Home » Food » Tending the Home Fires

Tending the Home Fires

This past weekend was brutally cold and I remained cocooned in my house. No way in hell was I going out to run in -30ºC (with the wind chill) no way, no how.  For the first time this year, I decided to make a fire in slow burning wood stove.  Man, the wood I have is fairly useless.  Burns just like that (snaps fingers).  My cubby holds three large loads of this wood carrier doohickey.

I burned the whole lot Saturday.  Sunday was supposed to be warmer and I thought I’d go for a run and then fill up the cubby for the next cold snap.  ‘Parently the cold snap wasn’t done.   Whilst the kids were still snoring, I lugged in the three loads, snow-covered, and got that fire going again.  Thankfully snow doesn’t make it that wet.  It was a few degrees warmer than Saturday…

I decided to make a leek and potato soup, which got me to ruminating as I chopped.  I remembered how I followed Pol Martin’s recipe for Crème de poireaux (cream of leek), having graduated from the Sel et Poivre magazines to real cookbooks.  Sel & Poivre was fine and dandy but often included ingredients such as custard powder rather than include how to make the custard.  Funny thing is, in another recipe from a later issue, there was a recipe for crème pâtissière (pastry cream/custard)!  I used to take out both copies so I could combine them.  Especially after having searched high and low for the prepackaged powder crap (and finding it lacking).

Anyway, back to my soup.  I remembered cutting the veg rather small, and never puréeing it in the end.  It never mentioned to purée it and so I didn’t.  I no longer have the book – frankly, because this was the only recipe I ever tried in the otherwise dull and lacklustre book and I now know it off by heart and have probably modified it since, anyway – so I cannot confirm that that part of the recipe was omitted.   Not so much a crème then, was it?  However, I remember really liking it and receiving no complaints.  Funny then, that was the only time I didn’t whizz it up into a smooth and creamy texture, adding a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley.  (I have also since figured out that the veg didn’t have to be cut so finely, especially since it was going under the immersion blender, or blender, that I no longer have.)  And then Sunday’s soup.  On a whim, I chopped everything fine and left it as is.  No cream necessary. I loved it.  And guess what?  Different audience, still no complaints!

As much as I could have remained in my cocoon for yet another day, I instead checked my fire and decided that it was warm enough(ish) to go out there, well-bundled up.  By 2:30 pm, I grabbed my camera, hopped into my car and determined where I would walk.  On a whim, I parked near the “country road” and started walking.  Realising I’d have to go a good ways before seeing anything, I trudged back to my car.  Off to the bird sanctuary, instead.  Note to self, these boots, while warm, are so heavy.  Time to go shopping.

I parked on the street behind another car, having noticed the parking lot was pretty full. Ugh. I long for the days when I worked shifts and could come here on a weekday.  It’s way too people-y on the weekends.

I took a good many photos, some of which ended up on the Facebooks and the Instagrams and I shall share them here, saving more for another post… 😉


126 thoughts on “Tending the Home Fires

  1. A day well spent Dale. This time of year it’s so necessary to feed body, soul and mind.
    the photo of the robins reminded me that it’s right around this time of winter that we gat flock through to polish off the berries on the mountain ash tree ( rowan to some). They swoop in as a noisy congregation and eat berries until the tree is bare. It makes having the tree worth having just for that.
    Hope you can have many more wonderful days in this otherwise bleak season!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Louis. It absolutely is… especially in these pandammit times. I love that these robins hang around during the winter. They have lots of berries, though dwindling, to pick from.
      I am sure I shall manage to have more and keep you all entertained 😉
      Have a fabulous day!


  2. You figured out how to stay warm. That leek and potato soup looks wonderful. Soups are great on cold nights. Beautiful photos. Robins, owl and Jack the sparrow. You can’t ask for much more when you’re freezing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh yeah. My jacket is so warm, I have to wear a t-shirt underneath, which I didn’t, and was frankly cooking! That soup was one of Mick’s favourites. And, as far as my eldest is concerned, it’s always a good day for soup. I was pretty chuffed with Sunday’s offerings. Didn’t see any waxwings or starlings this time but hey… Next time!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Dale,

    The soup looks tasty and the fire toasty. Love your photos as usual and I see some birdies perhaps asking to have their portraits painted. Stay warm and safe, my friend.

    Shalom and lotsa warming hugs,


    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Rochelle,

      It was very tasty and the fire was toasty – as long as I kept feeding it… boy was it hungry 😉
      I think the birdies were posing for you… and I have more for ya 😉 Stay warm, you too!

      Shalom and lotsa belly-warming love,


      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s definitely soup weather (and fire weather, if you have a fireplace/wood stove). 😀 I love my immersion blender. I use it all the time for soups.
    Beautiful landscapes and closeup. You captured the stark beauty of winter.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Dale, (1) how do you heat the rest of the house? (2) Warming from within with tasty food is absolutely brilliant and your descriptions were so appetising (I hope some cheese was involved but I am sure it was) and (3) hope to hear back that the kids surprised you with an armful of wood for the burner – but not holding my breath!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hey there Jilly,
      1) Electrical heating. I don’t understand why whoever installed the slow-burning stove did NOT make vents so the heat could go up to the rest of the house. I put a fan to push it to the end of the room and hope it makes its way up the stairs but… meh.
      2) I could make a new soup every other day. My eldest would be ecstatic if I did… And no. There was no cheese other than cream cheese with crackers on the side 😉
      3) Please don’t. I don’t want you keeling over… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had to laugh out loud at the rapid burning of the logs. 🙂 I wish for a fireplace, but wouldn’t know the first thing about starting a real fire. Kudos to you. And the soup looks yummy! Love the photos and you are a trouper to take on the cold.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is some really old wood that I actually transferred from my old house to this one. Not the best hard wood, methinks. With a little practice, you’d be great, I’ve no doubt.
      The soup was yummy!
      Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is more of a potage, and far from a velouté. Meanwhile, I always thought a potage was one that was puréed and a crème, basically a potage with cream added… soup for me equals chunks so.. potayto / potahto! As long as it tastes good.

      It IS flipping cold!



  7. I love a wood fire and there is an art in using the proper wood. The hottest & long burning is Hedge. Soup, ah yes. One of my fav foods. Yours looks great. I make a wonderful potato soup with many ingredients that varies according to what I find in the pantry/fridge. Nothing better on a cold snowy day.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is true. I’ve never heard of Hedge tree… We used to buy a mix of maple and others. Now? What I have in my pile is birch and I’m not sure what. Not so good.
      Soup rules! I think I’ve unleased my soup bug. I feel another one will be made soon 😉


      • Honey locust is also a hot burning long lasting wood. I didn’t think about you not having Hedge in your part of the continent. They are the trees with the big green Hedge Apples on them.


  8. Oooh…. that soup! I was just reading a recipe from Flourist for Leek and Navy Bean soup thinking I’d have to make it this week! 🙂

    I used to have a ‘rule’ — I’d stop running outside when the temperature dipped below -22C — not sure why -22 was my number but it was — I think it had to do with my face covering freezing as I ran! 🙂

    And your weekend sounds delightful — even the carrying wood parts. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • It was divine, if I say so myself. And yumm… Love me beans in any format.

      It’s funny. If I had slept worth a damn, this morning I would have gone. As long as the “feels like” temp is not below -20, I was willing to go. I saw some guy run past my house and thought well now… I could have, if I’d been so inclined. I just feared the streets would be shite after the foot of snow that fell yesterday. Wasn’t keen on breaking my neck.

      My weekend was delightful. I don’t mind the work, to be honest. It’s always nice to have a helping hand but let’s call it a preparation for when they are gone in body as well as in spirit (like they are now)


  9. The best part of winter is the coziness of cocooning inside…the second best is getting invigorated outside when it’s not tooooo cold. Your pictures are great! Glad you brought your camera along.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh yes. If I hadn’t gotten home so late, I would have treated myself to a hot chocolate and toast 😉
      Glad you enjoyed my pics (and I almost always tote my camera when I know I’m going to certain places!)


  10. These chilly single digit and below days are definitely soup and stay-in-snug-by-the-fire days. I’m surprised you have robins as well. I think they are adapting to cold winters, must be all the fruit trees like crabapples we plant!
    And good eye in spotting the owl… so puffed up to keep warm!

    Liked by 2 people

    • 74… wearing a little sweater to keep the chill away? I will bring soup. Any favourite flavour?
      Me too. I love when all my loves come together. Food, Photo, Formulation of words upon page (or computer screen)…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Right. After today it’s back to winter for us..
        I just ordered anther damn book. “Cambodia” by Brian Fawcett (Canadian). My TBR grows. I could not get an e-book, so need to make room.
        Nice alliteration, Dale. 🙂 You pick the soup.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Right. Winter… Your version of it, anyway 😉
          I am guilty of the same thing – increasing the TBR list/shelf.. Sigh. The last book I chose to read came from the “been on the shelf for years” pile and once read, was put into the donation pile.
          I had to find something for the writing 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, I don’t know if it’s been Spring or Fall. but it’s not fit even my sissy version.
            I am trying to finish 3 books so I can review them at my writer’s group on the 29th. But the one I got will not be delivered until that week. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hah! I’d take your sissy version right now. We were given one day of sort of mild but it came with heaps of snow. We are crawling down to an even fiercer cold snap come the weekend. Ugh.
            I’m trying to finish two books! But I don’t have anyone to review them to. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Q

    There’s a season for soup and we are in the frosted thick of it right now. Fall is good too, but winter, there’s something old world about soup in winter. Add in some crusty bread and it’s an Inn on the way to Westeros. WITHOUT the threat of getting axed to death by a not so merry band of pirates along the way.

    The captures! Oh the lovely captures as per usual.


    Liked by 4 people

  12. You had quite a cosy fire going there.
    And I love a Leek-Potato soup. Been meaning to make it for eons. Perfect way to toast the soul on a freezing winter day.

    It’s been exceptionally cold in our part of the world too and I also have been mostly indoors. Makes sense to given the rising Covid cases.
    Having said that like you I do take out time to catch some sun post afternoon lunch. If there is a sun that is as most days are foggy and deary. We have been kind of lucky the last two days as the sun made a special guest appearance post noon. 🙂

    Have a good rest of the week, Dale.

    And a blessed 2022.


    Liked by 3 people

  13. -30C? Not for me. I’m waiting for global warming to see palm trees and beaches in Canada… 🇨🇦 😉
    Soupe de poireaux pommes de terre? That was a favourite of “me mum”. Hmmm. Yummy.
    (Said child is 21? Born in 2000? OMG)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. We’ve had several days this week where it was too cold to walk when we like to walk. Today included – it’s 8. The soup looks good. It looks like you flirt with the soup/stew line, but it looks noce for a cold day.

    Liked by 1 person

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