The Snow that Almost Didn't Show

Mr. Cardinal...waiting for the snow to show
We waited.  And we waited.  And we waited.

We had been warned...repeatedly...that snowfall was imminent.  Familiar locations and friends to the south and east of us were reporting inches of the fluffy, white stuff.  We saw pictures of the half-foot of snow that Wrightsville BEACH (!) had received.  Even Charlotte, only about 90 minutes to the south, had snow...causing havoc on the streets and at the airport, I might add.  But, no, no, no...we had no snow.

What went wrong?  We'd done as we were supposed to: gone to the store for bread and milk; put a pot of stew on the stove; and dressed in layers to combat the cold (which we DID get).  Mr. T had filled all the bird feeders to the max, and they had attracted hundreds of our feathered friends.  That told us that the birds agreed with the weather folks:  we were in for snow.

Still, nothing was falling.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Gotta do something 'cause we all know I hate to wait.  As I had finished my "Just Enough Ruffles" scarf I was knitting for Missy M out of the Ultra Alpaca Blueberry Mix (of which I won't show a photo yet, since I haven't given her the scarf...:), I decided to get another project going right away.  I needed something "mindless" (read that:  nuthin' but knittin') to work on during the Big Game last night, so I started on this interesting pattern by Kirsten Johnstone called Sev[en] Circles I got from, after reading about this unique scarf on String Theory Yarn Company's Facebook wall.  Missy M had given me some soft hand-dyed 100% merino wool in purples, pinks, and greens by the Plucky Knitter for Christmas, so I wound it using my new yarn winder and swift (thanks bunches, dear Santa...and!) and cast on to swatch while the washer and dryer were doing their Monday morning thing.

Platform feeder visitors at mid-afternoon

Then, by mid-afternoon, we began to get a few snow showers.  Here a few, there a few.  By night-fall, we had about an inch on the ground, with more falling.  And, in the night, we got the dreaded "wintry mix," meaning we had a layer of ice on top of the snow when we awoke this morning.  A great day to stay inside.

Apple fritters
 I had made apple fritters on Sunday morning (photo, right); a tasty treat...but one that leaves a nasty reminder...more on that in a second.  I can't make or eat apple fritters without thinking about a special weekend in the late '80's when my parents had retired to Smithville, TN.  We were visiting them, and Mom suggested that she and I take a day-trip up to Rugby, TN...a town on the Cumberland Plateau that was founded by British author, Thomas Hughes.  They were having their annual festival, so it seemed like a perfect idea.

And, it was!  We spent the whole day there, ending our visit late in the afternoon.  Just as we were walking to the car, we passed the booth where they were preparing apple fritters...and OMG they smelled wonderful!  We bought a bag-full, saying we wanted to "take them home for Daddy and Mr. T."  Yeah, right.  I'd be surprised if we made it home with two fritters left in that bag!  But, they were de-licious.  And, it sealed the deal on a fond memory.

Apple outta the pot,
dusted with powdered sugar
 The Apple Barn in Sevierville makes fantastic fritters (which they serve with their own yummy apple butter, of course), and they even sell bags of the mix so you can make them at home.  You add the fresh apple bits...and the pound of powdered sugar sprinkled on the fritters when they come out of the hot oil (photo, left). Love. Them. 

But...and, here's the scoop on the "nasty reminder" thing...

After you make them, your house will smell like a grease factory for 24 hours or more, and you will be left with a pot full of melted Crisco.  Yuck. 

Oh well, I had set the pot of hot fat aside to cool until I was ready to deal with it.  Just before I got rid of the residue today, Mr. T piped up with "Wouldn't that make some good suet for the birds?"  Great idea!  We looked up a recipe in the booklet "For the Birds" (photo, below/right) Missy M had given him for Christmas, and we were in business.

Making homemade suet cakes
I heated the fat back up to liquify it and added 1 cup of peanut butter to melt.  Meanwhile, in a big bowl,  I mixed 1 cup (more or less) each of wild bird seed, black-oil sunflower seeds, oats, and cornmeal; then, I added some raisins, some dried cranberries, and some broken pieces of pecans. 

I poured the hot liquid over the dry ingredients and stirred until well-combined.  Then, I spooned the mixture into the cups of 2 muffin pans (right) and a couple of plastic containers, and put them in the fridge to chill for a few hours.  Voila!  Homemade suet!  And, better still, no waste with the "used" shortening.

The cold and the snow make the birds really hungry...and now I hope we can make them really happy!


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