Two days after my pipes froze, the air temperature rose just enough to ensure that the next storm delivered sleet, freezing rain and rain, instead of snow. The skeletal trees were covered in shimmering beauty until their branches released the icy coating that encased them. While snow provides opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, ice drives people, animals and birds indoors.
Once the danger of being pelted with ice shards passed, a few brave squirrels and a small flock of juncos ventured out in search of birdseed buried under the icy snow.
Woodchucks are the only true hibernating mammals in New York's Hudson Valley. Bears, raccoons, chipmunks and others go into a state of torpor in frigid weather and will emerge if the air temperatures warm up enough. Right now, every living creature is bracing for the next round of storms.
When I’m stuck indoors, I eat the dehydrated and frozen foods I prepared as rewards for my foraging efforts the rest of the year. Fresh morels are tasty, but the flavor of dried morels soaked in milk or cream is more satisfying than chocolate, or sex, for that matter.
I feast on the most exotic foods on the worst weather days. I savor fiddleheads, wild leeks, wine-cap mushrooms, wild hazelnuts and shagbark hickory nuts in anticipation of the warmer temperatures that will hopefully replace ice with rain as the days continue to lengthen.
Visit my recipe page for an easy to make foraged comfort food recipe.