It snowed last night. Not enough to make it difficult to get around, but enough to weigh down the branches and send the birds into overdrive. They descend on the feeders and bird bath in greater numbers when it snows. This is a light snow, which is already melting this afternoon. And, it didn’t even accumulate under the trees.
It is chili weather. I always make chili when it snows. Today was no exception so the crockpot is bubbling along with venison black bean chili in it. It is the last of my neighbor’s ground venison mix that he gave us last fall. I need to catch up with another friend and see if I can split some venison with them. They bow hunt to thin the herds on a few of the large farms around here. I will be serving the chili with one of our favorite local beers, Flying Dog. They are up in Frederick, MD. This chili was made by browning the venison with onion and green and red peppers, then dumping it all in the crockpot with seasonings, black beans, plum tomatoes, and a box of organic black bean soup. I will thicken it up with cornstarch before it is done.
I really need to get a chest freezer since I am now getting offers for sharing a side of beef, and a good friend of my husband is sending us lamb pictures, of all of the babies his ewes are having. He is priming us to make our first purchase this August.
Since their children are in 4H, they will have lamb and pigs at the Howard County Fair for auction this summer. This is the first year we will be bidding for at least lamb, and maybe split a pig with friends. We went last year and watched. Really interesting to see the care put in to raising these animals by the members of the 4H clubs in the county.
If we change how we buy our meats, making lamb, pork and beef as bulk purchases, it will be one more step I am making in the direction of moving from supermarket foods to locally sourced foods for more of what we eat. It still won’t keep me from craving and finding ethnically diverse and exotic foods to make, but it is changing me from using packaged foods, to making real food from scratch.
Seven years after moving, we are more in tune with what is available all around us. We hear the rooster from the coop down the road. He crows off and on all day long. On those quiet weekend mornings, I hear the cows across the hills from us.
Our other neighbor raised goats for a while. They used to get loose and run through our meadow. They have since moved but I still remember trying to chase them away from our garden.
As I sit here watching it flurry while the sun is out, I think how much I love being out here in an area that still has those little things that make me smile. Time to go check on the chili.