I have really had a hard time this winter. First the snow and cold were late in coming, then they came with a vengeance. Days on end went by with more than frigid temperatures and grey skies. And now, in just the last two days, we have gone from deep snow and cold winds to warm breezes and a swampy slushy mess. I was in snowshoes on Wednesday and today I had to wear gumboots, but the snow was still deep enough to slosh over top and soak my socks.
In case you haven’t guessed already, the current weather quite fouled my mood. Cold is hard for those of us who like to be warm, but one can dress for it. Grey skies are often seen as gloomy, but their pervasive nature can be overcome by more cheery activities. Where we live, there are no sidewalks but rather fields and orchards, so my daily walk with the dog is a more rustic endeavour. When we get to this time of year it becomes a swampy slushy morass, and then with a bit more melting it is a mud bog. It smells a bit of composting leaves and of course mud. Walking through it is frustrating at best, since it’s a case of two steps forward and one slippery step back. Imagine walking through a field halfway to one’s knees.
I guess the universe must have heard my cries of dismay. I received an article by email today that raised my spirits and even made me giggle. Here I was bemoaning the slush, and what should I get but instructions on how to cook with it – ingenious!
Thanks to the wonderful folks at Epicurious for saving the day, and my sense of humour. I hope you enjoy these ideas as much as I have.
Winter in most of Canada is cold, windy and white. Kids and animals are mostly okay with that, but most adults don’t seem to have much patience for wintery weather. I walk every morning with my chocolate Labrador, Ella, in a fruit orchard and pumpkin patch so I’m out there in the elements daily. I decided that I might as well enjoy it, and so I look to Ella for inspiration.
This year the snow has built up and it’s gotten harder to walk each day. There is no real path as we are the only regular walkers, except for the odd coyote or deer tracks we see. So in loose snow I felt as though I was making two steps forward and one step back. I already do a workout inside, so I didn’t want to be doing more. Then I noticed Ella’s pawprints in the snow – she spreads out her toes in deep snow, to make the best use of her webbed Labrador paws. Her usually tiny feet with their winter fur between the pads end up almost twice the size – like snowshoes! “Aha”, I thought – I can get on that bandwagon. This morning our little sojourn in the field was much more enjoyable with my snowshoes on. Ella was in a fine mood too, bounding off my track to leap in the deep snow like a baby deer.
We were lucky enough to have some blue sky and sunshine today, so I did my best to soak in the good vibe. Ella leads the way, and she is a great role model for enjoying the moment. She trots along, not afraid to stick her head deep in the snow to sniff out the tracks of another creature (even if it is a woozle). She bounds about, and if I stop to blow my nose, as often happens on a cold day, she will happily plunk down, her fuzzy bum in the snow (makes me cold just to see it happen!) She also loves to eat the snow.
So here’s my foodie epiphany for the day: take a moment to truly experience the weather. I scooped my mitten in the fluffy snow and took a tongueful. It tasted clean, it sparkled on my tongue the same way it sparkled in the sunlight. It was pure and fresh and gone too soon. I wanted more. After a few mouthfuls I was deep in the memory of days spent tobogganing and playing tag on sticky frozen monkey bars. My heart soared with the sheer joy of it all.
P.S. If you’re wondering what a woozle is, brush up on your Winnie the Pooh here.