A Sweet December Weekend

Friday morning I snowblowed the driveway in hopes that the mail lady would deliver packages that were scheduled to arrive. I worked hard and did a good job. As soon as I finished, I walked down to the mailbox. The mail was already there, which means that the mail lady had arrived while I was still snowblowing. I always start at the bottom and work my way up in segments so the bottom of the driveway was completely cleared and she wouldn’t have gotten stuck–but I found a notice in the mailbox that I had packages to pick up at the post office. Ugh! It’s so difficult for me to get to the post office during the week. I have more packages arriving on Monday and Wednesday. I’m sure they won’t be delivered, but I’ve learned a few days ago that I can’t pick them up on the same day that I receive the notice because they will still be out on the route with the mail lady until it’s too late. Tuesday JJ will probably work all day, and the rest of the week we are supposed to have bad wintry storms. If the storms are too bad, I’m not sure I want to try to get out. I might have to wait until Saturday when EJ can take me. If I don’t get them by Saturday, I won’t be able to pick them up until after Christmas.

Friday afternoon we had very heavy lake effect snow. The snow was so heavy that I couldn’t see much past the big rocks in our yard.  It was very beautiful.

When EJ arrived home later that evening, he was surprised to hear that I had snowblowed the driveway at all. The heavy snow had erased all my efforts. This weekend was milder with no additional snow. I love the snow, and I don’t mind snowblowing, but it is hard work and it is nice to have a break now and then for a day or two.

While it was snowing, I made two batches of hard candy–Cinnamon and butterscotch.

Picking up animal supplies at McG’s.

Although we prefer to have quiet, restful Saturdays, we had to go to the post office to pick up packages and send a couple. Since we were out and about, we went on to McG’s farm store to buy some straw for the coop and some dry cat food for the cats. Seven cats go through food much more quickly than five did.

The deer are now coming regularly to eat the seed from the bird feeders. I absolutely love watching the deer, but I tried not to encourage them because EJ says they can spread disease by getting together at feeders. I put the bird feeders up close to the house in order to discourage them, but it obviously didn’t work. I LOVE watching the birds at the feeders and I don’t know how to discourage the deer and enjoy the birds at the same time. Well, I suppose I could just move and spook the deer, but instead I’m so enchanted when they come close that I stay very still so I don’t scare them. I can’t help it. So I’ve kind of given up. Since the deer are also eating the bird seed, we bought more at McG’s. McG’s have their own mix which has no waste “filler” seed and which is much cheaper than seed at other places. We were able to get two 40 pound bags for only about $7 a bag. We also bought a mineral block, which EJ said is healthy for the deer.  A McG’s employee loaded our suburban with our purchases.

On the way home we stopped at Goodwill because we love thrift-shopping. Then we picked up a few things at the grocery store. Once we got home, we rested the remainder of the day and we lit the Hanukkah candles in the evening.

EJ cutting cinnamon candy into squares.

Today was busy. I cleaned the house, did some laundry, and then I made more hard candy–this time with EJ’s help. We made rootbeer, watermelon, and another batch of cinnamon, which is my favorite. My Mom always used two drams of Lorann oils to give candy a strong flavor and I’ve continued the tradition. Anything less than two bottles seems too weak to me. My Mom also always filled a bowl with snow to quickly cool the pan of candy in, and I do that too. I had to laugh years ago when my sister said that she couldn’t make hard candy that year because we didn’t have any snow. I informed her that candy can be made without snow. The snow is just a convenient way to cool the hot candy so it begins to harden enough that we can pour it out on the cutting board.

EJ and I have a lot of fun making candy together. We used to make candy together every year and gave some to friends, but it’s been a few years since we have made any. It was good to make some this year. EJ and I work well together. I measure the ingredients and get the candy cooking and EJ adds the coloring and flavor. EJ really enjoys color and is good at using several tubes of food coloring to get the color he wants. I tend to just squirt food coloring from one tube into the candy and get on to the next step. I pour the hot candy into the pan, set the pan on the bowl of snow to cool, and pour it onto the wooden cutting board and EJ cuts the candy into squares and coats them with powdered sugar. While he’s doing that, I wash the dishes and begin another batch of candy.

This evening EJ and I went to Meijers because EJ wanted to get some auto supplies. He plans to do some maintenance on the vehicles on the days he has off between Christmas and New Years. We bought some peanuts so we can make peanut brittle. I also bought another pair of boots. I have old boots that I use when I do my chores. They get covered with mud, straw, and duck/chicken poop. I have tall warm boots that I use when I snowblow the driveway or go out walking in the snow. I will also wear them if I ever go ice-fishing with EJ. Those boots are very, very warm–so warm that they make my feet hot and sweaty if I wear them when I go to stores or anything. I told EJ that I needed boots that didn’t smell of poultry, didn’t make my feet hot and sweaty, and looked relatively good if I wore them in public. I found some today that were on sale and didn’t cost much at all. Yay me!

Just before we left for Meijers, I saw a deer in the forest making her way toward our bird feeders. She vanished when we went out to the suburban, but I’m sure she was at the feeders while we were gone. The deer have crushed a section of the chicken wire I put up around the deck to discourage Miss Madeline Meadows, our serial killer cat, from lurking near the bird feeder. Most of the fencing is still in place to prevent a complete ambush, but we saw Miss Madeline Meadows lurking by the post just before we left. I think she smelled the approaching deer because she slunk away. It seems that everyone loves my bird feeders.

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