Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Fast The Rain

Has come. I will head home soon, locked up, ice-bound, until the roads do clear. I am working on a post about our trip to New Ulm, where I saw no gnomes and donned no lederhosen. I am going to make an attempt to work on the post in Word, then cut and paste into the blog so that I do not have to be online to write. Wish me luck, and little in the way of ice.


Yesterday evening, we stopped into Mackenthun's (Mak-en-toons), Minneapolis area's best local food offering. What do they have to offer? One word -meat.

We bought blueberry summer sausage, garlic summer sausage (to add to the the venison summer sausage we already have from the local hunters), cranberry turkey wild rice bratwurst (the best brats I ever had were this summer's blueberry wild rice brats from the same), German sausage, and Mackenthun's original brats.

We are freezing these to bring back to NYC with us. 

Tonight I am making a duck we picked up from the same. It's my first duck and have little idea what to do with it. 


This morning, around 9:30 am, the view from the second story, looking northeast, up-slope.

Last night, after an evening of pizza with my brother-in-law in Minneapolis, we noticed fog under highway lamps racing across the landscape, south to north. The temperatures were well below freezing,  the wind southerly, and the result a rime. Feathery crystals were deposited on the van this morning.

The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine."

`God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus! - 
Why look'st thou so?' -"With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross."

-excerpt of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel T. Coleridge

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ice Henge

The roof slopes less dramatically than they do in other, more robustly precipitative, climates. Aesthetics over practical pursuits, conjoined with coarse asphalt shingles and steady heat loss conspire to ice damming at the eaves. The re-frozen waters, maybe 4 inches tall, hold back the unfrozen; water then climbing back up the pitch to find its way down. I believe this is the first time that I have seen icicles hanging from the vents in the soffit, although I am sure those more familiar with wintry climates could tell me how common it is. 

Home repair mishuginas will tell you that water backing up and behind the wall is winter's most fretted scenario, outside of oops, heater down and all my pipes froze to bursting! There is no perfect roofing solution, although those severely pitched, A-frame homes you see in mountain chalet-town do a wonderful job if you can take the prospect of arriving to an isosceles triangle every night. 

Today it is 19 degrees F, but I add to this that it feels positively warm the last few days. Yesterday, while cleaning the roof of snow (well, my brother-in-law, really, as I am constitutionally incapable of scaling pitched icy roofs), I was only in light wool sweater and jeans. Warm at 19 degrees and I wonder why it is I shiver so much in New York at 37 F!

We're looking at an unusual warming trend in a few days time. It is supposed to rain. I've never seen it rain here during my winter stays. Betsy is concerned, yet I am ignorantly hopeful that it will rain long enough to loosen the grip of those ice dams. Neither of us is positive about the wet everything that will flash freeze that night when it drops from 35 degrees F to five in a matter of hours.

But enough of the weather, although often enough it seems that is all that is going on here.

Friday, December 24, 2010


We arrived to a good dousing of snow. This, early morning, before sunrise, out bath window.

The view to the southeast, around 9 am, sun low, and diffuse behind low clouds.

Even the sun and the clouds hunker down in winter.

Flora and fauna, inanimate.

Thankful to arrive, we did well, despite the possibilities, a bit of black ice in Indiana. The tree, tall (11 feet), decorated, strong scented. There is no seed in the bird feeder, testament to the weather, Rex's age. The roof has been shoveled off, thanks to an eager brother in law. Spared. I've no winter boots! But must take photos, out there, the darkness merges with the light, a convergence of high contrast and low.  

Okay, off to make Christmas Eve dinner. Not what you would expect -enchiladas, completely random.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Easy Chicken Parm

Tonight I'm making easy Chicken Parm. This is nothing like my mother's labor intensive chicken, pork, veal or eggplant parmigiana -a deep dish of layered meats, eggplant, sauce, and cheese. No, this is easy, simple, less rich, but still satisfying the urge for fried, cheese, sauce. The chicken should be of good quality so that it stays moist -don't overcook it. Get the bread crumbs golden brown on both sides, that's all.

I used Bell and Evans, but any decent quality chicken breasts will do. A few slices of fresh mozzarella, some tomatoes or canned whole tomatoes, basil if you have it, clove of garlic, thyme, olive oil for sauce and for frying, and some breadcrumbs -your choice. I used Panko this time around, but I use whatever I have on hand. I'll make some polenta and spinach for accompaniment. Again, your choice.

Sauce -well you know this so let it be yours....
Garlic, minced into the olive oil on low heat.
Stir till golden. Add thyme. Stir.
Add peeled tomatoes. Stir. Cook off excess water.

Breadcrumb the chicken breast -I didn't use egg, just wet with water. But use egg if you wish
Fry it up in the pan. I usually do this ahead of time, about an hour or so.
Lay some mozz on top and melt in oven.

Pour some sauce on top and boom -your done.