Saturday, March 22, 2014


I came back to a fuller, loftier arc of the sun. I can tell. That and the lighter evenings thanks to the added Daylight Savings hour, truly make me feel I'd been away far longer -- at least half a season!

So when the predicted high today was to be only 35, I wondered -- why am I so resistant to going outdoors? A month ago, 35 would have seemed like a godsend!

Maybe it's because we got off to a cloudy start. (So breakfast was in the front-room).


And after, when Ed and I went outside to survey the front entrance to the farmhouse (we never use it: the frame has rotted and the steps crumbled many many years ago), we didn't linger. It felt nippy. [We're considering different ways to rebuild the front: leading ideas all center around the concepts of easy and cheap, while not straying too far from the integrity of the house.]

But, my perspective changed when the sun broke through and the birds came out.


We are seeing a lot of birds outside now.


A lot.

It was easy to interrupt indoor activities then and reach for the clippers to work on trimming the hugely overgrown hydrangea. And to carry fallen maple limbs away from the front yard. "Thirties" means not a whole lot when there is sunshine.

Inside, too, I've come to appreciate the higher arc of the sun's passage. The kitchen, where lately I do my writing, is ablaze with light now with the glass porch roof. Northern exposure notwithstanding, we're getting a delicious amount of blue skies and streaming sunshine.


And yet, I'm waiting for the really great days: when the last of the ice melts and the first crocuses come out. We're not there yet.


P.S. In response to a commenter, here's my two zlotys (Polish currency) on the subject of beet soup: what I made pretty much tracks the recipe of someone who comes from the south of Poland. I mention this because recipes for beet soup are very personal and always change across the regions of the country. What I especially like about this one is that 1. it's easy, 2. it has the unexpected surprise of chicken, which is great when you're trying to make a meal of just soup.
So, Ocean author's tweak on a highlander's classic borstch:

- Take a big pot, fill it half way with water, add peeled beets. I used 6 medium beets and I chopped them into half inch slices before cooking. Hands turn pink, but so what.
- Also add chicken drumsticks. I added three.
- Boil for about 45 minutes (covered).
- Remove drumsticks, take meat off the bone, chop up and reserve.
(- at this point my friend purees the beets and water; I do not because Ed likes chunky soup)
- to beets and broth add chopped up potatoes (I used 3) and carrots (I used three and that was too much) and celery. Add more water.
- cook until done -- maybe another 20 minutes.
- return meat to broth and season (dill, salt, pepper).
(- she also adds Polish sausage, fried up a bit and chopped in at the end, and she serves the soup with sour cream. I skip the sausage and just throw on top a dollop of yogurt).