Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter's Day-to-Day, and More Soup

Some weeks there's just not a lot to say. Life takes on a comfortable rhythm as we move from one familiar task to another.I am enjoying this slow-down period, I admit. There is something so relaxing about not having any pushing deadlines to meet, nowhere I have to be, nothing critical to be done. This has been one of those weeks; we're busy but with things of our choosing.

The continuing cold certainly impacts our activities; I'd have liked to go out for dinner tonight but with temperatures in the single digits and teens, the fun kind of goes out of it, doesn't it? We did make it out to our Ravenswood Riverbend Mall booth yesterday. A lady in Indiana bought the dining room set on eBay, so we went to rearrange and fill the space it left behind. And just before we arrived two other smaller furniture pieces sold so we had a little work to do. And I piddled around, moving things here and there, tweaking displays and changing things up to give it a fresh look. It's good to see sales still happening even though it's been so cold and snowy for the whole week. I noticed last year that smaller furniture pieces moved better at this time of year so I've been trying to keep a good stock of them in the booths.

We also made a run over to Athens to rearrange stock and begin the process of closing our booth there. After 6 months sales continue to decline and with the long drive it's just not profitable for us to continue at that location. I love having the booths, but it's not just for fun! This venture needs to be at least self-supporting, so with reluctance we made the decision to move out of Athens and concentrate on the two locations where sales are strong. Perhaps we never got a handle on what the people in that region were looking for. We'll be moving things out during February and be officially out of that mall by March 1.

With this cold weather I've been cooking more than usual. I do love to cook but seldom allow time to really get into it except in canning season. This week I've made tomato soup and butternut soup, pork roast and vegetables, chocolate orange shortbread cookies, cranberry bread, omelet, blackberry cobbler, snow ice cream...I just hope I'm not going to end up carrying it all into spring on my bones! Actually, I've been careful. The soups are low-cal and I've eaten sparingly of the rest of it. I just like to cook when it's cold out and I'm inside with no projects hanging over my head.

We made one other trip in the past week, too--all the way up to Wheeling, WV to tell stories at the library. It was cold, cold, cold that day, with snow on the ground and blowing around but the audience was warm and welcoming. Three storytelling friends came out to listen and to have lunch with us, an added treat that made the long snowy drive even more worthwhile.

We stopped at the Wells Inn in Sistersville for coffee and dessert and had a nice chat with owner Charles Winslow. You know, that's something I dearly love about this state and about storytelling--wherever I go we have friends.

I've been doing more catch-up work while looking out at the cold. Things like sorting out more drawers--the top drawer of my dresser is a real junk drawer and even Clyde the cat left in disgust when I dumped it on the bed. I've found all sorts of missing things and broken things and bits of things and just plain junk. I've also been sorting receipts from the past year in anticipation (dreaded anticipation, I should say) of doing the income tax return. No fun, but it's got to be done and this is the time to do it, while life is slow.

photo by Lawrence Pierce
I've also been planning and practicing for the upcoming Groundhog's Day program. Judi Tarowsky and I will be the opening act for French Creek Freddie, the weather-predicting maven of The French Creek Wildlife Center here in West Virginia. So I'm brushing up on groundhogology and getting a few songs lined up in preparation. The Center s planning a fun time for visitors on February 2, as the groundhog makes his appearance and lets us know what to expect for the rest of the winter. Judi and I will entertain before and after Freddie, and we're excited about being part of this fun event.

That's about all we've been doing, in addition to the usual pricing for the booths and Larry's furniture refinishing. He finished the washstand he's been working on; isn't it lovely? He's moved on to two or three new pieces in addition to just keeping things taken care of around here--winter weather means extra attention to the animals, keeping firewood ready for the fireplace, clearing walks and keeping the vehicles running. I feel lucky to have a man around to do all that cold, heavy work. I'm spoiled, I know.

Simple, homey things, delightfully unimportant and yet important for the winter-bound soul. What's been happening at your house?

Oh, and here's the recipe for the Butternut Soup. It's absolutely delicious!

2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed in 1" cubes
1 large onion, diced
2-3 tablespoons butter
6 cups chicken broth (I used bouillon and water)
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook til soft and transparent. Add the broth and squash; cook until the squash is soft and mashable. Dip the cooked squash out of the liquid and blend in a blender until smooth. Put the pureed squash back into the broth, add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

That's it! Easy and delicious. I would never have thought I'd like it!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Country Whispers said...

Everyone needs a week of "nothing" and the winter is the perfect time for that. Enjoy it!
That soup sounds interesting. May have to give it a try.

Quinn said...

That soup sounds delicious, Sue, and just my level of "difficulty" too!
I agree with you about being busy on one's own terms...pretty darn good when things work out that way for a while :) Hope you have a fine weekend!

Nance said...

What's the price on this wash stand? email to

and will you deliver to Iowa? (I can wait until May : )

Celia said...

Butternut squash soup is one of my favorites. This is certainly soup weather.


Really enjoyed the post - always enjoy hearing what you are up to in your home in the hills.
Sounds as though you are snugged in with warm soup and lots of activity going on.
Slow and quiet here as I watch she silent snow fall.
It accumulated quite a bit overnight and coming down heavy right now. Beautiful snow globe snow fall.
Lovely. Stay warm. Hugs, B

Sue said...

I love being busy with things of my choosing. It's my favorite thing.


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