January 19th, 2007 | Uncategorized

It’s a lovely snowy afternoon, and the birds have been busy at the feeder. I find this such a soothing and concentration-inducing atmosphere that I’m compelled to share it with you via this very slapdash little movie.

51 Responses to “snow”

  1. a different Emma says:

    I think there should be more slapdash little movies like that.
    Thank you.
    It’s snowing here in central Ontario but it’s more of a wet/cold that distracts rather than aids concentration. I think that instead of of doing work I’ll take my Cuban friend out for his first toboggan ride tonight.
    Tomorrow I go to my first gay wedding too.
    This snow is so distracting!

  2. sunicarus says:

    Really like the word “slapdash”. Here’s to the slapdash moments. Cheers.

  3. Deborah says:

    I am trying to get work done this afternoon, too. So I’ll imagine that outside my study window instead of the overcast street with lots of traffic.
    Oh, I feel more productive already!

  4. Virginia Burton says:

    Is that your composter on the far right? I’ve got the same one. Works great, doesn’t it?

  5. Josiah says:

    Alison, there was more artistic merit in that slapdash little movie than in a lot of billion-dollar Hollywood epics.

  6. Tera says:

    so beautiful.

  7. geogeek says:

    Speaking of nice cold weather, I was thinking of baking this weekend. I hate to barge into another thread to do this again, but didn’t silvio have a great cake recipe? Could someone point me to where in the archives it might be? I poked around for a while but couldn’t turn it up…

  8. jam says:

    very nice – sweet inanna i love snowy days like this

    unfortunately, the snow down here in the lowlands of norwottuck only lasted until the sun cleared the treelines

    more! more! more!

    where is the winter?! (i ask you…)

  9. Virginia Burton says:

    Geogeek, the recipe is actually from Londonboy, though Alison once attributed it to Silvio. Scroll to the end of this thread:

  10. little gator says:

    oh no! It’s not a good idea to mention compost in front of me. I no longer use my composter cause I have huuuge piles of rotting yard and kitchen waste, which I love to rearrange and turn with a pitchfork. Not for everyone but it soothes my brain seeing nasty smellies turn into good clean dirt.

    When it’s too crumbly to fork I know it’s ready to go in the garden.

    Don;t forget to compost used paper towels/napkins, as long as you didn;t get anything toxic on them.

    STOP IT GATOR! no one wants to hear anymore about your compost fetish!

    um, ok. I’ll stop.

  11. meg says:

    >Don’t forget to compost used paper towels/napkins,

    And coffee filters, if that’s your main form of nourishment! Not that I know anyone like that, of course…

    yup, I spotted the compost bin, too – I’ve the same one in my backyard. One of the best things about owning my own house – being able to set up a couple of compost bins and have a garden of mine own (I love my house).

  12. shadocat says:

    that was lovely…

  13. Eva says:

    Thank you. That was a sublime little piece of slap-dashed-ness.
    And not unlike the video within the movie in American Beauty, that was 45 seconds of a plastic bag rolling around in a little wind tunnel on a random street corner.
    I think I heard an urban legend somewhere that they made the movie so the little video would get the recognition it deserved…or something like that.

  14. Aunt Soozie says:

    We just had our first snow of the season…yesterday…big fluffy flakes that dusted everything and for a short while…it all looked beautiful…but, then it was gone…
    I love how quiet it is sometimes…at night, when the snow is coming down and insulating everything.

  15. cybercita says:

    geogeek, here is the cake recipe.

    Moist Orange Cake
    This works by starting with a simple cake, already moist because of the almonds instead of flour, and then makes it moister by adding moisture (in the form of a fruit syrup) after cooking. The one drawback is that you have to make it the day before you want it.
    Cake Ingredients
    1.5 oz breadcrumbs (a bit stale is good, or dry the bread slightly)
    3.5 oz ground almonds
    7 oz caster sugar
    1.5 tsp baking powder
    4 eggs
    7 fl oz sunflower oil (or, if you’re rich, 1 fl oz almond oil and 6 fl oz sunflower oil)
    Zest of 1 large orange
    Zest of 0.5 standard/large lemon
    Syrup Ingredients
    juice of 1 large orange
    juice of 0.5 standard/large lemon
    3 oz caster sugar
    2 cloves
    1 cinnamon stick
    (optionally, 1-2 stars of star anise, if you like the taste, and a dash of orangeflower water)
    First, invoke the goddess Rotunda, because she’ll surely be visiting you soon.
    Mix the dry ingredients, beat in the oil and eggs, and then add the zest. Put the batter in a pre-oiled 8 inch cake tin. Put into a cold oven (not preheated) and turn the heat to 375 degrees, baking for about 45 minutes. Use a cake skewer to test that it’s done – if it’s not , it soon will be. Leave it in the tin to cool for a few minutes, then turn it onto a high-rimmed plate (you’ll see why when you do this!).
    About 10 minutes before you take the cake out of the oven, mix the fruit syrup ingredients in a large saucepan (except the orangeflower water), and melt them together over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then allow to cool a little, while you test the cake and put it on the plate.
    If you’re adding orangeflower water to the syrup, do it now.
    Use a skewer to make holes in the cake, and, while cake and syrup are still warm, pour the syrup over and into the cake, aiming for the holes so the syrup permeates the cake. (Leave the cinnamon stick etc in the pan, of course.) As the cake cools it will start to leak a bit: baste it, so as much of the syrup is soaked up as possible. This can take ages, and you might be left with some syrup that just doesn’t get soaked up. Eat that, or add it to fruit salad.
    Finally, put foil over the top of the cake, and leave it in the fridge overnight, to let the flavours settle. It keeps well, too (provided you put it at the very back of the fridge behind an uninteresting salad and don’t let your boy/girlfriend see it). Serve still slightly cold, sprinkled with a little icing sugar.

  16. Maggie Jochild says:


  17. gerogeek says:

    Thanks for pulling the recipe out of the archive, guys.

    I grew up in the Twin Cities and still miss the Big Snow days. I even kinda like shoveling, one of the fun chores.

  18. wendy says:

    Thank you … so peaceful.

  19. ragthetiger says:

    Lovely video, but snow? Ick. Blecch. I know I’m not the only person in the world that hates the damn stuff. I keep myself sane by being grateful it’s been warm lately, by telling myself the winter’s a third over already, and – oh this was sublime – listening to two owls calling to each other last night. It’s the start of nesting season already (if you’re an owl)– a sign of Spring, can you believe it? in January! Spring really will come, and this annual nightmare will end once more, with its grey skies and dull days and ice and slush and storms and hour-long lines in the supermarket while everyone in New Jersey practices some sort of sympathetic magic, buying white things like bread and milk, whenever there’s snow in the forecast. Spring will come, and then summer, and I will happily put up with the Lyme ticks and the mosquitoes and the poison ivy and the ants that go marching one by one (more like a trillion by a trillion) in my kitchen and the sweltering humidity (and NJ has them all in abundance). You’ll not hear a word of complaint from me, because whatever it is, IT AIN’T SNOWING!!!!!!

    Rant over. Ahem — lovely video. What kind of birds were they?

  20. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ahem, Ragthetiger, the name of the video will give it away even if you’re not a birder: They are junkos. Wonderful little birds.

    I hate the snow, too. Lived one year on a lesbian land collective at around 10,000 feet in Colorado. The Yankees in the collective insisted we could not buy a snow blower because it was not environmentally responsible, so each of the five of us had to spend one hour a day (five woman hours total, each and every fucking day) shoveling in order to keep clear the driveway, paths to the chicken-house and sheds. From October through April, at least. That’s when I found out I’m a desert lover. Give me heat and open horizons any day. But — I spend the first five years of my life on the Texas Gulf Coast and in Calcutta, India.

  21. ragthetiger says:

    Oops, thanks Maggie. I didn’t see the title – yes, juncos are wonderful. It’s a treat to watch them at our feeder. And thanks for hating the snow with me! After reading your experience I feel rather embarrassed about hating paltry New Jersey snow (though not embarrassed enough to stop hating it).

  22. Cindy says:

    Quick correction: it’s spelled “junco.”

    That’s a lovely little video. One of my favorite things to do when I visit my mom is watch all the bird antics at her feeders. No snow here, but lots of juncos!

  23. Alex K says:

    Dan Quayle would claim “juncoes”. Or maybe not.

    I miss snow.

  24. AnnaP says:

    Lovely video indeed. Now I am going to my workshop to print a T-shirt saying.

  25. Deb says:

    Very peaceful and nice! I love the snow.

  26. Lettershaper says:

    Very much enjoyed the time I spent reading and looking around your site…as a poet, an avid reader, and hard to please dyke, I found it a most rewarding look. Thank you…

  27. LondonBoy says:

    This may be a duplicate posting ( due to a connection problem ), but hey, it demands to be said twice:
    It’s a beautiful day here in London, and it’s made even better because of The Announcement: She’s in it, and she’s going to win it ! ( )
    If she picks Obama for Veep that will be even better, and will give him the experience he needs for next time.

    A beautiful, beautiful day !

  28. Virginia Burton says:

    Hey Little Gator and Meg (and all other fellow composters) Do you know about this website? It’s a great place for people like us to rave in good company:

  29. little gator says:

    No Virginia, but I plan to check it out. Thanks for the pointer!

    I knwo a lot of compsters who do so for many good practical reasons but I seem to be unusual in thinking’s its fun.

  30. --MC says:

    That video was sweet. The junkos were knocked out loaded. They were a-wobblin’ all over the sleet.

  31. Feminista says:

    Hey, AB–cute video. Snow is fine if you don’t have to shovel it. Lovely nature scene.

    Going on a group snowshoe trip after I return from MI at Breitenbush Hot Springs near Detroit,OR,a magical place owned by a worker collective; it’s a natural hot springs alternative resort which hosts everything from yoga retreats to Radical Faeries gatherings. And yes,we’ll be going during daylight and will hike in the beautiful Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.

    Ian or others in UK:**Orange cake recipe sounds great but *could you convert it to U.S. measurements? Is castor sugar the same as granulated sugar?*

  32. Maggie Jochild says:

    Okay, after laughing like a nutjob over the cake recipe (and questions) that WILL NOT DIE, here’s a couple of answers, Feminista. The questions about caster sugar were asked and answered in the comments under “More Fun Home News” at this blog, at
    And — the recipe apparently originally appeared on October 8 on this blog (thanks for the research earlier, Silvio) and, if my memory serves, the questions about measurements ensued shortly thereafter. You’ll have to go read it yourself to find out the details.

    Did anybody make this cake and send it to Alison, I wonder?

  33. Feminista says:

    OK Maggie,don’t get your knickers in a knot,but thanks for the references. I can’t read everything on this blog. I now know what caster sugar is,and I’m familiar with orange and lemon peel grating,which is much easier than zesting.
    I went back to Oct. 8 and didn’t find the conversions,so I’ll refer to my new 75th anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking,a gift from my bro-in-law.

    A cake as moist as this wouldn’t ship well; fruitcakes do much better. And I used to make a great one using dried fruit and fruit juice instead of candied fruit.

  34. cybercita says:

    hi feminista,

    i was the one who asked originally about the conversions. as i recall, in a subsequent post, londonboy roughly converted the grams to ounces, but the real problem for american bakers, of course, is converting the dry measurements from weight to volume. i don’t think anyone ever posted it on the blog, but didn’t silvio actually make the cake? silvio, can you enlighten us?

  35. AnnaP says:

    Would you people mind if I moved the cake conversation elsewhere? I could make “Moist orange cake FAQ” and everyone interested could read it from my blog.
    Stop Alison having nightmares like “Return of the cake”

  36. AnnaP says:

    Cake has i ts own blog now in here:
    If you come up with more questions go ahead an ask.

  37. AnnaP says:

    The little red button below the text saying KOMMENTOI
    means comment this blog.

  38. Ian says:

    AnnaP: that’s fantastic!!! Thank you – you even included my link to measurements conversion rates! Kudos for your work there! I suggest we all bookmark it in case anyone asks about the frigging (but delicious) thing again! Then we can just post the link. I do love how these things gain a life of their own though.

    On topic: Alison, that’s a lovely film of the birds in your back garden. Practically every house in the country has a birdfeeder in their back garden and it’s so therapeutic to watch them feeding or splashing in their birdbaths. Lovely stuff – made me feel very nostalgic for winters past.

  39. meg says:

    Kudos to AnnaP and the cakeblog!

  40. Silvio Soprani says:

    Okay, I’m back. (Had a hectic school week and had to force myself to stay away from this blog.)

    Yes, the cake has a life of its own.
    AnnaP, brilliant of you to make it its own blog.Now we just need Alison to put the cake FAQ link on the sidebar and we’re all set for future cake lovers who have not followed it from infancy.

    But I hate filling in fields that are labelled in a language I don’t understand. Yes, I get the name field, but the rest are mysterious.

    I must simply note for the record here that A)it does ship well; my daughter received it in excellent shape.
    B) I have not shipped Alison her cake yet because I have been broke since Christmas (yes, too broke to make and ship a little cake! Every nickle is going toward work gas money until Feb 1st; then things will improve) but it’s on my list.

    SNOW. there were several snowflakes on my windshield yesterday morning but they must have fallen so silently that i never saw it happen. My computer dial up is too slow to play the bird movie, but hopefully I will watch it tomorrow at work. I used to live in Maine in the 70s and my 82-year-old landlady would be out in the driveway shovelling the show. Of course guilt would propel me out of bed at 6 AM when I heard the scraping so I could rush down 3 flights and help her. I know I am being romantic when I say I miss the snow. But Baltimore rarely gets any. Back then I had really long hair and I would wash it and then go out to a coffee house or something and the hairs on my head would freeze into icy little straws. Being young, I thought this was excellent. And no, I never “caught my death” or got pneumonia. (Dumb luck, I guess.)

    In the rare winters when we get a blizzard here in Baltimore City, I love the way people come out of their rowhouses to shovel the sidewalk (no driveways around here!) and they talk to each other. One of the best friends I have, I met during a shovelling session. One of those “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” moments!

    Alison, even though I have only seen 2 seconds of your little movie (and I had to wait about 60 seconds for those to load), I love the tranquility of the scene. Thank you for the window!

  41. AnotherOregonian says:

    Hi all–I saw what I believe to be a *new strip* in this week’s local LGBT paper, but not online. ‘Sup?

    ps Feminista–My partner and I are waitlisted for a Parks & Rec trip to Breitenbush. The same…?

  42. Feminista says:

    AnotherOregonian–Yes,it’s the same trip. Two years ago the same trip was canceled due to low enrollment,last year it was full very early,but the third time’s a charm,eh? I hope you get to come! If not,maybe we can put together an Oregonian DTWOF fan club potluck or other meet-up along with Deena and Deb.

  43. Deena in OR says:

    I’m in…name the date, time and location! Breitenbush is a bit out of my budget at the moment…what with an upcoming college freshman in the family, a mortgage, and having a service economy job and paycheck. But a trip to Hawthorne
    Avenue…or Eugene, for that matter, since I’m sure I’ll be paying the campus some visits in the next four years or so

  44. Feminista says:

    Hey Deena–I’m going to BB as a must-needed respite after an upcoming trip to MI for my mom’s memorial service,which my sister in CA and I are planning by email and phone calls. She died Dec.27 after several years in assisted living; it’s been a quite emotionally draining.

    I understand the financial issues; I’m a widowed parent of a daughter,18,who’s now 3 months pregnant. And I just happen to live 2 1/2 blocks from Hawthorne Portland!

    So sister Oregonians–how about meeting on a weekend in mid-Feb. Deb,are you open to driving north next month?

  45. Jain says:

    I’m in Eugene–would love to meet here, too, or (sometimes) Portland.

  46. Deena in OR says:

    Due to custody issues, Sunday afternoons work best. I might be down in Eugene Feb 3rd…depends on my son’s audition schedule to the School of Music. I can make Friday or Saturday evenings work, too, with a little preplanning and notice. Anybody else?

  47. Feminista says:

    Deena,Deb,Jain,AnotherOregonian,and any others in PDX or the Willamette Valley–email me at so we can work this out. I won’t be able to do anything before Feb.11 due to previously mentioned commitments.

  48. judybusy says:

    What a lovely video! I am MN born and bred and even though there are those years when I tire of shoveling, I miss the snow. I think there are part of Texas that have received mroe than we have this year. One of my best childhood memories is the blizzard of ’76; I was nine and we were without electricity for a couple days, which also meant no heat. I remember my folks and three sibs all shared a bed to keep warm. (Have no idea how we all fit–maybe by putting two beds together.) When the skies cleared, we spent days and days making tunnels and caves. It was amazing!

  49. Sophie says:

    slapdash (adj.) Hasty and careless, as in execution: slapdash work. adv. In a reckless haphazard manner.

    Thanks for the new word, Alison. Lovely bird video. Very “Rural American Beauty”. I live on the Eastern fronteer (beyond which there be dragons) of a grungy/posh Montreal neighborhood called Plateau Mont-Royal. Around the block there is a big housing co-op (which here means subsidized housing, run by the people who benefit from it) where I used to live during my single mom-student days. The ladies in the gardening committee were real magicians with plants, herbs, flowers, birds. They even managed to coax hummingbirds into the little garden we had between the two buildings. My guess is they came all the way from the Botanical Garden about a mile further east (where there be dragons).

    Here’s a link to the website I made for the Co-op at the time. It’s only in French though.

    Then I moved to the other side of town, lived there for several years, and now I’m back practically on the same corner, in what feels like another dimension. Life is a spiral. It’s all white and frozen here, sunny and quiet. Very inspiring. And the nearby church’s noon bells are ringing.

  50. Maggie Jochild says:

    Sophie — what a beautiful post, evocative. I liked the website, too, despite my limits because I don’t, as we say in Texas, parlay-voo it. I wonder if the hummingbirds are not dragons who become miniaturized when they pass the mystical Eastern border?

  51. Sophie says:

    Thanks Maggie! I am sure that’s what they are. Parlay-voo dragon? Wooosh. Zooooeee! Oooo-Ha.