And a Happy New Blizzard!

Wow!  I’ll admit that I haven’t been up here in Big Stone County for a couple of the winter storms we’ve had so far this season, but I am certainly here for this one (or two–or three–or whatever it ends up being in the end).

H managed to make it up here during the window on Wednesday evening before the whole thing started–and Thursday morning while it was mild, balmy, and rainy, I made a run downtown for supplies at 8am–including a new coffee maker.  Managed to get back, wash the thing, and brew a fresh pot before H got up, so I felt pretty slick.

I also got a jug of Pepin Heights cider, the date of which is past the lot that is being dumped thanks to a possible mycotoxin contamination.  We’ve been drinking it sparingly, and we haven’t gotten sick.

Things went downhill, weather-wise, after that.  You know it’s real old-fashion blow of a blizzard when some areas are completely bare, while others are under a mountain of drifts.

Last night when I took the dog out, I had to plow a path for the dog in my Sorels because she started for the backyard and floundered pitifully in the snow.  There’s nothing so pitiful as a big ol’ long-legged dog sunk chest-deep in the snow and looking back with those big, caramel eyes as if to say, “help! stuck!”

But we are faring pretty well, all things considered.  I’ve made whole wheat pancakes from the Fannie Farmer recipe two days in a row now, and they’re the best pancakes I’ve ever made.  The first batch had some eggnog substituted for the milk, and today’s batch I spiced up myself with cinnamon, nutmeg, a little cardamom, and a capful of vanilla.

Served with both maple and elderberry syrups, let’s just say those pancakes would be enough to make me tell the blizzard dig-out crews that they can wait a bit before rescuing us–I think we’ll be alright sheltering in place.

This afternoon, the three of us did some digging out–H brought his lightweight aluminun transfer shovel, which is the best for digging out deep drifts of light snow.  I cleared the side walkway and the first set of stairs, and then H and I worked on the stairs up to the highways together.

Meanwhile, M had a blast roaring about in his snowshoes.  He got them just a little before Christmas, and I don’t think he understood the real utility of them until today.  I demonstrated for him by stepping off the walkway and sinking hip-deep–bringing myself down to about eye-level.

After we finished shoveling, I strapped my own ‘shoes on and we went tearing about in the backyard–even scaling the seven-foot drift in the neighbors’ yard.  And then M figured out that while snoeshoeing is fun–it’s even more fun when you pull your mom down into a drift while she’s trying to help you up!

So, as you might imagine, the house is now festooned with just about every imaginable clothing item drying out from our snow-ventures.  And as the light diminishes outside, I can see our shoveling work building up again for tomorrow.

When H came up, he brought a cooler full of snow and a few other actually welcome surprises–the last one of the farm chickens and a little bacon and a ham, too.

So, our New Year’s Eve supper is just about ready–a lovingly brined (that is, soaked in salt water with brown sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, and minced onion) and roasted little chicken along with some red wine gravy and red French fingerling potatoes.

My guess is that we’ll be ringing in the New Year in much the same way we rang out the old one: with shovels in hand and satisfied bellies, too.

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