Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Happened to February?

So, okay, I know February is a short month but talk about time flying! I'm still trying to figure out what happened to the (supposed) long, slow month of January, and the calendar today is proclaiming a date of March 1st. (Well, deal with it, Mama Pea. There's nothing any one has figured out to do to slow the passage of time, so we just all need to make the best of every hour we have available to us. Picture me pulling up my boot straps, shaping up and getting on with it.)

As you can see, we still have a bit of snow left in our part of the country. Won't be doing any tilling in the garden this week yet.

Although late last night while listening to the radio we heard a weather forecast warning of overnight temps dipping down to -25 degrees (!), we had only -9 degrees this morning at 6 a.m. We've had bright sunshine all day and now near 3 p.m., the temperature is a sizzling 11 above.

We've been parking our little run-about Toyota over on the southwest side of the house so it gets the warmest sunshine of the day on it. (Note the wind-sculpted snowbanks.) That way, if we need the use of a car during these still chilly (okay, frigid) days, we usually don't have to plug it in before starting it. Another advantage of all the sunshine we've been getting lately is being able to use the electricity generated by our solar panels all day from dawn to dusk. We don't have enough solar panels to run our household totally on solar (and don't want to invest the $$ in more panels right now) but are able to use the 'free' power whenever the sun is out. The rest of the time, we are plugged into the grid and darned if the public utility company doesn't keep sending us a monthly bill. The good news is that the bill is significantly lower than it would be if we didn't have our small solar system to rely on much of the time. And last week when the local power company experienced a huge glitch with the main power source coming into the county, we didn't even know it.

Made a batch of homemade soup this morning. It's a vegetarian recipe (Lentil-Barley) I've made for umpteen years but had some leftover cooked beef from dinner last night that I threw in the pot. I personally love barley and the way it makes such a thick, robust pot of soup.

Our chickens are laying eggs like there's no tomorrow so I made a big bowl of egg salad this morning, too. Roy works very hard at making sure our chickens have really good feed and he must be doing more than a little bit of a good job as their egg yolks have remained a nice orange color all winter. I'm sure the coloration must come from the green grass/hay clippings he dries and saves to feed them during the months when they aren't on pasture.

If you've been reading this blog, you know I'm in one heckuva bread baking mood. I have two batches of bread rising as we speak. Oatmeal Bread again . . . it has tasted soooo good and is such a nice sandwich bread. Also Italian Bread rising in the four small loaves to put in the freezer and use as garlic cheese bread with pasta dishes, or soup, or salad, or just because. Mmmm, love that melted cheese!

Roy and a good friend are off bushwhacking this afternoon . . . one of their very favorite things to do. J's wife dropped him off here after church, I fed them soup and sandwiches for lunch, gave them each a bag of cookies, and sent them off. They took snowshoes and are exploring territory heretofore unknown to man. I have a vague idea of where they went (probably couldn't find them if I had to though) but both of them are intelligent, woods-wise guys, each carrying a pack with emergency supplies (including eight cookies each), and as long as they're together, I don't worry about them. Our dog Zoey is with them also . . . wait, should I be worried about her? Oh well, I can always call Search and Rescue if the three of them don't turn up by midnight.

It may be the first of March but with all the snow we've had (and still have) this year, it doesn't look like it will be an early spring in the North Country. Just as well. I'm not ready to start playing in the garden dirt yet. But I am thinking seriously of dragging a lawn chair out onto the deck one of these afternoons to soak up some of the sun that is truly getting some real warmth to it now that the calendar is steadily marching toward spring.

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