Ah, spring. Freezing temperatures and lots of snow. The kids keep forgetting that this is normal, living in the Rockies. I keep hearing, "More snow?!" "It's snowing again?!" "But it's spring!" Yes, spring in Steamboat.
We experienced the snowiest March that Steamboat Springs had seen in the last five years. Some days have felt like a winter wonderland. While parts of the country are getting wildflowers, we are getting icicles. If Hobbits in the Shire can have Second Breakfast, then I think it is safe to say that we in the Rockies have Second Winter.
I do love spring snows. They are noisy, unlike the still and silent snows of winter. The returning magpies and robins and woodpeckers chatter and sing and fill the valley with promises of warmth and nesting and flowers and green.
The ski mountain has closed for the season, even though there are feet and feet of snow everywhere. John took pictures of his last trip with Austin for me. (That's my Austin snowboarding a black run in the second picture.) I missed the end of the season. Quilt orders. The flu. Pneumonia. Antibiotics and inhalers. Fits of coughing and one million cups of tea. It's been an eventful month around here. It all makes me anticipate the warmth of May even more.
The foxes continue to come around every couple of days. John captured a dark red one outside of my sewing room window with his cell phone. Yes, I purposely set out some little bits of food there. Foxes, I have discovered, like apples!
Twice now I have walked outside onto the back deck to discover a light red fox standing in our yard. The first time, he looked at me curiously and sat still while I spoke to him. He marked all of the Aspen trees before he trotted away.
The second time, he stayed awhile. I told him that I had decided to name him "Foxy". John quietly slipped me some apple pieces, and I gently tossed them out onto the snow. The fox looked up at me and cocked his head to the side, just like a puppy. I told him how beautiful he was and that I was happy to see him. I tossed another piece of apple, and he ran straight to it, ate it, and then sat looking up at me, waiting for another piece. Of course, I obliged him. I told him he was welcome to come and visit any time he wanted, and I would give him a treat. Every once in a while a noise from inside the house startled him, and he darted away from the house. I called to him, and back he came, ready for more apple.
John went down to the basement where Emma was squealing over something, and said quietly, "You guys keep it down in here. Your mother is outside talking to a fox." They looked at him puzzled. What???! Ha! I wish I could have seen that!
A couple of evenings ago, Austin noticed two foxes bounding and chasing and playing in the land behind our house. Of course, I couldn't resist! I quickly grabbed and chopped an apple and went out on the back deck. I called and kissed to the foxes, and the instant I did, one of them trotted straight to the deck! (EEEEeeeeeeep!!!!) I gently tossed the apple pieces out into the yard and had a conversation with the fox, and once the second one saw that I was safe, it slowly joined the first one. It was a wee little one, and it was so curious! It looked up at me and just stared as I talked to it. Oh, I can't even tell you...SO cool!!! I want to keep them all!
The foxes come back every couple of days, usually in the wee hours of the morning while I am sleeping. I wake up to fresh tracks in the snow and the treat that I left them the night before gone. I will have to stop this once the bears wake up.
We all celebrated 14-year old Joel (14!) with a day off from school, his favorite red velvet cake and candy and presents and dinner out (his choice of The Rusted Porch) and a late night viewing of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. My sweet boy. What a gift he is! He just keeps getting taller and taller. He makes me proud.
We tried a new bacon appetizer at Joel's birthday dinner that we loved, loved. John came home from the grocery store that next week with ingredients and a request: couldn't we make that bacon appetizer at home? We did our best to recreate it, and then topped it with some added grilled chicken and had it for lunch. It's becoming a habit...
BACON JALAPENO NAAN
4 pieces of naan
Cream cheese, soft
Dried oregano leaves
4-oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
3 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Sliced pickled jalapenos
Grilled chicken, diced (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spread soft cream cheese on the top of each piece of naan; sprinkle each with dried oregano. Divide grated cheese evenly among the pieces of naan. Top with diced chicken, sliced tomatoes, crumbled bacon, and pickled jalapeno slices.
Bake directly on oven rack in the lower third of oven for 10-12 minutes, or until desired doneness.
Cut each naan into 6 wedge-shaped appetizer portions and serve immediately.
For appetizers, serves 6-8. For lunch, serves 3-4.