Monday, September 7, 2009

Stale Stories - Day Thirteen

The Farmer and I are on vacation. I would never want to leave you without something to read and therefore I'm offering you Stale Stories in my absense.

This is a story entitled "French Toast Weather" and it originally published on February 1, 2008.

The Southerner's have their fruitcake weather, forever immortalized in Truman Capote's story, A Christmas Memory. It involved tromping through the woods, or in my case across Uncle Jackie's open field to the vast pecan grove. Baskets were filled to the brim with the brown jewels. Hard work followed as we hunched over large bowls of pecans, cracking and picking out the nut meats, every morsel to be baked into holiday treats.

Northerner's have a much more dramatic version called french toast weather. Any grocery clerk in the north can tell you what french toast weather is. It's when the local weathermen forecast dire snowstorm conditions. Everyone runs to the grocery store and guessed it, bread, eggs and milk. I often wonder if people think they could possibly live on french toast for more than three days, but actually it's just a natural instinct to have all the basics on hand during an emergency.


The current habit of weather forecasting 24/7 is quite annoying to me. I like the old fashioned "rock" method. If the rock is grey, it's dry and sunny. If the rock is wet it's raining. If the rock is white it's snowing. We've never planned our lives around what the weather might do, because this is Illinois and if you wait 10 minutes the weather will change anyway!

When my children were little we lived in a nice suburban community. I literally survived on a monthly diet of Country Living magazine, dreaming of the day when we could move to the country and live the good life. Well, it is a good life, but I would warn against moving to the country without understanding what's really involved. Pay very close attention to the Chevy Chase movie, Funny Farm.

Those lovely magazine spreads featuring beautiful photographs of luncheons under the trees don't tell the whole story. What they don't show is the hoards of mosquitos descending from the nearby woods. Oh, and the deer ticks, and the black ants marching up the table leg to snack on your pots de creme.

It's a local tradition around here to corner newcomers at a summer barbecue and pose the question, "Do you have your blade yet?" Everyone chuckles as they see the wheels turning and the newcomer attempts to figure out 3 things:

1. What's a blade?
2. Why do I need one?
3. Where can I get one?

The answer is simple. The blade is an attachment to your pick-up truck, farm tractor, lawn tractor or 4-wheeler. Without it you're not going anywhere in the wintertime.

Which brings me to some personality traits that you need to survive in the country. You need to be made of the right stuff, preferably some type of pioneer stock. You're going to need to be self-sufficient, a great problem solver and know how to pull start a generator. Yes, you will probably need a generator and if you don't have one there will be times you wish you did.

Having made the comment about being self-sufficient I need to make it perfectly clear that neighbors will be very helpful, you can count on them in a pinch. They will give you lots of eggs and vegetables, they'll help you mend fences or scare off coyotes, and pull your car out of a ditch, but you'll need to be able to cope if the neighbors are busy with their own disaster. Many times after plowing my driveway I'd also plow the neighbor's drive. She never asked and I never offered, I just did it. I knew she was home with a newborn and her husband was out of town. Did I mention I love plowing?

It's really funny that yesterday's post was about fashion because fashion is an afterthought in my life, especially on days like today. Here I am after an hour of plowing. Quite a fashion statement, isn't it?


Here was the scene outside last night. I finished plowing and turned around to find that it's piling up again. The forecaster has said it will continue to snow till tomorrow night. No matter, I've lived long enough to see some REAL weather and this doesn't rank anywhere near the top.


Soon it was time to head back inside and have a Klondike bar and sit by the fire.


This morning I made French toast and served it with some of the fresh butter we made the other day.If we want to enjoy the meal on the deck, we're going to need to clean the chairs off.


Although I've got plenty of recipes for fancy versions, I opted for the simple version made with bread, eggs, milk and nutmeg.


Why? Because we need to plow, again!


Piecefulafternoon said...

I've really been enjoying your "stale stories" since I've not read most of them before.

Diva Kreszl said...

Well we may not get the severe winters you get but I certainly know about 'french toast' days! We live in a state with a rather large senior population and I always laugh that at the mere mention of snow in the news brings out hoarders of milk, eggs and toilet paper! just how long do they think we'll be snowed in for???