A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson

(A re-print from February 19, 2015)

As a general rule, the residents of Washington County get tired of winter before winter gets tired of bringing the snow and cold air.  This year though takes the cake. Everyone I have spoken to about the weather is exhausted with trying to deal with the falling, blowing snow.  Even the Bostonians, who are usually depressed about getting a couple inches of snow, are out of their minds with the fall of almost sixty inches of snow in the last few weeks. If this winter is an example of global warming, someone needs to look at the research again.

Perhaps I suffer from the dreaded “selective amnesia.” When parents of my students used to tell me how great their junior high days were, I accused them of having “selective amnesia” and a few even agreed with me after they thought about it. Whether my problem is amnesia or not, I do not remember any winters like this one when I lived on the farm.

Just this weekend, I stayed in because of the cold weather.  Neither Lulu nor I want to spend much time on the back deck these days. I listened to the blizzard warnings for Washington County and by Saturday, I had decided that I would not be going to work on Monday. When the storm started, I was busy sweeping the snow away from the doors so Lulu and I would be able to get out. That lasted until I waited too long between sweeps and when I opened the front door, a huge pile of snow landed in the hall. Eventually the snow made its way half way up to the window in the door.

I watched the snow blow across the fields and worried about losing the electricity and about 3 pm I noticed that the house was cooling off. Of course, the furnace had quit.  I really did not want to get anyone out in the miserable conditions, but I also did not want my pipes to freeze so I had to call the shop. The young man on call lives in Princeton so I knew that with the distance and the weather, I would have a wait. The temperature continued to drop. I gave the dog another blanket, found one for the cats and snuggled into one myself.

The young man waded through deep snow banks to come to the back deck.  He was so bundled up in his blizzard clothes that at first I did not recognize him.  He found the outside pipes and discovered that the snow had been sucked into the furnace motor, melted and seized the motor.  No, they did not have a new one at the office, but maybe they had something that might work.  He left for Baileyville to help me out.

With the crew consulting on the problem and considering my lack of back up heat, he brought down a brand new heater, hooked it to my gas pipes and turned it up full blast.  It did not heat the first floor of the house but it kept the pipes, Lulu and me from freezing. Then he told me that the new motor would not be available until Tuesday. Since everyone was working so hard to solve the problem, I thought that I could last in the house until Tuesday.  I had a chance to have a ride out of here, but I did not want to leave my animals or terrorize the cats by taking them out in a blizzard.

Another reason I did not want to leave was that I had watched the technician carrying a new heater and his tools straddle the snowdrifts and I knew that with my short wheel  base, I would not be able to do it. I made a cocoon out of blankets, put on two shirts, a jacket, sweatpants and a hat and settled in for the night.  It was a long night.

Sometime toward morning I broke the recliner so it no longer reclines and pushed the wrong buttons on the remote so I no longer had television. I went to bed for an hour between 5 and 6 am.  About 8 am  George and Penny Cross dropped by to do some shoveling so I could get out the door.  They had to park halfway up the driveway and walk through the snow. After George and Penny left, the plow truck came and could not get up the driveway either.  The driver left to get recruits. Then an SUV tried to get up the driveway and could not get through.  Then the plow truck came back and plowed the driveway. That left the driveway clear for the furnace repair technician who was able to get the furnace working today. I now have heat. I will soon need a nap.


Before I go to bed, I will now move on to the recipe of the week. I looked for a short, hot recipe to make up for this long convoluted story.  This recipe is for German Pizza and is a nice change from our usual pizza.

German Pizza


One pound ground beef

One-half medium onion, chopped

One-half green pepper, diced

 One and one-half teaspoons salt, divided

One-half teaspoon pepper

Two tablespoons butter or margarine

Six medium potatoes (about two and one-fourth pounds) peeled and finely shredded

Three eggs beaten

One-third cup milk

Two cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese


In a 12 inch stove-top or electric skillet over medium heat, brown beef with onion, green pepper, one-half teaspoon salt and pepper.

Remove meat mixture from skillet and drain fat. Reduce heat to low.

Melt butter; spread potatoes over butter and sprinkle with remaining salt. Top with beef mixture.

Combine eggs and milk; pour over all.

Cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. 

Top with cheese; cover and heat until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.


Cut into wedges or squares to serve. Yield 4-6 servings.