Friday, December 28, 2012

Ice Storm and Rosie Lee

The day after Christmas was very very cold and by mid morning thick snow was falling, sometimes turning to a frozen mix, and then to hailstones. It came down thick and fast quickly encasing every branch, bud, blade of grass and berry in a thick layer of ice. It settled on the road and left a 2" slushy deposit which quickly froze as the day darkened and the temperature dropped. The next morning sunshine occasionally peeped out from behind clouds causing the icy landscape to glitter and throw sparkles across the fields as the grasses and branches slowly swayed under their added weight. As Thursday afternoon slid into evening most of the ice had dropped in shards from the trees and the road was becoming visible.

The scenery at Meadow House was beautiful after the storm but the cats were not impressed. Kota went out very briefly but Rosie had zero interest at leaving a warm house.
Rosie relaxing on the sofa and happy to pose for a few photos. Kota wouldn't oblige, I'll have to catch him another time.
I managed to get out and stock up on supplies on Friday afternoon, today, but had to make sure I was back before sundown as the temperatures would drop and freeze the hill. The forecast is for tomorrow is more snow starting in the early hours and supposedly dropping 1"-3". We're warm and cozy with plenty of provisions so we'll have to wait and see. The house build has been cancelled tomorrow because of the snow and I'm thinking I may be cut off for the weekend. Watch this space!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Women Build and Christmas

On Saturday I woke up to the wind howling and swirling around the house. I'd read that the wind gusts would be up to 50mph and the temperature below 40F but I'd not seen any notices cancelling work on the house so I rolled out of bed and bundled up ready to go work. Even as I approached I was fully expecting the site to be empty but no, there were a few there so toting my tool belt I walked over and set to work.
We didn't have too many volunteers that day but regardless it was a good crowd, and to make life a little better the roof was in place to keep out some of the wind.
We did some framing putting up interior closet walls and then Evelyn and I had to attempt to pull out nails from some boards that had been nailed together for a previous job and then weren't used. These boards were required to brace the roof in the corners and would be cut down to size but our task looked a little daunting and it took a while to get the knack of digging into the nail head and then extracting it. Even with my new hammer I was having issues and progress was slow for both of us. We hadn't got too far when lunch was declared.
 Lunch was supplied by the Restore shop. It was the leftovers of their Christmas dinner that had been donated by Wegmans, and leftovers or not, it was delicious. We were all starving and craving some hot nourishment.
 We sat inside the house to eat choosing areas that were either sheltered from the wind or were sunspots. I got an attack of the giggles as a massive gust of wind barreled through, causing everyone to duck their heads, and as I looked up I noticed a cloud of sawdust floating through the air and landing on our food. Oh well, it was extra filler!
Evelyn and I returned to our job to find that all the nails had been removed, by one of the guys, who was in his 80's. I experienced a moment of deep respect. Never underestimate the ability of anyone.
 The red arrows mark the braces we had to hammer in place. It was awkward to get the nails in and I was grateful for having learned how to become ambidextrous.
Here's the house looking fabulous with its new roof in place. We completed the tasks set for the day and then it was time to pack up. Everyone hugged each other, wished all a Merry Christmas, and then gratefully trotted to nice warm cars.
Christmas Eve was another cold day but this time I was undaunted. I didn't have to go anywhere, it was baking day, and my task was sausage rolls and peppermint creams with chocolate filling. It started snowing quite early on and it was lovely to be indoors with the twinkling colored lights, a crackling fire, and an easy day ahead of me.
Phillip the Pheasant was back and I'd sprinkled bird seed out the front which birds of all sizes were tucking in to.
I grabbed my camera and walked around for a while enjoying the white peacefulness. My arm seems to be getting stronger very slowly, I'm not sure if the house building is helping or not, but even though it is sore for much of the time I can feel the strength returning.
Back indoors I got down to the serious task of making flaky pastry, and in between chilling sessions in the fridge, (the pastry, not me), I contentedly sipped on a few glasses of Harvey's Bristol Cream, a Christmas tradition. Before long, I had a rack full of delicious sausage rolls, and I have to say the pastry turned out wonderfully. Then I had to have a little rest as the sherry had gone to my head, but after an hour or so I was back knocking up peppermint meringues.
 While the meringues cooked, I wrapped up the last presents, with Rosie tugging on the ribbons hanging down from the table.
 I finished the evening watching The Polar Express. I love this movie and am always moved by the reindeer bell at the end. I have a reindeer collar hanging on the back of a chair fitted out with bells, and was delighted to find that when I tinkled them I discovered that they sound exactly the same as the bells on the movie. They've been jingled a lot this Christmas.
On Christmas morning I woke up to see there was still snow on the ground. A white Christmas! I'd gone to sleep leaving the curtains open so I could see out as soon as I woke up and it was wonderful to see the snow. For some reason I'd half expected it to melt in the night...
I made the chocolate cream for the meringues and had 2 for breakfast then very leisurely got ready for the day in between texts and phone calls from friends and family. I knocked up 2 batches of stuffing and once they were cooked I took one with me, along with some sausage rolls and the meringues, wine and presents, and drove to MJ and Martin's for Christmas lunch.
 We had a perfectly delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, roasted broccoli, parsnips, onions, sweet potatoes and gravy but unfortunately neglected to take a photo of it all. It was so enjoyable that I didn't even think about it. We munched on gingerbread cookies and meringues afterwards then exchanged presents while we waited for the cherry cobbler to cook.
 MJ had some very pretty decorations up and we had a lovely relaxed afternoon, so relaxed and content that we didn't want to deal with going out to watch a movie as we'd originally planned. I got home later and set about preparing the cats' Christmas dinner.
 A veritable feast of turkey and giblets cat food, piled up with fresh ham and roast turkey and then topped off with some seaside treats, sent over by Mum.
They tucked in immediately and polished off the whole lot, not taking any notice of me snapping photos. When they finished, we all cozied up on the sofa in front of the fire and I rounded off the evening with a few more glasses of Harvey's. What a wonderful stress free Christmas!