It’s the middle of winter and cold outside…
Time to get off the couch and turn a cold winter day into something awesome.
One thing I won’t recommend doing is starting a project in the house such as removing wallpaper and painting…learned that the hard way (thank you, Chelsea). It’s better to wait until Spring when you can open the windows for some extremely needed ventilation.
So far, it’s been a crazy winter here in New England. Normally, by the end of January, we would have 3-5 feet of snow on the ground with giant snowbanks large enough to make snow caves. The sliding and sledding would be fantastic and every other yard would have a snowman greeting people with a big smile and carrot nose.
Weekends would be filled with building igloos, skating, skiing and snowboarding….and the snow days off from school! Oh, how we loved the snow days, not thinking that we’d have to make them up in June.
This winter, however, is leaving us Northerners in a slight state of confusion. Are we happy to have very little snow to shovel and happy that we’re not burning as much oil as last year? Are we disappointed that we can’t bundle the kids up and send them outside to play in the snow until it gets dark or their fingers and toes are frozen?
The wildlife are happy…they can easily forage for food and not feel the need to chow down on my Hydrangea and Rhododendrons. While we still get visited by a few dozen wild turkeys several times a day, they can easily find bittersweet berries to fill their bellies.
Today it was 45 degrees. Jack, our Airedale, and I went for a walk. Me…just wearing a black turtle neck, my buffalo plaid flannel shirt, black cords and NO gloves! We had a lovely long walk to where Jack loves to watch the horses…his tail wagging all the way. He knows where we’re going. He’ll sit by the rock wall and just stare. He’s 89 pounds and I think he’s totally in wonder about creatures larger than he. The horses are so friendly that they come within 20 feet which makes Jack smile a big, toothy Airedale smile.
In February, as nice as the day may be, the temperature drops very quickly when the sun goes down. Time to feed the wood stove and make something amazing for dinner. How does a bowl of hot Insanely Delicious Homemade Chili sound?
I learned how to downhill ski at the age of 5 at a quaint little ski area called Hickory Hill, in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. My first skis were wooden with bear trap bindings. My ski boots – leather with square toes and thick, wide laces that froze solid by the end of the day.
Hickory Hill, now called Hickory Ski Center, is located on one of the Three Sisters… 3 rugged mountain peaks overlooking the junction of Schroon and the Hudson River.
From the lower parking lot, you actually had to put on skis and ride up the rope tow to get to the main lodge. I hated that rope tow. Being a little kid, it was just my luck to be behind a tall person and my ski mitts always seemed to get stuck on the rope. I remember one day my right mitt slipping off my hand as I attempted to exit the lift. I’ll never forget standing in the snow watching helplessly as my black ski mitt, still in its tight grip hanging onto the rope headed for the big pulley that would send it back down to the base of the hill. I can’t remember who came to my rescue that day, but if you’re reading this…I thank you, again.
The lodge was originally an old farmhouse, which, after major renovations became a warm and inviting place for aprés ski gatherings. With an amazing ambiance, it was a social experience for my folks and the unique “club” of skiers. The lodge boasted a circular stone fireplace adorned by large cozy couches and overstuffed chairs where you could sit in front of the crackling fire, sipping hot chocolate while thawing out your frozen laces and mitts.
Hickory Hill soon became incorporated to compete with new ski areas owned by large corporations. They sold shares and my folks became shareholders. That’s when they installed their first poma and chair lift.
At the end of the day, we’d ski down to the parking lot and while the car was being loaded, we’d play in the gigantic snow piles created by the plows when they cleared the parking lots.
By the time I was in high school and on a giant slalom racing team, there was West Mountain, Gore Mtn, Bromley, Cannon, Okemo, Killington and Mt. Snow…all within just an hour or two away.
Good memories of a much simpler time…
So, yeah…it’s definitely a Chili kind of day! Hot Chili with a warm wedge of corn bread straight out of the oven is a perfect way to turn a cold winter day into AWESOME! Try it…you’ll love it.
As always, I welcome your comments below. Do you have a favorite childhood winter memory you’d like to share? I love to read about it.