As it stands David and I are currently in a blizzard with an additional six to eight inches of expected snowfall.  Good thing we don’t need to be working outside…The beginning of the week looked promising.  Monday, Pepperfield was graced with only a light dusting.  This allowed us to complete a few errands in town and even manage to fit in a sauna session.  The week continued with promise as the temperature began to rise out of freezing.  The following afternoon I tested a recipe for Corn Pudding, inspired by time at my last job.  It turned out to be quite fantastic.  I was also fortunate enough to be able to attend a lecture on Democracy in Chains, a powerful piece of writing that outlines the rise to power of people like James Buchanan and the Koch Brothers.  The points made were fascinating and I highly recommend the book to anyone who is curious about how we, as a country, have ended up in such a predicament with our political system.

The following day was excellent because I got to experience my first seed planting.  David and I worked for nearly two hours planting nearly 25 varietals of tomatoes.  Thanks to some decent weather, we even managed to move outside to clean up around the garden.  This is when I noticed the first indication of spring.  Daffodils and snowdrops were just starting to peek through the ground give some much-needed optimism that spring was on the way.  (Looking back, I couldn’t have been more wrong.)  Thursday was our first full day of sun.  David and I graciously used this time to complete a myriad of outdoor tasks: pruning, training grape vines, cleaning up debris from the vineyard and tidying up the perennial gardens, just to name a few.  I also spent a good portion of my day cutting down dead grasses and hauling off the refuse to compost piles.  Unfortunately, the sun didn’t last for long.  Friday we were hammered with rain and spent the day back inside dealing with domestic chores.  I managed to get a few meals prepared for the week by making some pasta as well as cream of broccoli soup.  Saturday proved to be worse as the day started with hail that gradually turned into snow.  I did a fair amount of reading – and napping – before I moved back to the kitchen.  This worked out well because David spent the time of my absence to make a delicious squash bread, which I am in the process of acquiring a recipe.

David and I have been trying to figure out a way to use the surfeit of garlic he grew last season.  I had initially planned to turn it into black garlic but discovered it was far to cumbersome.  First, the process required at least two weeks of steady heat around 140-160 degrees, something David was not to keen on, as he likes to watch the electricity usage.  I had thought that black garlic was a created during a process of fermentation but upon researching the method I learned that I is something entirely different.  Black garlic undergoes a chemical reaction, Maillard reaction, which is usually something that takes place in meats to further develop the flavors.  It’s the whole reason why crispy duck skin on Peking duck tastes so delicious and complex.   With all this in mind I decided to craft a real fermented garlic recipe that is currently sitting on the counter letting time work its magic.  Our night ended early as the light patter of snow and rain reverted to hail.

Toady has been quite similar.  I have spent much of my day reading and cleaning as the snow has steadily accumulated around the house and gardens.  It really has put a damper on the gardening, mostly because, on top of inhospitable working and growing conditions, we must wait for the snow and ground to melt.  This wouldn’t be so bad if the upcoming weekly forecast didn’t look identical to this week’s.  So, we will, as we have, continue to putter around the house, test recipes and twiddle our thumbs as we wait for spring to truly arrive.