10 January, 2010
you say bison, I say buffalo
It's not Saturday night unless you set fire to something, that's my motto. Can I just tell you how close to the house this bonfire was last night? Normally both John and I are extremely, uh, responsible, but for some reason, we both thought it would be a fine idea to stack up all the tinder-dry Christmas wreaths in our ancient copper fire pit, and set fire to them.
The smoke! Simply plumes of it a mile high. I can't believe none of our neighbors called the fire department. Finally I made John shovel snow onto it and THEN the smoke was truly something to behold. We smelled like the Grim Reaper.
End of story: it's out. Of course the snow melted in the pit and then froze to the burned-out carcasses of the wreaths so that all John could do this morning was lug it behind the fence and pitch it into the snow. Now we can look forward to hauling it out in July.
It's always so hard to believe that six months will pass between now and our next vision of Red Gate Farm. It's odd to be here only in the most intense months of the year: we arrive in deep snow, and in the greenest days of summer, skipping the interim weeks of growth and decline. Before we see our beloved house again, there will have been plays and dinner parties in London, homework traumas, tune-ups at the orthodontist, Lost Property sales, job interviews, skating competitions, another issue of "Vintage" magazine will appear, containing another article from me. And then it will be July, and we'll be back.
The fridge is empty, the beds stripped, the candles removed from the hydrangea tree, mail stopped, the last laundry load done. In a few hours we'll be picking Avery up from the airport after her Fabulous Adventure (I survived!) and off we'll go to New Jersey to spend the night with our lovely friends, before heading to London in the morning.
I'll leave you with our last meal, a very American supper, and perfect for the sort of weather we're all having, on both sides of the Atlantic. Serve it with a crunchy slaw of red and Savoy cabbages, carrots and fennel. And I'll see you from London.
2 lbs ground bison (buffalo)
1 white onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 soup-size can black beans
1 soup-size can red kidney beans
1 soup-size can Northern beans
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 packet McCormick chilli seasoning
extra: chilli powder, ground cumin, turmeric to taste
sea salt and fresh black pepper
condiments: cilantro leaves, sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese
Brown the bison thoroughly in a heavy, large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook for several minutes, then add all the other ingredients and stir well. Cook at a simmer for at least an hour. Better even on the next day. Serve with condiments and everyone can choose for herself.
Warm, hearty, stick-to-your ribs, snowy day perfection. Bliss!