The snow was already dusting when I made tea at 5:30 this morning. By the time I headed down the hills to Peterborough, the roads were coated and I didn’t drop out of four-wheeled drive until I turned onto Route 101. Mount Monadnock was still visible, barely, as I came down the last hill into town.
Business was brisk at Monadnock Oil and Vinegar. Last minute Valentines seekers, spooked by the weather report, were out in full force, particularly at our neighbor Ava Marie Chocolates. Our first customer was a woman who had asked for a particular product, blackberry ginger balsamic, she was pleased to find it had arrive just yesterday. Others wandered in and exhibited one of two reactions. Their eyes softened, their faces relaxed and they appeared to have found Mecca. This customer delights in telling tales of gastronomic adventure in Italy and beyond. The second personality walks in and turns 360° with a look of skepticism. An entire store devoted to oils and vinegar? They warm up quickly to the idea when we engage them in some creative tasting. A gentleman from Temple had found us by accident thorough an ad in the local paper that he was rolling up to start his stove. He said when he walked in, “I just had to see for myself what a store that sells oil and vinegar looks like!” We had a lively conversation about food and bees. He was intrigued by the life-cycle and the problems facing the bees. For 30 minutes I found such joy in sharing knowledge and thoughts with a complete stranger on topics so near to my heart; my town, the region, food, gardens and bees.
Business slowed as the storm heightened. I headed back up the hills at 1pm in four-wheel drive; top speed of 30 miles per hour on the short stretches of flat road. My notoriously steep driveway is probably not going to see tire tracks again today, unless the plow appears in the middle of the night. I made it up after two tries, then carefully backed the truck into the garage for better traction when I have to hurdle through the snow bank the plow will leave in front of the door.
Warm tomato bisque for lunch and a fire crackling. The wind is howling now and the visibility from my loft windows is only half the front yard. The sky-lights are covered in powder, creating a soft, early evening light.
My house-mates are not so pleased with the situation. Long stretches of recent cold have curtailed their outside activities and they are severely suffering from cabin fever. Happens every year. They cats become short-tempered, particularly the ancient matriarch, Belle. Corners of rugs a constantly rolled, beaten into submission for some unknown transgression. I tried to kick Alice and Dahlia out for a quick bio-break and was met with the following…
Getting them through the door without an avalanche of snow on the floor involves making them run through a towel tunnel. And the inevitable rearranging of skin after that.
Tonight, the crowning achievement in my little world so far this year, NH Chronicle airs a segment on the store. My happy note says, “I love my life right now, the now is important because of the past and in preparation for the future.”
The plowman cometh…