Tuesday, December 9, 2014


We have a three day storm system with winds coming in from the northeast.
I never mind when these storms bring in snow, even though we often end up with well over a foot within a few hours.   But, this system is starting as snow, changing to sleet, changing to rain, changing to sleet, changing to snow, changing… and it is supposed to continue into Friday, with day time temperatures at or above freezing (worst case scenario.)

This morning I got up, my wife had fed the new cats and had oatmeal cooking.

Baby Toula - age four months

Bella with the beautiful eyes - age four years

 I ate breakfast, then relaxed with a cup of tea before going out to fill the bird feeders and bring in two days of firewood before the storm arrives.    

Snow started about two pm.   We will likely lose electricity during this storm, as wet snow and sleet will stick to power lines, or at the very least bring down tree limbs on the lines.

We have LP gas lamps installed in the living room and kitchen, a kerosene lamp that we can move from room to room, also a battery lantern and flashlights. 

This is an earlier picture from Solstice 2010, but note the gas lamp in the upper left 

We can heat with wood and cook on the gas stove top (though the oven will not work without electricity.)  

As a bear once told me, “You’ll be alright.

Winter time is the time for homemade soups.

I do the majority of cooking at the house – because I like it.  For some reason my wife doesn't complain.  The thing I do not like is making salads: it always seems so boring and repetitious.

So, today was a soup day for lunch.  One of my favorite recipe books is Twelve Months of Monastery Soups

 (I also have the Twelve Months of Monastery Salads book but don’t use it often.) 


Today was just a simple cream of tomato soup:
I diced one medium onion; put a chunk of butter and enough olive oil in the bottom of the soup pan to sautéed  the onions until tender, then added a tablespoon of dried parsley, a teaspoon of thyme and a couple of teaspoons of dried basil – cooked for a couple of more minutes before adding a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (unseasoned.)   Let it simmer about ten minutes, added two teaspoons of sugar and puréed  it with the hand blender.   Once the mixture was uniform I added about twelve ounces of half and half cream (look at it and taste it until it seems right.)  

I keep a small container with a couple of ounces of olive oil and a crushed garlic clove soaking (I use it for cooking or as a dip for my bread instead of butter,) I slices a baguette and coated the inside with the garlic oil and browned it in a skillet.  

A nice tomato soup and garlic bread – it doesn't  get much better.  

Tonight for supper: a salad, grilled salmon fillets cooked on the George Forman  (if we still have electricity,) rice and canned green peas.
Tomorrow I will probably be snow blowing the driveway and digging out the front and back doors.  

Just a note; if you are considering buying a snow blower look for one with a round snow chute (the tube where the snow comes out.)  I have a Sears snow blower and it works fine except with wet snow.   The snow chute is rectangular and prone to clogging up.   My friend has one with a round chute and doesn't have this problem.
Need to feed the wood stove…
the Ol’Buzzard



  1. Soup makes everything better, doesn't it. Give those cats a skritch for me!

  2. I had another trailer load of acacia delivered yesterday. It's typical depressing Dordogne weather here. None stop fog and rain...finally we had a few night time freezes. We joke about the people who live up the road near the village who put there laundry up to dry in November and then finally take it down in March. We lose power here a few times a year, I have a generator which I can take to my neighbors to power up their freezers if they need it. This is a very rural place, only 6 permanent residents here in La Sechere, so there are no city gas lines. I use butane for cooking, so I always have a spare tank in the barn. I use the wood stove in the fireplace often. I love to cook too...My wife makes soup and desserts, but lately, I have been doing almost all of the cooking. Your home looks pretty cozy. I like the gas lamps. I have a few old kerosene lamps and box of candles in the basement. Also I invested in a few nice powerful LED rechargeble light fixtures. I learned my lesson when we were hit by the huge storms in 2000! No power for 2 weeks! The gas stations couldn't pump gas, the water system ran dry because the pumps are electric! Now, the water system has auxillary solar power to keep the pumps going. Today my wife is making a big pumpkin soup...and I am making my very famous Cleo's Daddy's Fried Chicken....The recipe comes from John's Chicken on 116 Street in Harlem...John was Cleo's Daddy....

    1. If the chicken recipe is from Harlem it has got to be good.

      Our little cabin is post and beam - a perfect size for the two of us and cats; but I worry about my wife being able to maintain it after I check out. Our road is not maintained and we often get four or five feet of snow over a winter - keeping my driveway and exit ways open are physically demanding, we are on a well for water and she will not be able to heat with firewood so will have to switch to our oil back-up. Then there is the normal maintenance.
      I am still (so far) in remarkably good shape; but of course this bothers me.

    2. Chicken recipe: I put a small to medium sized onion in the food processor, a big spoon of mustard, a tablespoon of sugar and enough milk to cover the chicken pieces in a bowl. I pour the mixture over the chicken, cover it with plastic and let it sit in the fridge at least 6 hours...I usually do it the night before...the longer the better. Then I heat some oil in the big frying pan, dredge the chicken parts in flour, fry them till they get golden, and put them in the over and bake them for about a half hour...really crispy tasty chicken!

  3. Speaking of candles...I found a pair of candle holders in a junk shop here recently. Incredible example of trench art from WWI....the necks of the candle holders are bayonets which were artfully coiled. I am going to take a picture of them and post it on my blog. I have never seen anything like them.

  4. We had some nasty weather a month ago, but now it's settled down into regular winter weather. Got my plowtruck back from the neighbor (he mounted the plow frame on my other old 4x4) and I got the controls installed yesterday. Now all I have to do is dig the plow out of the snowbank and put it on. We would have been screwed if we hadn't been able to pay the county road commission to

    1. plow our driveway. This is the last year they will plow private driveways. Hopefully I'll be able to keep my driveway open next winter. I've done it in the past with a rig that was not as good as this one.

  5. Soup sounds good. When we first moved to the boonies we referred to the power company as Intermittent Power and Light. They've gotten much better, but we still plan for unplanned outages.


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