So we had a hail storm yesterday.
We'd had kind of crazy weather all day - blue skies and puffy clouds one minute, dark gray clouds, pouring rain and sky to ground lightning the next. The national weather service (or whoever does this) even interrupted TV programming to run some severe weather warnings throughout the afternoon.
Initially the warnings were about the lightning in the area, but then around dinner time they mentioned the hail. Bill and I had been in the kitchen - he was making dinner and I was making the TWD Mixed Berry Crumble (see previous post) - when the latest warning came on, and we went downstairs to listen (we have one TV, and it's in the basement), and after hearing about possible hail, and just sort of shrugging it off, we went back up to the kitchen to see - yes - hail coming down.
So we called the kids, I got my camera, Bill got the DVD camera, and we hung out, mostly at the big front window, watching the spectacle.
It's good to do things as a family.
Now, you want to hear something funny?
Earlier in the day, I was looking through Deborah Madison's book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets. I just got the book, and I had a few minutes where I wasn't hearing "Mom!" "Mom?" "Mo-ommmmmmmmmm" "MOMMY!" every two and a half seconds, so I snuggled into the big tan chair in our living room while the rain poured and the thunder rumbled, and just started looking through the book. I read a paragraph here, a recipe there...and then along the way I read this:
A big bank of steel-gray clouds is moving swiftly toward town. Plses of lightning illuminate them, like luminarias. There is a low and continuous rumble of thunder, a wind is rising, and it looks as if all hell will break loose about the time the market is in full swing. But in the end the whole mass just blows over, dragging a blue sky behind it. Later that day, though, a storm does materialize, and it arrives with a volley of cracks that sound like gunshot. Outside hailstones as large as pullet eggs are bouncing off the roof. I run outdoors and gather a bowlful. They're oval shaped, having been spun through the clouds before slamming to earth. I have never seen hail so large or so perfectly formed....
I swear to you - I read that passage just a couple of hours before our hail fell. Isn't that weird?
Anyway, as our hail was coming down, I thought of what Ms. Madison had written, and dashed (yes, dashed, okay?) into the kitchen to get a bowl. Bill went outside to do the gathering.
Not the size of pullet eggs, but still, pretty impressive.
And so what do you do with all that hail?
You make drinks with it!
Bill's squeezing lime into a gin and tonic, mine has peachtree schnapps and fruit juice and a piece of our lawn floating just beneath the hail stones. The other glass off to the right belongs to one of the kids, and that had raspberry lemonade.
So there we were - the four of us - and our impromptu hailstone cocktail party. Dinner was forgotten, my crumble was still baking (fortunately we didn't lose power), as we hung out in the kitchen marveling at the weather.
We went outside - all of us, barefoot, to walk on the hail before it melted, and the kids gathered more of the little balls of ice in plastic cups so Daddy could make them some new drinks.
He also made another one for himself. This time he brought up (from the bar in our basement) some vodka and tomato juice, and he found the horseradish in the fridge...
And what do you think he made with that?
Are you sure you want to know?
I named it a "Hail Mary."
Nature sure is inspiring, huh?