Tag Archives: cooking

Olio – January 3, 2018

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

The holidays are over, the decorations packed away, but the cold has really settled in.  Cold is relative.  There are parts of the world, even the USA that have the temperatures we are experiencing every winter and are prepared for it.  There are parts of the US that are used to very mild winters that are experiencing temperatures that we consider normal for this time of year, but they aren’t equipped for it.  It is cold here.  Our nights for the past couple of weeks have all been single digits.  The days in the teens, low 20’s if we are lucky.  But it has been dry.  There is some light snow expected tomorrow as another Arctic blast hits us, but no other real precipitation due as far as I can see in the forecast.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, if the forecast holds true, we will climb back up into the 30’s with mid 20’s at night in a few more days.

With the frigid weather, the dogs run out and back in.  The chickens have remained cooped some days and if it is sunny and calm, let out to free range on other days.  If it snows tomorrow, they won’t come out of their coop, no white stuff for them.  The shortened days and extreme cold have seriously curtailed egg laying.  Instead of 6 dozen or so a week, the 16 ten month old hens are providing less than half that a week.  The days are beginning to lengthen and the cold will abate, so hopefully they will begin to lay again soon.

We rarely go out for New Year’s Eve, but this fall, we saw a billboard for a New Year’s Eve event at Mountain Lake Lodge, the site of the filming of “Dirty Dancing.”  As soon as they were taking reservations, we booked one.  This lodge is 5 miles further up the road  our road descends from, an elevation change of about 2000 more feet and we were greeting with snow and frosted trees, a veritable winter wonderland, where though we are cold, we have no snow.


The event included a stellar buffet dinner, a room for the night, a grand party with live band, favors, and champagne toast, and topped off with breakfast on New Year’s Day.  We met some wonderful folks, enjoyed their company, danced and partied, then walked upstairs to our lovely room for the night.  Such a great event we will probably repeat it next year.


We got home on New Year’s Day to discover that the dripping faucet in the utility room had been turned off and the hot water line frozen.  We have kept the cold dripping, the heat turned up in there and a hot fire burning in the wood stove in the basement near where the pipe enters the utility room slab.  After three days of this treatment, the pipe finally thawed this afternoon and now both hot and cold are running at a slow trickle to prevent a recurrence.  The washing machine drain is still frozen though the sink drain is not.

I was knitting a Hitchhiker scarf and hoping to wear it last weekend as my last project for 2017, but ended up taking it with me with only 8 rows to complete.  Sitting in the tavern before dinner in front of a fire with a glass of wine, I saw an error a few rows back and had to rip those rows out to fix it.  It ended up being my first finished project of 2018.



Knit with Freia Fibers Shawl ball

To get out of chronological order here, the past couple of weeks have been busy.  Daughter’s family has been moving into their new house a trunk full or our 5 X 8′ open trailer full at a time.  They have cleared the storage units that have held most of their belonging for the past three years that they shared our home with us, have moved toys, books, games, and shelving that held some of that in our rec room, and this past weekend, their master bedroom returning our furniture that they have stored.  They are still staying here until some flooring is laid, then they will move the kids dressers and part of the bunk bed and a few more smaller items and their pets.  The house is going to seem so empty after having the kids here.  They are close enough for us to still help out when needed, but in a different school district and closer to work.

The month of December had us on the road a lot.  We went to the coast to visit son the younger and his family one weekend, home the next for the second Holiday Market, then north to son the elder and his family, returning home on Christmas eve.  Son in law is from an Italian family and their tradition is pasta and antipasto on the eve and we arrived home to a delicious meal.  Christmas Day after gift exchange with daughter’s family and watching the children with all of their new things, I prepared a turkey and ham meal with all the trimmings.

The week after Christmas, our local yarn store closed for a week to relocate much closer to where I live and our spinning group that usually meets there on that Thursday of each month chipped in with other volunteers to help them with packing and actually moving so that they didn’t have to rent a truck.  A friend volunteered her pickup, I volunteered our larger SUV and the trailer and with a couple of other vehicles and two days, all of the fabric, yarn, and fixtures were moved in sub freezing temperatures.  They reopen on Friday and I am excited to see how all of the stuff we helped move will be displayed and so that I can purchase another Freia Fiber Shawl ball in another color way for my cruise knitting.  Our cruise is only a bit more than a month off.

I hope my readers have a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Same Song Different Dance



Yesterday was clear and sunny, but cold.  We are in the week’s yoyo on the climb back up the string.  Today is gray, but expected to be about 8 degrees warmer than yesterday.  Maybe the mid 40’s (8ºC), breezy, but no heavy wind. We will climb another 10 degrees tomorrow and Tuesday with increasing chances of rain, then plummet on Thursday back to a high of freezing and a low in the teens.  My system doesn’t like these flucuations.  With the changes bring wind.  Wind brings power outages.  We are low on wood for supplemental heat.  This spring, the woodlot will be checked for dead or dying trees to try to resupply.  A few years ago, a huge oak blew down in the woods of our farm.  It landed on thick branches so it was propped up at a dangerous angle and it sat that way for two years.  Eldest son tackled it with the chain saw and cut many thick branches from the tree, but our saw wasn’t long enough to go through the trunk.  Our farmer friend that hays our fields came in with heavier equipment than our chainsaw and little tractor and left with a couple of thick long logs for the mill, loads of firewood for another neighbor who had recently had bypass surgery, and left us enough firewood for two winters of supplemental heat and ambiance fires.  Two Thanksgivings ago, eldest son and I took down a dead tree and between then and a second visit at Christmas, we got it all cut up, I split most of it with his help on some and it was stacked.  That wood is almost gone.  Hopefully there will be no extended outages before it warms back up.

What does a “Mommom” (my name to these two grands) do on a Sunday morning?  Grandson’s breakfast of choice is pancakes or Honey Nut Cheerios.  About once a week, a week’s worth of pancakes are mixed and baked on the griddle to be frozen for him.  The last batch ended up too thin for his liking, Granddaughter loves them.   This morning, I felt they were too thick, but he insisted that was the way he liked them.  They are so thick that they didn’t bubble up on the edges to indicate the griddle side was baked and ready to flip.  His weekly batch of pancakes are cooling and will be frozen for this week’s breakfasts.  His Mom and Dad are grocery shopping now and he asked for sausages to go with them. The microwave will be busy this week.



And I don’t even like pancakes, I would rather have oatmeal or a farm fresh egg, right from the nest of my girls.

Busy Days

The past few days have been busy.  Granddaughter started back to preschool, the dogs have had check ups and shots, we have been busy around the farm.

Between us, most of the fields have been mowed for fall.  I haven’t harvested the pears or apples yet, as I have been trying to catch up on tomatoes and peaches.  One day, I canned 30 pints of tomatoes and pasta sauce.  Of that, only a few didn’t seal, so we had a big spaghetti dinner last night and the leftover sauce was put in wide mouth jars and frozen.  We will use it first before we start opening the sealed jars.

Days work

Each Tuesday, daughter and son-in-law pick up a one person food share of meat and one of fruit as a test to see if it is worth their money.  A lot of the fruit has been peaches, though the late frost killed off almost all of the peaches around here, so they must be bringing them from south of us.  Jim and I are the only ones in the house that will eat a fresh peach.  The first batch was made into peach/mango chutney, a very authentic tasting chutney.  The second batch were peeled, sliced, and frozen.  The third batch went to the spinning retreat with me and were enjoyed by the group.  The fourth batch was sitting there about to attract fruit flies, so I made 9 half pints of sweet chili sauce today.  I tasted a bit of it and it is sweet and spicy with hot chili sauce added.  It should make a great chicken or pork basting sauce or topping.  I think it would be good over cream cheese with crackers.  It is cooling on the counter and will be added to the increasing jars of goodies on the shelves.

Sweet chili sauce

Tonight late, our eldest son and eldest grandson will arrive for the weekend.  I have a dry rub pork shoulder that I will cook in the crockpot tomorrow and I think one of the jars of sweet chili sauce, a jar of the apple/pear chutney from last year, the last  jar of Pear Ginger Conserve will all be put out to eat with the pulled pork and slaw with a batch of roasted veggies for out dinner.

Tomorrow, we will get to return to the Farmers’ Market for the first time in a month.  We will precede that with breakfast out, and I will turn in my applications for the two winter Holiday Markets.

I am loving being able to return to a routine and see things getting done.

What to do when it rains

… and rain it has this summer.  Normally by this time of the summer, it is dry and the grass doesn’t grow, the weeds don’t flourish, the garden languishes for cooler, wetter times.  It has been a wet summer.  The grass grows inches over night and it is too wet to run the mower and brush hog over it.  The weeds have engulfed most of my flower beds and continue to tax the chicken runs and the lower end of the garden, that I have never gotten a handle on this year.  The productive part of the garden has shaded out most of the weeds now, and I can handle staying on top of the ones that do crop up.

But back to the rain.  It is no fun to be out in pouring rain, chilly pouring rain for the past two days, so I have stayed in mostly.  I have spun 278 yards of local Leicester Longwool, and last weekend at the Farmers’ Market, bought a pound more of it.  It is a lovely fiber to spin.  I think this skein will be dyed and I still can’t decide whether to dye the roving from last weekend and then spin it or spin and then dye.  I really like the way dyed roving spins the colors, so that is probably the way it will go.


I finished the lime green Alpaca/Merino blend on my supported spindle, plyed it on my wheel.  It needs another run through the wheel and then a bath.  Also there are two knitting projects in the works.  A hat of my handspun superwash merino for eldest son. There is a lot of that yarn, so maybe a second one either for grandson or for the shop.


And progress on the Inside Out baby blanket.


The next couple of afternoon/evenings will be spent cooking Tacos and sides tonight and Lasagna and sides tomorrow night for the 9 people currently in the house.  Never a dull moment, even in the rain.


Day of rest

Today, I rest.

I was roused out of bed earlier than I desired with the kid’s dog wanting to be let outside.  He apparently did not get locked in his cage last night, and though the grands were up, they ignored his barks.  I let the dogs out, fed and watered them, the barn cat, and the chickens and came back in to make a double batch of pancakes for breakfast and to freeze for grandson’s breakfast this week.  He ate a few bites of them and decided they didn’t taste like usual and refused to eat the rest on his plate and told me he wouldn’t eat them this week, so the chickens got an treat of 20+ pancakes, along with one of the two loaves of artisan sourdough bread that sat on the counter and molded rather than eaten.  A frustrating start to the day.

Jim took off on the BBH to Roanoke.  He was going to brunch and then a safety class with the HOG group, but it was so windy and cold this morning that he decided to skip the brunch, wait for it to warm some and the wind to die down then he rode in to get some lunch and go to the class.  As that is more than an hour each way and time spent there, he won’t be home til much, much later.

After he left, I retired to the loft and worked on a fingerless mitt pattern that I am in the process of designing.


I really like the double cable that will be up the back of the hand.  The design work isn’t my problem. Writing up the pattern from my notes is always the part that troubles me. I need to work on presentation before I publish my patterns.  Perhaps, I should also be charging for them.

Last night I blended a couple more ounces of the Raspberry Romney with the Colonial Maroon Merino and the Eggplant Merino before I ran out of the Eggplant.  I ended up with 4.1 ounces of fluff to spin.


That should be enough to make fingerless mitts or a hat for my shop.  I just need to get spinning.  I did spin a few ounces of the Hawk’s Nest blend yesterday and thought I had spun it all then found another bag.  I should finish that before I start something else.

Tonight, K makes dinner.  She volunteers on Saturday and Sunday when she isn’t working.  With both of them working more than an hour away, grand duty getting them off to school or preschool, or staying with them when they don’t feel well, getting them to Martial Arts one of the days of the week, and fixing dinner for the crew has been my week day job.  They went out for a family night last night, so I cooked for just Jim and me.  He got a special treat of lamb chops.  I bought them at the Farmers’ Market yesterday and we could have gone out to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants for what they cost.  I sure couldn’t afford to cook them for everyone. I don’t care for lamb, except their fleece to spin, but he enjoyed them.

The kids are off for lunch, I guess.  I fixed some leftovers and returned to my knitting chair to post and knit.  Perhaps a nap is in order while the house is quiet.

Olio – 3-28-16

It is really trying to be spring time.  We are having more warm days and mild nights as not, but the threat of frost is not passed, nor will it for a few more weeks.  The tiny tomato plants have secondary leaves and the two of the four types of peppers are thriving.  They spend as much of each sunny day outdoors as they can, often tucked in a sheltered area as the spring wind is strong in this hollow.  The remaining two flats of still ungerminated peppers have been left indoors under cover and soon flats of basil and fennel will be added to that tray.  We can start putting these plants in the ground in another month.



There are 4 comfrey seedlings, so I should have plenty of comfrey leaves to dry for salves, to feed to the chickens, and to use as mulch on the beds.  I love their huge shading leaves and purple flowers.

I have continued spinning on the Merino batts I blended at Hawk’s Nest and have produced several hundred yards of a beautiful royal purple yarn with gray and blue highlights.  It has spun and plied to a very soft fingering weight yarn.

Skein winding off the bobbin.
The first skein plied, but not yet soaked and hung to set.

On my drop spindle, I have created and plied a skein of the Romney that I received as my March Tailfeather’s Club installment.  It is beautiful too, but is going much slower than what I am creating on the wheel.


It is light fingering weight.

Wild yeast sourdough starter

The wild yeast sourdough starter was a tough start.  After about 5 days, I saw no activity, so I discarded most of it and fed it again.  Still not too much activity was observed, but daily stirring disbursed the odor that it was beginning to ferment.  Saturday, I again discarded most of it and fed it again and it bubbled happily yesterday.  It has a delightful fruity odor and nice development.  Today I fed it again and tonight, I will make the ferment and soak the flour for tomorrow’s bread making.  I am excited that I have developed a nice wild starter from just flour and water, some patience and a good daily stirring. Tomorrow, we will have sourdough bread of just flour, water, and salt.

Our house was built with three dormers on the front.

Two of those dormers are in the living room and high up in the heavy timber roof line. They face north and are magnets for wasps and stinkbugs to gather during the daylight hours.  After a few days, the wasps will move down to the south windows and doors on the ground level and can be swatted and removed from the house, but yesterday, I realized that there were not one or two, but a dozen or more in those windows.  I hauled the 8′ ladder in, climbed to the step below the top and swatted wasps in both sets of windows.  I had hardly put the ladder away until I spotted another.  I must figure out where they are getting in.


What to do on a day at home.

Today, I am grandparent in charge. There is no preschool for N on Thursday. Most Thursdays are spinning day, except once a month, we can’t use the room. Mountaingdad, when he rode the Big Bad Harley to Roanoke on Tuesday, scheduled it’s spring maintainence for today, so off he was going today also.

I came downstairs to 5 overripe bananas and an empty granola jar on the counter, along with a sink full of dirty dishes accumulated since after dinner last night, a load of laundry in the drier that must have been drying when daughter’s family went to bed last night, so set about to remedy all of that. Dishes loaded, laundry folded and my load run, and a quick straighten up while grandson ate his breakfast. Once he was on his bus it was time to do some cooking. Since we are getting eggs and there was no spinning today to sell any, I mashed the 5 bananas and made 2 loaves of banana walnut bread.

Once they were on the counter cooling, the oven temperature was reduced and a half gallon of granola was mixed to bake.


That will provide breakfast, snacks, and lunch supplement for daughter’s family for a bit.

Granddaughter and I took the trash to the convenience center and son’s hat to the post office and stopped for a pound of pasta and some salad additions. Once home, the last package of frozen tomatoes from our garden last year, half a package of frozen summer squash, and the next to last package of frozen Bell peppers were chopped and added to sauteed onion, garlic, and herbs and set to simmer for pasta sauce for dinner. There is a pint of left over pasta sauce frozen to add later. The last few jars of home canned sauce will be kept for a dinner night when I have less time.

Granddaughter is napping, but once she is awake or her Mom gets home, I am going out to plant the onion sets, peas, radishes, turnips, and kale.

Olio – February 20, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

On this day 29 years ago, my youngest was born.  He was 11 days late, I thought he would never enter this world, and when he did decide to come, he was presented sunnyside up, with a huge head, and weighing in at a whopping 11+ pounds.  We didn’t have to have a C section, but almost.  We are extremely proud of him as he became an EMT at 18 and has volunteered with it ever since.  He moved on to earn his Paramedic certification with Advanced Life Support and has worked in that field most of his adult life.  He recently has started his own transport company and is awaiting the final inspections to start moving with his two ambulances at the ready.  Happy birthday, son.

The snow from last week finally is gone except for a few sheltered places in the woods and on the north side of the house and barn.  There is a coastal storm that is threatening us next week, hopefully not to interfere with my friend’s and my drive to the spinning retreat on Thursday.  The forcasters can’t decide if it is going to be snow, ice, or rain, we are hoping it is only rain or if the snow or ice is on the earlier end, coming on Tuesday.

I am packed for the retreat and ready to go as compactly as I can be.  Since, I am only taking soaps, lotion bars and salves, I have packed it all into one large wicker lidded basket, instead of the usual 5 or 6 wooden crates when I also have yarn and knit wear. This retreat is for fiber folks, they make their own yarn and knit wear.


The only items that didn’t fit were my cash box and my business cards.


They will fit into the red and blue plaid bag on the floor.  The group has a nightly happy hour, and the bag will also carry the snacks and snack dishes for the items I will be contributing.  We do a gift raffle and as a vendor, I must supply one gift of $20 value or more and will as a participant, provide a second.  They will go into that bag as well.  That leaves only my clothes, spinning wheel and fiber to put together.  That won’t be done until Wednesday night, unless we are going to get snow and ice, requiring my car to be put at the top of the driveway or even up at the paved road, in which case I will pack it all before moving the car.

Today was a beautiful spring like day.  The melting snow finally allowed the Buffys to venture over into the garden area to scratch and search for goodies.  With the longer days, I am generally getting 3 to 5 eggs a day.  Interestingly, the two Americauna have produced more than half of the eggs produced in the past three days.  This puts the 6 Buffys to shame.


One of the Americauna’s eggs are blue, the other more olive.  The Buffys eggs vary from pink to darker brown and from tiny like the top right to giant like the bottom right.  It is nice to have fresh eggs for breakfast and for baking with the bonus of having enough to share with some of my friends.  The girls will be cared for in my absence by Mountaingdad and daughter.

The house is quiet tonight.  Daughter and family went out to dinner and to a movie for the kids.  It is strange to cook just for two after 13 months of having a house full.  As I was food shopping today, I found a grass finished New York strip steak, so Mountaingdad got a treat tonight.  Risotto and sugar snap peas rounded it out and provided my dinner along with a glass of the Merlot that my brother made last summer.

At the Christmas party for my spinning group, I scored 12 ounces of California red wool. I started spinning it recently and have fallen in love with the fiber.  It is a natural white color and spins like a dream.  I have one bobbin full and it looks like it is going to fill 4 bobbins once done.  Once I see how many yards it is once spun, I will decide what it will become.  I definitely won’t sell this yarn.


Our local Barnes and Noble sells Harney and Son teas.  A year or so ago, I went on their website to buy one of my favorites, Autumn Cranberry as a bulk loose tea and received a travel sample of Valentine Blend, a chocolate with rose bud black tea.  I savored that delicious, fragrant tea, hoping that it would be carried by Barnes and Noble around Valentine’s day.  They did not get it in, so again I visited the website and today, my 4 ounce tin and one pound bag arrived, just in time to tuck some into my luggage to go with me to the retreat.


We are hoping that this week’s weather does not produce more school outage.  Grandson has only been in school a few days in the past two weeks due to snow, ice or extreme cold.

Tomorrow, I hope to enjoy the warm day to finally weed the asparagus bed before the new shoots begin to emerge.

Family, Feast, and Celebration Thankfulness

I wrote a version of this yesterday evening and when I hit publish, it all disappeared except for the first sentence, so as thankful as I was for the prior week, I gave up.  Let’s try again in the dawn of early morning.  The animals have been taken care of, Grandson A has been delivered to his school bus for a new week.  Granddaughter N is still sleeping after too many days of no naps and late evenings, daughter K is off substitute teaching, SIL R is at work.

We had a week of celebrations, family, and feasting.  If you are a new reader, we currently have our daughter K, SIL R, and two grands (N is 4 and A is 8) living with us, so our large log home has already been full of family and activity.  From Wednesday morning to Sunday afternoon, we also had our eldest son T, his wife W, and the eldest grandson L (10) here.  In this mix are our two large dogs, K’s large dog and their two house cats.  The rest of the animals, our barn kitty and the chicken flock live outdoors.  The house was a whirl of noise, laughter, color, movement with little time for quiet and calm.  Though the grands only saw each other occasionally prior to January, they have had much more time together in the past 11 months.  N and A have most of their toys in the finished basement, but when T, W, and L are here, they stay in the basement bedroom and on the futon in the sitting area, giving them a bit of private space too.

We feasted.  Thankful for the local sausage, the eggs I stockpiled from my Buffys, goodies grown and preserved from the garden and from the local Farmers’ Market and the 19 pound pasture raised turkey from a local farm.  The turkey was alive on the morning of November 21 and in our refrigerator that afternoon.  T had read an article on spatchcocking a turkey, so we tried it.  I will never prepare roasted whole poultry the traditional way again.  There is very little of the bird left after feeding 9 for most of the week.


It was a week of celebrations as well.  The day we picked up the turkey was my birthday and we celebrated with wood fire baked pizza and later with homemade fudge brownies prepared by K.  Tuesday was N’s birthday, born on Thanksgiving day 4 years ago and we celebrated with Olive Garden and dessert, delaying her party until Saturday.  Thursday we celebrated with the full traditional feast, served family style at our extended dining table.  I wish I had taken a photo with my collection of all hand thrown pottery plates and serving pieces filled with the homegrown or at least locally grown goodies.


Sorry the image is a bit blurry, but it is difficult to photograph a 4 year old on roller skates with a phone camera.

Saturday was birthday party day for the little lady.  She had a roller skating party that included the nine of us, her best friend E with her mother and brother.  Everyone but Mountaingdad and I skated.  The last time I skated, about 14 years ago, I broke a wrist and just don’t want to risk it anymore.  I will still snow ski and bicycle, but not skate.

Yesterday was daughter K’s birthday.  It is difficult for me to accept that our children are adults, all in or near their 30’s with families of their own.  Prior to T’s family leaving to drive home, we all went to a Thai restaurant for lunch to celebrate one last feast together this week.  Later K and her family went to a movie and the house was so quiet after all the activity.  We ended our week of celebrations with a delicious cheesecake (K’s choice), that was made locally by one of the Farmers’ Market vendors, ordered two weeks ago when I was a vendor at the Holiday Market and picked up Saturday at last week’s market.

The household is back to a normal routine for a couple of weeks.  It will be cleaned thoroughly and decorated for Christmas.  After the current winter storm of seasonal temperatures and cold rain end, the tree that T and I cut a couple of weeks ago and finished by T and W over the weekend will be handsplit and stacked in anticipation of warm fires to sit by and enjoy and to provide us with heat when we have winter power outages.  We don’t rely on wood for heating normally, but do burn the fireplace and woodstove when the power is out to keep the house warm enough to be comfortable.

December 12 is the December Holiday Market where I will again set up to vend my soaps, lotion bars, Beard Oils, salves, yarn and knit goods with a couple of gift box additions.  Come on out and shop local for your Holiday gifts, there are many non food vendors there for this with jewelry, blown glass ornaments, beeswax candles, pottery, my wares and more.

This Christmas morning will be exciting with two of our younger grands here to celebrate with T and his family arriving later in the day to have another feast and the second turkey we picked up on the 21st and to spend several more days together.

Maybe some day, we will have all three of our children and their families together for a holiday again.  It might require setting up 5 cots for the grands, a second table for the feasting and eating off paper plates, but it would be grand.

Pre Prep and Deliciousness

I tend to cook from scratch.  Rarely do we purchase “mixes.”  J loves pumpkin pie with holiday meals and it drives me crazy that so many pumpkins are sold in the fall, set on porches and left to spoil.  And when you look for a recipe for pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, it calls for canned pumpkin.  We grow pumpkins each year and the ones that were harvested in the fall of 2014 were such good keepers, that I cooked the last 4 small ones yesterday to use to make the two pumpkin pies that will be baked on Wednesday.


None of the remaining pumpkins from last year were very large, just slightly larger than a grapefruit each, and cut in half, they all fit on my huge baking sheet.  The chickens benefitted from the raw pumpkin seed and cooked skins with the small amount of remaining meat that I couldn’t scrape out.  The 4 pumpkins only made just under 6 cups of cooked puree.  This will be more than enough for two pies.


While the pumpkins were baking, I started a couple of loaves of bread.  I used to bake all of our bread, but A, the 8 year old grand that lives with us, prefers what I call balloon bread, the soft gummy square commercial loaves.  I keep trying to make a bread that is light enough to suit him.  The rest of us love a good hearty rustic loaf.


My wooden bread bowl was put to use, more unbleached bread flour than whole wheat used and the loaves came out almost lighter than I prefer.


Two beautifully risen,  golden loaves. . . and still not to his liking.  But the rest of us polished off a whole loaf with our dinner last night.  SIL will enjoy making his lunch sandwiches on the other one this week.

I need more flour, but with having 9 folks in the house for most of this week, I will do another baking when the oven is hot for pies on Wednesday.  We will need it for lunches and breakfasts later in the week.

Last night the bottom fell out of the fall thermometer. It isn’t as cold as we will see and it will moderate in a couple of days, but it was 26f when I got up and the chicken water is frozen for the first time this season. A has been dispatched to the bus, N has been fed and dressed, chickens have been fed, but I need to take some warm water over and see if I can thaw their water pail.

If it warms enough, I need to put urethane on the Beard and Apothecary gift boxes that I’m putting together for the December 12th Winter Holiday Market. If not, J and I still need to go to the bookstore to get N a book for her birthday tomorrow.