Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Visit From Saint Nick by Clement C Moore

Last year before Christmas, I posted one of my favorite Christmas stories, The Gift of the Magi. This year I would like post another favorite that is more well known.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
‘Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!’
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound,
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
and laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Bird is the Word

   So I haven't written in awhile, with running the elections in November and Tax Billing, work has been busy. Home life is just as busy. My son is going to driving class alot, and we have to practice with him, alot, Thanksgiving, well, I do not have to tell you how life keeps you busy.
   I do hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, especially now that the next holiday season is upon us. We haven't even had a chance to get our holiday cards done (the picture that is).

   I am going to backtrack to Thanksgiving though. Our neighbor raises white turkeys. So we decided that we would provide the bird for the Thanksgiving feast at my sister-in-law's meal. This bird was a 30 pound bird. He was enormous! He wouldn't fit in my sink so that I could Kosher him. My husband, ran to the store (which is a good 35 minute drive) and bought this humongous bin. We put it out on the deck on the table and filled it with ice cold water and kosher salt.
   Now when you Kosher a bird, you have to make sure all the extras are completely out and off of him. Namely, you have to cut the wings off, the extra skin by the neck, lungs, heart, gizzards and anything else that truly doesn't belong. This ain't no Perdue, baby!

   So, the next morning after he had soaked overnight, I took my special shears and my largest pan outside to the porch. Now, you might say that a 30 pound turkey, only weighs 30 pounds, Wrong!!!!
A 30 pound turkey, that has been submersed in ice cold, salted water weighs alot more. I had the worst time getting him out of the water bin and draining him. Thank God he was outside, because, everything was soaked with salted water, everything. I kept having to run into the house and defrost my hands under warm water.

   I finally finished cleaning my bird, emptied the water bin, and filled it up again with ice cold, salted water, and got that miserable son of a b---- back into the bin. He sat for another 24 hours in the water and then once again, I had the joyous job of lifting/draining him and placing him in my fabulous pan standing up. Have you ever tried to make a 30 pound bird stand up? I then covered him inside and out with Kosher salt, like a blanket of snow. We both got to rest for 3 hours. After all the blood had drained from the sucker, I managed to get his butt back into the bin full of fresh cold water and let him sit for another six hours.

   Koshering is a pain in the neck, and much, much easier with a small bird, but it is worth every painful memory. Once he was done koshering, I brought him inside, prepared him for cooking and at midnight, popped him in the oven fully stuffed. I have NEVER messed up the cooking of a bird and I believe this to be because of the whole koshering process and the fact that I am anal about basting Every half hour.

  Needless, to say, when the bird went into the oven at midnight, my husband and I took turns every half hour basting the miserable thing. It was almost like having a newborn baby again, but not all the joys that come with it. At 8:00 the next morning, I took him out, let him sit for an hour and then covered him up nice and tight for the long trip down to Massachusetts. We even had to put a seat belt on him.

  To wind this whole thing up, he was Yummy! perfectly cooked and Yummy!

   I hate Thanksgiving!