Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

When the only words you hear from the weather people are blustery, frigid, bone chilling and wind chill; you know you're in for it. Knowing that we have chosen to live in Maine; as my son who lives in Tennessee reminds me, one must expect a fair amount of extreme winter weather, right? Well we can always hope that we'll have a mild winter, can't we?

Then, reality settles right on our doorstep and we once again remember that we are strong enough to live in MAINE, so quit with the whining and bundle up and carry on. There is a really big part of me that wants to be a sissy and stay home, snuggled up and cozy. But then the reality of life comes knocking at the door, and the people that rely on me to show up at work makes me get up hours before the first rays of the sun appear, make the coffee; feed the animals and plan which layers I will wear today as I brave the elements.

As I listen to the weather, I realize we are some of the lucky ones; it's colder elsewhere which is always comforting. You know the old saying, "misery loves company". With that I'd better grab a hot breakfast and get out and hope the car starts!

Stay warm,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eagles Soaring

About six weeks ago, I saw a pair of Bald Eagles in a tree about 30 feet from where I was standing on our back yard. I couldn't have been more excited so of course immediately went in and retrieved my camera. The excitement seeped into my photography skillset and the images were less than award winning - however they did capture the moment.

After this they both took to the air and flew out over the water calling to one another in Eagle speak, probably saying something like "The tree over there has a clearer view of possible fish jumping." The water had yet to freeze and I recall asking my husband what they do once it has iced over. He reminded me that rodents are on their delicacy list too, so perhaps that tides them over.

We didn't factor in that they are a very resourceful bird as was proven yesterday as the daylight hours were waning. The Ice Fishermen (and women) had all packed up and headed home, so all was quiet on the pond. I had just come in from shoveling and was taking a break, sitting on the sofa near the window; looking out onto the pond. And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a Bald Eagle swooped down from a nearby tree to check all of the fishing holes. He first went left and then doubled back with a lovely show with the last rays of sun shining though his white tail feathers, much to my delight. He methodically went from shanty to shanty and hole to hole to check for cast off fish. Brilliant! Who knew that they were so clever? To realize man's wastefulness of those little fish that are discarded onto the ice would turn into a feast for the Bald Eagle, was enlightening. Obviously I didn't get the memo, but he had!

A few minutes later my husband came into the room and I was telling him about what I had just seen, and there he was again, making another fly by; just to make sure he hadn't missed anything. This time he was in view for even longer so we both just basked in our fortune to be lucky enough to be right there at that very moment to see something so majestic.

I would have to guess that little sign we have hanging by the back door must have been coined after a moment like this: "If you're lucky enough to be on the lake, you're lucky enough."

'till next time,
Classic Cottage Living (website coming soon)

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Special Request - Winter Drink Recipe

I've been asked by my dear friend Margaret to write a post including a winter drink recipe and this story is one of my favorites to tell and drink!

It was probably around 18 years ago that I was in the heart of Boston, mid-February with an old friend; and we were taking in all that city has to offer. As I recall I was grossly under dressed but for fashion's sake I had to look good! Some time within the first hour I remember buying a scarf which did little to ward off the cold wind, but we kept on our journey. We walked much of it, going from the Museum of Fine Art to Faneuil Hall and many places in between including where the Boston Tea Party had taken place.

When I really could go no further, we stopped at the Irish Pub; The Black Rose, which took me in and kept my heart. Of course when you walk into an Irish Pub, you're speaking normally and by the time you leave you have an Irish brogue so thick it's as if you just stepped off the boat! Upon our arrival the astute bartender could see that I was nearly frozen and suggested an Irish Coffee, which was "guaranteed to warm your insides in no time at all". When I sadly proclaimed my one deficiency in that I dislike coffee - which most people cannot understand, he stood back; sized me up and said, "I have something that will do just fine for the lady".

With that, he turned around to make an Irish Coffee for my equally cold friend and this special concoction for me. When he returned, he placed this large coffee mug heaped with whipped cream in front of me and said I should try it and let him know if I liked it. Let me tell you; if there is heaven in a mug, I felt it had just been delivered to me in the form of an Irish Cocoa. In there is of course the base of a good cup of hot chocolate but the rest of the ingredients are where the magic comes in. I'll post the recipe here, and would encourage you all to find an excuse to have a cup or three and you too will be singing Irish Ballads and speaking as if you had just kissed the Blarney Stone!

Irish Cocoa

I Large Coffee Mug (don't get one of those skimpy ones)
1 1/2 packages of hot cocoa mix
Hot water to make 3/4 of a mug of cocoa
Mix together and then add:
1 oz Irish Cream
1 oz Spiced Rum
1 oz Regular Rum or Vodka (your choice)
stir together
Top off with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Enjoy . . . repeat

And to my friend, I raise a toast:
"May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty, SlĂ inte. "

Classic Cottage Living

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