The Secrets of Bread Making (Part 1)

Just kidding! I don’t know the secrets of bread baking. But I’ve been making consistently good bread all winter so I am sharing my recipe.

On Thursday night when I get home I feed my sourdough. My sourdough starter came from Aunt Janet. It lives in this jar in the back of the fridge. I pour it into a bowl, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour and stir and cover with a towel.

Our kitchen is the coldest part of the house so I put the bowl in my room. I love the doughy smell.

If you don’t have an Aunt Janet, maybe you can get a sourdough starter from a local bakery. Or use the Internet. I think you can make your own starter. Do the homework.

Sometimes the liquid on the top looks dark. I just pour it off. Aunt Janet says it’s pretty tough to ruin it. So unless you’ve neglected it for so long that it has hair and a deep voice, you’re probably okay. If you boil potatoes, save the water and use that to feed your sourdough. Maybe that’s an old wives’ tale. Can’t hurt.

The next day it looks bubbly and is ready for action.

I use 1/4 cup for my recipe and put the rest back in the jar for next time.

Apologies to the person who posted this recipe because did not keep a record of where it came from. I put no-knead bread and sourdough into my search engine and this came up somewhere.

I use 5 oz. of wheat flour and 11 oz. of regular flour. Both from Bob’s Red Mill. I have no idea how to do it without a scale. I add 1 1/2 t. salt, my sourdough and 12 oz. of tap water. Stir it all around. It won’t look pretty.

Cover with plastic wrap. I put it in my room where it’s not so cold. But I read somewhere that the no-knead stuff doesn’t need coddling so use your own judgment.

Set aside for at least 18 hours. I leave it longer and have found the recipe to be forgiving. Obviously, or I couldn’t do it.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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Snow Day Photo

I had over 300 photos in my 2014 Snow Day folder, too. I trimmed that one down to 96.

(Underwear arrived on Thursday. Yay. And the last piece shipped on Friday. Cross your fingers.)

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Deliveries

Yesterday when I sat down to post, all my stories vanished from my mind. It wasn’t until I started doing something else that I remembered some of them.

All my winter long underwear is disintegrating, or worse. I have this habit of thinking I will buy new seasonal wear and then putting it off for so long that I decide to get through the season with what I have and buy new the following season. But I don’t get rid of the ratty stuff. I hang onto it in case I need it before I have time to get the new stuff. And then the cycle continues.

I, cleverly I thought, went and found some long underwear on clearance to buy now. Then I could throw away the ratty stuff and be treated with pretty new stuff next winter when my butt gets cold.

I bought it on March 27th and according to my tracking number it arrived in Portland on April 3. Since then it’s been in transit. At the beginning of last week I phoned to find out what was happening and of course the phone system of Giant Global Delivery Service is automated and after making me state my 22 digit tracking number into the phone, it told me my package was in transit. Gee, thanks for the helpful update!

Then I went to email help. After 24 hours I received message, apologizing for any inconvenience I might be suffering while being denied access to my long underwear for next winter, and asking for the delivery address.

Shouldn’t this information be attached to the tracking number?

I complied and 24 hours later I received message, apologizing (… etc) and asking for my phone number and assuring me that they would contact me to let me know what’s going on.

Still haven’t heard. Already this clearance underwear isn’t worth it *plus* they couldn’t ship the order complete so who knows what else I have to look forward to.

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Flower Photos

I cannot stop taking pictures of flowers. I had almost 300 in the “Spring Flowers” folder I made. I’m sure there are more in the camera. I keep telling myself to knock it off but then I look outside and they are so pretty. I deleted it down to 104. I hope I never miss any of the ones I got rid of.

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Rototiller Magic

This is my first time planting a cover crop. I planted clover and peas. It didn’t seem like a lot of seeds so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The clover ended up being much more robust than I expected.

I have barely had time to open Photoshop the past 6 weeks or so. I’ve been trying to give myself little assignments so I can remember how to do things. I had a screenshot from my tax preparation and it took about 15 minutes to figure out how to highlight one area for my future reference. Super useful. (Oof.)

Right after I planted the seeds there were cats and squirrels running around so there were patches where nothing grew. Colleague also planted a cover crop and the birds ate everything. He only got weeds.

But! He rented a rototiller and came over and did the garden in exchange for dahlia bulbs, chocolate chip cookies and half the rental fee. It usually takes me a half day and ruining my back to turn over the garden. This year it took 15 minutes.

I haven’t planted anything yet. Next weekend I’ll throw some greens and whatever other seeds I have sitting around out there. Don’t look to me for pro-tips. I am a lazy gardener

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New Visitor to the Garden

I have about 1000 photos that I would love to post. Daffodils. Tulips. Garden. Timbers. You are missing out. Not sure when I will get to it. Probably not this weekend.

Meanwhile, this is my new garden friend. No collar. Not sure if she has a home or someone in the neighborhood is feeding her. She’s scrawny but not in distress that I can see. She hangs out and watches me. She doesn’t run away but she doesn’t come to me if I talk to her. When I’m working I can see her creeping up to me and she’ll sit by me as long as I ignore her. The minute I look at her or if I stand up she runs and hides in the bushes.

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20 Years Ago Today

My sweetheart and I were trying to figure out the exact date that we met. I told Bob: “I have calendars we can look at.”

“You have calendars?”

I have kept these calendars since I was in college (80′s). Now it’s how my mind works — this is how I keep track of things. I hate the calendar on my stupid phone.

I have never been super vigilant about the details so it’s not a perfect record of my existence but there are a lot of historical tidbits in here.

It was 20 years ago today. My cousin Bari introduced us. We had a family dinner at my Uncle LeRoy’s house when he lived in the house up in the hills. We were going to see The Piano the next day but we didn’t.

Research confirms that the movie came out in November 93 but it won several Oscars in March of 94 so it would make sense that it would be available for us to see. Bob said that Bari cancelled because she had morning sickness. That isn’t my recollection but the math adds up, too Sinead is going to be 20 this September.

Now we’re old married farts. And we’re okay with that.

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Burn Baby Burn

I was just folding up my pajama pants from the laundry and wow, they look like they should be burned. How do things get so ratty without me noticing? I put them back in the drawer. I can burn them anytime and right now I still want to wear them.

I started working on some photos for a post at the beginning of the week and was interrupted and never got back to it.

I know everyone is frazzled and super busy and no one likes to hear about how someone else is frazzled and super busy but sheesh, I am frazzled and super busy. I feel like I am keeping up with only half of everything and doing it poorly. And when I do finally have time, my brain is tired and doesn’t want to cooperate.

I have been trying to deal with some [boring grown up stuff] and it seems like for every question I ask or phone call I make, I create 10 more questions and 3 more phone calls. I understand why people don’t deal with [boring grown up stuff]. There is no incentive to deal with it other than there may be some time in the future when I will theoretically be glad I dealt with it now instead of filing it away and not thinking about it.

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He Gets Me

This is my other story about subscribing to the New Yorker. In the back of the magazine there are cute little interesting ads. Sometimes you can’t even tell what the ad is about. I like to check the URLs to see what they are.

There was one ad for buying original art. Oh, I like original art.

I got to the website and there was a button you could click for art work under $25,000. I realized I was not the target audience.

Later I was telling Bob this about this and I told him they had art in a style that we’d seen before in museums.

“You know,” I said, “It’s called … um … it’s called … The Boat Painters.”

He keeled over laughing because (a) he knew exactly what I was talking about and (b) it’s called The Hudson River School.

(If you haven’t heard the story there was another time when I was telling him I’d heard something about a band he liked. I said, “It’s called something something big world.” It was actually called Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. But he knew what I meant.)

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Season Opener

I love the sound of the chainsaw at the match but I hate the sound when my neighbor does it.

Last night was the season opener and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed. At least they managed to tie it in the very last seconds of the game. Because I was thinking: I sat in the rain for 2 hours for this?

But it’s funny how high our expectations are after we did so well last season. We had a terrific time. It was great seeing Mick Hoban inducted into the Ring of Honor.

Lots of games left. I have faith the guys will get it together.

Ricketts (the guy with the towel around his shoulders) was paired with the teeniest kid. The cute was killing me when they walked out.

This is the best photo I got with the new third kits. I love these kits – especially the socks. I had talked myself out of buying a new jersey this season. It’s an expensive piece of clothing that I usually only wear to matches and for a huge part of the season it’s buried under several layers. But I’m going to have to get one of these. And a pair of socks.

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