January 4, 2014

Friday night in the deep freeze



It is "wicked cold heah", as some locals would say.
It is and has been well below zero. Heating fuel is astronomical, and so we are not warm.  I have never seen it so bad---We normally do not get long periods of weather this cold at a stretch.
We are cold all the time---You spend money for the fuel you expect to last for a couple months at least, and you are not even warm---You simply can't afford to crank up the heat to a comfy 65 or 66, and even so the fuel is gone in a month. Everyone I have talked to in New England and the midwest is complaining of the same thing.

Sparkling snow is a couple feet deep around the houses in the neighborhood with piles up to, or covering a bit of the windows of some. Intricate designs in frost and ice decorate the old panes of our window glass. Deep winter is here and we are in the midst of a rare and bitter deep freeze.

We are wearing layers of fleece and heavy wool socks as always. I can't enjoy the sun, if shining, because I have closed the interior wood shutters in the rooms that have them, in an effort to conserve every drop of fuel. Morale was pretty low yesterday, and I decided I would suprise Adam with a lovely roast chicken dinner cooked in the fireplace. I used the bedroom hearth as we would eat in there, keeping only that room really warm, and be able to watch the TV as well later. I went up to the attic and brought down my 'tin kitchen', or reflector oven, as they are called---designed and made for hearth cooking, this one was made especially for me over 25 years ago by a craftsman in Michigan when I still lived in the midwest.
I have always cooked Thanksgiving turkey in the fireplace, not having done one in the oven in over 25 years as well. I love hearth cooking, and have done it for many years.
I built a "ripping fire" in the fireplace about 2:30 in the afternoon. By 3:30, a good bed of coals lay under the 18thc. andirons, and I kept adding split logs of oak, maintaining a nice even fire.
Ahhhhh......It was so cozy and warm, and so elemental---I was transported back to other long-gone days of our ancestors who had no such creature comforts such as indoor plumbing or any central heat at all, against the chill of a New England winter.

I made roast chicken seasoned on the outside with my own special herb mixture, and stuffed with onion chunks. With the divine smoky drippings, I made a yummy homemade chicken gravy. I made mashed potatoes and homemade fresh cranberry orange relish.
The day before I had made a homemade French apple cream cake, and last evening while the little bird was roasting, I whipped up the most wonderful and easy caramel sauce. For dessert we had the apple cake with the warm caramel sauce drizzled over it.

The bedroom was lit only with a few candles, and the glow from the fireplace. The dinner was fantastic. We shut out the cold and dark, and spent Friday night in our 1686 bed with it's heavy  tapestry curtains, the dogs at the foot, but eyeing the chicken hopefully, and enjoying our hearth-cooked feast.








I served my French Apple Cake with homemade warm caramel sauce~

We laughed until we cried watching old Tim Sample videos on Youtube for the rest of the evening.
Enjoy!








*(Update-Jan. 2014~ Sadly, the new job is not what we had hoped, and the only way we were able to have this Christmas was because Adam was able to work a lot of temporary overtime. It has turned out to be a nightmare with not paying even close to a bare living wage. The new owners broke contracts, and now though they must work overtime, no one is paid for it. With the outrageous amount for insurance taken out of every paycheck, things are as bad or worse now than before, and are now not able to afford both fuel and food. This is an inexcusable travesty---We are both devastated. The hunt for a job paying a living wage goes on...)



4 comments:

  1. Hi Mary,
    here I am trying to overcome my shyness to comment :-)

    Your Friday night sounds terrible inviting - terrible, because as a child of Northern hemisphere I know something about winter and cold, and inviting, because you really was able to rise above harsh circumstances. You really made the best of what you were given :-) The pics are so cozy and beautiful that you forget what's behind the window. Thank you for posting!

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  2. You're welcome to come cook our dinner anytime. That looked scrumptious,and what a lucky guy!
    I know I shouldn't complain but I'm miserable in our 78d temperatures here in SoCal. We don't have Winters like you but it would be nice to at least HAVE some Winter weather so I could wear my pretty sweaters, or maybe have a fire in the fireplace. This is so odd.
    Keep warm, my dear. Val

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  3. Dear Miriam,
    Thanks for your kind comment, and for taking the time to leave one! Much appreciated!
    Mary

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  4. Well, Mary, you have successfully turned a bitter cold posting into a warm one - one that doesn't cost hardly anything to read!
    And you have also successfully turned what could have been a miserable time into something very tolerable and, dare I say, enjoyable.
    I loved the pictures and the speaking Yankee video!
    Happy New Year!

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