Frost nip and other sundries

Thursday, January 30, 2014
You know it's been a rough winter when Minnesotans can't bring themselves to discuss the weather anymore. I'm tempted to throw a "F*ck It's Freezing" Party where we drink hot cocoa, play board games, watch bad movies, and maybe even whimper a little bit.

But take heart: it's February on Saturday, and at some point in February there's almost always bring a brief and temporary thaw. So that's something!

It actually warmed up a bit this past Friday, so Andy and I packed up ye olde snowmobile and head down the trail to one of the large lakes in the area. Of course, temps in the 20s just meant the wind was howling as the next batch of frigid blew in. I'd never actually been on this particular lake before and it was a nice change of scenery.  We'll be back, maybe even when the wind isn't blowing 30 mph.

We didn't stay long enough to catch anything. I was hot to trot to get home to make a batch of boeuf bourguignon. As it was, the infamous beef stew wasn't ready until well after 8 p.m., but it was well worth the wait and I feel that Julia would approve of us eating European style (aka, real late). 

I had my first real brush with frostbite on a brief snowmobile ride in -12 temps on a windy lake on Tuesday. It's just frostnip really, which nipped at my cheek and bridge of my nose through a leaky snowmobile helmet visor. I'm familiar with the warm burn of windburn on winter evenings after a day outside, but whereas windburn kind of makes you feel alive, the sting of frostnip is a humbling reminder of just how deadly cold can be.

That said, when I was a little girl playing hockey on an outdoor rink, I used to come into the warming house at the end of a game and sit crossed legged on the bench after taking off my skates, trying to warm up my painfully cold, bright pink toes and not cry. The frostnip pictured above did not make me clutch my cheek and softly sob, so it really wasn't that bad. 

Turns out, frostnip feels a lot like sunburn and by Wednesday morning, it was kind of itchy. A friend suggested I put honey on it, but I had visions of sticking to everything I touched if I did that, so I opted for some dabs of Smith's Rosebud Salve throughout the day instead. Really just glorified petroleum jelly, one of Andy's coworker's dad's company packages Rosebud Salve, which is how we ended up with a tin of it. We've actually had it for a few years and I wasn't sure what to do with it, but lately have been using it as lip balm, and now, frostnip salve. The tin describes the salve as "all purpose skin preparation," which "aids in the relief of chapped skin, diaper rash, blemishes, detergent burns, and rough cuticles, and it softens rough hands." They sell it at Antropologie, so you know it's cool.

On a warmer note, I made my annual batches of marmalade over the weekend - a batch of Triple Citrus (grapefruit, lemon, and orange) and Meyer Lemon. Making marmalade is exceedingly tedious and at almost every step of process (but especially when you're in the midst of supreming 12 citrus fruits which takes forever) you wonder why you bother. Then you see those jars of processed marmalade lined up and it's like you've bottled up sunshine - in the throes of January no less - and suddenly it's all worth it. Plus it tastes pretty good, even if my Triple Citrus got a little gummy. 

Don't laugh, but I actually planted a few Meyer lemon seeds in the pot above. It felt so good to touch dirt. We'll just see if they decide to sprout. . . Meyer lemon marmalade with homegrown lemons in as few as six years, you guys! ;)


  1. You'll have to (slowly) keep us updated on the lemon's growth :) Your first picture is just gorgeous- I have been hibernating a lot to stay safe from frostbite/ frostnip or getting a ride to work instead of walking. We had sort of a version of the "f*** its cold" party last weekend and it was very nice to be on the hosting end so we didn't have to go anywhere. :) Stay warm!

  2. Wow, it's really winter somewhere! Here in Nor Cal, we were praising one inch of rain. Maybe an inch? Love reading your blog .It transports me....

  3. Totally out of left field here, but I found your blog searching for frost nip images and comments, since my 7mo baby has some rosy marks around her mouth from a too-cold teether. Your description of it feeling like a sunburn helps me understand what she's feeling as it heals. I feel terrible about it...she was so happy to have the teether that I didn't watch it closely enough. One spot is even a little firm like it wants to blister :( I sincerely hope I won't have to apply my newfound knowledge this winter, although the portents are rather grim. Here in Madison, WI it was pretty brutal last year. I can only imagine what it was like up in your neck of the woods! Well, imagine and read your wonderful descriptions! I Am going to peek around and see if you share your marmalade recipes. They sound wonderful!


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