Entirely Too Soon for Winter

Yesterday was bad enough, but today was brutal. 18 degrees when I went to walk, with a positively bone freezing western wind (thank you, lake effect).  the sun was peeking through the clouds; occasionally it would come out entirely and there’d be some pretty (but frigid) blue sky, but largely, it was partly sunny.

Despite the frigidity, the woodland path was glorious to walk over. I love to see all of the little paw prints in the snow – unsurprisingly, no deer tracks; we’re two days into gun hunting season and they’ve all found a safe hidey hole where they can try to ride it out. The bunnies and squirrels, and yes, walked dogs, are still very active and doing their thing, so a lot of bunny and squirrel tracks.

Sunset tonight was a typical soft pastel sunset, with heavy cloud cover moving in from the North. It’s supposed to get down to 6 degrees tonight, so the cloud cover is welcomed.

I’m going to bottle bitters tonight to send off to friends and give to a few local friends here. I need to get more bottles though – I have a lot of bitters in mason jars downstairs. I was hoping to get through all my herbal ‘manufacture’ today, but was interrupted in the middle of making cat food for Tuppence. He was not pleased that I was interrupted and kept figure-eighting around and crying for some of the yummy tasty bird mix on the stove. I’m putting him on a very high protein diet in an attempt to get more weight on his bones. He’s entering that phase of an old cat’s life where he loses flesh and start feeling like petting a skeleton.  He was certainly eager and willing to scarf it down, so hopefully with the higher protein, the magic powder and the herbal supplementation we’ll eke a few more years out of him.

I also need to get the herbal cough drops done. Not that I have a need (now) but one never knows, and it’s good to have them done.  The infusion is ready, I have reduced the volume to the correct amount and now all I need to do is cook them up and, well, everything else.

Also, the spiced pickled cranberries are on my list. I have 2 1/2 pounds of local, organic Michigan cranberries to cook up. My recipe is based on a recipe I first experienced at Prairie, in Chicago.  It features a ton of spices, plus sugar, vinegar and of course, cranberries! I’ve changed the recipe to use apple cider vinegar rather than malt vinegar, and I increase the amount of spice. I have yet to figure out how to dump the corn syrup (SO bad for you!!!) but I am sure that will come. Cranberries are so wonderfully healthy – packed full of antioxidants and other good stuff.  Today listening to Dr. Tom O’Bryan talking about how to reduce inflammation in the body, he said a cup of blueberries a day will help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. I don’t like raw blueberries, so I do wonder if I could use my cranberry recipe to make them more palatable. This may be worth the try!