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December 10th, 2009

Snow blows

The worst thing about snow isn't getting stuck at home, unable to drive anywhere. It isn't having to carry water and food all the way out to the barn instead of the animals coming to us. It isn't the dogs going outside and coming back soaking wet. No, the worst part about snow is having to shovel the steps and the deck.

There was much too much snow to have bothered with salt (and I couldn't find the stuff, anyway), so the bottom layer of the snow ended up melting and refreezing. Shoveling snow isn't that bad, breaking up sheets of ice is the real pain.

I managed to find the salt bucket; someone had moved it to the garage and didn't tell me. They also didn't seal it properly, so the whole top layer was one solid mass. It took a lot of pounding with a screwdriver to break it into semi-usable chunks.

One of the neighbors plowed our driveway this morning. Unfortunately, the front gate was closed, so he stopped there and turned around. Now there's a big mound of snow in front of the gate and the remaining 200 or so feet of driveway inside the gate still has 1-2 feet of snow. At least now the UPS truck can pull up to the gate.

No chance in hell of getting my car out of the garage for at least a week. With super-wide, nearly worn-out ultra-high-performance tires and no Positraction, I'd get stuck within a few feet if I tried to pull out.

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Split pea soup... with bacon!

Before starting, slowly pour 1 pound of dry split peas onto a plate, checking for stones, twigs or bugs. This step is very important! Then pour them into a colander and rinse under cold running water.

In a large pot, saute 1 onion, finely chopped, in 2 Tblsp olive oil, until the onion is soft. Add 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced, and 2 carrots, thinly sliced, and saute until the carrots are tender. Add 1 clove garlic, minced, and saute for 1 minute longer.

Add the peas, 6 slices of bacon and 1 bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially and cook until peas are soft, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove the bacon, cut into small pieces and set aside.

If you're using a blender or food processor, allow the soup to cool before blending. If you're using an immersion blender, you can (carefully!) blend it while it's still hot. Puree the soup until it's smooth and creamy. If you prefer your split pea soup with chunks, set aside some of the solid portion of the soup before pureeing, then add the reserved peas back into the soup afterward. Return the soup to the pot, if necessary, and reheat.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the bacon pieces. Serve immediately.

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