Ole's on the volunteer fire department, you know. They've had a pretty quiet summer, which is good. But now as the weather starts to get colder and folks are using their heating systems, and the weather starts to lay down an icy coating on the roads and highways, they are getting called out more frequently.
Yesterday morning Ole and I were still sitting around in our jammies drinking coffee when his pager went off - "Small Town Fire Department, meth lab fire at the corner of County Road 17 and County Road 10!" Oh my gosh, not only is that extremely hazardous, but that location is only a couple of miles from where we live!! We've got meth heads THAT close? We live in a quiet neighborhood. That kind of stuff doesn't happen here, does it? Then the pager went off a second time, "Cancel that call, meth lab discovery, but no fire. Please investigate." Well, that's still hazardous, but not nearly as bad as a fire.
So Ole jumped into his jeans, donned his flannel shirt, I handed him a protein bar as he exited the door because he hadn't had breakfast yet, and he zoomed down the driveway and into the fire department where everybody geared up in haz mat stuff.
A local farmer had been out investigating his property where he planned to go deer hunting and came across what was left of a meth lab that had obviously been used very recently. It was right out in the tall grass next to a corn field along the river. He said he had been noticing a car parked along that area off and on for the last several months. But every time he would head out to investigate the car the person would return to the car and leave. Remember, we live in an area where everybody knows everybody and a strange car causes a lot of speculation.
Ole and I also run the dogs along that road on a fairly regular basis about the same time every day. We've also noticed a strange pickup parked in the same place off and on for the last several months, but didn't think anything of it. Just thought it was someone running a trap line. One time there was a female along, so we speculated that they were out on this lonely country road "bumping uglies" if you know what I mean (tee hee). Of course when we're running the dogs, they're out in the ditches and sniffing on every gopher mound and dirt lump, so our truck is just crawling along at a snail's pace. But every time we would get within a quarter of a mile of this truck, someone would get in and take off.
So they dismantled the equipment and the sheriff picked it all up.
So there you have the latest breaking news - exciting, isn't it?
Now yesterday I was talking about traditional holiday ScandiHOOvian food, namely that smelly, gelatinous, white stuff called lutefisk. Today I have something much more delicious to talk about. Ever heard of lingonberries? Mmmm, good.
They're little tiny red berries, juicy ones are about the size of a garden pea, that grow on a bush very low to the ground in what's called the boreal forest. See, you're getting an education today. What's a boreal forest? Well, that's what we have in Minnesota - where we have permafrost all year long - way up in far northern Minnesota.
Well, truly the ground doesn't stay frozen all year long up there, but the lingonberries require cool soil that's very acidic and heavily forested because they like shade. When they're ripe all the silly Swedes get down on their hands and knees and pick those babies and they end up in my store where I can pay an arm and a leg for fresh berries. But they are soooo worth it. You can make them into jam or syrup, but here's my favorite recipe and I make it every year for Thanksgiving. It's so easy even I can do it!!
Equal parts of sugar and water - enough to just cover the lingonberries
Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to thicken. Remove from heat and cool.
Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter and sugar as if you were making a pie crust.
Layer lingonberries, cracker crumbs and heavily whipped cream in a clear glass bowl.
Makes for a pretty holiday dessert and tastes wonderful.