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Tag: holidays

Cold but Cooking

The word for 2001 is…COLD! I know that I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but we do have a little different take on that since this is our first full winter in our hundred year old house out in the middle of nowhere.

After our move during last year’s ice storm and freezing to death our first months in this old house, we have been thrilled to say that we have been warmer this year than last. We’ve caulked, hammered, reconstructed, re-glazed until the drafts have definitely become less noticeable.

We also have a working fireplace that we’ve kept going all through the holidays. I can’t say we’re warm: in fact, I’m wearing long johns and my ski boots all the time and Tommy is wearing a coat/vest and hat during his waking hours. BUT, we are definitely warmer than last year.

It has been such a relief—we’ve been dreading the cold this year. Reality set in, however, during the day on Dec. 30 when we realized the propane was running out—we may not even make it until they deliver more. It snuck up on us because it’s only been 10 days since we had the tank filled! Oh, dear!

Anyway, this cold weather has triggered some unusual instincts in me. I am not a domesticated lady. I let my husband go about cooking and cleaning while I tend to repairs and remodeling. It’s a great bargain for both of us, but in getting ready for Christmas, I kept gravitating toward the kitchen. Something told me to get cooking.

My family laughed at my apparent domesticity—homemade biscuits and bread along with the homemade pumpkin pie. It’s obviously been so long since I’ve done this kind of thing, no one remembers me cooking!

By this past weekend the call of the kitchen snared me but good. I ended up making turkey soup, pot pies and vegetable/deer soup. I got a freezer full now. (Boy, was I exhausted last night!) This morning I made whole wheat blueberry muffins and I’ve got plans to bake bread this afternoon. Eating those tasty muffins was such a gratification. Hearty food for the stomach leads to such a feeling of contentment—I made it with my own two hands, Ma!

And why was I driven to this? I’ve been wondering for days now. Could it be my experience in a 1890’s vintage house in Carlton with no heating system? It wasn’t a happy experience but I first started baking bread there. Could it be some primal urge to stock up on food since the heat is costing us every penny possible and more? Or could it be boredom, me being a housebound asthmatic? (that cold air is cruel on the lungs, folks)

Finally, this morning I made the connection. After a really cold night, the temp in the house was over 65 degrees for a change. (It’s usually around 60 and takes 2 to 3 hours to warm up to 65.) Ah, residual heat from all that cooking.

Now I’ve got plans for some 15 bean soup—gotta use up the Christmas ham. I wonder how much bread I can bake and freeze that we’ll actually be able to eat. Hmm, maybe I should start of list of folks who might benefit from all this kitchen activity.

Life in the country has brought some interesting surprises this past year. Me, cooking again. Whatta ya know?

A word to the wise–cooking warms up the kitchen, the house and…the soul!

Christmas, What a Good Feeling!

Ah, yes, Christmas is coming.

This has been the strangest Christmas season ever for me. I’ve just spent the last 6 weeks immersed in a commercial renovation for our karate school. When I wasn’t working there, I’ve spent my “free” time either sleeping or working for Greater Georgia Printers.

Yesterday was my first real day of leisure since early November—a brief hiatus in a now very busy Christmas schedule.

There’s been many a year when this wouldn’t be a problem and even would have been a major blessing because such activity helps to remove me from the Christmas scene and all its ramifications. I’ve spent so many Christmases in the past mired in depression (a result of growing up in an alcoholic home) that this year’s activity has really brought home how my life has changed.

It all started with a retail job. I took a minimum wage Christmas position at the Briar Patch in the mall back in the late 80’s. After I became manager some short months later, I knew that I had to work on my selling skills and overcame my reluctance to approach and/or speak to customers. Tied in with this is the fact that Christmas is the life blood of such a store. I found myself immersed in Christmas year round, planning, ordering, storing, displaying—well, it just never stopped.

And then at Christmas, for weeks I listened to Christmas music, sold Christmas items, and generally had to act like I liked it! Wow!

Soon I found that Christmas was not only tolerable but could also be fun. Once I moved to Crawford, we started a foreign (to me) tradition of having an annual Christmas party for our karate school. I found myself decorating the house on Thanksgiving to be ready for the party. I started having my family come for Christmas dinner—a new tradition to replace our family’s problem years. I found out what much of the rest of us already know—Christmas isn’t so bad!

And then this year. I’ve had no time for planning the Christmas party; my new house is too small and way to far out for a party; I have no neighbors to impress with Christmas decorations; I, in fact, still have paint cans and a messy porch as an entryway; and we don’t even have a dining room this year to have Christmas dinner in.

So I’ve worked instead. But we did have a Christmas party this year—at the new facility in town amidst the construction debris. My decorations were minimal but everyone was surprised and pleased that I managed that much.

We didn’t decide until the first week in December that we were going to have Christmas dinner here. Now I’ve got quite a few folks coming next week. I’ll have to move the living room furniture onto the back porch and set up folding tables in my living room but it’s going to happen.

I haven’t decorated yet. I haven’t cleaned yet. I haven’t even done all my Christmas shopping/gift prep yet. But there’s snow on the ground, a fire in the fireplace, and Christmas is coming. What a good feeling!