Fridays Weekend Column
Thinking of Spring
by James Glaser
I know, I know, I used this title before, but everyone is thinking about spring again. People in town today were telling me how much later it is light now and spring must be right around the corner, I looked at them like they were nuts because it was 17 degrees below zero yesterday. Sure the sun is out, but sunny days are cold up here because there are no clouds to hold the heat down.
I want spring to come just as much as the rest of the people, maybe more than they do, but I know from years past, it isn't going to get here for another six to eight weeks. March can have a few nice days and really, they just make it harder to take, because sure as heck it will get cold again and March is a big snow month.
If we got 20 inches of snow this weekend, I would be bummed, but I wouldn't be all that surprised. I do like the lighter later days and at least you know things are headed in the right direction, but I spent a few hours chopping ice out of my truck bed today so I can go buy cabinets. I had many 40 pound bags of potting soil in the back for weight and traction. Well, they were frozen in from going through car washes. I also had lots of wood scraps that I planned to take out this spring and burn, but I need that truck box now.
I went in to the town's coin operated car wash and hosed everything down for a while and got things loose so I could take it out when I got home. In the front of the box, up near the cab the snow and ice went all the way to the top of the box and I had to chip that out. Those plastic bed liners make it easy as nothing sticks to them.
I thought this week's fudge was the best so far. Not everyone agrees with me on that or on many things, but that is why I have tasters keeping score. The recipe came from a 1979 copy of Women's Day. Most fudge recipes have you boil the sugar, milk, and butter for 4 to 5 minutes. This one called for nine minutes of stirring after it started to boil and then probably another nine as it was cooling. I used the expensive chocolate I bought in the cities and it is so nice to cook with and it melts like butter.
Get a big mixing bowl and put in the chocolate, marshmallows cut in half, and the pecans. Set this aside and butter a glass pan 9 x 13 and set that aside too. Now get a deep heavy sauce pan and put in the sugar, milk, salt, and butter. Start heating and get up to a low boil and keep it boiling for a full nine minutes stirring all the time. Take it off the heat and pour it on the chocolate, marshmallow nut mix and start stirring. After a bit add the vanilla and keep stirring. When everything is real smooth, pour it in the buttered glass pan.
The recipe says that a 1 inch cube of this fudge has 57 calories (more if you have pecans) and so if somehow you can control yourself and only eat one little piece, the stirring will more than burn up that first piece. I stirred so much, I could have like a dozen pieces, but I limited myself to just a few, like eight. Really I have no idea of how much I had as I never cut two pieces the same size, but all are bigger than an inch.
One thing I saw today that was a hopeful sign, was partridge out on the road eating gravel to help their digestive system. When the real spring comes, they will be "drumming" in the woods and that is a sound that I always look forward to.
Lidia, my cat is becoming friendlier. She isn't what you would call friendly yet, but she seems more at home now. In the middle of the night she will jump on me and scurry off. If she comes into the room, she doesn't slink now. Now she walks around like she owns the place, but I must say she has me pretty well trained about taking care of her food, water, treats, and cleaning out her litter trays. She must think that I am a fast learner.
She also has a friend, a cat who comes to our deck and the two of them talk through the glass. I never saw this cat until Lidia came. She or he must have an owner, because he is always looking fit and clean. I asked around, but nobody knows whose it is.
Last night I came home after dark and the sky was so bright with stars, I had to stay out and look for awhile. I could see the Milky Way and I could walk all around with just star light. There was no wind and total silence. I was hoping to hear a wolf, but had to settle for the call of an owl a few times. I could hear something down by the lake walking around, but I couldn't see what it was. It was big and I am guessing it was a deer.
I slept upstairs with the head of my bed looking out the sliding glass doors and I could see the stars almost as good as outside. I now know what ancient man did for evening entertainment. The stars are moving all night or maybe we are moving or we both are moving. I just know every time I would take another look, I would see something else that filled me with wonder.
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