Well, I was sure surprised to wake up and find magical snowflakes falling into a melting world. Farmers used to go out and plow late snows under- I’m not sure what the thinking was, but they said it was poor man’s fertilizer. Also, a late snow like this is called an onion snow. I do know that it will water my lettuce seeds without washing them away. But how lovely! The bamboo was bent into a cave, my parents’ house looked like a Currier & Ives engraving, the Miles River lay still and absorbed the snowflakes. I went out with the camera thinking to get some rare pictures of Pickbourn in the snow. At Christmas time I like to make calendars for everybody with pictures I’ve taken during the year, but I never have any snow pictures for December. The python-like wet bark of a half hollowed sycamore caught my eye, but as I was snapping away a load of snow fell in my face. It was so warm I couldn’t believe any snow stuck at all. There was snow on open daffodils, and on plum buds just about to pop. I don’t think this will be a problem for the plums. It was just slush on the buds, and in Florida growers spray water on trees during mild freezes. Plums are susceptible to late freezes though.
I went and and split a few logs; locust, hickory, cherry, and cedar. I’m working on an article about different woods.The hickory is a bit green, but my DH likes to put a green log in the stove at night so it will burn slowly and still have coals to catch in the morning. I have the theory that this will create creosote in the chimney, which can then puff up and block the chimney when you have a strong fire that burns it, and then you have to call our buddy Ken Wells of Atlantic Chimney Service to get it cleaned. I’d rather burn dry wood and close the vents to slow the burn. But perhaps that isn’t any better. The cool thing is that Ken installed a stainless steel chimney liner so chimney fires do us no harm.
My daughter’s dog Lassie (an un-neutered Sheltie male, but go figure) had a fine time chasing around in the snow. He has the fur for it, but he also loves to come in to the fire. During this kind of weather we let in the cats as well. Lassie likes to hold them down with one paw and lick their ears. For some reason they accept this.
When it’s miserable out I like to bake cookies, mainly for the smell in the house. But my husband doesn’t eat many sweets and I don’t want to pig out by default, so here is a quick recipe for a tiny batch of shortbread.
1/2 stick butter, or substitute 2 tbsn cocnut oil and 2 tbspn butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. spelt or other flour
a light grating of lemon peel, maybe 1/4 tsp
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (it grows by the door)
Work together- I rub it with my fingers because that’s how I do biscuits and I like the feel. When it can form a ball, roll it out on a lightly floured board about 1/4 inch thick and make diamonds by cutting criss cross parallel lines on the bias. You can prick them with a fork as well if you like. Bake on an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 12-15 minutes. I saw a recipe that said 8-10 but it didn’t brown them enough for my taste. Let them cool before eating so they will be crunchy. This recipe makes one plateful, and they can be arrnaged nicely because they are diamond shaped. The lemon and rosemary idea I got from my stepdaughter Rebekah. It is very nice and perfumey.