Thursday, November 29, 2018

Gales of November

You know it's November when the winds start gusting on Arctic Clipper systems... and lake effect snow pummels Erie, PA, Buffalo, NY, Wyoming and Allegany Counties, NY, my area outside of Rochester and the Tug Hill Plateau.

These are all big snow venues depending on wind direction. Yesterday's winter storm warning gave us about 5 inches here by me, while Wyoming County (east of Lake Erie) got hammered....

Isn't this beautiful? So "Currier and Ives" which is my way of saying the snow has cleaned up the look of display pieces and pallets we haven't moved to the back lot as yet... :) It's amazing how much better things look in the snow than in the mud! 

And by late afternoon the temps had gone up and it sprinkled... then rained... all from the same thing, wind off the lake to add "oomph" to a fairly small storm system... and then pouring, driving sleet by nine o'clock last night.

What a day!

We never take the gales of November lightly around the Great Lakes. They're quite real and shippers still use these massive bodies of water to reach inland harbors in Ohio and Michigan and Wisconsin.

For us landlubbers, it just means a whole lot of precipitation as cold air rushes over warmer waters. But for the shipping industry, it can spell a whole lot of trouble. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is more than a popular song dating back to the 1970's... it was an actual wreck of a freighter on Lake Superior that lost 29 lives. The entire crew. And the biggest freighter on the waters.

What a heartbreak.


That link takes you to a memorial site set up by family members of the lost crew and the timeline shows how scary this must have been....

So, yeah, we take lake squalls and lake effect snows and storms seriously but we are well-equipped to handle them up here so six inches of snow? We just call that "Wednesday" hereabouts! :)

There is something wonderful about comfort food. Tis the season for all kinds of things, but fresh breads and soups and stews and chicken-and-biscuit-type meals are the thing right now. And the time of waitful and hopeful anticipation is upon us! Advent starts on Sunday and my porch flag says Christmas is approaching!

Shepherd's Pie is a favorite around here over the winter. I use the Alton Brown recipe for Shepherd's pie (which is basically seasoned ground meat.... veggie mix... and mashed potatoes piled on top. When I want to make Shepherd's Pie I make sure to make extra potatoes a day or two before to cut down on preparation time.)  Here's the link!

But while I say I use that recipe, I really don't. I don't use lamb... or rosemary or thyme... because I'm using beef. But I do use onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and chicken broth.

And I don't mix the veggies in with the meat. I take a package of frozen mixed vegetables, thaw them, and put them over the hot meat in an oven-safe casserole or deep frying pan.

And then I pile the mashed potatoes on top and smooth them out.

Bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes begin to brown lightly on the top.

Serve  hot.

So what's "comfort food" by you?  I'd love to hear about it!

And this is what my son and daughter-in-law found at Kohl's last week. They asked "What would you like for Christmas?" and I said "Peace on earth, joy to the world and people to love each other."

They texted me while they were out shopping "WE FOUND YOUR PRESENT!!!"


Wishing you a beautiful first weekend of Advent! We'll be setting up our Advent wreath... Lena and Finn will be helping with the Nativity set today... and we'll pray for peace... love... and joy!

Multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne loves to write sweet stories of regular people... Like the ones who live on your street. Your block, In your building. She writes in the wee small hours of the night when no one is around but her and the dogs and a cat or two... and in the winter, these late night scribblings are so very, very quiet! You can find her at, friend her on facebook, follow her on Bookbub and e-mail her at
 She loves to hear from folks!


  1. What a start to your winter Ruthy! We are expecting a storm this weekend. The last time I looked it said 1-3 inches, but then this morning they started talking about 6-12 inches! As long as the plows keep up it won't be so bad. At least that is what I keep telling myself as we have a very busy weekend ahead. I must admit I am not a bug shepgashe pie fan. Maybe if I just put corn in it I could get behind it bevaube those frozen mix veggies with the peas just doesn't appeal to me. Happy start to Advent Ruthy! We havwnha even started decorating for Christmas yet, but it will happen soon!

    1. Oh my my auto correct was not my friend today. Bug should be huge and the jumble of what starts with the right letters should be shepherds pie lol

    2. I'm laughing because I understood every word, so what does that say about us, Katie-girl???? :) And you could use any veggie you wanted... corn would be great! And you could give it a Tex Mex flare, I bet... I bet Mindy's got a recipe for that!

  2. Ruthy, 6 inches of snow around Atlanta would be called a blizzard and would stop the city for a week. :)

    I love the towel! And the shepherd's pie! I need to make that soon.

    1. Missy, I laughed when they handed me the towel! So perfect. :)

      I know, the six inches thing can be tough when you don't have the tools to handle it. I think once you get past Pennsylvania it gets dicey when snow sweeps in!

  3. Now Gordon Lightfoot's song is in my mind, and it often is in November. Growing up in Michigan, I've always been very aware of the Lakes and their affect on the folks living near them. Would you believe I miss lake-effect snow? The storm Katie mentioned for this weekend won't be anything like the snows Lake Michigan gave us!

    The last time we were in the UP (aka, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), we went to the Edmund Fitzgerald museum at Whitefish Bay. A haunting, beautiful place to visit. Then you go outside and gaze across Lake Superior, knowing that the Lake (more an inland sea) is the grave site for those 29 men, plus many, many more.

    And Shepherd's Pie is the perfect wintertime food!

    1. Oh, Jan, that would be a thought-provoking museum for sure. What a sad day that was. The thought of being lost at sea... gosh that's scary. I can't imagine but I'm so glad you went to the museum.

      And these lakes don't mess around. Every year we lose people on Ontario... and more on the Finger Lakes (the long thin lakes in Central NY). So many of those could be prevented by wearing life jackets... and I'm a BABY so I always wear a life jacket on a boat. I'm not a strong swimmer and I know it...

      But imagine being in one of those huge storms.

      I can't even.

    2. It isn't being a baby to wear a life jacket! If your boat capsizes, how are you going to grab your life jacket? Or if you lose your balance and fall off? The life jacket isn't doing you any good if it's in the boat and you're in the water!

      I look at wearing a life jacket like wearing seat belt. "An ounce of prevention..."

      And those storms on the Great Lakes or on the ocean? You're right. I can't even imagine.

  4. Ruthy, would you believe I still know all of the words to The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald? Growing up in Michigan, I'm very familiar with the gales of November. But your pictures sure are lovely. And this shepherd's pie looks yummy. And that covering of mashed potatoes might even lure my boys in for a taste.