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Waiting for Something to Happen

By Becky Hoff

Fri, Feb 28th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

This is the time of year in which we are all waiting for something to happen. That ‘something’ is of course, spring. We’re all eagerly awaiting signs that the arctic landscape has not become a permanent fixture in our lives.

Here is what I have noticed so far.

The sun rose today at 6:47 a.m., and will set at 6:03 p.m. Today the daylight will last for 11 hours and 15 minutes. Back on December 8, the sun rose at 7:39 a.m. and set at 4:31 p.m. We had daylight for 8 hours and 52 minutes. We’ve gained 2 hours and 23 minutes since December 8 - this is significant!

The snow is slushy. Well, sometimes it is. You don’t get slushy snow in January, unless you’re having some sort of freak heat wave. That definitely did not happen this winter. January snow looks different from March snow. March snow is sloppy and heavy and frankly quite annoying to deal with. But it’s a sign of progress!

Twig tips are getting ‘feathery’. No, they’re not budding yet! But our trees can feel change in the wind, even if we can’t. Buds were produced last summer, but are kept well protected through the winter. If you look at the outline of a tree against the sky in December, the lines are very sharp. As we progress towards spring, the twig tips start to swell and look a bit more feathery against the backdrop of the sky. If this doesn’t seem very pronounced right now, just keep observing. It’ll become noticeable soon!

You can occasionally wear cotton instead of wool socks, and your feet don’t freeze. This is a huge deal, scientists should really make an official study of this. The day I can wander around my drafty old house bare footed will be the official start of spring for me.

And lastly, the time to start seedlings is approaching! I will be starting seedlings late this month and into April, and eventually those seedlings will be placed outside in their beds, in weather that will not immediately kill them. The weather will turn warmer and warmer, and my seedlings will (hopefully) flourish into nice big tomato and pepper plants. Can’t. Wait.

So there you have it! Five signs that spring is approaching. The sock thing alone is cause for rejoicing.

Today’s recipe is for nice and spicy homemade tacos. This is the recipe that I use when I make tacos, and after a year or so of tweaking I’ve finally got it the way I want it. You can adjust the heat by using a hotter or milder chili powder or salsa. Dehydrated tomatoes can be added to the mix to add some texture, but they’re not necessary. Don’t wait until Cinco de Mayo to try these tacos, we need fun and warming meals to get us through March!

Homemade Tacos

The Taco Seasoning

1 T chili powder

2 t onion power

1 t each of garlic powder, paprika (not smoked), crumbled oregano and ground cumin

½ t salt

½ t ground coriander

Mix seasonings together and set aside

Brown one pound of ground beef with one chopped medium onion and a pinch of salt. When the mixture is cooked, add your seasoning blend and cook for one minute, stirring constantly to keep the spices from scorching. To this mixture add about one cup of your favorite salsa, or tomato sauce, or a can of Rotel. Cook to desired consistency, adding small amounts of water or more salsa if consistency is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with tortillas and your favorite taco fixings.

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