Thursday, November 7, 2013

Colder Weather

Rain began Wednesday afternoon--a half-hearted but persistent rain which continued for much of the night.
I was awake a bit after 5--and the cats were aware of that. I resisted their none too subtle ploys to pry me from the warm bed, until a watery sun began to peek through the shutters nearly an hour later. 
I stirred up the coals in the fireplace stove and stepped into the carport to choose precisely the pieces of wood I wanted from the wealth of firewood now neatly stacked there.
The phone rang as I switched on the coffee pot.
It was L. R. apologizing for the early call, but letting J. know that they would need their small trailer he has been using to ferry wood from the cutting area down to his large trailer. 
[The Russells have a Stihl dealership in town and do considerable repair work on power tools, mowers, chain saws and such.]
J. was wanting a longer blade for his lighter chainsaw and said that it would be no problem for him to fetch the trailer in to the shop, and while there to get the blade and the files that he needed.

I went out with no thought that I would have to do anything other than sit cozily in the truck with a lap full of quilting books.
It was a bit of a jolt to realize that I needed to ride on the back of the 4-wheeler to the spot by the brook where we have been landing with each load of firewood. I also needed to drive the 4-wheeler back to the Russell's farmyard.
It was cold! 
Only a short jaunt, but the cold morning air bit through my inadequate clothes.
When J. stopped at our house on the way into town, I dashed inside and hauled on a pair of leggings under my jeans, swapped my light corduroy jacket for a quilted one with a soft sherpa collar.
I did eventually have the chance to stay in the truck, nodding over my books while sunshine poured through the window. I wondered if this was how my cats feel when they curl in a sunny spot, 
drowsy and comfortable.

I put chunks of beef and onion in the crockpot yesterday and had that ready for the basis of a meal today.
I wanted to serve it over noodles, J. wanted baked sweet potatoes--so I prepared both.
J. brought in the first of the fall cabbages--a massive thing so crisp and fresh that when I plunged my big knife into it there was a resounding 'crack'.

It took less than a quarter of the cabbage to make a bowlful of coleslaw.
The tomatoes are salvaged from our late garden as well.
I made a dressing of olive oil and cider vinegar, seasoned with a bit of sugar, freshly ground pepper, and celery salt. I added a small amount of grated onion to liven the mix.
I finished my stint in the kitchen by producing a pumpkin spice cake.
Several recipes online started with a boxed cake mix--not in this house!
I compared a few 'from scratch' recipes before deciding on one to try.
At that I edited the amount of sugar, reducing it by 1/2 cup.
I frosted the cake with a cream cheese icing and was pleased with the result although I don't consider cakes to be my specialty.

So--a puttery sort of day: laundry done, a simple but nice meal prepared, several hours lost to J.'s errands.
I'm turning over quite a few possible new quilting projects, although I have two quilts in progress which I should finish before attempting something different.
I want to do some hand work--preferably while tucked up in my rocking chair by the fire with the cats at my feet [although I'm sure they would like to be in my lap, poking at my needle and chewing the thread.]

On a more practical note: tomorrow I shall shred some of the large delicious cabbage and make a pot of French Cabbage Soup---I don't know what is "French" about it--but it is hearty and strengthening for a cold day, a recipe shared by J.'s sister, as made by her husband's Mom.
I love food that has a bit of family history to add to the flavor!


  1. A satisfying day by the sound of things, though chilly at the start. I am glad you got a chance to sit in the sunshine with your quilting books. Sun-warmed cars and a good book are very "drowsyfying" I agree, and yes, that must be just how a cat feels snoozing in a sunny spot!

    I am about to go and assemble steak and kidney in the slow cooker for the birthday meal tomorrow night (Keith's choice). Your meal sounded good. I have never made Coleslaw (what an admission!) but then I am the only one who eats it in this house, so I settle for a tub of "boughten" stuff now and again. The French Cabbage soup recipe sounds intrigueing . . .

    I got a new Patchwork book yesterday, remainder stock which is offered for sale in The Works in town. For £3.99 it was better value than a magazine. I was surprized to find it was a Japanese book - palate of colours used a little odd at times, and a twist on some traditional patterns, but for detail it is hard to beat. Meticulous is the word I would use, and every single design hand-quilted and some hand-pieced by the look of it. I'll put it up on my blog later.

    1. Jennie; I shall look forward to a glimpse of your new quilting book. I enjoy seeing what the experts can produce, even though I would never attempt such things!
      I like the word 'drowsyfying'--should be part of our common lexicon.
      Re coleslaw: It can be a rather horrid side dish as too often served in restaurants or bought at a deli--way too much mayonnaise glopped on. I like to think mine is much nicer with the oil and vinegar dressing--you can taste the fresh cabbage and the seasoning is subtle.

  2. What a mighty cabbage! I don't know what's French about the soup but the half-hearted persistent rain sounds very English.

    1. John; Over here we are given to thinking that it ALWAYS rains in England--your lovely photos suggest otherwise.
      Re the soup: I suspect someone thought adding 'French' to the name made it more sophisticated than a humble 'cabbage soup!'

  3. I like your puttering day! Somehow putting the word "French" in front of cabbage soup makes it sound more appealing.

    1. Jane; I was tired at the end of my puttering day--could almost convince myself I had accomplished a good deal!
      I think our immediate concept of anything 'cabbage' conjures a mental picture of it boiled to the consistency of a dishrag and smelling up the whole house. I much prefer it raw in coleslaw or if served as a veg, very lightly steamed.

  4. Everyone needs a puttering day, love cole slaw, wish I could grow cabbage, never have any luck with it.

    1. Janet; I find I am constitutionally suited to lots of 'puttering days!'
      Have you tried cabbage as a fall crop? We've found it grows best in cool weather and will stand quite a bit of frost.

  5. Everything sounds so lovely. My husband used to grow those huge heads of cabbage - wonderful.

    1. Lillian; Since you are farther north [maybe gardening zone 4 or 5?] I'm wondering if your husband grew his cabbages as a fall crop, as we do.