Thursday, February 2, 2012

When there's snow outside ... well, everyone still plays.

Last Saturday, I went cross-country skiing with a few work mates in the valley of the Seed Savers Exchange property. Jim, the facilities manager, led the way with a backpack full of water, homemade mutton jerky, and high-calorie bread that he had left over from a snow camping trip he had planned. Yes, people go camping in the snow - reaching their destination by cross-country skiing and carrying everything they need to survive on a sled. Awesome?

I was excited enough about cross country skiing. Lucky for me, the local bicycle shop in town rents shoes, poles and skis for only $10 a day - and (to my amazement) trusted that I would return them. They didn't take my credit card information or even want my name. I swear, sometimes I feel like Decorah is some kind of magical fairy tale land.

I'm skiing! With new snow pants, too! They're poofy. 
A friend told me that you have to do cross-country skiing at least six times to learn to love it, and I completely agree. While I only fell twice, I was rather slow and had great difficulty getting any kind of flow going. Steffen attempted to show me how to go fast by 'jogging', but the concept is hard to do when your toes are strapped into a ski and that's not the normal way one jogs. Regardless of jogging, cross-country skiing is actually quite the workout. Afterwards, I felt as if I had been at the beach all day because not only were my legs sore and feeling like jelly, but the sun was shining on my face and the crisp air dried my lungs out a in a similar way. And of course, I was sore for several days afterwards.

These people are crafty.
On Friday night, I went to a bluegrass concernt - and the dancing was further proof that Decorah is some kind of magical abnormality to the Midwest, similar to how Davis exists out of normalcy. As I was enjoying the music, the dance floor quickly filled with high schoolers - all zooming across the dance floor in legit polka style. Apparently in Decorah, high schoolers take dance classes. It took me a few tries to remember polka and I never learned two-step, but you can't imagine how excited I am that not only do people know how to dance out here, but they really like it - and do it often. The very next night there was another dance, though I was too sore from skiing to attend it. And during the summer, there are dances every month - some contra, some not - but dancing. I get to dance ... all.the.time. YES.

I have also begun to develop a healthy love for bluegrass.

Otherwise, I've begun to get ridiculously domestic in the kitchen. I have friends that are more than happy to eat the things I make and there is a table to leave baked goods on to be eaten at work. This is good because it's so much more fun to cook for more than one. I finally got myself the Fanny Farmer Baking book, and made THE BEST chocolate cake out of it yesterday for Steffen's birthday. I love this baking book - I want to make everything out of it. Earlier in the week, I made smitten kitchen's bittersweet-chocolate and pear cake. Tomorrow night, I'll try her buttermilk roasted chicken. I ... I have never enjoyed cooking this much. I should always have people other than myself to cook for.

1 comment:

  1. Magical midwest fairyland... sounds awesome!
    I saw those smitten kitchen items, and drooled over the chicken. Hopefully they are as good as they look!