Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Antifreeze of the Gods (and Goddesses) and Hibernation, Smibernation.

Another whizbang weekend.  Saturday was the usual shenanigans - as in, I went back to the mechanic because of a 'faulty sensor' (my diagnosis) and, when the garage owner came out from the bay looking a bit green around the gills, I speed-dialed my sister to pick me up.  Sigh.  Apparently, what I had self-diagnosed as a faulty sensor was my car's attempt at telling me my brake lines were leaking and I was headed for Flatsville.  As in brake pedal to the floor.  I suppose I should delete "auto mechanic" from my resume.  While I didn't actually cry when he told me that all my brake lines needed to be replaced and it would take 5-6 hours, I swear someone was slicing onions nearby.

Off with my sister to make our annual gingerbread men.  A mere three and a half hours later, my mechanic was on the phone - they decided to make their own lines and he put three guys on the job.  When I braced myself for the bill, he had knocked off 50% because I have spent so much on my car.  I almost kissed him.  In fact, I think I did.

I had invited a friend for dinner and had thought myself so clever and organized, planning a nice pot roast in the slow cooker function on my Instant Pot while I would be gone most of the day.  When I lifted the lid...the potatoes were hard and the meat tough.  Gasp.  I had put it on low, instead of high, and she was arriving in an hour!  Much pacing about and wringing of hands - until a dim bulb illuminated the one working cell in my brain and I realized there was a pressure cooking function!  Thirty minutes under low pressure and it was perfect.  Huzzah!  I think I kissed my Instant Pot, too.  Or, maybe it was Lovey.  The holidays bring out the romantic in me.

That was Saturday.

Sunday arrived with grey clouds (the norm) and icy rain, sleet, snow, rinse, wash, repeat.  Since it was a perfect day for indoor work, did I clean the house?  No, I did not.  I baked three kinds of cookies, blueberry gingerbread, GF oat bagels, and made another meal in my Instant Pot - Cheesy Chicken and Rice.  It was touted as the BEST chicken and rice.  It wasn't.  I also started a batch of Jun tea* and made a holiday family favorite - Swedish Glog (imagine the umlaut over the o).
Antifreeze of the Gods/Goddesses!
I am not lying when I say that this concoction - drunk hot - will start with the bottom of your feet and warm you right through your cockles and up to the top of your head.  A couple of times!  It's basically spiced wine and bourbon with caramelized sugar.  The two small jars in the pic are the blanched almonds and raisins that were brewed with it.  According to (our) custom, you place a few of each in the bottom of your cup.  This stuff is potent!

I also finished some gift knitting and ripped out another, but knitty stuff will be in another post.

Springing out of bed this morning, I was determined not to let the endless darkness slow me down and decided to get outside to do chores as soon as I could see where I was going.  Turns out, I must have just missed a 'visitor', who took down one of my bird feeders.
My boot print below.
Yes, a smallish bear had come browsing through the back.  He/she meandered around and ripped the bottom off one of the hanging feeders.  I know it's been almost balmy - Sunday and Monday were in the high 30s - but the temperature had dropped precipitously overnight and this morning's temp was in the low teens.  What about this hibernation business?!?  I am going to have to bring all the feeders in every night until I get a solar-powered motion detection spot light installed.  Brother.

Also coming this week is a peek at a care package that arrived Friday and put me over the moon.  It lifted my spirits and put the ho-ho back in my holiday.  I'll also try to remember to photograph my cookie packages as I put them together.  I've tried a few new recipes this year and most of them are keepers!

*Jun tea is like kombucha, but you make it with green tea and honey, as opposed to black tea and sugar, and it has it's own special SCOBY.


  1. what a great dinner rescue that was. so smart! we are having warm sunny weather and i am not happy one bit!

  2. I think having a "bad picker" must apply to cars, too. :-/ But a compassionate mechanic? He's a keeper!

    You're far ahead of me on the Christmas stuff. I'm up to two batches of dough refrigerated/frozen, nothing baked. Of course, with Rick trying to be good and me trying to keep the dental-loss weight off, I am disincentivized. Once Brian is out for Christmas break, I've told him we're going to bake goodies and deliver plates to the neighbors, saving just a few for us.

    I know bears are easily scared off, but I certainly wouldn't want to surprise one in the pre-dawn darkness. A motion-detector spotlight sounds like an excellent idea.

    Warm wishes to you during this charming, challenging season. Yes, our 'care package angel' is a spirit-lifter! (But I've been GOOD and only opened ONE because I tore the paper lifting it out of the box. ;-)

  3. Isn't Glog what kept the Vikings from freezing to death as they sailed the North Atlantic in winter?

  4. I'm tired out just reading all you've been up to in a weekend, especially in the cold and dark! You're rocking the season.

    Going to Google "Swedish Glo" and get it going!

  5. Joyce, this weather is wacky. If it's going to be winter, then let's keep with the steady temps - none of this up and down crap!

    Oh, Michelle. You are so much stronger than I. Not only did I NOT wait and put my box of wrapped goodness under my (non-existent) tree, but I stood at the counter and unwrapped every single one. Ooohing and aaahing! Luckily, all the cookies I have baked, I cannot eat. With one dangerous exception - lace cookies with Nutella filling.

    Why, yes, Debra. Yes, it was!

  6. Toni, I have to admit that I am flat out at 8:30 on my weekends. But I can't put things off too long, as I am not getting more days to do it all in. If you can't find Swedish Glog, email me and I will send you the family recipe. (Even if there is not a Swede to be found in our family tree!)

  7. #1: I wouldn't have been 'strong' but the teenager was with me when I opened the box and wouldn't have let me get away with opening anything early. (I sneaked open the torn one later, when he wasn't looking.) #2: So there ARE advantages to having food allergies/intolerances!!!

  8. Well, you HAD to open the torn one - that's a given! And, yes, there is definitely a plus side to food allergies. Except for the bread thing.

  9. One time, Hubby forgot to turn off the crockpot. What a mess that was later. Had to laugh at you doing all that "kissing" ha ha!

  10. And THAT is why I'm getting an Instantpot for Christmas, so I can cook a roast in less than a half an hour!! No bears here, thank goodness, but a little farther north and they get them. Although I am all for something that will warm me from head to toes (at least while I'm not hot flashing), I've never been fond of the spiced drinks (e.g. hot apple cider). But, have a glass for me and enjoy! -Jenn

  11. More strange weather here as the last patches of ice and snow melted today. The forecast doesn't have any snow either.

    My chickens are loving it, though.

    Are there any instant pot recipes you've found that live up to the hype?

  12. What a gem your mechanic is! Really restores some of my faith in humankind.

    Yikes about the bear! I've heard black bears have made an appearance in the north part of our county after about a decade of absence. Kinda scary thought with livestock.

    I've never heard of Jun tea. Trying kombucha is on my to-do list (if it ever makes it to the top of the list). I like the idea of using green tea instead of black.

  13. Hi Susan! If you wouldn't mind sharing with me, the Glog recipe... It sounds a little like our spiced plum wine recipe, but we put in a stick of cinnamon... never heard of almonds and raisins. Yikes on the bear! Do you see them often? I have heard that they are near us on the ridge, but we have never seen a sign of them, even on the cameras. I would not be at all comfortable going out after dark...just sayin!!!

  14. That sounds really delicious. Are you willing to share recipe. I'll send my email if you are. I've got scoby. can I split my scoby and start with green tea and honey? How much honey do you use? Too many questions right? Susan, I hope you and your many critters and your family have a Merry Christmas.

  15. Hi Susan :) Omg...I know your pain. I had both fuel and brake lines replaced on my old car in 2009...the kicker was that the tubing itself was worth a mere $ was the DAY LONG labour that killed my retirement savings yet again...sorry you had to go through that, how awful. I hope you gave him a good slobbery kiss for that discount lol! As Joyce said your dinner rescue was very clever!! :) I have yet to get me an Instant Pot...I'm hearing such great things about it! The glög sounds right up my alley...hey I looked up how to get the umlaut done lol! :) Hope the bear realizes there is no food for him and moves along!

  16. Anyone who would like the glog recipe, send me an email!

  17. Theresa, I think the scoby is a different animal, between the Jun tea and the kombucha, but I am no expert. I went to the Mountain Ranch blog and she had a how-to, which I followed. It's very informative. I got my scoby online and will be checking tomorrow to see how it's going.

  18. I keep hearing about all these cookies and yet none have materialized on my doorstep. the glog sounds great. we just have killer margaritas...5 oz of liquor (2 kinds) to 1 oz lime juice.

  19. Sorry to hear about your car problems, glad the mechanic has a kind heart though!

    I love the way you write, your sense of humour and the way you cope with all that life throws at you. As to your visitor - a bear? Oh my goodness, I must tell my grandchildren, they would love to think that could happen around here! Luckily, that could only happen if one escaped from a zoo or wildlife park.