A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to Mother Nature asking (begging, pleading) for her to stop the snow and winter weather and bring me (and you) a little spring instead. Either my letter was lost in the mail or Mother Nature actually read it and was furious that I dared to give her a few suggestions.
It's still snowing. It's still winter.
Only a handful of days since the beginning of April have had a high above 50 degrees. On the most glorious day of all, it was a gorgeous 70 degrees outside. For the frostbitten folk, it was like stepping into a new light. The snow had melted. Spring was in the air. The flora began to bud and birds sang in the trees. The people rejoiced.
But the weather is never consistent when you live in the Upper Midwest. A few days later it snowed. It snowed on our hopes and dreams of spring. Of going out and doing things. Of bike rides, gardens, and children wearing water wings. The people did not rejoice. The people cried.
I went for a walk in the aftermath of one such blizzard. With the ground newly cloaked with white, it felt like the first snow of the season. As I find with most first snows, the snow is too beautifully distracting to think of the gray days ahead (or behind, in my case). It isn't until you get inside a warm house or scrap ice off the windshield of your car does the reality of winter set in. Nevertheless, the trees were covered with blooming buds weighed down heavily with snow and I was enchanted. Though winter and spring may butt heads, this was a clear example of the conflict right in front of my nose.
So, Mother Nature, I'm not going to fight your snow or your cold weather. I'm not going to whine about wearing my winter coat. I've learned my lesson. No more trying to tell you what to do. Mothers know best, do they not? As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them. Spring or not, I'm on your side.
As another famous saying goes, if you have lemons, make lemonade. Or, in my case, if you have snow, make snow cones. I made my snow cones with real snow since I just happened to have a few tons on hand. If using real snow, I recommend using the fresh stuff. Whatever is falling from the sky will do quite nicely. I would hesitate to use snow older than a day simply because you don't know where it's been or where the wind has taken it. I really shouldn't have to say this, but do not use colored snow (yellow, brown, or otherwise).
Of course, as you fine people who live near the equator (who I happen to deeply envy right now) know, you do not need real snow to make snow cones. These can be easily made using a blender to finely crush ice. Whether its a hot day or a cold one, snow cones can be enjoyed by all.
These snow cones are light and refreshing. The snow cone syrup is made with your choice of a flavored drink powder (I used Kool-aid) so you have the power to flavor and color your snow cones. These can be easily whipped up in a few minutes, making them practical and perfect for spur of the moment snow cone inducing occasions.
1 packet Kool-aid or other flavored drink powder (enough to flavor 2 quarts of water)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
8 cups finely crushed ice (or snow!)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the drink powder, sugar, and water until completely dissolved. This will serve as your snow cone syrup.
Pour approximately 1-2 tablespoons snow cone syrup over 1 cup crushed ice (or snow) and enjoy while its cold!