The Pleasures of Cold Weather

| 11/9/2010 2:36:45 PM

A photo of Carolyn BinderIt is the first chilly weather we have had at Cowlick Cottage Farm this fall. Last night dropped down into the thirties, and Lulu, our little labradoodle, slipped into our bed and snuggled in the valley between us, stretched out full length, her fuzzy head on my shoulder. She snores.

Outside, the hens huddled together on their roost in the coop, sleeping in until the sun was fully up. I greeted them with a breakfast treat of yogurt and figs, and they gobbled it up, clucking appreciatively. As the days get shorter, the hens spend more time in the coop, going to roost early and napping in the sunshine during the day. We are still getting eggs, but fewer. To everything there is a season, and the girls deserve a resting period.

Eric and I will finish retiling the old fireplaces today. The surrounds were cracked and worn, covered in nothing but aging white paint. The hearths were covered in cheap red tile trimmed with poorly fitted pine edging. I want them to be restored to their graceful elegance in time for Thanksgiving, when the girls and their friends will be home.

 Prepping the surrounds for slate tile 

Eric levelled the surrounds and mantles, and they look much prouder now, standing up straight and even. The natural slate tiles we chose are earthy and rustic, like the rest of the farm. The muted colors of the slate are a soft reflection of the wines, golds, greens and browns that dress our rooms. Once finished with dark grout and a coat of sealant to protect them, the new tiles look as if they have always been here, and the hearth is once again the heart of our home. To us, that is the signature of a successful renovation project.

Tonight, we will celebrate our hard work and the onset of cold weather with dinner in front of the fire. I made a hearty stew, which will simmer gently on the stovetop all afternoon. The savory aromas of pork, red wine, wild mushrooms, onions, garlic and carraway make the cottage a cozy haven and whet our appetites. The rich stew is served simply, with crusty rye bread and cold beer.

Nebraska Dave
11/9/2010 9:02:21 PM

@Carolyn, cooler weather does bring out the seasonal soups and stews. Although I don’t have a fireplace, it warms the body to fork down a thick stew, sop up the gravy with a piece of crusty bread, slog down a glass of eggnog. Unfortunately the cold weather hasn’t hit here yet. I worked in the garden harvesting the last of the tomatoes, potatoes, and green peppers in shirt sleeves as the temperature climbed up to a balmy 70 degrees. It will go all the way down to 50 tonight and then up to 60 tomorrow. What’s up with this global climate weirdness? This is very unusual weather for here. We did finally get our killing frost only to zoom back up to summer weather. I couldn’t wait for the weather to co-operate so I heat up a batch of chili and chowed down. Have a great fireside cozy day.

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