’s providence and power are seen throughout this amazing story that ties old testament promises into God’s revealed plan for spreading the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

I love teaching this age group and helping them see history unfold and barrel straight for them. As always, the clock and the calendar race faster than I would like, and I am now down to two precious classes with this year’s “crop” of third graders. We will wrap up with an Olympic event that involves doughnuts, ducks, a foot race and medals and then I will hand them off to the next teacher, and pray they continue to run the race and stay the course. And I will take some time off to recharge my own batteries and once again become a student in an adult class.

Today as we headed for class, it was snowing. In fact, the AP is reporting that 49 states have snow; Hawaii is the lone holdout. It is extremely rare for so many states to have snow simultaneously. I hear the global warming folks are shifting gears – the catchphrase is now “global climate change.” Nothing like covering your bets, eh guys?

Last night’s early Valentine dinner was marvelous – the “poached oysters with brie and petite croutons” (ahem, oyster stew all glammed up) was a truly memorable appetizer, and I will have to try to replicate it with the bits and pieces of information I wheedled out of the chef.

And next Sunday, company comes for dinner – yay! It should prove to be a good time with good friends. I’ve even managed to line up dinner guests for March as well…

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The mad dash to nowhere

This weekend was to be our youth group’s annual ski trip weekend. Part or all of our family have attended this weekend for the past 8 years, which I think qualifies it as a bona fide family tradition.

As with most trips, I procrastinated on packing and other last-minute activities until the 11th hour. (I work better under the pressure of a looming deadline. Really.)

Now, most of the time, our local snowstorm predictions are nothing more than free advertising for the grocery stores, who get an influx of sales on bread and milk anytime the word “snow” is mentioned by a meteorologist. (Sometimes I really suspect there’s a racket at work there…)

This time, the prognosticators were right on the money. We got hit, and hit hard. The system that laid down ice and sleet across Oklahoma and Arkansas yesterday marched into the midstate area. By mid-morning, snow began falling – beautiful, fluffy flakes. Within a few hours, it was flurrying furiously. A 5-mile trip home after DD’s piano lesson took half an hour, much of it crawling on snow-covered surface streets. Note to city crews: deicer is no match for snow falling at a rate of an inch or two an hour. A for effort, though.

We struggled home (after making the mandatory side trip to the grocery store) and wondered if the trip would be called off. Sure enough, the call came mid-afternoon: ski trip officially canceled. Boo. It’s probably the prudent choice, and and certainly welcome news for nervous parents concerned about putting their teens on a bus headed into a blizzard; but disappointing news nonetheless.

To add insult to that injury, now I’m scrambling for cooking inspiration – I was kind of looking forward to a weekend away from the kitchen. Hmmm. Wonder if the pizza places are delivering tonight?

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3.75 @10.54 min/mi = tired to the nth degree

I should have just sucked it up and ran the last 1/4 mile, but my legs and feet (and back!) were tired, so I stopped short of my goal. Whimper, whimper. But it did feel really good to get in *almost* 4 miles this morning. And I’m finally hitting a good stride – just a few more clicks and I’ll be at 10 minutes/mile. I’ll never be the fastest runner in the world, but I’m zeroing in on a respectable pace, all things considered (like my advancing age, the relatively short length of time I’ve been running, how seriously I take it, etc.)

The local weathermen are predicting a snowfall of epic proportions tomorrow. Histrionics to boost ratings, probably. But along with everyone else in the southeastern U.S. (and parts of the Midwest), I will be hitting the grocery store today and hoping the weather holds up so we can make it to Perfect North tomorrow night without incident.

I guess I should stock up on potatoes while I’m grocery shopping – the pooch has decided she’s soooo hungry she is willing to steal potatoes from the pantry and gnaw on them when I’m not looking. This morning, I nearly tripped over a spud lying on the floor near her second bed (yes, the princess has two beds.) It had doggy slobber on it, so it had to be her. (Plus she just looked guilty. And hungry.) Dieting is fit for neither man nor beast, it would seem…

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To snow or not to snow?

With all due apologies to The Bard, that is the question, at least for today. White pellets hit my window for a few minutes, then they stop as suddenly as they began. Start, stop. Start, stop. It’s not sticking, though, so maybe there won’t be a run on milk and bread just yet. (Even if there were a stampede, I think we’d be okay, since I did grocery shopping on Saturday. Of course, I didn’t buy milk…hmmm.)

Speaking of pellets, the cat managed to rip open one of her krinkly “Kong” toys from Christmas, and spewed little pellets everywhere she carried the poor dead remains before we could stop her. Guess it’s a good thing Flylady is focusing on the living areas this week…something tells me that Dyson and I will be busy playing pickup all week.

But back to the topic of snow. Our youth group is preparing for its annual pilgrimage to Perfect North in Lawrenceburg, Indiana for a weekend of snowy fun: tubing, boarding, or skiing – it’s all there for us to enjoy. Of course, colder temps and more white stuff coming down from the sky means less manufactured snow and fewer icy patches to contend with on the slopes. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed this week for some snowy days here–and in Indiana.

To continue my really random word association: Indiana. Home of the Colts, and to our own beloved UT alum and adopted Tennessee son, Peyton Manning. We’ll be rooting for you on the 7th! That’s also the day our congregation is holding a SOUP’R Sunday – we’ll help restock our food pantry with donated items, and entice members to stay for lunch with a variety of warm and yummy soups while they check out the various service opportunities they can volunteer to help with in 2010. Then we’ll all have the evening free to watch Super Bowl XLIV (or 44 for those who have forgotten their Roman numerals.) Definitely a day to look forward to – please come join us if you’re in the neighborhood.

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The snow day that (almost) wasn’t

I love the South. God thought enough of me to send me a Southern boy to marry, and I have lived more than half my life south of the Mason-Dixon. Lord willing, I hope to live out my days as a Southerner. I made sure my children were all born in the South, so they can claim full citizenship in the land of Dixie. And I truly adore most everything about the South: our idioms, country ham and grits, our lack of familiarity with turn signals, even our strange roadkill laws.

But Southerners have a collective phobia about the s-word. (You know, “s-n-o-w.”) Saying the word is akin to yelling “fire” in a theatre – panic will ensue, so utter it at your own peril.

The possibility of snow has created a commotion here in middle Tennessee. Dozens of school districts announced closures last night, while the weather system was still hanging out in St. Louis. The evening news showed a run on milk – the Purity Dairy delivery guys were scrambling to keep up with demand. Bread was also disappearing off the shelves at an alarming rate.

The mere mention of the word sends chills up our spine – school children and their teachers have all their fingers and toes crossed, hoping for a snow day. Parents (and everyone else) apparently all plot a menu of milk and bread.

We awoke this morning to nary a trace of snow – not in the sky, not on the ground. There might be snow later today…we shall see.

Update as of 5 pm – indeed, it did snow today, enough to turn the ground white. Our Samoyed blended right in. And it got the kids out of school for another day. God bless the South.

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Taking a cue from nature

After the fun and frenzy of December, it’s time to return to everyday living and routine. I think I’m ready to do that, even though that means no more staying up late or sleeping in.

This morning was the transition back to workweek routine and schedule, although our plans to rise and shine and hit the YMCA were hampered by a very warm and cozy bed, and temps in the teens outside. (Tomorrow will be a different story, and the warm bed will not win out.) As I stumbled to the kitchen and poured a cup of steaming coffee, I looked outside and realized snow was gently falling. Some big flakes, mostly small ones, drifted down silently…I guess someone forgot to tell them it’s too cold to snow.

My eyes then caught movement toward the back of the property where several deer were slowly making their way across, nibbling on anything they could find to eat. That’s always bad news for my young trees and shrubs, but it’s still a very peaceful sight.

My first thought was pure whimsy: maybe nature was also struggling to get back in the workday routine. My second thought was an appreciation for the slower pace that is nature’s routine. We humans would be well advised to emulate that slower pace instead of hurrying and scurrying about all day. My reverie was cut short when the dog tried to chase the deer and the cat tried to chase the dog. Fortunately, our “Milo and Otis” look out for one another, and the dog penned the cat in the greenhouse until she could be caught and brought back inside.

Yesterday I made runzas and a loaf of cinnamon-swirl bread. With a forecast showing nothing but cold temperatures for at least a week, I think a hearty pot of stick-to-your-ribs chicken soup will be on tonight’s menu, with grilled cheese or runzas on the side. And I think I’ll try moving at a steady – but slightly slower – pace today. And maybe even take a stroll across the yard while the snow is gently falling.

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