Snow… Snow…Snow !! The First Snow Storm of 2014

The snow storm ended up being, at least in Western Massachusetts, not much of a ‘storm’.  But even a small amount of sparkling snow magically turns the outside world into something special!

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs – “Snow”, from the movie White Christmas!

By the middle of December, a good amount of snow had fallen here at My Yellow Farmhouse – so the world looked White & Beautiful for Our Roy Christmas. Ten days later all the snow had melted.  We ended up with a Green Christmas – which no one likes…. except for travelers, of course.  But today, once again, there’s snow on the ground here in Western Massachusetts!  Not the huge amount we were promised…. or ‘threatened with’…. but snow nevertheless. I went out to move my car so my friend Don could plow my driveway, and the day was just too beautiful – I had to take some photos!

The neighborhood stray cat, whom we call Sophie, sleeps in the side shed of my barn during the winter. My friend and I set up a clothes basket with a warm blanket for her in there. The basket is in a box but, somehow, Sophie pulled the basket out quite a bit. I think it felt too much like ‘a trap’ the other way. She’s one smart kittie!  She refuses to enter my barn, where it’s warmer and where she used to love to look out the upstairs window like a soldier standing guard (see photo below) because she got sprayed by a skunk there this spring. Mrs. Skunk strikes again !!

My Yellow Farmhouse - First Snow Storm of 2014

I remember, growing up in the 50’s & 60’s, how much fun it was to play outside the day after a big snowstorm. Just like today, the air would be clear and bright. We used to play in the snow most of the day – only going in for lunch, to warm our feet or to change into dry gloves. (Most gloves were made of wool in those days and they absorbed water like a sponge! Your hands used to end up feeling like they weighed 5 pounds each!)

A dusting of snow settled onto the wreaths hanging on my barn. I leave the wreaths up all winter – I like the way they look. Especially with a bit of snow on them!

My Yellow Farmhouse - First Snow Storm of 2014

It’s supposed to be -18F tonight in ‘these parts’. I feel like I’m back at the farm in Quebec, Canada, but without the benefit of our two wood stoves. Let me tell you, in this kind of weather, both the stove in the cellar and the stove in the living room would’ve been fired up like furnaces.

I plan to post – very soon – a recipe I just found for Brown Sugar Pound Cake. I haven’t made pound cake in years, so I’m really excited about baking one. I’m going to try to ‘invent’ a nice raspberry, blueberry, strawberry & blackberry sauce to pour over it. And, you know me – there’ll probably be vanilla ice cream AND whipped cream. Optional, of course!

Sophie’s Winter “Motel Room” !

My Yellow Farmhouse - First Snow Storm of 2014

Christmas/Winter Simmering Spice Mix – Makes Your Home Smell Wonderful !

Christmas or Winter Simmering Spice Mix .JPG

I truly wish I could include a ‘scratch ‘n sniff’ icon for this post – my house smells wonderful right now ’cause I’m simmering a mixture of spices and fruit, all of which I usually have around the house.

There’s really no directions needed. You just need some spices and fruit and several cups of water, which you’ll simmer on the stove. (You will have to replenish the water every so often – so don’t forget!)

++  After and hour or so you may want to sprinkle in a bit more of the spices and rum flavoring.

As you may know, we used to move A LOT, and because each house has it’s own smell, as soon as we’d moved in, I’d start a pan ‘brewing’ with this mix. Within a very short time the house smelled like home …our home! In fact, you’ll have people who visit asking if you’ve been baking cookies.

Here’s what I use for my Christmas/Winter Simmering Mix

++ If you include fruit – I would refrigerate the mix so you can use it again.  If you only use the spices, then you can leave the pan out on your stove to use again. (I use the mixture for a few days and just add a dash more of the spices when needed.)

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (Use cinnamon sticks if you have them – 1 or 2.)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cloves –  – or Allspice, or both, which is what I do
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • This year I’ve add the following – simply because I had them….
  • — 1 cut up apple
  • — 1 cut up lemon    (I found some rather dried-out lemons in my veggie bin!)
  • — A bit of Rum Flavoring, for that good old Yuletide ‘Nog Essence!

Christmas or Winter Simmering Spice Mix .JPGThat’s it !  I know the lovely smell of this mixture will make your heart happy – no matter when you use it!

Plus the simmering water adds some much-needed moisture to your home, which is nice during these cold, wintry months.                                                                                     Enjoy!!