A New Morning

Our Front Porch

Wow. I’m in love.

Yesterday, after a big storm, what they call here a “cold” front blew in. The clouds moved around all day with the chilly wind, and this morning when I opened my little eyeballs, through our sliver of window I saw blue sky, and the one leafy branch I always wake up to illuminated with sunlight. It’s usually sunny in the morning, so that was no thing in itself, but here’s the clincher– it was cold all night. I mean, we had to search around for our one and only blanket, and it wasn’t even warm enough. So I knew I was waking to a deliciously chilly morning, with sun to boot!

I got up with anticipation, I put on pants! A long sleeve shirt! And, get this, a light sweater!!!!! Made my coffee and went out to the front porch.

Sure enough, to my New Orleans acclimatized self, it feels downright cold. With a scrumptious, gusty wind billowing around (I do love me a good wind). It claims to be 54 degrees right now, with a predicted high for today of 66. And only 73% humidity! Ahhhh….

I think perhaps the Cordovans in the audience will best understand– imagine it’s been raining for 3 weeks straight (it really truly and literally does that in Cordova) and then one morning you wake to a gorgeous sunny day. That is how this feels.

Why am I so enamoured with cold? I don’t know. I always have been. I remember my first moment of realizing it– just how happy, excited, thrilled! cold after warm makes me. I was in Scotland on a farm, sleeping in a trailer. I woke to the first morning of fall. Real cold, not this just comparative cold. There was frost in the trailer. I layered all my clothes on and  dashed, shivering, into the house for hot tea. Even though I scampered to escape it, it filled me with an ecstatic, spiraling joy. I felt almost dizzy, and couldn’t stop grinning. I was horribly homesick at the time, which surely had something to do with it.

Being conceived at the windy outpost of Cold Bay, Alaska, and spending my first few years of life in a barely heated cabin in Anchorage were doubtlessly formative. My dad recently told me about how I used to kick the covers off, sleeping in that cabin on nights when the water jug was frozen solid by morning.

Whatever the reason, I do adore a chill autumn morning like almost nothing else. More than just making me happy, it fills me with an anticipation, an excitement for my day, for my life. A huge optimism, and blossoming of energy, motivation. All the good things.

What will I do today with this great gift of energy? Rehang the laundry which didn’t get dry yesterday. Make french toast with my homemade peach maple syrup. Find my dream bicycle, hopefully, finally. And hang out outside in the sun, without feeling like I’m going to die, at the Crescent City Blues and Barbecue Festival!

(My dream bike by the way has a light road bike frame and thin tires, but cruiser handlebars and seat, so I can sit upright like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz and put too-damn-yappie little dogs in my front basket!)

Peach Maple Syrup

Take a few pounds of mealy peaches that you bought on super sale and cut them up. If you don’t want to peel them (who would? What a lot of extra work) just cut them up in small dice, so that there won’t be big chunks of peel in yer finished product. Throw all into your crock pot if it’s too hot to want to use the stove. Add sugar to taste, and cook till nice and soft. Cool. Put about half the peaches and all the juice into the blender and puree. Add the rest of the peaches and just pulse once or twice to mix. This gives you a yummy, chunky sauce– good mixed into yogurt, poured on ice cream, or eaten straight outa the jar. To make syrup, simply mix half and half (or however you like it) with pure maple syrup.

If you want to preserve some, just pour into a straight sided jar and freeze. Don’t waste freezer space with the maple syrup though, which keeps fine in the fridge, just freeze the sauce, and mix later. Of course, you can also can the sauce. Check out my tutorial on canning jam (same process) from my old blog. Experiments with canning a jar or two in the microwave to beat the heat are soon to come! Stay tuned!

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