OK, I am beat. I mean really and truly beat. My lovely assistant and I today spent just over seven hours clearing a season's worth of accumulated snow and compacted came-off-the-metal-roof-in-a-big-icy-lump stuff off a deck. My hands can hardly work. My fingers don't want to type. The flesh on the insides of my hands - the palms and that side of my fingers feels strange. Like it's been smacked several times with the pointy side of a meat tenderizer mallet. Yeah. Like that.
This deck is probably 16 by 16 feet, surrounded on three sides by metals roofs that run the snow right down into the middle. We have dutifully shoveled a path up the center of this thing after each storm, but now there was enough snow and accumulated ice and such to cause some real concern about what that kind of weight might be doing to the deck itself.
So we attacked the twin masses with shovels. And got absolutely nowhere. The stuff was frozen into two solid icebergs, one in either side of the deck. Encased in one iceberg was a gas grill and a plastic watering can. Entombed in the ice on the other side of the deck was a plastic storage container for lawn chair cushions. None of these items were visible when we started.
The icebergs were about five feet high and about six feet deep. They each ran the length of the deck, about 16 feet, maybe a little more. One side got sun and was easier to break up. The other side was not in the sun and required a pick-ax.
Yes, a pick-ax.
I told A that I did not know whether to be thrilled or terrified that she happened to have a pick-ax with her. She simply grunted and swung high. I'd have been lost without her on this job.
The icebergs turned out to be historical things. We could look at the striations and recognize each storm's snow. The really thick layers of ice were from that couple of nasty storms we had in mid-January. The others were less distinct. It had the feel of an archaeological expedition.
I uncovered the watering can in what must have been the Cambrian Era.
We never found any fossils, though. And I dearly wish I had taken before and after pictures. I do have one picture of the deck from that first doozy of a storm earlier in the season. Remember this?
I'll swing over and take a picture tomorrow to show the new and improved snowbanks. You'll be impressed.
Oh, hell. Recipe time. Remember the recipe? This was supposed to be a post about a recipe.
Because I have a first-time commenter who is also a first-class storyteller in her own right, I will post the recipe to yesterday's sticky buns per the request of Gladys. Visit her blog and prepare to be entertained. Very neat site. Family friendly. Way more so than this one. I didn't see any pictures of women tied to equipment on her blog. Doesn't seem like that kind of place. But wicked cool nonetheless. Here's the recipe, straight from the Bread Machine Magic Cookbook, by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway. Published in 1992 by St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-06914-6 (paperback original) for you book geeks. I think it might be out of print, but it is a gem. Pick it up if you see it at a yard sale.
For a one-pound loaf. I use a bread machine. I am sure real bread-makers will know how to adapt this to by-hand methods. Please feel free to do that. I use the machine.
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
Select dough setting on machine, put all ingredients in the hopper and press start. Now go have a cup of coffee (or two) and read your email while it does its thing. About 10 minutes before it's done, you'll need to assemble the rest of the stuff.
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light or dark corn syrup
1/2 cup walnuts (I added these, they're not really in the recipe. Pecans would be good, too.)
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used waaaay more than that)
1/4 cup raisins
Deal with the topping first.
Brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan (9 by 9 square would work, too.)
Sprinkle in the brown sugar and nuts, then drizzle the corn syrup over the rest. Set aside. Hang onto that other bit of melted butter. We'll get to it shortly.
When the dough beeps and is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead a few times. Roll it out into a large rectangle - about 12 by 10 inches.
Brush with the melted butter, then sprinkle with the raisins, brown sugar and dust vigorously with cinnamon.
Next, roll up the dough along its longest edge and pinch it tightly to seal the seam. Gently mark out 12 or 16 pieces with a knife (but don't cut the dough with the knife - it will be bad!). Cut the pieces using a 12-inch piece of dental floss by sliding it under the roll and then bringing the two ends across the top to slice the dough cleanly.
Place the slices cut side up on top of the topping already in the pan and brush with that other tablespoon of melted butter. (I told you we'd get back to it!)
Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 325 F and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from the pan and invert on a plate. Let the pan sit for about 2 or 3 minutes to allow all the oozy-goozy caramel to let go of the pan and adhere to the rolls. Lift off the pan and serve while hot.
These are yummy while hot and will break a filling when cold. They don't keep terribly well, but microwave tolerably. When I am awake enough to remember, I add the raisins right into the dough when the machine beeps partway through the second kneading cycle. When I am not that awake, I spread them on the flat dough.
That's it. A daily report of my oh-so-dull life, a shout-out to a new blog buddy, and a recipe. Now I'm going to find a snack and head to bed. 7:30 p.m. is not too early for bed, is it?