The winter routine.

January 20, 2015…22* and overcast
Jake is gone for the day making a grocery run into West Yellowstone so the dog and I have the place to ourselves.  It always feels strange and lonely when he goes out and I wonder when I will ever not worry about him making it back safely to Elk Lake.  Luckily we haven’t had any major snowstorms and the wind has been almost non-existent so his ride should be without any troubles…knock on wood.
The past few weeks have settled into a routine of sorts, as work has a tendency to do.  My first task of the day (after a requisite cup of coffee!) is to sweep and mop the dining room floor.  So much snow gets tracked in that it’s impossible to clean it after the lunch groups leaves so I just mop up the big puddles and let it go.  And I certainly don’t blame people for keeping their boots on because if they didn’t, they would be walking around in wet socks!
Then it’s on to prep.  It’s a very different thing to do prep during the winter months than it is in the summer.  In the summer we have a pretty good idea of how many people we’ll be cooking for so you know how much salad to tear up, how many tomatoes to slice, how much broccoli to cut up.  Not so in the winter.  One day we could have two guests, the next twenty-one.  So I have learned to prep on the fly during lunch service.  Why?  Well because the vegetables last longer when they aren’t processed and we need everything to last as long as possible.  A tomato is precious commodity when you have to take it on a rough snowmobile ride and have it arrive unbruised. So we’re figuring it out and Jake and I have a pretty good rhythm of working with each other.
On the "to do" list. Paint and organize the pantry!
Since veggies are not a priority to get done right away, I focus on what I consider the “fun” things…breads, pies, homemade soup, spaghetti sauce, pulled pork…anything that lets me be creative and makes the Lodge smell good.  Jake and I are trying out offering “Specials” this winter and so far they have been well received.  Currently we’re offering a bacon jam and bleu cheese burger…some people look at me like I have two heads when I tell them about it and others (the obvious foodies) just nod and usually order it.  Jake is in the first group.
I will admit to a mishap on my end, though.  I pulled a beautiful peach pie out of the oven, set it on the flat top of Bertha (the old iron stove), and the next thing I heard was the glass pie plate splintering into a thousand shards.  Lesson learned.  You can’t put a hot pie plate on cold iron.  Luckily I had more pie crust dough and more peaches so I just rolled up my sleeves and got at it.
When guests arrive, it’s go-go-go grilling burgers, dropping fries, trying not to burn the buns, and before you know it we’re wiping down the tables and flopping onto the couches in the living room.  Usually we try to grab a bite to eat and I would say 90% of the time we just get settled in and we hear the whine of snowmobiles pulling up.  That part of our schedule needs a little work!
But it’s not all about work during the winter season.  We still have ample time to enjoy Nature’s artwork and ooh and aah at the moose that seem to love our willows.  I still cannot believe that I live in a place where moose are our next door neighbors; a group showed up yesterday and said they saw 20…yes 20!...on their ride in.  Amazing.  Here’s a little of what we see:
In closing, I give a nod to Green Bay fans.  Your team played a heck of a good game last Sunday and I’m still incredulous the Seahawks won.  Now we look forward to the Superbowl and taking on the Pats.  I’m serving soup if anyone wants to join us while we watch the game.
PS.  Lerrina is still writing a blog so please keep in touch with the Collins' at: the-sustainable-lifestyle.blogspot.com

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