December 23

Posted on: December 24, 2012

More flurries in the air.

I lit the stove just after daybreak, which is around 8:15am right now.  I’ve found from experience it’s easier to maintain a baking temperature early in the day, so making bread I do right after I get up.  I mixed everything in a big bowl, doing a double batch.  I’ve been mixing fresh ground wheat half and half with white flour to make both last longer; all wheat makes for very heavy bread, and I don’t care for it.  I added a couple of eggs to make it a bit richer and more flavorful, kneaded it while I thought about the day to come, then set it to rise in the bowl next to the warmth of the stove.

I still haven’t planned out an actual menu for Christmas dinner, so I sat down to do that just as John made his way into the kitchen.

“Good morning,” he sounded still half asleep.

“Good morning.  There’s coffee on the stove,” I’ve been making a full pot in the French press, pouring it into the Mr. Coffee carafe,  then making a second pot, reusing the grounds and blending the two.  I turned back to my note pad.

I had already decided on using the ham for dinner.  It will keep, but not forever, and a nice Christmas dinner seems needed right now.  Along with the ham, a green & wax bean casserole, and I think I’ll bake one of the two garden pumpkins I’ve got left and fill it with rice pilaf.  I’ve done the pumpkin-rice before and it’s not only good but fun to scoop out some rice and squash at the same time; the two go surprisingly well together.   For dessert, I think I’ll stick with the baked apples.  Fresh bread rolls, too.  I do hope Bob & Kathy bring some wine, my supply is very limited.

Tufts finally wandered out from under the bed.  I know he’s been out and about during the night: food is gone and litter box is used, but he’s avoided John, not sure what to make of him, I guess.  Tufts just doesn’t like strangers.  Maybe he’s decided that John isn’t a stranger anymore.  It’s good to see him getting underfoot again.


With two of us doing the few chores, it all gets done quickly.  John likes keeping the wood full, and I do understand that; if we get hit with a surprise blizzard (and without a weather report, it’s ALL a surprise) having a few days of wood already inside can be a life saver.  Early this afternoon, while he was getting wood, I heard voices.  Tom had come over to give me a hand, and met John loading up the sling.

I had put the two loaves of bread in the oven 30 minutes earlier, and the scent permeated the kitchen.  As the two walked in, John stopped, closed his eyes,  breathed deep and sighed.

“I see you’ve got some help,” Tom looked uninterested, but arched his brow at me, that unasked question.

“And I see you’ve met John,” I met his gaze and just smiled.  Let him wonder a bit.  “John’s my client from Eagle Beach.”  That took Tom by surprise, and it showed!  Inwardly, I smiled.  Scored on my brother!  Siblings do that.

Tom stayed for a cup of coffee and a chat with John.  The discussion came around to guns, and Tom was rightfully impressed that John is a gunsmith by hobby.  Tom was getting ready to leave, just as I took the bread out of the oven.  I asked him if they were running short of anything.

“Mostly gas for the generator, but now we can pack things outside.  Norene has been canning up a storm.  Say, do you have any extra jars we can use? And rice, she stocked up on pasta, but we’ve gone thru the ten pounds of rice she had,” Tom had a lot of food in freezer storage, where I had a lot in dry storage.

“Tell you what,” I started, “I’ll trade you a five gallon bucket of rice, that’s thirty pounds, and a dozen quart jars for a half dozen steaks, nice steaks, rib-eyes if you have them.” I knew they had a lot of those; frozen raw meat is another thing that won’t keep forever.

“Deal!” Tom was quick to accept, too quick.  Hmmm.

After John and I loaded up the sled with the rice and a case of unopened quart jars, we snow shoed across the road.  It’s not far, but knee deep snow is very hard to walk thru regardless how far – on top is better; the road still hadn’t been plowed and Tom wasn’t wasting gas on clearing a path for me.  Never would I have dreamed that I would need both pairs of snow shoes that I had when deep in the woods.  The wind was picking up again, and the sun had set; I was anxious to get back home.  We pulled the sled up to the bottom steps, and Tom took the jars and the bucket, after handing me a bag.

Back at home I opened the bag from Tom to discover eight big rib-eye steaks. Bonus.  I set two of them on a plate to thaw for dinner and put the other six out in one of the coolers on the deck.  I sat by the stove; My ankle was really starting to throb; I had definitely over done it today.  John saw me wince as I got up for an ice pack.

“Sit!” he commanded. “What do you need?”  I blinked, trying to hide my scowl, and told him where the ice packs were.  He gently pulled my boot off, set my foot on a pillow that he put on a chair, and pressed the ice around my ankle. I sighed.

“Don’t move for at least a half hour.  You need anything, tell me.  Okay?” wow, he was really concerned!  I’m just not use to someone fussing over me.

“Okay.  Pull up a chair; Talk to me.  Tell me about your kids; your home; anything.”  All he needed was a little prompting.  I’ve never heard him say this much in the year I’ve known him, of course, he was usually face down on the massage table.  Forty-five minutes later, the ice pack was warm and my butt was numb; I needed to move.  I stood, took a step, my ankle gave out and I stumbled.  John caught me by the shoulders, preventing me from falling.  We stood there for a moment, then he pulled me to him, his face hovered mere inches from me; he lowered his head and kissed me, barely brushing my lips; then deepened the kiss.  Oh, how nice.

“I’ve wanted to do that for a very long time,” John whispered.

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