Snowstorms in the Midwest

| 1/20/2012 12:03:58 PM

Tags: Snowstorms, Midwest, Winter Preparations, Old Houses, Moose Soup, Mary Murray,

Mary Murray head shotThe windowpanes are delicately frosted, and a whistling wind swirls snow across the road and into the fields. Even though it's a clear, sunny day boasting a brilliant blue sky, we aren't's still winter in the Midwest. The temperature is predicted to plummet, and if the forecasters are correct, a good old-fashioned snowstorm  will come our way this weekend...3 to 5 inches of snow tonight, and 4 to 6 additional inches tomorrow.   

When it's cold and blustery outside, you can be certain our kitchen fireplace is blazing. The warmth radiating from it has been a welcome pleasure on many frosty mornings here on the farm.  Although we love the old woodwork, double front doors, and curving staircase, this fireplace has become one of my favorite things about our old house.  I often wonder about the generations that lived here before us. Did they gather around it out of necessity to keep warm? Did the lady of the house roast a turkey there in a tin kitchen, or simmer a stew for dinner? Built in 1864, I'm sure many families were warmed by this fireplace, and some days it's nice to settle in and think about those who came before us. 

However; on this particular winter day, our kitchen is filled with the aromas of simmering  soup and bread baking in the oven. I've decided that it's a good day for Moose Soup. Now exactly where the name originated is a bit fuzzy, but the mere mention of it to the kids will bring smiles, quickly followed by an outburst of giggles! And fear not...this soup is a hearty, warm-you-to-your-toes vegetable soup. No moose required!

Soft flannel sheets are on the beds, and an extra quilt is added for good measure. The pantry is stocked and soon the kids will be home from school. And yes, like their friends, they're eagerly hoping this storm will bring more snow days! It's a happy sight to see them building snowmen and making snow angels...simple pleasures of childhood. When they come inside, all rosy-cheeked and cold, they'll shed their wet clothes for cozy pajamas, then settle in for a board game or to watch a favorite movie.  

Another look around...I feel all is well inside, but before the storm comes, it's time to check outside. A quick look and I see that after a stretch of chilly days, it's time to carry wood from the barn to refill the woodpile by the back door. Having extra logs for the fire will be handy when the snow begins piling up. Heading outdoors on a day like this is not for the is purely and simply for warmth. Slipping on heavy socks, boots, gloves, and a barn coat, I feel bundled up and ready to face the snow and wind.  It's time to hang up another gourd birdhouse,  and then fill  birdfeeders to overflowing. Next I'll toss some extra straw in the corner were the barn cats curl up, and even tuck some inside an empty doghouse where birds will often take shelter from the winds. Finally, a quick look inside the milk cans where we store feed will tell me if I need to make a trip into town to stock up. After stacking the extra wood and tossing another log on the fire, we will certainly be ready for whatever Old Man Winter sees fit to send us.

As I head back inside, I'm keenly aware that now a strong north wind has started blowing, and the sun is doing little to drive away the cold. These days of winter, no matter how cold they may be, are most definitely warmed by family & friends. A call from friends checking in and a gift of summer's golden honey from neighbors all add warmth to our home. So, before we know it, the winds will slacken, the ice will melt, and soon spring will arrive. But for now, we're happy enjoying the season we are in. Home means more than where we hang our hat, as the saying goes, it is a place where memories are made.

mary murray
2/7/2012 4:01:21 PM

Where the name came from has been lost...but it's never had any moose in it! It's one of those handed-down recipes that I believe, if the story is right, is tied to a children's book. I'll have to do some digging on this one...the question always comes up!

reg klubeck
2/6/2012 6:57:30 PM

I can find no trace of Moose in your Soup. Most disappointing. ;.)

mary murray
1/26/2012 6:50:31 PM

Well, the weather has certainly changed since this post! It was -1 Friday, then 50 degrees on Sunday! Today began with freezing rain, sleet, and temperatures in the 30's. Cindy, I agree...bring back the snow, I'm willing to be snowed in until spring! And Dave, hope you enjoy the soup...we think it's just what we need on these chilly, gray days. -Mary

cindy murphy
1/24/2012 5:24:48 PM

"more sweeter"? (eye-roll) I really need to proofread before I hit the "post" button.

cindy murphy
1/24/2012 5:13:22 PM

Hi, Mary. What a gorgeous photo - it looks like a scene that could have been taken around here. We've had a lot of snow these past two weekends, though it melted during the week with unusually high temperatures for winter here in West Michigan; our snowfall is way below our average. I love the snow; I miss the snow. I guess that makes the little we've had seem all the more sweeter. I took full advantage of it while it lasted, going x-country skiing every chance I could before was gone, and my youngest daughter did the same with her sled. You paint a beautiful picture with words; I could almost feel the cold outside, and warmth inside, on that brilliant but snowy day.

nebraska dave
1/24/2012 5:11:28 PM

Mary, winter has finally arrived in the midwest. Eastern Nebraska is now starting to have normal temperatures and the ground has finally frozen. Our snow here has been pretty disappointing for my seven year old grandson. He loves to go tobogganing down the school yard hill but so for this year we have only had that experience one time. That was the snow in early December which melted off quickly. Since then we have had several dustings and this week a one inch snow but nothing that would allow the building of a snow for or making snow angels. The some what good news is that Spring is only a mere 55 days away. Thanks for the great soup recipe. I love soup. Have a great midwest winter day.

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