Mr. Snowlover

The day my son has been dreaming of has finally arrived: the winter’s first snowstorm. A great deal of his young life has passed since the last snow melted; in fact, I saw on the news that many parts of the Midwest had broken records for the most consecutive days without measurable snowfall. And yet he remembered. His passion for snow was so pronounced that when he found a nutcracker statue among our Christmas decorations last week, he named it Mr. Snowlover. His enthusiasm mounted when he saw the weather forecasts, and this morning, he was in his snowpants and out the door when the first snowflakes fell. He first caught snowflakes on his tongue, then hauled out a stool so he could climb up and get his sled down from the garage rafters. He was sledding as soon as there was enough snow to make sledding possible. After the initial novelty wore off, he decided he wanted to fly a kite. My husband Paul tried to talk him out of it, arguing that the cold and wind weren’t conducive to kite-flying, but Sage insisted. Paul got out the kite, grumbling, “I can’t believe my son is making me fly a kite in a snowstorm.” But he did it, and I would like everyone who reads this to fully appreciate the extent of his paternal sacrifice. Fortunately for him, it didn’t fly, so the kite endeavor didn’t last more than a couple of minutes. The two of them then went to Paul’s man garage (aka “The Shop”) to work on the snowblower. It was a timely endeavor since the snow accumulated rapidly, and even with the repairs, Paul had to wrestle with the machine a couple of hours before he could get the driveway even partially clear. (Again, please note the paternal sacrifice.)

In the meantime, I’d been working on an article about Inga Witscher, a local organic farmer whom I’d interviewed Friday. The article is for the local paper, but I hope to post it to my blog once she looks it over and, I hope, gives it her blessing. I really enjoyed meeting her. She runs an organic dairy but, together with her husband and father, she’s also producing web shows featuring Wisconsin farmers. Her site is www.aroundthefarmtable.com if anyone is interested in local produce, farm-to-table cooking, and agriculture in general and would like to check it out. In keeping with her sustainable spirit, I then peeled and cooked a bunch of Jerusalem artichokes I’d dug up from my garden before the ground froze. I hadn’t cooked with them before, but I used them to make hash browns and biscuits using a wild foods cookbook I’d found at a book sale. I substituted butter for shortening in the biscuit recipe, which messed with the texture, but they still tasted good enough for Sage to eat at least two. I still have a LOT more in the garden since they grow like weeds–in fact, since they’re native to North America and grow wild, many people DO consider them weeds–but they’re snuggled under a thick blanket of snow now.

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