#145: Old Man Winter is Still Here
Will March come in like a lion and go out like a little lamb? Plus a recipe for hearty potato scones to enjoy at a winter's tea.
It’s the first day of the month and if you are still in bed be sure to say “Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!” before you get up for good luck and prosperity all month long.1
Happy March To All!
The ice and snow I woke up to yesterday morning quickly became slush when the sun came out a few hours later, but the bitter cold and snow across much of the country feels as if Winter is more than a bit reluctant to exit stage left and let Spring get ready to enter stage right…not to mention that in other parts of the country Summer seems to be making a very early appearance, too.
March is an old man, old and cold, grey beard and weary.
He sits there melting the snow, tempting the catkins, the pussy-willow twigs, watched by the coltsfoot, the first signs of Spring.
Soon he'll be going, the grass will turn green.
Soon warm sun will melt him, and he will be gone.
On the North Olympic Peninsula it used to be that about two to three out of every ten years there would be a good snow…the ones where substantial amounts stick around for a while. Some years we have had real Snowmageddon doozies…like the one below in January 2020.
In my first winter on the Olympic Peninsula back in 1985, the temperature at the old farmhouse I rented stayed below freezing for over a month with snow on the ground. Then I moved to the cabin and, in my third year there, we had a winter with snow just about as deep as my nearly two-year old son was tall.
The winters at the Tree House were the hardest especially my first year there when we had what the old-timers out here called The Hundred-Year-Winter. The snow kept coming and coming and coming for days. The road to my mountain home was closed and my son and I were stuck for five days at the home of friends we had been visiting. After I had snow tires put on my old Toyota Tercel 4WD, I was able to get home only to find an impassable four feet of snow on the logging road that was my driveway. I shoveled out a place to park at the bottom and for two and half weeks Duncan, who was nearly nine, and I wore backpacks and snow-shoes to get in and out. He probably loved it but I couldn’t wait for it to be over. One of the happiest days of my life was when I sold that house and moved to town, and although I greatly miss the quiet of living out and the scenic vistas afforded there, living in, where roads are plowed and I can get out to the store for supplies when needed, is the right place for me to be.
Last year we had snow up into late April and this year? Well, I have no idea when Old Man Winter will decide to leave, and after a heat bubble several years ago that was not predicted in The Old Farmers Almanac, I don’t trust it completely.
But, I see evidence that the root children are busy at work as the green tips of flowering bulbs and garlic are pushing up through the deep blanket of mulch spread last fall. Soon there will be yellow crocus and daffodils, pink tulips and apple blossoms and I will welcome and celebrate the display of their Spring finery. Until then, another log goes in to the firebox of my wood-stove and the flame comforts with warmth and cheers me with company.
Recipe: Potato Scones for a Hearty Winter Tea
Good friends came over for tea and oh what a lovely time we had catching up since last we met around my table. These hearty scones were much enjoyed.
Makes about 16
What You Will Need
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 tablespoon Herbes des Province
Salt and Pepper to taste
How to Do It
Cook the potatoes in a sauce pan of boiling salted water for 20 minutes or until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Place the drained potatoes back in to the saucepan and mash them well with a potato masher.
Add flour, olive oil or butter, Herbes des Province, and salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes and mix until well combined and dough is soft.
Lightly grease a cast iron fry pan or griddle, and place on low heat.
On a well floured surface, roll out the dough to a little over 1/4”. Cut in 2-3” circles. It’s OK to re-roll the trimmings.
Cook in batches in the heated pan, 5 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides.
Enjoy while still warm with butter.
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From The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore; the folklore of North Carolina, collected by Dr. Frank C. Brown during the years 1912 to 1943, in collaboration with the North Carolina Folklore Society https://archive.org/details/frankcbrowncolle07fran/page/384/mode/1up?q=7178