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Soggy Dogs and Mucky Boots Call for Wine

I’m sorry to be a complainer but I hit the wall today. Not once but twice I walked with Ella in the pouring rain. This was no pitter patter, it was a steady downpour. The ground was already waterlogged so there were rivulets and puddles in the mud. Even the birds took most of today off, not chirping their usual spring notes. My gumboots worked overtime. In short, it was a miserable day.

Ella is the best companion in the rain. With a fur coat like that, she doesn’t care if it’s wet. The rain really does run off her coat like water off a duck’s back (they don’t call Labradors water dogs for nothing). Not only that, but the wet weather seems to make all the smells in the field even stronger. She trots around our usual route with an extra skip in her step, like someone turned up the volume. She was definitely soggy by the time we got home, though.

Simon, our other dog, is not so keen to be in the rain, especially at the grand old age of 14. His hair is shorter than Ella’s so he gets cold, but he has never been keen to listen to me. As a result, he’s torn between just going out for a moment and wandering off into the field alone. His compromise is usually to dash out and wander back at a good pace, but not before finding a really mucky spot.

can you tell how much mud is stuck between those toes? It’s like gumbo!

Usually Ella’s good temperament can win me over, but a second soaking in the afternoon was past my limit. As I muttered my way along the only thing that kept me going was the thought of spending the evening with another liquid.

Piccini FIasco – a tasty Chianti (“fiasco” is actually the name of a straw-covered bottle)

I can highly recommend this remedy. An evening with neighbours having a couple of glasses of wine and sharing homemade pizza was just what the doctor ordered. By the time I got home a couple of hours later, the rain had stopped and the skies had cleared, and not just in my head. There were even stars in the sky as I let the dogs out for an evening stretch.

Forget the fact that most of the neighbours were too young to know what I meant by “pizza wine” when I brought what I thought was a ubiquitous bottle. They were intrigued when I told them it would look great with a candle burning in it. We all toasted to everyone’s good health, and I felt not nearly so soggy.

Tomorrow will be a new day.

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Winds of change

sunrise - this one was taken at Parksville

Okay, so the holiday season is officially over. The New Year has begun. There are no more excuses for lolly-gagging around; we should be moving along with things. Why can’t I get myself in gear? Why can’t I break the bonds holding me back?

I think I am having problems because Mother Nature can’t seem to decide what season it is, and as a result I can’t get clear on what it is I should be doing!! I thought I would be cooking stews and soups and maybe taking up knitting or at least finishing a good long book, but instead I feel like I need to be pulling out my seed trays already and tuning up my scooter. My morning walks with the dogs are slogs through the gumbo mud in the orchard, tripping over already-pruned branches… I am supposed to be doing that in March! Instead of clean dog toes through the door, I have 8 mucky feet to wash and wipe every morning. I feel like Madge with her Palmolive, only I am standing on my front porch in rubber boots and a sweatsuit. If I could come in and think of having my breakfast on the deck because it is warming up, then all that work would not be for nothing. Weeks of this when I am still thinking of hot porridge and scrambled egg sandwiches is crazy.

I used to live in Calgary, where they have warm winds that blow through the region in winter called “Chinooks”. They have proven that these winds also blow in confusion and sometimes depression for some people. I don’t know if I was one of those, but I do know my body expects to be exposed to the traditional four Canadian seasons, in the usual order. I like the foods and clothing and habits of each season in turn, not swirling together like some kind of tornado in my front yard! Perhaps that is why in Calgary the food scene has developed so eclectically and the fashions allow all kinds of variations. It’s a sort of Cowtown evolution that allows people to survive in environmental chaos.

Since I can’t change the weather, and I can’t make spring veggies materialize in my kitchen, I thought perhaps a dose of something from the freezer might at least keep the global warming demons at bay… so we will be enjoying some light-hearted trifle with angel food cake, Greek yogurt and pear and peach compote tonight, after a bit of chicken with Meyer lemon salsa (thankfully fresh cilantro is still available). Maybe I’ll even open a bottle of Rosé to close the deal.

What is winter food like where you live? Are you having wacky weather this year? I would love to hear comments and suggestions on how to overcome the whirling winds of change.

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