Monday, December 15, 2008


So it got a little stormy there over the weekend, snowed about a foot.  I slept in Sunday morning so it was about 10 am by the time I noticed the potato emergency - the wind had blown the lid off my root cellar and the wireless thermometer was reading 8 F.  Supposedly the flavor of raw potatoes changes if they freeze. I brought them inside and thought "I'd better go ahead and cook some of these up,"  so I made a big batch of garlic mashed potatoes.  I decided to try using the pressure cooker, but that ended up taking even longer than boiling them.  It was almost an hour before it even got up to pressure, and then there was the cool-down time.  I can't tell for sure about the flavor change because I accidentally added way too much salt, like tablespoons instead of teaspoons.

Mostly the potatoes still seemed okay after they warmed up, I mean they didn't turn to mush or anything, so I put the whole thing back together today.  I changed the warmer to a 50-watt rough-service bulb (from 25 w), and put a rock on top of the lid.

It was clear and sunny today.  In the morning we had those whatayacallem, sun dogs or icebows on either side of the sun.  I went for a walk down the grocery store to test my winter wear.  It was about -10 F with a wind chill of liquid nitrogen.  The bike shop never did call back about the studded snow tires but I do have the neoprene face mask, and I thought the conditions might be good for a sort of dry run with a view to winter cycling.   I had two layers on my legs, three on my arms, and four on my chest.  From head to toe my kit was:

Blaze orange "Radar" cap
Positive mental attitude
Neoprene face mask
Long-sleeve flannel shirt
Polyester fleece sweater
Down vest
Short "redcap's" jacket
Polartec gloves
Heavy weight long johns
"Relaxed fit" jeans
Medium weight wool socks
Cross trainers

The idea was to try and stay warm enough while keeping arms, legs, and peripheral vision free. The "radar" cap is nice because it covers your ears and shades your eyes.   This outfit was more or less okay for my two-mile walk, but I could have used one more layer on the legs, like a pair of sweatpants.  (Also for cycling my feet would get a lot colder and I would have needed insulated boots and maybe electric socks.)

So I walked into the grocery with my black face mask and canvas bag, and Mr. Fellow Customer was like, "is this a stick-up?"  No, just heading for the dairy case there.

But that's not the funny part.  The funny part is, technically it's not even winter yet.

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