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We are, for the third time this winter, getting snow. The snow is supposed to fall until Tuesday and we’re not supposed to go above freezing. Their total prediction for this area is 4-6 inches last I looked, but we already have 3 inches and it’s supposed to snow through Tuesday! They change the forecast hourly it seems.
Last year during the big 15″ snow, we had no power and I was hunkered down with cabin fever, alternating between loom knitting an afghan on a knitting board and planning the first garden revision via lantern and graph paper. I spent hours on that garden, even after the power came back on. I became a one-track mind, weaving the garden and a massive expansion plan involving terracing and moving fences into our homestead master plan. After multiple revisions and hours of discussion, we planted and worked… and worked… and worked. And the garden failed due to alternating drought and flooding. Failed miserably and painfully, after the hours of planning and toil. It was disheartening to the point I decided to scale back for 2011. With the amount of time and dedication a garden takes, I was scared to devote too much to it and experience another failure.
That freak snow storm last December caught forecasters by surprise as they had not predicted nearly so much. One of the lessons learned during that snow was that we should always be prepared for extended power outages, no matter what comes out of the weather man’s mouth! We spent days without power or phone, three trees on our house, unable to get out of our road since we didn’t have a 4WD vehicle. Our dead-end road is best described as a roller coaster ride. We have one steep hill at the top of the road that makes your stomach sink when you go over it, just like a roller coaster. If there’s ice on that hill, you aren’t getting out. We’re boxed in by a river on one side and that hill on the other!
This winter, my one-track gardening mind got derailed as we focus on re-roofing and repairing the damage to the inside of the house. We knew when we moved in that the roof was in need of replacement. The week of Christmas, we had no choice but to get it done. Many of the shingles were severely worn. A large area around the chimney was wet rotted and we had ceiling damage in our living room and it was causing problems around the fireplace stonework. We needed it done before the snowfalls started for fear we’d wind up with no power, a damaged roof, a big mess and no easy way to get repairs done! Visions of those three trees that fell on the house last year haunted me. First, we had a friend who is an arborist come and remove the pine trees close to the house. Then my brother-in-law, a Contractor, came to do the roof replacement. He did an excellent job and we’re thrilled with how it turned out. They finished shortly before the Christmas snow began to fall.
So we have a new, 50-year metal roof on the house and no trees near-by to fall on it. We now begin the process of repairing the inside damage. It’s a long journey of repairing the chimney and ceiling, mortaring the fireplace, painting and the like. It should keep me busy for a month or two so I don’t expect seed fever to hit for a while. Maybe if the power goes out. 😉
We’re also ignoring the weathermen this year. Today one forecast showed it wasn’t snowing anywhere in our zip code while it was falling hard and heavy at my house! During weather like this, we always prepare for a power outage, especially when ice is predicted as it is for tonight. I try to get all of the laundry pushed through, make sure the blankets are clean and ready and make sure we have food that can be re-heated on the fireplace if needed. Soups, stews, chili and the like are perfect. This is the chili recipe I throw together, using pre-cooked and frozen or home-canned beans, when I’m pressed for time. Today’ I was pressed for time since they didn’t mention the ice until this afternoon and I was behind on laundry! I cook a pan of cornbread to go along with it since it doesn’t need refrigeration or heating to eat it.
From the Menu Mailer
2 Tbs coconut oil, tallow, butter, palm oil or ghee
1 onion, diced or 1 portion prepared veggies
1 pound stew beef or roast, cubed
3 cups kidney or small red beans, drained and rinsed (that’s 2 cans if you’re buying commercially canned beans)
1 clove garlic pressed
4 cups tomato or vegetable juice
1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the beef and brown on all sides. Add the beans and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. If you like a thinner chili, add some beef stock or water.
Serve over quinoa or rice or with cornbread on the side. Stretch this meal by using more beans, tomatoes and onions, and finely dice some celery and grate some carrots in to sauté with the onions.