Archive for January 2012

Snowed In, Sort of

January 23rd, 2012 — 12:57pm

My reply to Mary in the last post turned into a blog.

Mary wrote, in re. a Facebook post of mine where I said we were having a blizzard and I wouldn’t mind getting snowed in,  ‘Hope you got snowed in!’

I started to type.  Pretty soon I had typed a lot.  Here it is.

I did get snowed in, sort of.  On Thursday, Rick snowmobiled into town to do some cleaning in the diner.  The snowmobile blew a piston on the way there, and he has no way to get back (it’s twenty miles, nine of it not plowed).  He was lucky to make it on one cylinder.  It would’ve been a real hassle if he’d been marooned out there on the unplowed road where there’s very little other snowmobile traffic, and maybe dangerous because it was so bitterly cold.  So, we’re focusing on that.

I’m at home with the Ford for transport (the other truck, the ‘really good’ one, is in deep storage for the winter, inside a drifted-in garage at the end of a long, drifted driveway).

I try not to be bitter, but this is the only Ford we’ve ever owned, and even though Rick continues to offer it unconditional love, I struggle.  Every time I hear the word ‘Ford,’ I think, grimly, “Found On Road Dead.”  And when those commercials on TV proclaim, ‘Built Ford tough!’ I laugh sarcastically.  I hope our relationship will improve at some point–I don’t rule that out–but it’s not looking good.

It has now cost as much in repairs as it did to buy and it’s STILL NOT PAID FOR.   Also, in the last two months it’s developed a new tic of either running perfectly or not at all.  You just never know.  Always an adventure!

I took it in to get the error code pulled two weeks ago, and the really nice guy at the garage looked it over for a long time and then told me quite frankly that he had no idea.  He said he’d seen that code before but never replaced the part; that he’d actually gone ahead and disconnected the part in question, and the truck ran fine.  “So I really don’t think that’s your trouble,” he said.


We exchanged ironic looks.  I asked, “What would you do, if this was your truck?”

He said, “Heh.  Well.  Yeah.  I guess what I’d do, is I’d drive it until it died again and then have it towed in.  Maybe if it’s actually not running, we have a better chance of figuring out why.”

Okay.  Fair enough.  What else can you do?  But I won’t get in it and drive aimlessly, that’s for sure.

I’m at home, Rick’s in town, and until the plumbers come on Wednesday to drain the diner’s water for the balance of the winter, that’s how it stays.  The snowmobile has been picked up and hauled off; he’s cleaning and subsisting on a diet of wing dings and French fries, and I’m writing like a fiend and rationing my food  supply.  Two sandwiches worth of bread left. Two cups of milk.  Six eggs.

Actually I have lots of things to cook.  I’m especially good on the sweets side.  Since we’re not open this winter, the baker-me is taking a break, and I stocked up on box mixes:  chocolate cake, almond cake, blueberry scones, cinnamon muffins.  A balanced, healthy diet.

I also have plenty of coffee, a little cream, and several cans of evaporated Pet milk a)for old time’s sake (my dad used Pet milk in his coffee) and b)in case we didn’t get to town for a while.  I feel a quick jab of triumph each time I think of this.  I was prepared!  I had coffee cream!  (and no back-up bread, milk, eggs, fresh fruit, or canned tomatoes, correct.)

I have plenty of food, and neighbors who’d bail me out if I asked.  I’m just having fun doing this.  I’m holed up writing, on a mission to get to a certain point by Wednesday, and I’m enjoying the adventure.  Last night I baked pork chops with green beans and rice, and made corn bread in a cast iron skillet.  The recipe called for bacon drippings, so I used the grease left from the three strips I’d made to go with my oatmeal in the morning.  I felt very pioneer-y.  It also made me think of my grandfather, who made bacon every morning and always saved the grease.  Grandma kept it in a little crockery tub in the fridge.  Do people do that anymore?

There’s plenty more uncooked food where all that came from.  If the power doesn’t go out, I’m golden.  If it does…  I have potatoes and tin foil and the wood stove is burning.  It’s not for much longer.  Wednesday, I’ll go pick Rick up by driving around the long way (85 miles with the direct route unplowed).

My only concern is the Ford.   I was the one who believed nothing could go wrong with the snowmobile this winter because:  we take such good care of it!  We never even go over 40!  We just got it its annual tune-up!  Rick washed and polished its ten-year old body and it looks so nice even though it does have eight thousand miles dragging two people and a sled full of supplies on rough, un-groomed trails on it!  Also because statistically, any more vehicle trouble is impossible for us this year.  Six tows?  No way.

So much for statistics.

In the meantime, I’m fine.  I’m feeling enterprising.  Also a little extra aware of how good things are.   When there’s only two cups of milk left, you not only want a tall glasses of it every hour, you also really taste what you do have.  It’s delicious.

Going to go make those scones now.

21 comments » | At Home

Meat Pie Poem

January 13th, 2012 — 1:34pm

“Hey, Amelia—”

I’m making meat pies in my oven at home today.

Outside it’s snowing.

They’ll go in at 350 degrees for an hour—

or so.

Egg wash on the crust, golden brown when they’re done,

and steaming,

and delicious.

Even if you don’t eat meat, or not usually.

I’ve been chopping onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots,


Love that word, celery.

Tried to have a character who mortgaged the farm to put in celery,

And lost it all when the Civil War came and he had to leave

those muddy acres.

He was right.

No one believed him.

Not even his wife, who was named Ada M. Passage.

You know I don’t remember what I named him,

poor thing.

But then, Ada was the one left with three children and no home and all those seeds

so tiny it seemed impossible to believe they could ever grow.

She was the one who

had to find work as a cook on a Great Lakes steamer, and

leave those kids behind with the neighbor, and

get remembered as an unfit mother,

even if she wasn’t.

And maybe she was—I don’t know.

Pneumonia took a lot of children back then, and fast.

And fires.

And skating accidents on

unfrozen ponds.

Our lake is frozen solid like an ice cube in a tray,

it is so shallow.

I’ve been walking across it for two weeks.

I’ve been chopping, and I’ll make gravy, and try to remember

how much cornstarch.

This much?

This much?

And how much milk?

How much au jus, and would these duck drippings work?

Let’s try.

Remember when we figured all this out in the bakery?

Remember how good it smells?

Even if you don’t like meat pie, like I think I don’t,

but I do.

I’ll add all the frozen veggies I have in the freezer,

whatever they are—

peas, green beans, spinach, corn.

I love corn.

I love its yellow corn color.

And the potatoes, of course.

Always potatoes.

And meat.

How’s it going out there in Idaho,

in poetry school?

January 13, 2012

Deer Park, Michigan

8 comments » | At Home, Recipes and Food

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