Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Frozen North

You will need to click on the photos to enlarge them to see them properly. The river looked amazing this morning. The outdoor thermometer was registering 11.4F when B Baggins and I went out so I thought it might be worth taking the camera. In the 33 years I've lived here I've never seen Old Hay Brook frozen over to this extent. There have been icy borders at the edges once or twice in the past but nothing like this. It was even more frozen when we went this afternoon but I didn't take the camera thinking there would be less ice not more!

Each of the little weirs looked like a scene from The Snow Queen, there were tiny areas where the water was still flowing over but most of it must have been getting through underneath the ice.

This is a close up of the previous photo, you can see the blocks of ice and the small frozen waterfall with frozen foam at the base. I know this is a common sight in Canada and other countries in the northern latitudes but it isn't very common here I can assure you!

While the weather has been so cold I've been busy indoors. I made the Christmas cake two weeks ago and here I've unwrapped itso I can give it two more tablespoons of sherry. It's now back on top of the cupboard and will sit there until around the 16th December when I shall make the marzipan and put it on. Then that has to dry out for a few days before the final layer of fondant icing goes on. It's beautifully moist and smells wonderful!

I've started knitting again, this is the first thing I've made since I broke my wrist. It will be going in the post for George tomorrow. I'm now knitting a second rabbit also for George.

Some of you may remember seeing this one that I made for him earlier this year. He apparently loves it so much that Cesca can't get it off him to wash it so she's asked me to make another one in the hope that he'll accept the substitute on a temporary basis. Personally I wouldn't count on it:)

It will be a quiet Christmas for us this year so I'm not doing quite as much baking and cooking as usual. However this morning I did a batch of tiny cheese scones.....

......and a fruit scone round which have joined the Yule Log and the Lemon Cream pies that are already in the freezer. Now I'm going to go and make a big pan of leek and potato soup and maybe a batch of cheese and onion tarts - the soup is for my meal this evening but the tarts are destined for the freezer - if I get round to making them anyway:)


Lynda (Granny K) said...

Lovely post Rowan. My cake is in the freezer, glad you reminded me!

We have had a thaw here today, which has made the roads safer.

George said...

Sorry to hear about that foul weather, Rowan, but rest assured that it will not stop me from coming to your house for Christmas. I have told my wife that I will be traveling to your place this year unless she can bake a Christmas cake as lovely as yours, with all of the planned enhancements during the next few days. Merry Christmas to you and my namesake, George.

WOL said...

Oh, scones! I could use some now with my fresh pot of tea. You do such beautiful knitting. Such a lovely little sweater --like a hug that keeps on hugging.

Hollace said...

What wonderful things are going on at your house! The frozen walks (so glad you took your camera) and the baking and the knitting, too! What wonderful treats you are storing up. I thought it was funny when you said you're not doing as much baking as usual, because you are way ahead of me. The Christmas cake looks amazing but I don't know if we have the stamina to wait so long to eat it.

Bovey Belle said...

Gosh that looks COLD. Our river froze apart from the rushing bit down the middle, the last two Februaries, but your stream looks a busy beast and it must be dreadfully cold to freeze that much.

10/10 for the cake. I never do an iced Christmas cake (fussy OH) but I do make a boiled pineapple fruit cake which goes down a treat.

Baking for the freezer - if I had any room in mine, I might be tempted!

Von said...

Delicious, delightful.Have a happy Chrisatmas.

Penny said...

Th frozen stream photos are lovely. I have put off the baking as it is too hot and humid!The diffeence in our world, but at least we are now not in drouht in fact we look vey tropical with all the rain we have had, suposed to be a mediteraenan(sp!) climate but not this year. Firt drought, then floods, that is Austraia.

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Rowan -- it all looks so beautiful. I just told hubby how fun it's been to read all the UK/AU blogs and see everyone making Christmas cake -- that's not a very common tradition here in the US. I've never tasted one -- oh to be your neighbor!

Morning's Minion said...

There is something about being outside in the cold that inspires a baking and soup-making frenzy when one returns to the kitchen.
It sounds and looks appealing.
Fantastic ice photos!

Diane said...

We are still in the "grip" of it aren't we! I love your river photos. I dont make a Christmas cake as there is only me likes it - and although I could eat a full one, my hips couldnt stand the excess!!! Your knitting is lovely. I'll have to have a go at cheese scones. xxxx

Derrick said...

Hello Rowan,

I've just enjoyed catching up on all your activities and walks with BB! Your own snow pics are lovely, even the blue ones! :0) Your "missing" keys must have been a fright, amazing how we can put something down and it disappears! I could manage a piece of cake or a scone when you're ready!

Mac n' Janet said...

You're way ahead of me in baking, my family who says I bake way too much and I can't start until the week before Christmas! My Mom use to make fruit cake which I think is the same as your Christmas cake.
It looks so cold there, I'm so thin-blooded I moan when our daytime highs are only in the 40's.

Medieval Muse said...

Autumn is always splendid and aglow with color, but I find wintery landscapes just as beautiful. You've a virtual Narnia there:) Hope you've knitted some little boots for Mr. Baggins.

Your work and baking is just lovely.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Wow - that is cold!!!! Lovely photos.

I haven't started any baking yet, guess I should get something going, and maybe some soup sounds good for this windy, rainy, blustery day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rowan! I didn't know you broke your wrist that must be very uncomfortable. The Christmas cake looks wonderful along with all the things you've been making is pretty amazing considering your injury. The pictures are somenthing we are use to around here, usually it is frozen solid by now but my area has received only a dusting of snow and the weather isn't to bad.
Take care of that wrist.

Rowan said...

Hi Rosemary, I broke my wrist in early June so it's fine again now apart from a slight weakness.
George and Derrick - you'll both be very welcome. George, your wife is welcome to the recipe for the cake if she'd like it.

Anonymous said...

Dreadful looking conditions, but lovely looking cake Rowan.

Grizz………… said...

Ahhhh, today we both wrote about our respective rivers freezing. I had no idea. Your photos are lovely—though I must say, I was also captivated by the cake. Hope you're staying warm, though you must be with all that baking. B. Baggins must be in olfactory ecstasy!

laoi gaul~williams /I\ said...

now we have not had it that cold down here! what amazing photos rowan.

Rosie said...

You really are in the frozen north! Those photos of the river are amazing and I love your new header photo too. All your baking looks lovely and tasty. Mmm - I might make some scones today:)

Gracie said...

I got shivers down my back just looking at that frozen water! But, oh God, how yummy that cake looks!

Janet said...

Brrr! That leek and potato soup should taste really good on such a cold day. And the cake looks delicious now so with all the additions I'm sure it's even more so.

Angie said...

Those photographs are fabulous!!! Oh I wish I could be there to see that up close and personal!! Thank you so much for sharing these with us. You've really gotten lots done in preparation of Christmas...I haven't even STARTED...will Father Christmas visit us anyway? :)

Janet said...

I've been enjoying all the snow photos from the UK and Eire - so far I find yours absolutely magical. Bbaggins, as always is a lovely thoughtful looking fellow!
Janet in cold and snowy Nova Scotia

Sheila said...

We are surrounded by snow but as yet still have only a dusting.
It looks very cold there, but very pretty.
The cake looks excellent, a slice of that with a cup of tea would go down very nicely right now.
It's -12c here at the moment, that's not including the wind chill, and will get colder tonight.
Stay warm Rowan...hugs