It’s been lovely warm weather here since mid-week up until yesterday when the temperature made it to 53F/ 12C. I am laughing right now because when I googled to convert fahrenheit to celsius, one of the list of expandable Google questions that appeared on the results page was “Is 50 degrees Fahrenheit cold?”
James and I biked to get groceries yesterday morning and I wore sneakers, medium weight sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a windbreaker, no gloves, and I was quite warm. So my answer to the question is no, 50 degrees is not cold, a little cool, but definitely not cold. However, when I expand for the answer it says that 50 is considered cold and below 70 is cool.
I consider anything over 60 warm and over 75 verging on hot, and over 80 it is heading towards being really hot, it is clear the person who wrote the Google approved answer is not from Minnesota or other northern location. I suspect, given my mom in southern California thinks anything below 65 is cold and 50 warrants a scarf, mittens and winter jacket, that the Google approved answer is sourced from someone who lives in southern California or possibly Florida, someplace where frost only happens a few times a year.
Since I have been enjoying a 4-day holiday weekend, the chickens have had the pleasure of being allowed to roam the garden and enjoy the sunshine. In spite of the warmth, there is still patchy snow on the ground and the top layer of soil is a bit frozen, so there is not much for the chickens to do. They find warm thawed patches here and there and can get some scratching in, but there aren’t any insects to eat. Mostly they come up on the deck and look in the sliding glass door or just hang out in the run.
Today it is sunny with wind blowing cold from the north, a chilly, not cold, day of 40F/ 5C. The chickens don’t much like the wind ruffling their feathers and letting out all their body heat, but they are determined at times to not be in the run where they are protected from the wind. I think they sometimes worry that if they are all in the run at the same time, James or I will sneak out and close the door. So they get as far from the run as they can and huddle in a nook protected by house, deck, air conditioner, rain barrels, and witch hazel.
Wednesday I left work at noon so I could go get the second dose of shingles vaccine. I planned long ago to do this before the Thanksgiving holiday because I knew I was not going to feel well. Did I ever plan that right! At first it was only a bad headache and an increasingly sore arm, and I thought, wow, this isn’t so bad after all!
But by the time I crawled into bed at 9, I had chills so bad that 3 quilts on top of the bedspread couldn’t warm me up. I tossed and turned and shivered, and sometime in the wee hours, just as the chills were beginning to not be so bad and I was finally feeling almost warm, the all-over body aches started. And it wasn’t just my joints, it was everything. I eventually managed to doze off from exhaustion, but was up for the day around 5 because being in bed and tired and not sleeping was just making me miserable.
Bless my dear James, he got up too, made us coffee and pancakes for breakfast. I took a hot shower and finally felt warm. Then I wrapped myself in a blanket on the couch and read. The chills were gone, but the aches lingered until early afternoon. Then I was just tired for the rest of the day. It did not, however, keep me from enjoying our usual Thanksgiving enchiladas and pumpkin pie.
James has always worked in retail, which means he always has to work after Thanksgiving. Early in our relationship when we lived in California and closer to family, we tried the family Thanksgiving dinners, which were always a juggle. And then we got married and turned into vegans and when you have to bring most of your own food and subject yourself every single time to all the questions, jokes, and insults that only your loved ones would dare say out loud, we made up excuses that we could no longer come to dinner because of James’s work schedule.
Since then, Thanksgiving has only been the two of us. Every year we make vegan enchiladas, refried beans, rice, and pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin. The recipes have evolved over the years. We used to buy enchilada sauce but several years ago came across a recipe that was really good and have made it from scratch ever since. And the pumpkin pie used to have silken tofu blended in but when we bought Vegan Pie in the Sky that has a tofuless recipe the already tasty pie got even tastier. It is three days of feasting and then it is all gone and life returns to non-holiday normal food.
But, Solstice is coming. It is my one day a year to cook. One of the things I have been doing is scouring the recipes to come up with a menu. Last year I made ravioli e fagioli, this year I am aiming for something simpler, an easy soup, a main course, dessert. Since dessert is the most important, I have already finalized that menu item: homemade biscuits with chocolate “gravy.” Oh yeah!
One of the things I have been working really hard to do over this holiday weekend is buy nothing. With practically every place I have ever made a purchase sending me emails—Save!!! This Weekend only!!! While supplies last!!! Time is running out!!! You still have until midnight, don’t miss out!!!—it makes me anxious and desirous both. But I don’t need any winter gear from REI or Patagonia, I don’t need any bike kit from Primal, I don’t need any yarn even if that is a really good price for sock yarn because I have enough sock yarn to make probably half a dozen pairs of socks already. I also don’t need any more fountain pens or ink even though the shimmer ink called “witch by starlight” is very pretty and has a name that makes me want it really bad.
The hardest to resist though has been the barrage from my go-to seed supplier. They are offering 15% off the whole order, which in seed catalogs is a really good discount. I fell for it last year though and all I saved on the seeds I had to pay back for shipping. That was disappointing, which has helped me to resist. What has also helped is knowing that there are a couple seed catalogs I have not yet seen that might have some bean and squash varieties that I would rather have that are not sold by this particular supplier. So I wait and see.
I realize there is much irony in James’s working in retail, currently books, that relies on people buying stuff. We comfort ourselves, or maybe we are making an excuse, that at least books have redeeming qualities unlike battery-powered gadgets that will break in a few months, clothes that will be worn only a few times, and all the other truly useless things that are being pushed right now.
I do have a few small gifts to buy, but I am waiting until the frenzy of this weekend passes. Then I will be able to be more thoughtful instead of just choosing something because of an email yelling at me that this may be my only chance to save big.
If you have gifts to buy this holiday season, I wish you good shopping. But I also wish you care and thoughtfulness. Make sure you aren’t buying plastic crap that will go to a landfill in a few months just because you need to get a cheap gift for someone. And whenever you can, consider making something, like cookies or homemade bread. I have never met anyone who doesn’t love homemade bread.
- Book: Inciting Joy by Ross Gay. I love Ross Gay and this book of essays is truly joyful reading.
- The usual podcasts. Nothing of particular note
- Movie: Bullet Train. I like Brad Pitt, he’s good at comedy. The movie was so-so and very violent. I had to look away frequently because there were lots of people getting shot in the head.
- Christmas Special: Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. The acting was terrible, but the story was funny and the jokes were mostly good, and yeah, it was a sappy Christmas thing and maybe I got a little teary but sometimes you have to let yourself succumb to the sap no matter how predictable and stupid it is.
- TV Show: Monty Don: Mastercrafts: Weaving This was so good! I’m pretty sure I don’t ever want a big floor loom, but I wouldn’t mind trying one sometime.