DIY Almond Coconut Milk

My green journey began after the reducing dairy conversation with Bubble…my initial resistance was based on the impossibility of life without cheese, yogurt or ice cream, all of which quickly found dairy-free alternatives for…”Plus think I have mastered the bannoffee breakfast drink now and must have milk for that!!” The comeback “Sometimes milk is needed (e.g. nice cafe latte) other times vanilla almond milk is great (smoothies, cereal and instant coffee!)” set me on the path of alternative milks.

Until this point, I had only associated alternative milks with soy which I never much liked: that there might be other options out there was total news to me…I always pushed obliviously past those shelves at the supermarket. I started out with prepacked almond and coconut from the supermarket but was never that comfortable with all the big words in the ingredients panel on each package plus each empty package = waste…

It didn’t take much Googling to learn that making my own almond, coconut or almond coconut is actually quite easy, actually so easy that I wonder why anyone would bother with the store-bought packs..? I’ve expounded the benefits to a lot of people online and in real life and I thought that it’s probably past time for a bit of a tutorial…

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I have a dedicated blender for milk making…it was only $24, heavily discounted at Briscoes…the advantages it brings to the game is that it has the capacity to hold the nut and 1.2 litres of water, and I can pulse the mix every ‘while’ as it sits.I used to use my bullet blender but had to amalgamate the mix in a separate bowl.

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The raw materials: I buy the chopped almonds in 3kg lots from Happy and Healthy, and the coconut chips in 1kg lots from Bin Inn or similar bulk stockists. I add a cup (approx 100 grams) of each to the blender and cover it with boiling filtered water – our water here is all rain water, but we’re well into the filtering habit and it doesn’t do any harm…

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Pulse the mix of nuts and boiling water for a minute or so…I think that the boiling water helps bring out the oils and flavours from the nuts…

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It’ll look something like this..DSCF0453

Top it up to the Max mark with cold filtered water – you could use more boiling water but I don’t thing it adds anything and you would need to be a lot more careful pulsing the mix until it cools down…

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Let the mix sit for a few hours or preferably overnight, giving it a quick pulse stir up every time you walk by or get bored…

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After sitting overnight, the milk has separated into the meal at the bottom and the oils and good stuff has risen to the top…the same happens in the bottle hence the good shake before use…

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Spread your filter cloth over the target bowl. My filter cloth is polyester voile I bought as a bulk end lot from Spotlight ($12 for 5+ metres)…I just sliced off a half metre square and find this much easier to use than nut milk bags which are also more expensive and harder to clean.

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Pour the mix into the centre of the cloth…

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Draw in the edges and let the bulk of the liquid drain through into the bowl…

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Hold the top of the filter cloth and twist the ball of meal so that the tightening cloth squeezes the remaining liquid into the bowl…

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Voila! one litre of almond coconut milk, fresh as with no big words or other additives. This will last in the fridge for a week. It will settle and will need a shake before you use it. I use this any place I would previously have used milk except for cheesemaking where it probably will not work (haven’t actually tried that) but may still be doable for dairy-free cheese (also not tried yet – with this milk)

I save the leftover almond coconut meal to use in baking. I generate a lot of it and so dry it over the fire or in the oven after baking (I switch the oven off and let the residual heat do the drying) and store it in a sealed container until I need it.

I use the meal in bread (1/2 a cup into every mix), almond coconut cookies, as a substitute for flour-heavy recipes and also recently used it to absorb the additional fluid when I put too much milk in the mix for my roast baby armadillo recipe

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Mirror | The Daily Post

This week’s challenge is all about reflections. Show us a mirror. You can take this photo challenge literally, and find reflections in mirrors, or in the stillness of a natural body of water. Or, use this challenge to take a photo of yourself in the mirror. Self-documentation is important, especially for those of us who are usually behind the lens.

Source: Mirror | The Daily Post

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Purakanui Inlet, on the coast (obviously), just north of Dunedin on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

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Lulu loves the wind in her face…we finally got her to accept that it was a better idea to keep her feet inside the car. She’s an old dog now, but still loves going for a drive..she’s not quite up to getting up on the deck on her own now so we have a little loading ramp in the garden for her to board and debus…

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The prototype Fisher XP-75 in the old experimental hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio…a memento of a brief era when a highly-polished surface equalled a few more miles per hour in maximum speed…

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I have no idea what this building is but it is opposite the Thon Hotel in Brussels. I always preferred to stay in town when working in Brussels: yes, it was a 30 minute bus ride to work each morning but the evenings, we explored all the eateries, bars and alleyways around the Borse…

Orange Walnut Cake

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I forgot to photograph the process and this little bit was the last remaining piece by the time I remembered…good texture, just a little overcooked…

I’m always looking for new ways to reduce waste and to make the most use of each ingredient. After the success of my lemon icing experiment last month, I thought I’d try the same with orange zest. I looked at a lot of recipes but I liked this one for orange walnut cake from Don’t Forget Delicious as it wasn’t too sugar heavy…

I changed the recipe slightly using half and half combinations of raw sugar and coconut sugar, high-grade flour and home-milled whole flour, and manuka honey and coconut syrup.I didn’t read the instructions properly and baked it in a loaf dish which was too deep to allow the centre to cook at the same rate as the outside: it needs to be baked in a flat pan (I realised this just now as I was checking the recipe). It took three small oranges to around a tablespoon of orange zest…I might aim for a little more next time

Because I used the wrong baking dish, I had to leave it in the oven longer to bake the whole way through and so the final result was a little scorched on top and generally dry inside. Lesson learned for next time.

I wanted a Greek yogurt icing recipe as I had a lot leftover after our beets, feta and rice dinner the other night  and found this one:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of icing, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest – maybe a little more next time for a stronger orange flavour – I only had quite small oranges (took one to contribute about a teaspoon of zest) so using bigger ones next time should sort this

Instructions

  • Whisk all ingredients until they become a bit thick.
  • Place in the fridge to thicken even more (at least 30 minutes).
  • Spread on cupcakes.

This tasted really good but the recipe calls for way too much yogurt: even after a night in the fridge to thicken it as per the instructions it was still really fluid, too much so to effectively spread…next time I will drop the yogurt down to half a cup and see how that goes…

I was only able to smear a little of the icing over the top without it running off the sides but it did it help conceal the slightly scorched crust. I took it into work and it still disappeared pretty quickly so it wasn’t a total flop…

Orange zest is now a proven ingredient and I am keen to see if I can make a workable orange curd spread in the same way you can with lemons…

We can make and enjoy nice treat and stay true to our green journey…

Share Your World – 2016 Week 33 – INSPIRING MAX

Source: Share Your World – 2016 Week 33 – INSPIRING MAX

Following Max’s lead again for this weekly challenge…(slightly delayed because I forgot to schedule it to post…)

Would you travel into outer space?

Absolutely…we can’t stay on this little blue ball forever…when I was ten I not only wanted to build this but believed it was totally possible..

moonbase ufo shadoWhich country/city in the world (that you have never been to) would you most like to visit and why?

I pick two…

My first pick is the same as Max’s…I’d love to visit Iceland, the ultimate mix of ice and volcanoes…

iceland

My second pick is an ice chapel somewhere in Japan…one of the girls I worked with a couple of years ago told me about this place and I’ve been curious about it ever since…

ice chapelI’m not sure if this pic is that exact location – the one she showed me looked pretty classy but most of the pix I could find online looked like alpine versions of a Nevada wedding mill…

What could you do to breathe more deeply today?

I’m not sure really…it was a day off so I started with my normal stretching routine (days on are generally a little more challenging organisation-wise)…then I got called into work to resolve a technical difficulty which was easy enough…then I go some potentially really good news from one of my lawyers and that was cause for some deep breaths to keep calm to confirmation one way or t’other comes through next week..all in all I think my breathing was appropriate for the day I had…

Complete this sentence:  This creamy peanut butter sandwich could really use some … Tabasco sauce…I don’t really like peanut butter except as a baking additive and Tabasco sauce is my solution to any food I don’t like…tastes like Tabasco…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m really grateful that my annual performance review interview last week went in a direction that I totally did not expect and left me with great prospects for the future; I’m looking forward to a week of solid study before I go on course the week after…

 

‘Cado, pineapple and ‘mato salad

Last night, I mentioned that, I was still searching for a suitable side to go with my Kumara curry and salmon hash browns…after five years, can you believe it? I’ve been getting by with rocket salads but I kinda hate rocket…if I’m absolutely honest about it…

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So, on Wednesday afternoon, I sat down with a lot of coffee and considered the problem. What textures and flavours would complement but not compete with the textures and flavours of the hash browns and salmon. There is just a hint of curry in the hashes, mixed with the salt of the salmon and smooth cheesiness of the sour cream that holds the stack together. Overall it’s quite sweet and smooth.

It all came together quickly after I thought of an avocado base….smooth and sweet…with pineapple, sweet with a fibrous texture…with diced tomato…more tart and something else to bite into. Originally I was going to warm this mix in the microwave – it is winter after all – but opted for a natural heat from a sauce derived from the fried avocado tacos at The Guardian by blending all these together:

1 cup of sour cream

2 small chillies

2 gloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of lime juice

1 bunch of coriander

a smidgen of salt and pepper

The black rice was an afterthought left over from the previous night’s beets, feta and rice…I wasn’t really sure what to do with it otherwise but it worked well in our salad.

The first night I only used a teaspoon-sized dollop of the sauce on the salad – wasn’t enough to appreciate all the flavours. I had one hash stack left over plus about a cup and a half of the salad and other stuff in the fridge from a  week of cooking that I needed to consume to free up fridge space.

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So this is Take Two: one curry kumara salmon stack reheated in the microwave (it was already cooked: normally, I would keep the hash mix uncooked), with a goodly amount of greek yogurt on top, with the salad accompanied by a decent-sized dollop of the coriander and chili sauce, topped with feta from the beets and rice dinner…

Mmmm…primo!!!! A great blend of flavours and textures, with bonus points for good use of left-overs…less points for unused salmon which I just remembered is still sitting in the fridge…

…so tomorrow’s challenge may involve smoked salmon, streaky bacon, feta, sour cream, greek yoghurt, a tomato and an avocado. The rest of the pineapple – all fresh here no canned stuff – is destined for smoothies with banana, chia seed, coconut milk and tumeric…

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If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how great it has been having Mum and Dad come to visit for the last week…we even got some halfway decent weather…

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Leaving on the Northern Explorer, heading south…

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Louie found a new walking buddy

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A quiet spot in the sun

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Can’t keep some people out of the garden

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Dad discovers the media centre remote…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how great it has been having people to cook for the last week. Breakfast and lunch are pretty much self-help here but our dinner menu was pretty on to it:

Day One: Roast Baby Armadillo on a potato, kumara, parsnip mash. This is quick and easy. I only made half the recipe but added the full cup of milk to the bread which made it a bit gooey. I fixed this with a half cup of almond coconut meal (left over from almond coconut milk) which a. worked to soak up the extra milk and b. added an interesting flavour and texture twist to the meat loaf.

Day Two: South African Curry with brown rice. This can be made with meat or not but I had 500 grams of mice left over from the baby armadillo and, due to my currently congested fridge space, this was a good way of consuming it.

Day Three: Fruit Salad Curry with brown rice.

Day FourChicken and Potato Chowder. My plan was to have this with homemade bread but I got a bit careless and put into too much water. The result was a bread with a heart so hard it burst out of the when I tipped up the breadmaker bowl.

Day Five: Beets and Goat Feta on Black Rice. This was the first time I’ve made this with raw beets. These worked as well as if not better than the precooked one I snagged form the supermarket last time by accident.I did go over on the olive oil and had to up the honey and balsamic to compensate…it all worke don the day though..

Day Six: Curry Kumara Hash Browns with Salmon and a neat salad. These hash browns are really nice but I’ve never been able to find a decent side to go with them. In the past I have relied on a dodgy rocket salad but I’m not really a big rocket person. Last night I tried a bit of an experimental salad and sauce that worked really – both of them…more to follow on that soon…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how impressed I was when the train arrived 15 minutes early on Friday…but then it was almost 15 minutes late this afternoon – life balances out but the lesson is to wait in the cafe with your coffee and the crispy fire until it actually pulls up…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m humbled to have gained a seat on the National Park Community Board. Elections aren’t until October but the position wasn’t contested so it’s done and dusted. I’ve probably just signed myself for even more work but I’ve got some catching up to do getting into this community. I’ve lived up here since 2004 but it’s only been since I started to work in the Park that I’ve started to get involved…yes, I do miss the Defence travel sometimes but it doesn’t outweigh coming home each night…

If we were having coffee, I’d be telling you how excited I am to be getting into some new ventures in the Park…

Cowspiracy

cowspiracy cover

My green journey started when Bubble asked me if I had seen Cowspiracy…seen it? I had only vaguely heard of it…but in the spirit of learning and breaking down preconceptions (of which, I may or may not have a few), I tracked down a copy, put my feet up one night with a cold root beer and watched…

…and watched…

…and watched…

…but this guy really just didn’t do it for me…nor did his story…

Cowspiracy presents like a ‘real crime’ expose…but the producer is so sure that everything is part of some great but unstated conspiracy but all his smoking guns are wet bus tickets. I think the point is is trying to make – bit never does – is that any sort of dairy farming is unsustainable.

That may or may not be true but his logic never gets to the point and the narrative wonders from one conspiratorial form of commercial agriculture to the next. He accuses Greenpeace and other organisations of being complicit in the conspiracy and then wonders why they don’t want to speak to him – which he then presents as further evidence of the conspiracy.

From my own research I get that feeding cattle wheat-based products has an effect on the environment. I get that this may lead to a profit-motivated clearing of forest for cropland. I get that extensive marketing drives over-consumption of meat products. But Cowspiracy didn’t tell me that. The only things I got from Cowspiracy was the clever title and an unpleasant sensation that ‘antis‘ like the producer of Cowspiracy do more harm than good to their cause and that crossing the road to avoid them is probably a good idea…

But I’m glad that Bubble recommended that I watch it. It made me think and so my own research and develop my own opinion. I love a good steak, dripping with garlic; I love my homemade burgers and nothing beats a good roast on a winter weekend. But, like most things, in moderation. the thing that really discouraged me from commercial meat products was the Hot Doc’s comments about the amount of hormones and other additives in the commercial food chain. So now, I aim for free range or organic chicken and when I do buy meat, it is an unprocessed as possible, no marinades, crumbing, etc…

So good things come from pseudo X-Files exposes like Cowspiracy…and from Cowspiracy, Bubble led me on to That Sugar Movie which is well-produced, logical and inspired me to think about me and sugar…

 

Eat Healthy With These 6 Rules – Sugar Soil

Eat Healthy With These 6 Rules

Source: Eat Healthy With These 6 Rules – Sugar Soil

I’m not normally one for lists. This one thought ticks off pretty closely against my green journey – now into its ninth month…

Eat when hungry

Absolutely!! I take two big smoothies to work with me each and work on these through the day; at home I keep a big bowl of fruit for snack attacks…

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Choose water over any other beverage

This goes hand in hand with ‘eat when hungry’…often a good slurp of good water, maybe with some infused raw fruit and/or herbs or spices is as good as something to eat. Taking a good slurp is still hard after many years conserving each and every sip of water that we had to carry but I’m working on it…

Let veges play the lead role

What is the key noun in your recipe title? If it’s a vegetable, or to a lesser degree, a fruit (fruity recipes are often desserts and so carry more temptative risk) then you are probably on the right track: I’m not anti-meat…you just don’t need it for a good meal…still a nice treat..

I’d just socked up on veges when the big fridge decided to time out and so I have had to focus on consuming a lot of my reserve stock as the big freezer is maxed out with the contents of the fridge’s freezer. To dispose of a pumpkin, I pureed the flesh, cleaned and dried the seeds for other projects, and fed the roasted skins to the Cujos…I’ve been using the puree in a range of dishes to reduce the quantity to something that will fit int he freezer…yes, I have been making the pumpkin and oatmeal muffins again, and will try pumpkin porridge in the morning. A particular success has been pumpkin chai latte (i’ll write the recipe up in a couple of days): no dairy, and only a half teaspoon of honey for sweetening…veges lead…

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Choose foods closest to their natural form

Eliminate the middle man. As much as possible work with the original raw material, avoid as many processing stages as you can, like, before it gets to you…be the master of your food’s destiny…it doesn’t take a big investment in money or time to be able to make yourself many of the items you buy prepackaged from the supermarket…almond and coconut milk would be one of the easiest and cheapest…DSCF0271.JPG…a bread maker will pay for itself in less than a year as well as giving you the flexibility of making what you want when you want it…buy the raw materials and see where the journey takes you…why buy a lemon/ginger/honey mix for winter coughs and colds when you can make a better one yourself…?

Portion Control

Lots of little, not just a few big is the way to think. In 1999, I was attached to a Malay Ranger unit near KL…the Officers Mess routine was six meals a day and some of the other Kiwis struggled with this. Many Asian countries work on this more little meal idea and it works really well…goes hand in hand with the concept of eat when hungry…in addition, these meals spaced through the day and into the evening were when the CO interacted with his officers: you had to be there anyway…lots of little…

Eat Healthy-ish

Ish, exactly…no regimented counting points or grams of sugar or mls of water consumed…eat within your own healthy guidelines…and enjoy falling off the wagon every once in a while – you’re allowed a break day, just not every day…for me, these are working:

Reduce or avoid whites…white bread, white flour, white sugar, white salt, etc…white ingredients generally have a the good stuff beaten out of them already…

Reduce dairy…even though I can make dairy-free cheese which is good for on toast and pizzas etc, I still love real cheese in my chicken soup and it is still the best complement to cauliflower and broccoli on a chilly winter night…but…the only milk in the house in in small bottle in the freezer for those guests who prefer cow instead of a non-dairy alternative…so far, I have been able to use my homemade almond coconut milk as a successful substitute for dairy milk in baking and brews – it froths up well with a half teaspoon of protein powder added to it…

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Avoid anything in a wrapper labelled ‘healthy’…odds are it isn’t…

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Dairy-free, vege-led, slice it up and just snack when hungry…

 

 

Share Your World – 2016 Week 32

Here is the basic Share Your World format:

  • Answer three random questions each week.

  • Respond to a fourth item (I will randomly chose from this list)

  • Answer the bonus question which is always the same  “What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?”  Because we all need to be reminded that there are many things in our lives to be grateful about.

 

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Coconuts. They don’t grow here so it’s not like I can grow my own and they are still pretty pricey at the supermarket but with a guaranteed supply, I’d be making all my own coconut oil, flour, milk etc even more than I am now…of course, in a few months I’d be over it and want an endless supply of something else…

What is the worst thing you ate this last recently?

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Tough question as I eat pretty well, if I do say so myself…I’ve been working to perfect a good (great would be awesome but I’ll settle for good) dairy-free latte. Non-dairy milks won’t ‘pull’ the same way as real milk…this is due to to a lack of protein so adding a half- teaspoon or so of protein powder lets coconut or almond milk froth up nicely using a mechanical frother. Last week, during the trial phase, I made an error in assuming the frother would also serve as a mixer for the teaspoon of protein powder in the bottom of the cup. It didn’t and my coffee was spoiled by a sand-like grit (it was pea protein not dairy) in the dregs  – normally the best bit where the final swirls of coffee and coconut combine…

Are you are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

Yes…years of practice…something called ‘hurry up and wait’…it’s easy to zen into a ‘park’ mode, still aware of what goes on but conserving effort and energy ’til whatever happens/arrives/departs/whatever…

List of Jobs You Think You Might Enjoy: Even if you aren’t thinking about a career change, it can be fun to think of other jobs you might enjoy.

Now that I’m back on the Mountain, I gaze longingly at the snow-covered slopes and wish I could ski or climb again…cold injuries are such a bitch and they never really go away…

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These are my favourites…Ruapehu’s too over=populated…

I’d like to have my own cafe…paleo-themed but not pedantically so…I drive past Ferguson’s Cafe in Whakapapa Village every day and the lost potential rubs me so badly…

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I’d love to fly but not for a living

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week, I’m grateful I finally took the plunge and applied for the next Pre-Hospital Emergency Care course. I’ve been avoiding getting back into this game for a while but the more I get drawn into the Park and the District, old flames rekindle. I enjoyed the debate during the Outdoor First Aid course last year and much as I’ve tried to steer away, I think now why not..? So a lot of study to get my head back in this…

I’m also grateful that I took the plunge to run for the National Park Community Board. Again, as a result of being drawn more and more into the District, I’m looking for ways to engage and contribute. Earlier this year I joined the Village Business Association and the Community Board seems like a logical next step…

Next week…I’m looking forward to my parent’s coming to visit for a week…the first time they’ve bee up here in quite some time…been a few changes to this place…DSCF9706.JPG

Also looking forward to some good outcomes from a tactical planning meeting with my lawyers on Monday…one way or another, the battle with the bank hasn’t got long to run…how it will go I don’t know but the new evidence we uncovered in the last week or so looks promising…

 

If the Beatles lived here…

snow snow snow

Here comes the snow, here comes the snow
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold rainy winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the snow, here comes the snow
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the snow, here comes the snow
And I say it’s all right

Snow, snow, snow, here it comes
Snow, snow, snow, here it comes
Snow, snow, snow, here it comes
Snow, snow, snow, here it comes
Snow, snow, snow, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the snow, here comes the snow
And I say it’s all right
Here comes the snow, here comes the snow
It’s all right, it’s all right

And with the snow, come the Darwinists, people who are just too dumb to be allowed outside on their own…

jul 16 emerald lakes rescue