Friday’s Weekend Column
Beans and Corn Bread

by James Glaser
December 3, 2004

And a little bowl of onions too and I almost forgot, jalapeno peppers. I have the beans (northern whites) cooking on the stove. I started soaking them last night before I went to bed and started cooking when I got up. A few years ago Charmaine and I went to Oklahoma; we wanted to look at the Spanish American War Colony. They had free land for American veterans of foreign wars. It wasn't what we wanted, but we stayed around and we both worked in an ambulance factory for a couple of months.

The beans, corn bread, and onions would be the special down there at many cafes for lunch. They used pinto beans and we really enjoyed them. We got back up here and every so often we would cook some beans up, pinto, whites, black, or red beans, it made no difference, but we liked putting some peppers in while the beans were cooking. Lots of fiber in there too. I cooked a whole bag, forgetting how much that made. I have a lot of beans to eat now.

I brought in two more big planters from the deck. It was a good thing I did, because I woke up this morning to the sound of a snowplow going by on the road. We got about 5 inches, but it was light and fluffy. Those planters are like two huge ice cubes and after twenty four hours they still are not all the way thawed,

I have them sitting on short stools so that they will get nice sun from the windows. I ordered a "Sassy Salad Mesclun Packet" of seeds. There are 17 different salad greens in it and the ones I wanted the most were Arugula, Tatsoi, Romaine Cimmaron, Spinach, and Mustard Mizuna. The rest are different types of lettuce. I like the looks of Oakleaf Lettuce. In less than 30 days after planting, I should be able to start cutting some.

After I shoveled off the deck and the walk out to the road, I noticed how many birds were hitting the feeders. The sun was out and I think the birds were having a happy time. I went across the road and shoveled to the workshop and the deck there and still have to do the "Little House" that I am turning into a gift shop. I wouldn't have minded a bit if the snow held off till Christmas, but we were lucky to have it wait this long. You always have to make the best of it and if we get lots, I can bank up the buildings and save a lot of heating fuel.

I am going Christmas shopping and I would tell you what I was going to get my grand daughter, but she reads this column and she will have to trust my taste in what a young woman would like. My children asked me what I want for Xmas and I told them I wanted a few hours of work out of them. Now would that be a great gift or what?

Some one asked me out for New Years Eve and I had to tell them, that I haven't gone out on New Years for decades. I really do like staying home that night. The kids are coming up for Christmas and Nikky and Garrett think it would be a good idea if Whitney got here a day early so that she could show us her talents now that she is a real Chef, having finished school and working two cooking jobs. It would be fun to cook with her. I am thinking fresh bread and morning cinnamon rolls. She can't stay too long or I will be putting on weight. Whitney makes the best fudge. Hey it is Christmas and we really should celebrate.

On Tuesday I was looking out at the lake and their were people walking out on the ice. There was also open water and not a little bit, but a hole 300 feet by 500 feet. When they came back in, I asked them what they were doing and the said they were checking the ice to see if they could put their ice fishing houses out yet. They said the ice was about 4 inches thick near shore, but only about 1 ½ inches farther out where they wanted to set up. I think they are nuts. I want a foot of good ice before I go out on it, but the DNR says you only need 6 inches. They also say that there is no such thing as safe ice. Last year a Semi went through at a snowmobile race. I couldn't believe that someone would drive a semi out there. They were nuts too.

So, it is really winter now. We have snow and the temperature is in the single digits in the morning. When the sun is out it is so bright in here that the sunshine hitting my wood floor reflects up on the computer screen and it is hard to see. I had to put up a room divider to block the glare.

I dread the start of winter every year, but once it is here you realize that it is beautiful. The whole world is now a clean white. There are animal tracks all over the place and it makes you realize just how many animals live right around here. From the tracks, I would say they there were at least 30 different animals going through my yard or on my deck last night. Sometimes they make so much noise you can hear them from in the house, but when you look, they are gone. On moon lit nights I can look out my upstairs window and see their shapes going through the snow. It is easy to pick out the deer and rabbits and I can spot a raccoon or a lynx, but some animals are just dark shapes moving in the night and I have no idea of what they are.

I think the snow quiets everything down too. When I turn off the computer I can hear nothing. I will be in bed and I can hear the refrigerator start up and even the quiet hum when the freezer kicks in down in the basement. So, when some animal runs across the deck or hops up on a bird feeder, I know it right away.

My house is snug and warm and I think I will hibernate here for periods of time this winter.

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