in a long time. Purim is a really fun holiday, with lots of sweets, costumes, boisterous behavior and even a little drinking on occasion. When we lived in Kentucky, it was just too far to drive to Nashville to celebrate this holiday/party with our congregation. (70 miles each way makes it a long journey, even for a fun event.) So, we especially enjoyed ourselves this year--with a knitting twist.
This year's holiday got a jump start when I got a sweet phone call from an editor the week before we moved from Kentucky to Winnipeg. It was July, it was hot, and the house was pretty much disassembled when this kind editor asked me if I'd contribute something to her publication. While I couldn't manage it before moving, I did eventually design these very simple knitted
Magazine. I found out recently they made the cover!
Last week, the professor and I got asked if we could help out with a project. A volunteer group in town was preparing Mishloach Manot
for some of the less fortunate in the Jewish community. We went along to help and I got one of the best jobs--rolling out dough for the hamantaschen. The dough is a tricky business--too soft and it's too mushy to mold into a three cornered cookie. Too much flour and it's too hard and it tastes pretty much like a rock when you're done baking.
In total, the two "rollers" of dough prepared enough for 35 dozen cookies. I was pretty worn out -- that's a lot of dough-- but it was a fun evening. The professor shaped cookies, made packages with the fruit and sweets in them, and was generally entertaining. :)
However, I was sort of worn out from all that dough rolling and didn't make any more treats to hand out...in fact, we've rarely ever had a chance to give out treats for this holiday, since we weren't near enough to a community who did this or understood the tradition. When we got to the synagogue last night, we were surprised to receive 3 bags of treats of our own! We'll have to do better next year so we have treats to hand out to our new friends here in Winnipeg.
We're enjoying a bright sunny warm day--and the dogs are in high spirits. I've had to move all the cookies, fruit, and chocolates to avoid having some inadvertent snacks for a dog Purim party...
Meanwhile, we've been doing further work to get our house in order. (no, we still aren't entirely tidied up even though it's been 7 months...) The professor surprised me today. He'd been in the basement organizing. He assembled a shelf and made himself a gorgeous little work area. I took a photo because it may never be this neat again!
Right beside the new workbench, we've got another project going. Many Winnipeggers like to do "home brew." This is in part because the winters are long and the alcohol tax here is high! (many wines are twice the cost of what we paid in the US.) The biology professors even have a wine tasting competition
each fall to see whose is best. So, the professor bought a wine kit and started our first batch in January. Here is our little basement "cave."
The first batch of Sauvignon Blanc was "mise en bouteille" February 27th, 2010. I'm hoping that is a good vintage at our house....especially since two more wine kits are lined up!
The light is streaming in the windows today...it's been a quiet and sunny day. It made me reflect on how lucky I feel to enjoy our house with its big windows with good positions to enjoy wintertime sun. We're still working out the fireplace issues. O
ne detail? The insurance on the house would go up 20-25% if we were to install a woodstove or woodbox insert fireplace--a much higher incidence of house fires from this, so that option is out. We'll keep working on this to find a good solution. I'm still grateful to have this house..it was hard to find.
We've had to make a fair number of repairs since the house wasn't always well maintained, but for a lot of environmental reasons, we feel an older house is always the right choice. (Curious about this statement? Let me know in the comments and I'll post about it. It's an interesting sustainability topic.)
In the meanwhile, hope you're having a sunny warm day and a Happy Purim if you celebrate it!