Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run.
~ Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale
Winter is here. No doubt about it. The harsh and blustering winds of the past two days have brought with them arctic cold.
I thought we’d take a break from Washington, D.C. to see what’s happening here on the ranch. I bundled up, layer after layer, in hopes of taking a long walk. Instead, I lasted about twenty minutes out there in the brutal cold with little to show for it.
It is difficult to show you the cold. I have no snow or icicles or anything tangible to show you except for an image or two of the lagoon which is frozen on top. The water is brackish — a mix of salt and fresh water — so it has to be very cold for the surface to freeze.
The creek, which is tidal, is still flowing, although there are small islands of ice floating around out there. The very edges are frozen and white with ice and frost.
Even the sun is lacking in warmth right now.
It’s still windy, but not gusting and blustering like it has been the past two days. Yesterday the house shook and rattled with the wind. I wondered if all the huffing and puffing would blow the house down, but it’s a sturdy house, a house with good bones. It will take more than that to sweep it away. Not that I’m issuing Mother Nature a challenge, mind you. Just expressing gratitude for a house well built.
It is a good day for staying indoors and making kimchi. Have you ever made kimchi? I haven’t. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try so I decided to pick up the ingredients during our grocery shopping trip in Annapolis. The only thing I’m missing is the Korean pepper, but I did some research online and came up with a recipe for a substitute that involves chili flakes and smoked paprika. Since I’m making a vegan kimchi, I am using miso to give it the umami flavor usually acquired with fish sauce or dried shrimp.
I found four or five vegan recipes that have aspects I like, and have come up with a composite recipe that I think will suit my taste. At least that’s the hope. The last time I tried to ferment vegetables (sauerkraut), it didn’t work out well. Fingers crossed that this time around I’ll have a winner.
As of this writing, the Napa cabbage is soaking in a brine (sea salt and water). When I finish here, I’ll blend the seasonings in a food processor to make a paste that I’ll be adding to the vegetables when they’re ready. The seasonings include green onions, garlic, the pepper substitute, miso, and ginger. The vegetables are the Napa cabbage (of course), daikon radish, and the green part of the green onions. I’m keeping it simple for this first attempt.
I reckon that’s it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch for today. Thank you for stopping by. I might brave the cold and go out to the platform to watch the sunset this evening. It’s at 5:00 PM. What I’d really like to do is go out and look at the stars because they always seem to shine so brilliantly during the winter months. You’re welcome to join me. Make sure you wear plenty of layers. It is a biting type of cold, and you really want to protect those extremities the experts warn about when it comes to winter weather.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
Today’s joys: Experimenting in the kitchen; a quick and invigorating walk in the woods; sunshine on the ice and water; mittens and scarves; hot soups and beverages that warm from the inside out.