Big, fluffy, noisy birds about 2 inches long and other effects of weather

Man, it’s cold. Got clear up to 31 degrees (Fahrenheit) this afternoon, the warmest it’s been for days. Drove into Toledo today (we were almost out of scotch, and that’s unacceptable, especially in this weather, particularly with that three-day-weekend coming up–for you out-of-staters, in Oregon you can only buy liquor at a state-licensed store that basically sells only liquor and maintains about the same hours as your local bank) and I think it was a degree or two above freezing there. Most of the ice melted off my truck.

But there is something awry in our water system. The overflow has quit running. This could mean a) the overflow pipe is frozen, in which case the tank is probably covered with ice from water leaking out, or b) (more likely) the intake pipe is frozen, in which case we’ll shortly be out of water. You may remember we’re using a temporary intake system because of spring issues earlier in the fall that caused me to go out and have an adventure buying a humongous load of redwood and blah, blah, blah. Ben came in today when I was washing up the lunch dishes and said, “Doing dishes is a very fine thing, but you might want to consider not washing anything you don’t absolutely need until things thaw a bit.” Music to my ears.

The winter wrens are very active right now. They are so tiny and friendly–they come right up and wag their tailfeathers hello. But in this weather, they have their feathers fluffed up until they look almost as big as robins (would that I could do that with my skin–they never seem to be cold). But even funnier is that everything is frozen solid–all the leaves we didn’t get raked, the fern fronds, the berry bushes, the grass–and they sound like 50-pound dogs stomping around. This morning I thought some monster animal was trying to break into the living room, but it was just one of those silly birds just off the front stoop.

I made bread pudding last night for the first time ever. I had this remnant of very good home-baked bread that was just too stale to do anything else with. But I found a vintage recipe in my favorite cookbook. It was simple and sounded good. I fooled with it a bit, of course. I think I’m congenitally incapable of following a recipe exactly. But it turned out to be very tasty and nutritious. I had leftovers for breakfast–eggs, milk, bread, sounds like breakfast to me. Of course I had a grandmother who maintained that there was absolutely no difference in nutrition between apple pie with cream and fruit with toast and milk. So she fed her children fresh apple pie for breakfast nearly every morning. Some traditions are worth preserving, I think.

It’s supposed to warm up beginning tomorrow. Of course it was supposed to start warming up today, too. But I have my fingers crossed.

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