Winter Solstice

December 21st, 2010. Winter Solstice.

On the fourth day of Christmas I watched a lunar eclipse…and decorated sugar cookies.

Tonight if you look up at the full moon, you will notice it slowly is disappearing as the earth passes between the moon and the sun…..at least I think that’s what’s happening. I was watching the shadow with my son and he started asking very difficult questions like which country’s shadow are we seeing now do you think? Which way does the moon orbit the earth? What do you think the cat is thinking about when she looks at us like that? It was all too much.

They say we won’t have another lunar eclipse that falls on the winter solstice until the year 2094. So we better all stay up really late and watch this one because we will all be very old (no, not dead, just very old) when the next one comes and we probably won’t care to see it. Wow, that’s just another thing to feel all pressured up about during this Christmas season, as if Christmas itself doesn’t present enough things to remember to do. AND
This is the last lunar eclipse that falls on a winter solstice for the next 84 years. Wow.

This is also the last time that I will be typing on the computer during a lunar eclipse during the winter solstice…this is the only time you will see me in socks and sandals around the house during a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. This is also the last time I will wipe flubber off my counter tops, knife block, television set and toaster during a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice, but no one is beating down my door to come watch me!

Winter solstice makes me think of the druids. They liked to celebrate these events with things like dancing, drinking, feasting and fornicating. We decided to follow their lead…somewhat. We agreed to leave out the dancing because our men folk aren’t much into dancing in the kitchen, and it makes the kids uncomfortable when we do that. And as every good catholic raised girl knows, dancing leads to fornicating, so without dancing there would be none of that either I guess. It too makes the kids uncomfortable. Maybe even more than the dancing does. But I digress.

Our men folk decided that this being the last legal day of hunting season, they would take full advantage by being up with the squirrels at the crack of dawn and head out to fill our freezers with delicious young natural venison. Well, the squirrels slept in and the crack of dawn came at around 8. Then we needed to pause for a moment to celebrate a birthday with ice cream cake. After observing these rituals, and allowing for a short recovery period for those younger ones who were celebrating the night before the winter solstice with drinking and revelry, they were off and hunting at just shortly after 12:30 PM.

The guys arrived after a successful hunt and came to the house to warm up and eat the feast that we had prepared for them. Well, it was all leftovers, but that’s because my girl child and I had spent the day making sugar cookies. Well, not the whole day. We also watched Ellen and drank some coffee and lazed around a lot. But, the day wasn’t a total write off because we made some amazing cookies. Here’s the recipe:

Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
**Note** I like to double this recipe because my sons can eat them as fast as they come out of the oven. They usually get full after the first 4 dozen or so.
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Roll out thickness of pie crust on lightly floured surface. Cut into 3 inch rounds. Bake at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.

Let them cool, and ice them however you like using whatever icing recipe you like. We used a combination of butter, icing sugar (then regular sugar when we ran out of icing sugar), milk and food coloring. Supervise the food coloring carefully when there are 14 year old boys involved.

Kelly’s boy had spent the day hunting with the men. It was he who had harvested the deer that they brought home with them tonight. He is a tough guy. He works along side the men and he has done this since he was about 5 years old. He also is very good at icing sugar cookies and having tea parties with my daughter….well maybe not the tea parties. I might have made that part up. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story that’s what I always say.

Just a note:
Whoever labeled Christmas a holiday was a man. Christmas is quite possibly the most work I do all year. I think it surpasses the labor requirement of harvest, and calving season combined.
But having said that, I just love it. It’s really a lot of fun to see everyone get excited about seeing neighbors and relatives. It’s a great season, and if we can turn the work into play then we will enjoy it even more.

The highlight of the day:
The youngest member of the hunting crew today was the one who brought home the bacon (or in this case the venison), and thanks to all of them we will have sausages and roasts and steaks for our tables. Well, I guess we would have had that anyway with all of the beef we have floating around, but this way we get variety in our servings of red meat.
….and that young hunter rounded off his day by icing sugar cookies with a little girl. That’s a pretty good balance I would say.

<Terra>

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