Our Minnesota Christmas
Did I say we were renting a cabin? In truth, this place is more like a Mcmansion. It’s so huge that I’m embarrassed to post a picture. But on a family vacation like this, too much space is generally better than too little. There’s privacy when it’s wanted. For example, Meredith (David’s long-time girlfriend) has brought her bagpipes so she could practice for an upcoming competition (really – she’s a competitive bagpiper). Amazingly, we can hear her only faintly when she plays at the other end of the house.
Also, the location has more than met my expectations. We are on a hill on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River. There are lots of big picture windows giving a view of the river and the Wisconsin hills on the other side. No other houses are visible from up here. The only town of any size in the area is Winona, which is about 10 miles up river.
So far we’ve had four Bald Eagle sightings. Unfortunately, we’ve only seen them swooping for a few seconds from one end of our field of vision to the other, without giving us time to grab a photo. There are plenty of other birds around, though, and Judy’s gotten some nice pictures.
But they are all birds that we see at home – Woodpeckers, Bluejays, Nuthatches. Still fun to watch, though. And we’re able to watch them through the picture windows, which is good because the daily highs around here have ranged mostly from 4 above to 3 below (Fahrenheit, that is, or about -19 Celsius).
We can also watch the trains down below, which is fun for all of us, but especially Daniel, who retains the train fixation of his childhood, though it has partially evolved into an interest in urban transit.
Otherwise we have spent our time reading, playing board or online games, and watching silly television shows. I’ve finished Chernow’s biography of Grant plus Ann Tyler’s Patchwork Planet. I like to read a more serious book and a lighter book at the same time.
In general, our observation of the holidays is casual in the extreme. We’ve given up on Christmas presents, so opening them is not one of our activities.
Eventually we will venture outside, but we’re hoping the temperatures will become a little bit more reasonable.
Judy grew up with a tradition, which we have continued, of eating pizza on Christmas Eve. David and Meredith made this year’s pizza from scratch, including the dough. (Sadly, Beckee had to go to work at her new job and couldn’t join us.)
The pizza came out very well indeed.
For our Christmas dinner, Judy made a roast beef and Daniel made some excellent popovers. Here’s the popover recipe he used.
David and Meredith made the vegetable, and Judy cooked the roast. Doing her research, she discovered that the roast should be seared after it is cooked through, not before. Apparently, it’s a myth that searing first locks in the juices. Here’s an article she read on the topic.
Anyhow, the roast was excellent, as was the rest of the dinner.
Since we never had a chance to celebrate Hanukkah together this year (since David and Meredith live in St. Paul, MN), at some point this week we will make a dinner of latkes.
My main complaint about this week is that it will end too soon.
That’s all for now.