Sunday, November 4, 2007

Preparing for Cold Weather

The weather report is calling for chance of flurries tomorrow and possibility of snow on Tuesday. Chance of snow is not unusual for this time of year, but I'm somewhat concerned with all the leaves on the trees. Tonight, we are getting rain, and the temps are at 42°F. They can drop quickly. Those cold temps can cause ice to form on the leaves which can really do some damage. Those trees will snap and pull power lines down and cause life to come to a standstill. Well, at least a for most people. We are prepared. DH has the generator out and ready, plus we've got the oil lamps ready and even one burning right now. I love the glow of an oil lamp, so I had just had to keep one burning.

I honestly love it when the power goes out. The town grows so quiet and still. There are no hums of motors or outdoor lights blocking the gorgeous night sky. It's the sights and sounds I long for, but never get to experience unless we are out of power. The longest we've been without power has been a week, and we really didn't miss it. Now all we need is a wood cookstove and we'll be all set :)

With all the colder temps, I'm getting in the mood for the holiday season. I've been trying out new recipes, and have been looking for a recipe for cranberry sauce. Everyone loves it, but DH and the kids don't like the whole berry kind. They want something that is similar to the gel we get in the store. Today, my hunt has finally ended. I received "Home Cooking with Dave's Mom" by Dave's Mom, Dorothy from PaperBack Swap and in it was the recipe I have been searching for! It's so simple and tastes very, very good! I halved the recipe for trying. We are having this for dinner tonight with our macaroni and cheese.

Cranberry Gel
Source: Home Cooking With Dave's Mom page 106

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, add berries and water. Cook until berries pop, then pus through a Foley food mill. Add sugar and bring to a boil. Put in a glass jar with straight sides. (I used a pint wide mouth canning jar). When chilled, it will slide out of the jar and can be sliced for serving. Keeps well in the refrigerator. Makes 4 cups.

I still have not turned the heat on, however, DH did yesterday, to make sure it was running correctly. We are staying at about 60° overnight and it creeps up in the daytime. I have been using the oven for meals, so it usually peaks at about 67-68° in the evenings. The children don't seem to mind or notice it as much as I do, but clothing layers take care of that. I still need to go out and buy some plastic for the picture window. That thing lets so much cold air in - it's like sitting next to a fridge - even with the insulated drapes drawn!

Each year we try to improve our home a little. Each year it becomes just a bit more efficient. I'd love to go solar and use a cook stove for both heat and cooking. Sadly, our kitchen is not laid out so that we can put a stove in yet. Yes, I did say yet. We are planning on some reconstruction a bit down the road to fit our needs. I'm so looking forward to that.

It's funny. I remember when I was so heartbroken when I found out we couldn't move from here. My brother got the family farm, and we ended up with my parents home in town. It's the home they left to move to my grandparents farm. At the time we got this house, it was supposed to be a stepping stone to something larger - a little farm of our own. Life happened and we didn't move and every time we thought we'd have enough money and income for something, the land prices would go up out of reach, yet again. After 16 years of hoping and dreaming, the harsh reality set in that things wouldn't be as we dreamed about. Well, not yet, anyhow. So we decided to stay here a few more years as the economy becomes more and more questionable, and we'll thank the Lord we have a place to call home. Now, we've settled in nicely, and we are welcoming each new change and appreciating it all.

Bloom where you are planted. I finally know what that means!


jayedee said...

i wonder if this can be water bathed for longer storage? hmmm gonna have to do a little research here methinks!

tweezle said...

Hi Jayedee! Garden Gnome has an entry where she made some whole berry sauce and canned it. I haven't compared the two yet. With the cost of cranberries, I won't be canning them. Yet.... :)

jayedee said...

oh i know, they're REALLY spendy here too.....but i don't use that much cranberry sauce throughout the year so it wouldn't be too awful to make up just a few jars for "special"