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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Getting ready for what's ahead

© Another Day in the Country

I had buttermilk pancakes for breakfast — with pecans, so yummy good. One was shaped like an elephant. I was practicing. In less than a month, my kids will be here for Christmas.

The elephant was devoured before all the other regularly shaped pancakes, starting from his tail. The last nibble was his cute little trunk. I love this kind of silliness and I really do enjoy Cousin Carol’s buttermilk pancakes.

It isn’t just that they are feathery light, it’s also the memories associated with them — Carol standing at the stove in Cousin’s Corner churning out pancakes with an apron wrapped around her pajamas, at the Schubert family reunion.

My favorite memory of Carol’s pancakes was the last summer Tooltime Tim was with us. It seems that Carol’s daughter, viewing pictures from the latest family reunion, must have said something like, “Mom, you look really pathetic in these pictures, no makeup, in your pajamas?” as if Carol always looked like that.

She doesn’t. She’s a snappy dresser. She watches all the make-over shows on TV including “What Not To Wear.”

So at the next family reunion Carol declared that for breakfast on Sunday morning, everyone was supposed to dress formally. We looked pretty good — the lot of us; but Carol, in the long, sleeveless, black and white dress she’d worn to some wedding, frying buttermilk pancakes, was stunning, and right beside her was Tooltime Tim in a vest and top hat frying bacon! Fantastic memories!

Oh, would you like to have Carol’s recipe? I’ll sneak it in: 2 cups buttermilk, 2 eggs, ¼ cup oil, 1 ¾ cup flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. soda, 1 tsp. salt.

Yes, I’m getting ready for what’s ahead, which includes winter. Sunday, with weather in the 70s was perfect for pruning plants that had frozen, raking leaves, and cleaning fall debris from the pond.

My Dad’s little stock tank, carted here from Oregon years ago, was still standing on the porch. We used it for a swimming pool during the summer when Dagfinnr was here. Then I used it as the brief repository for the extra water hyacinth while I waited to see if any of my neighbors who are also pond enthusiasts needed more plants. After the hyacinth were gone, I began dipping out of that tank to water pots on the porch — didn’t want to waste a drop.

When I got the water low enough to consider tipping it over by myself to complete the emptying process, something moved. Can you believe it? There were fish, little baby fish in that tank, evidently having piggy-backed on the extra hyacinth. They were fast, I couldn’t catch them until yesterday with the water at an all-time low. I rescued four little fish and put them in my guest bathtub.

They should be fine because the tub is full of water plants — it looks like a tropical forest in the hall bathroom. Every year I buy ground cover for the pond to supplement the water lilies, the iris and the ever-enthusiastic hyacinth.

I don’t know what these plants are called, but they float on the surface with roots going down and they multiply exponentially. This year was a very good year, they even bloomed in October, and I took pity on them. I didn’t want them all to freeze. I decided to try saving some inside for next spring.

So I chose a few of the biggest and best, filled the tub with water, got a grow light and installed it in the overhead fixture. Now with fish, we have our own little ecosystem in the bathroom.

“You are going to ruin your bathtub in the process,” my ever-careful, wise, sister said. “But it is pretty in here!”

She grinned as she stooped to look at a little sign I’d made and perched on the side of the tub, suggested reading while meditating on the stool. It is to remind us of warmer times when the north wind blows and we might have snow!

“Pause a moment and imagine summer. Warm, green, serene. Imagine new Life, beginnings. Breathe …,” written by a wandering poet, sad to release nature back to its hibernating stance, already longing for spring to appear on another day in the country.

Last modified Nov. 21, 2013

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