Short Days, Long Winter

The fall came in fast and the last two months for me were an anxiety driven asthma flare. For a few weeks there it was so foggy every morning I kept envisioning I was in some form of purgatory like in the movie “The Others”; the only things passing by our door early in the morning were Amish buggies emerging from the fog. I won’t linger on this but driving an hour to and from work, my commute became dotted by increasingly large and ornate Trump shrines which have not since disappeared, but altered their appearance into hand written threats  about the state of the country or, a rebranding from “Trump 2020” to “Gun owners for trump”. Fine. Instead of imagining me running my car off the road and over the signs I have instead installed a mental filter of a “Lost” sticker to paste onto the bottom of each sign and it has done wonders.

Outdoors watching Kamala’s acceptance speech

Meanwhile everything here has grown extra fur, or feathers, or dropped all leaves in preparation for winter. The chickens are in various stages of moulting, and our dear ole reliable for eggs, tiny Bugsy is the last one to start shedding her feathers and looks like someone has attached her and taken half her clothes. The cats have dwindled to only a few. Our favorite, Squeak, mom to the new kittens vanished one day when said kittens were about 4.5 weeks old. I started giving them formula after a day but when she didn’t return after a few I brought them inside and it ended up being the bright spot of our October. We had about a month for them to put on some weight before they would be ready to go to new homes, and they went from little slow moving blobs to insane plant destroyers, excellent eaters, and dog stalkers. When it got cold in the sun room they got a little heating pad to sleep on, and announced cat hater Brady even fashioned them a new play tunnel from cardboard scraps.

They have all gone on to new homes, and new names, but it was such a treat to be able to go into the kitten room whenever I was bored or anxious or I just spotted one of them being cute out of the corner of my eye. We suspect the other mainstays have been moonlighting at a farm down the road and decided to hunker down for the winter. A few remain but has been nice not having 8-10 cats running around, and even nicer to not encounter all of their droppings.

Now that most things are pulled up or dead I have grand plans for next spring. A wall of sunflowers, a giant trellis for squash, some kind of raised bed situation for tomatoes that I haven’t fully thought through yet, and a few other plans that I’m sure will go by the wayside when it gets to be March and I realize I need to start actually making things happen for them to happen. However, it has been nice to use headspace to daydream about a garden and not go down a doom spiral. Despite the late planting start this summer we were overwhelmed with tomatoes, squash, peas, green beans, and what I initially thought were broccoli but turned out to be ten heads of cabbage. 

Me and all of my squash

Now as it is actually December I am full blown Christmassing over here. In years past I try to give away an array of cookies but the month sneaks up on me and I end up scrambling. This year though….time is plentiful. I am going to try a few new recipes – italian rainbow cookies, shortbread, along with the old standards. A favorite is this recipe I got from my college boyfriend’s mom and they are simple, disgusting, delicious and easy so I want to share, see below. Happy Holidays, I will update more often!!

Marshmallow Caramel Rice Krispie Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (10 ounces) Rice Krispies
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 package (14 ounces) caramels (I get the ones in the cheap candy section, the little cubes wrapped up in clear plastic
  • 1 package (16 ounces) large marshmallows

Place cereal in a shallow bowl; set aside. In a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, combine the milk, butter and caramels, stirring until smooth. Turn heat off but keep on the burner, because eventually the caramel stiffens up and needs another boost.

With a fork, quickly dip marshmallows into hot mixture; allow excess to drip off, then Roll in cereal. Warning: this is very messy. Place on a foil-lined pan; chill for 30 minutes. I never did refrigerate them, after the initial set as our old apt was so cold – best eaten within a day or two not in the fridge so they keep their crunch, but use your judgement.

Rice Krispie Balls are on the bottom

Cat Count: Just 5!

Chickens: 9

Dogs: 2

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