Saturday, January 2, 2016

Dirty Business

No two ways about it, wood stoves are dirty.  There are always bits of bark and leaves on the logs and they end up on the hearth.  I've traded the dust of summer for the film of ash that is inevitable from stirring the coals and emptying the ash pan from under the grate.  Ah well, small price to pay for the heat.

Being from Texas, my dad loved the traditional black-eyed peas on New Year's, said to bring good luck for the year.  Farther south, I guess it is Hoppin' John, also made with black-eyed peas but with other veggies and rice.  I was never able to develop a taste for those peas, so yesterday I went a little farther afield.  My daughter reminded me yesterday of Craig's family favorite for their traditional Japanese holiday meal.  I had all the fixings, so made miso soup with mochi.  Miso is a fermented bean paste with wonderful, rich flavor.  Mochi are little cakes made from pounded rice, slightly sweet and definitely chewy whether baked or boiled.  Together, the dish is called ozoni.  Green onions are better, but I made do with paper-thin sliced white onion cooked in the broth.  Piping hot and hearty, it was my good luck last night.

Cam called to tell me of her morning's adventure.  She was headed up toward Grizzly Flat, turned on to a road and slid out on black ice.  Fortunately, she didn't hit anything, but was good and stuck, not able to move forward nor reverse.  The only tool she had was a rake and used that to try to chip enough of the ice away from the tires until the rake broke.  There are many dead zones for cellphones up here, but luckily she was able to make a call out to Triple-A.  She only had to wait 45 minutes for the truck to arrive, and it took 3 minutes for him to tow her to safety.  She abandoned her plans for the day.  This is the first morning I've awakened to more than 32 degrees (it's 34).  There are still chunks of frozen hail here and there in the yards and the birdbath remains an ice rink after a week of freezing temperatures.

I should have served some ozoni to Bessie Anne so as to share the luck.  I'll be washing the comforter today because she's thrown up twice on the bed this morning.  Talk about dirty business.

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