Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Meanderings

We aren't having the heavy snow followed by freezing rain (baaaad!) that some of you are experiencing today, but our early morning temperature got down mighty close to 20 below.  That's cold.

As I was comfy warm in the kitchen getting an apple pie together to put in the oven, Papa Pea was outside doing morning chores.  Coming in he remarked that one almost needed goggles to protect the eyeballs from the biting cold.  It's truly necessary to be careful when being outside in these temperatures.

We went down into the root cellar yesterday to retrieve more apples to fill my container I keep on the floor of the pantry as a supply for baking or eating out of hand.  It was time to sort through the apples anyway, and we found very few with developing bad spots.  Good for us, bad for the chickens who love to get the sorted out apples and peck right through them lickity-split.

Speaking of our dear chickens, they are finally seeming to come out of their winter rest period and molt.  Finally.  I've been rationing the eggs I've had stock piled plus the few we've gotten these past several weeks.  We debate each year about putting a light in the chicken house to possibly encourage more egg production during this darkest time of the year, but always come back to the more natural way of keeping the chickens . . . letting them have that natural rest period.  We've had good luck keeping older hens laying through their third and even fourth years so maybe in the long run letting them take time off pays off.

All in the root cellar is keeping very well:  potatoes, carrots, cabbages and the apples.  Between food in the cellar and pantry and freezers, don't I love to go grocery shopping right here at home!

Besides the apples, we also brought up more potatoes as Papa Pea has lately had a real hankering for them.  (The man says he needs fuel this time of year!)

And that's fine with me as the cook because it's just the right time of year for tasty oven meals such as I've been making.

Casseroles like these scalloped potatoes made with ham chunks mixed in are well-received on a cold day in January.  A dish this size provides us with several meals with different side dishes for both our morning and evening time around the table.

My mind is fighting between spending the day industriously baking and cooking in the warm kitchen or snuggled on the couch in front of the fire knitting and/or reading.  What a dilemma, eh?

For those of you shoveling and plowing and roof raking and moving snow, pace yourselves by going in frequently for rest breaks.  And enjoy the beauty of the snowfall!


Goatldi said...

Sweet! I vote for knitting.

My day will be spent accessing and fixing flood damage in and around barns. We have been slammed this year and are on the tail end of four days of wet ones. I have given up trying to kept tract of how much because ithe gauge fills up and over flows before I can check it.
20 to 30 inches from my view rolling ,er rushing through to the mighty Sacramento River.

Save me a spot on the sofa please?

wisps of words said...

Yes, enjoy the beauty! And that's all we are doing, as we just don't "play in snow," anymore. :-)

Mick comes and plows our driveway and that's all we need done, anyway. All year, we use the garage way, to leave and enter. No warren of sidewalks, to shovel, here, anyway.

Oh scalloped potatoes!!! Mmmmmmmm... Love a casserole which lasts and lasts!!!!

And Apple Pie, oh my!

We decided against chicken and dumplings yesterday, and are having them today. And we have a couple of frozen-dessert-helpings which we got in bakery, for our Sun. treat. :-))))


wisps of words said...

Root cellar and apples... Heather in VT can not keep apples in hers, as VT mice love them. Must be, your mice so not. :-)

More from Heather's IG... Concerning be extra careful in winter.

A really awful happening, up there. Here is link to it, in Heather's IG.

Chickens... Our son has to have a light in chicken coop, so they are warm enough, since he only has 2 left. And something to keep their water from freezing. He never got 2 more chickens...

You baked in morning. You can spend rest of the day, knitting and reading. How perfect is that?!?

We have to have some scalloped potatoes this week!!!!!!


coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Haven't made scalloped potatoes in I don't know how long. Now you have me thinking... We have a light in the chicken coop, but they also have a window. Sometimes I turn it on, sometimes I don't. It doesn't seem to matter, but they are still 'young' hens, so I doubt it would make a difference at this point. Enjoy your day! -Jenn

Rosalea said...

The wind is whipping the snow around the house in big, whirling gusts. -22C this morning, warmer than the -25C yesterday AM. Tomorrow is supposed to be colder. The chickadees are hiding out today. They usually swarm to my hand in the AM, but not today! I was 'shopping' in our storage facility this am. Scalloped spuds and meatloaf on the menu. It is so wonderful to sit down to a meal, provided from the land around us. I never tire of that thrill, especially when we have company!Its a year and 8months since we moved from town to country. A lot of work later, we have created 360 sq. ft. of field growing area, and 4, 4X16 raised beds. More is planned for 2019. I am pretty much 'in heaven', gardening to my heart's content. This is my retirement dream. Hope the old body holds out!! Stay warm.

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :) We're getting the snow. But the wind is insane, there isn't even a point in shoveling until that wind dies down. Hopefully it'll blow all the snow away? Hopeful thinking? ;)
Cool that your root cellar is doing well!! So is my makeshift one! I'm still taking potatoes out from the trunk in the basement! :) So happy about that. And thanks for mentioning the chickens and natural rest period...that's very good to know! How long do your eggs last, do you have to preserve them somehow? I've read Bloggers who have abundance of eggs all the time and don't know what to do with them! I'd probably choose a baking day! :)

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - Never made it to the couch today (sigh) but if you had been able to join me, I definitely would have sat down with you and had a good chat. Not nearly enough rain for you for so long and now this. Doesn't Mother Nature understand moderation?? Hoping you found very little damage from the flooding. Continually sending you love and hugs.

wisps of words - How clever of you to plan it so you can go directly into the garage to get to your vehicle in inclement weather! Because keeping path and more paths and walkways shoveled in snow is a job. What a terrible, awful thing to have happened to Heather! Don't know the details, but I'm so sorry for her. Knock on wood, we don't have mice or any other vermin in our cellar. 'Tis built very tight except for the air flow vent which has screening on it.

Jenn - Seems to me my mom made scalloped potatoes a lot. I've gone through a lot of recipes for them and just within the last year or so found the one I use now and love it. My husband is a potato lover so he's happy, happy, happy every time it appears on our table. I did enjoy my day but it went by SO FAST!!!

Mama Pea said...

Rosalea - You've done A LOT in the time you've been on your property! Papa Pea asked for meat loaf tomorrow. With mashed potatoes and gravy . . . and my choice of veggies. Our day will be cold again tomorrow but then we'll have a bit of a warm up before snow tomorrow night and Tuesday. It's winter, what can we expect? ;o) Your "old body" will hold out if you keep using it. In moderation, of course. When I listen to my body and hear it say it's pooped, I can take a short rest (doesn't have to be long -- 30-45 minutes) and I'm always amazed that I feel great again. Fingers crossed that works for you, too!

Rain - I've kept eggs in the spare refridge for up to two months and they still look and taste fine. I've read the ones in grocery store can be that old (!) before they even hit the shelves. So, no, I don't preserve them other than refrigeration. If I were going to use eggs in something where they aren't cooked (like eggnog, etc.), I'd take some of the freshest ones but maybe that wouldn't even be necessary. During times when we do have an abundance of eggs, we give them to folks that we know appreciate them. Although I wouldn't eat store bought eggs the way we do with our own, I admit that they are a big part of our diet.

Kristina said...

We are still snowed in. There is no way I can hand shovel it. It's pretty deep and wide and we hope to get a plow out our way today. It's too cold and dangerous to shovel as well. Poor Jesse hates it. Stay warm.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - The picture of Jesse was so funny. Easy to tell he does NOT like the current state of affairs! When you have drifting as your pictures show, it's almost impossible to move all that snow by hand. When we get any amount of snow, we get a good sized drift (every time!) on our deck right across the doorway. It's always packed hard and we don't have any option but to shovel it by hand. Ugh. Think of your snow as good for the coming garden. The old farmers used to call it "poor man's fertilizer."

Lisa French said...

I always toy with the idea of a light in the coop, but I like the more natural way too. I figure God made these birds need this time off for a reason. :) and honestly, we usually have enough eggs to get us through the lean times. :) I don’t envy your temps!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa French - I've always thought to "stock pile" eggs before the chickens' rest time, but in the past years it seems they've started to lay well again before I got as low (only two and a half dozen left in the refridge -- eeep!) as I am now. Maybe I'm using more eggs than in years past. Anyway, instead of eggs every morning, we've been having oatmeal, other cooked grains, soups, etc. No big hardship!

Our temp is up today in preparation of snow tonight and tomorrow. It's rare for it to snow when we're below zero! Thanks for commenting, Lisa. :o)

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hiya Mama Pea! We have just had the weekend from hell with regards to temperatures. Yesterday morning it was -42 celcius with the wind. I choose to ignore January and wait patiently for February although it can get that cold then too. How about let's just all skip to March! I would opt for a baking morning and a knitting afternoon. Best of both worlds.

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - This January is not being kind to you! Yes, the best thing to do is make it as cozy and warm inside as possible, do as little as you must outside, and ride out this terrible cold. Ours is supposed to be letting up today so it gets warm enough to snow tonight and tomorrow. Snuggle in, my friend, and choose to do things that make you content and happy, whatever that may be! As soon as I finish the laundry I'm going into my quilt room Yay!

wisps of words said...

Mon. addition... I just added to my post, after you were there and commented. :-) I copy below...

Addition: Our daughter-in-law next door, told us NOT to GO OUT! Walking is terrible. Anything we need, she will get for us. (heart) She already got me, a new blood pressure monitor. (heart)

Lynne said...

That casserole looks yummy! What time is supper? It must be wonderful to go to your Root cellar or freezer and get what you need for food,and go out and get your eggs from the hens. That's great!! WE got the winds (50miles an hour),and very cold 5 degrees, wind chill 15 below zero. Nice and warm inside with pellet stove!We only have to fill the stove twice a day. Take care!

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - Awwww, the advantage of having loving, caring family living close by. One can have friends like that, too, but having family near and dear is the best!

Lynne - Oh, when that wind blows, things can get really nasty. Time for being careful of frostbite! In the summer when I'm gardening, somehow it doesn't seem that I'm growing that much food, but come winter time I realize I really have! The only veggie we're getting a bit low on is the asparagus. Guess we gobbled up too much of it fresh! Fill that pellet stove and stay warm.

cheryle bryant said...

Your life sounds like ours! My knitting is always setting by the comfy chair and visited between daily duties. Enjoy reading your blog. Cook'n by the Creek

Cockeyed Jo said...

I was seriously thankful we didn't have temps in the teens. we've mostly been eating soups and stews here. Long cooking, stick to your ribs, warming you inside to out on the wood stove.

Cold stores-My garlic and some of my onions have gotten a bit spongy so I dehydrated them into powders. Some of our red potatoes have sprouted eyes, but too soon to harvest them for seed stock.

The canning I did this year is depleting as planned. I love the food inventory my roommate created. I can see what I'm getting low on with a click of my mouse. My empty jars are refilled with large quantity cooking like chili, soups and stews.

Like you, I'm torn between being in a warm kitchen or working with yarn (spinning and knitting). I do the every other day method to continue productivity. Cockeyed Jo

Mama Pea said...

cheryl bryant - Hello, and thanks for commenting! I usually only knit last thing at night when hubby and I try to spend an hour sitting together before bedtime. I'm trying to fit in more small periods of knitting (or other handwork) at odd times during the day but finding that not so easy. Must work on that!

See you've recently gotten more snow. We have only about 1/2" so far this morning of the 5-8" predicted. I wouldn't mind if we didn't have to plow and shovel today!

Cockeyed Jo - I tried the "every other day" routine last winter and failed miserably at it! On my handwork day, it seemed like something always came up that interfered! Drat. I really should give that a go again.

I forgot to mention my garlic and onions when I talked about veggies holding out well. I've found a couple of bulbs of garlic that went moldy and a very infrequent onion that was all brown inside but the good quantity of the rest are holding out. My "curing" of both garlic and onions was not done at the best time last fall. :o( The empty jars do seem to pile up this time of year, don't they? But that means we've been enjoying eating all the good stuff we worked to put by!

Sam I Am...... said...

Oh, I would love to have a root cellar and be able to garden. Down here they have Bermuda Grass which are the lawns and they root underground and come up everywhere. I read somewhere that it is on the Top Ten list of the most knoxious weeds and lucky me I have a whole lawn of it! LOL! Plus there are all kinds of critters...deer, armadilloes, name it. I can't wait to get back North to some good black soil and electric fencing! LOL! I son't want to put the time and money into a garden here as I know I am leaving but I do do some container gardening.