Before I settle in with our local newspaper, of which half will go automatically into the recycle bin, I’ll ramble here for a little while. After all, the ice has begun to form on my back steps, changing my plans to weave in the studio this morning. I had it all nice and cozy back there too, but I’ve taken a few dives down icy steps in my day so I try to avoid that when possible. They are calling for a big winter storm, 100%. I’m only excited because we haven’t had a good winter storm in a couple of years. We’re lucky to have a great woodstove that not only puts out great heat (I have a fan that operates off the thermal heat of the stove) but also has a flat top that I can cook on. So far, I’ve never had to use it out of necessity – we’ve been lucky because we’ve been through a couple of major ice storms here.

So I went grocery shopping yesterday and brought in a pile of wood and cooked and chopped veggies and began the big job of sorting through the junk that came out of the laundry room when Sandy and James refloored it last weekend. I’ll feel so much better when this is finished, but I can only do so much without aggravating my hip.

Today I’ll cook some kind of chowder – clam or vegetable/corn. Maybe a butternut squash soup of some kind too. I love to cook soup. I browned some hamburger from Rocking F for a casserole yesterday and I always go ahead and brown extra for some pasta sauce.

Actually got out in the drizzle yesterday (tromping back and forth through the growing mud flat in my backyard) and dug up a couple of leeks for the soup. So I do still have a bit of a winter garden! I also had a bunch of potatoes that had sprouted so I cut chunks of the potatoes with sprouts out and planted them in the raised beds. I keep thinking that I’ll grow potatoes in a garbage can full of straw one day but I keep forgetting to buy the straw.

Oh, and yesterday I cooked a perfect omelet! I couldn’t believe it. It almost made itself accidentally. I was not paying much attention to it and so the bottom set enough that I was able to fold it, flip it and place the uncooked portion beneath with the whole thing intact. And it wasn’t overcooked. I put goat cheese and a little bit of steamed broccoli and leeks on top before I flipped it. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to do it again, but this gives me hope!

Despite what people may think, I am not an expert cook. I dabble sometimes with more complicated dishes, but meals are usually pretty basic at our house. There’s a lot of spaghetti with meat sauce and meat loaf and marinated baked chicken breasts, rice and potatoes and veggies from the freezer. I have been paying off my spending spree before Christmas, so I try to make meat and poultry stretch. (I paid off my cards with this paycheck – yay!)

Last weekend I made stock from chicken and turkey carcasses and vegetable trimmings that I’ve saved in the freezer since November. That basically meant that I dumped it all in a big pot, filled it with filtered water, put it on the cranked up very hot woodstove, and let it simmer for about two hours. Then I strained it, let it cool, put it in the fridge for a day so that any fat rose to the top. I skimmed off the fat and put the stock into freezer bags measuring two cups each. This is easy and works with other bones (hambones are great, but only if they are from local pastured pork!) and most vegetables, as long as they are not bitter or very strong like eggplant peelings or broccoli. Although I find that asparagus stems are wonderful in stock. You have to experiment. And it’s basically free – stuff that would have been thrown on the compost pile or in the garbage.

Okay. Plans for today. Hmmm. I haven’t written about my addiction to Grey’s Anatomy, have I? Well, I don’t watch much TV. I can’t remember when the shows I like are on and there is a good lending library for DVDs where I work. I also watch Hulu – mainly 30 Rock and House there. I like the fact that I can take my laptop to bed when I’m ailing and watch these shows whenever my schedule dictates, not theirs, and without most of the ads. So I decided to watch Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning, having heard about it for a long time without a clue to what my co-worker was talking about. And I got so hooked. I’m up to the third season now, and I hear that it went downhill from here, so maybe I will get this monkey off my back soon. But I am so happy that I have six episodes here in the house to watch since we might have the day off tomorrow!

I actually had a dream last night that a male character from Grey’s Anatomy made a pass at Christopher from the Sopranos, and the scene faded away. I knew that that guy had made his final mistake. Now that would be interesting. The Sopranos and Grey’s Anatomy.

The main thing is that I need to finish weaving the bottom of my tapestry box, and I can do that while I watch DVDs. Then I can think about the design for the sides. I’m considering needlefelting and beading on this one. It will either be a spacy or stormy kind of scene.

And I guess that it’s time to start my tomato, peppers, and eggplants inside.

Okay, I’ve run out of steam. Time for another pot of coffee and the news. Have a good Sunday!