Last Day of January

31 Jan

And the outside temperature on the house has dropped since 6AM from about 8 degrees to less than five.  Which means it is about zero out there.  The animals were let out on their own recognizance for morning latrine duty.  Hawthorne was first back and pounded on the door with his front paw: Bam, Bam, Bam.  The fire is going.

Last night was very fun.  Four ladies who live close and who have known each other for decades–some of us went to college together–came over so we could watch the Masterpiece Theatre version of Jane Eyre. The best version out there.  There was lots of food, too.  Winter squash, my mother’s home canned grape juice with ginger ale, rice and lentils with vegetables and herbs, Camembert and slow cooked mushrooms, chai, creamy potato soup, homemade salsa with cheese and two kinds of chips–yellow and blue, a warm homemade apple pie made with lots of cinnamon,  and a round loaf of homemade no knead bread from a NY Times recipe.  It is essentially the way my friend K makes it in Mongolia.  She makes it on a much larger scale.

Alas, I see Mark Bittman has written his last column His videos are fabulous.  My loaf was baked in an old cast iron pot that had no lid. I covered two tin pie plates with aluminum foil for a lid.  Worked fine.  Just needed to cook the bread uncovered about 15 minutes more.  Initially it was too moist inside.  But the crust!  Cracking and splintering heaven.  So we had a wonderful lady time together.

Sometimes I think it would be nice if children reached a nymph stage, like cicadas, where they would burrow into the ground, live and crawl in deep dark soil, far underground, and suck juice from tree roots for years until they are ready to molt into adults.  Don’t you?  But I only think this sometimes.

I am reading Laura Bush’s biography, Spoken From the Heart, on loan to me from my Aunt Janice.  It is really good.  I recommend it  especially to those who wish to understand a more rural, hardscrabble mindset as opposed to city-of-your-choice.

For a book club I am also reading The Necklace, about 13 women who bought a diamond necklace together and the changes it brought to them individually and in the community.  I notice they are all tan and most of them are bottle blonds.  Well, it did take place in California.  Maybe it wouldn’t work here since layers are the fashion accessory of choice for at least three months of the year.  Just finished The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle. The former is my favorite in the series.  Much of the latter is painful to read but is a bookend to the former. And has an ending that we can all hope for.  My copies must be quite old now, since I can not even find a picture on Amazon of the cover of The Last Battle that looks like ours.

Running through my head are the tunes and a few words to hymns from Eritrea and Ethiopia.  They were the loveliest of the songs from other nations that were sung yesterday at church for International Sunday.  And I had been practicing them all week on the piano.

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