Wintering well

This weekend it’s below-zero (-18C) cold. The floor in my apartment is so cold that even with two pairs of socks, I can’t keep my feet on the floor for very long. And I refuse to wear shoes sitting at my desk.

The bed is on the floor too, but the futon provides some insulation from the chilly oak. Cold drafts travel across the floor, so I threw on an extra blanket.

I did all my errands yesterday while it was a relatively balmy 25F (-4C) so I can stay inside on the weekend. I left the apartment, but not the building, to look inside my mailbox today. On Sunday I’ll have to take the garbage out. That’s the extent of planned extra-apartment excursions.

Besides, my legs need a rest. In just 12 days, I’m at 189 miles, or 94.5% of my 200-mile February goal. (More if you count the 30-miler out to horse country on Sunday January 31.) I’ve been pushing the studs for the past three days too, which is easily 50% more work for the same miles.

Figuring it’s a good time to make wintertime comfort foods that heat up the kitchen, last night I roasted a whole chicken, and threw in some spuds and carrots to roast in the oven too.

This morning I made stock from the bones, onions, celery and garlic. I used some of that stock in tonight’s dinner, my Chicken With Creamy Braised Leeks. It’s leeks, spuds and carrots baked in a chicken-based cream sauce, topped with boneless chicken breast.

Sunday morning and afternoon I’ll bake. The weekly bread of course, and I bought some gluten-free brownie mix.

Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so in the afternoon and evening tomorrow, it’ll be Sunday Pot Roast. I wanted rutabega in the vegetables, but the only ones I can find are so huge they’ll barely fit in the pot by themselves. So I bought a turnip instead. Along with spuds and carrots, onions and celery. I don’t make gravy with it any more. Instead I save the stock it makes to use in other dishes.

There’s not much of interest on teh interwebz, so I’ve already finished one book and am quite a ways through a second. The PC runs in music machine mode, pumping J-Rock throughout the place. Some singing has been heard and occasionally, dancing has been seen.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed this weekend is use of the language. You may recall a couple of years ago I questioned the use of the term “polar vortex” when applied every time the mercury dropped. Haven’t heard it since.

Lately the traditional term “Arctic blast” is popular, but I’ve heard the more old-school “cold snap” almost as often. A return to sane use of the language if you ask me. Seriously, two days? What more could it be?

It seems February-like weather will continue to next weekend when the El Niño weather returns from vacation. Spring is right around the corner after that. It looks like I can take the studded snow tires off the Portland during that first weekend of March, since March’s forecast looks like a typical April one.

Meanwhile, the half-gallon of chicken stock I made earlier today (that I didn’t already consume, drinking it like tea) is cool enough to go into the fridge, dinner is digesting nicely, and a nice hot shower is next on the agenda, followed by reading until bedtime.

In my book, that’s how one winters well.

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