Tag Archives: sourdough bread

Mercury Is In Retrograde (YUK) and A Wee Critter Is Found

Random Thoughts

So Mercury went retrograde on Oct. 21 and has been slapping me around ever since.  Remember how much trouble I had posting that day?  A sign of things to come.  Me and the internet and this computer having been having at it ever since. Internet for 5 minutes then no internet then internet then no internet, ARGH!  The Husband did a shutdown and reboot(?) of all things computer and internet related that has given me back internet for now. The question is will it last?  Retrograde doesn’t end until November 10.  So no starting new things, no signing contracts, no buying new cars, expect delays in travel, expect anything to do with communications to fritz out, got the picture?  I am told that revisiting old projects, sorting paperwork, cleaning out clutter, organizing, and regrouping are good ideas till everything settles.

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Another bit of ‘fun’ was an intestinal virus that came to visit last weekend.  I still feel like all my ‘go juice’ got drained away.  When I can sleep, I’m hitting 10 – 11 hours at a clip.  *sigh*

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” It takes both the sun and the rain to make a beautiful rainbow.” — Attributed as Unknown or Proverb

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“Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu

Life At Our House

Not much to tell.  It’s been a whole lot of nothingness this week.  I did, however, get in the mood for food.

Fresh sourdough bread and Cranberry Pumpkin muffins.

Fresh sourdough bread and Cranberry Pumpkin muffins.

Out In The Yard

When The Husband grabbed a couple of hours to mow, he found a wee surprise under one of the flower pots.

I did not handle this wee fellow who was maybe all of 3 inches long.  Just gently scooped him on to a leaf and moved him.  So by process of elimination on what lives around here and what my yard has to offer, I believe he is a lead phased, Eastern Red-Backed Salamander.

I did not handle this wee fellow who was maybe all of 3 inches long. Just gently scooped him on to a leaf and moved him. So by process of elimination on what lives around here and what my yard has to offer, I believe he is a lead phased, Eastern Red-Backed Salamander. (Normally they have a red back.)  They eat all kinds of wee crawlies that live in the leaf litter and soil.

These guys have no lungs.  If their skin drys out they will suffocate to death.  They also do not require a water source for their eggs.  There are no intermediate stages, so eggs are laid in leaf litter or under logs and the young that hatch are fully developed baby salamanders about an inch long.

These guys have no lungs, they breathe through their skin.  They must live where it is moist, for if their skin dries out they will suffocate to death. They also do not require a water source for their eggs. There are no intermediate stages, so eggs are laid in leaf litter or under logs.  The young that hatch are fully developed baby salamanders about an inch long.

It was such a nice surprise to know my yard is safe enough for these guys to live in it.  I rarely, rarely use anything poisonous in my yard.  (My big exception is getting rid of fire ant colonies. I refuse to be constantly attacked in my own yard.)

Our header today is Bee Balm or more properly, Monarda.  Everything loves this stuff.

So pretty.  It is a member of the mint family and can be used for tea or to spice up dishes.

So pretty. It is a member of the mint family and can be used for tea or to spice up dishes.

Mugs

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Yes, another old favorite.  Have I mentioned before that this is one of my favorite sets?  I leave it up on my mug rack all year round.

It’s now 11:14.  So time to go.  Fingers crossed this posts the first time around!

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Hmmmmm, Lazy Day (And I’m Sleep Deprived Again)

Random Thoughts

So I was working on putting things back together when life went sideways again.  One I can talk about the other I can’t.  The one I can talk about is the cat situation.  My son left for college (I have to figure out how to blur faces in the photos before I post on that).  But the cat that normally sleeps with the kids now has no one to sleep with.  So Annie now wants to sleep with me.  However, Raven is the cat that has always slept with me.  And for whatever reason, maybe Raven accidentally jumped on Annie or Annie accidentally jumped on Raven, they will no longer share the bed.  As in, they are now fighting viciously.  And the worst fights are at night.  Some of them on top of me in bed.  It’s been getting ugly and I am sooooo sleep deprived.

The usual yelling at them to knock it off and separating them hasn’t been working at all.  In fact, it seemed to make things worse.  While Raven is twice the size of Annie, he is a major weenie.  He began hissing and yowling every time he saw her and then he would run and, of course, instinct being what it is, she would go after him.  AAARRGGHH!!!

This has led to some bathroom accidents and Annie not getting enough food because Raven was hiding in the bathroom where the dry food is.  I went surfing on the net and found others who have had a radical change in old cat behavior.  Unfortunately, the way that has worked the best, treating the cats like they have never met before; won’t work here because Raven can’t stand closed doors.  So separating them with a door between them isn’t possible.

So, I’ve been turfing Raven out of the bathroom (he then hid in the kitchen), taking them both into the livingroom and sitting between them playing referee, gently bopping any bad actors on the nose, petting and praising, handing treats out in a group setting for no reason other than to get them in the same place behaving themselves  (I have as third cat, Espe, who is not happy with all the violence), and being obvious in petting and playing with everyone.

Things are better, but not good.  Annie seems to have won bed rights for now.  Raven is moving around more comfortably without constantly throwing a fit and slinking from room to room.  We still have a long ways to go, but the nights are settling down.  Good heavens I need sleep.  I keep waking up and listening for trouble.  *Sheesh*  It’s really screwing with my days.  I don’t function well without sleep.  So wish me luck on the cat and sleep front.

Life At Our House

Now add bills, paperwork, critter care, yard care, and home caring to the above.  Did I mention how well I don’t function in a sleep deprived state?  So I need to sit down and come up with a schedule.  Again.  With sleep as the headliner.  Onward, ho!

I have been trying to enjoy the last of this year’s tomatoes and basil.  Bruschetta!

On homemade sourdough!

On homemade sourdough!

And I decided that we needed junk food, so I tried a new recipe for Apple Coffee Cake.  It was only ‘okay’.  It needed less brown sugar on top and more apples in the middle.  But it only lasted two days between the two of us! 🙂

More apples!

More apples!

Fur Babies and Other Friends

A lazy day at our house.

Espe.  Who kept batting the camera every time I got close.

Espe. Who kept batting the camera every time I got close.

Raven trying out my son's bed.  Where he has never ever slept.

Raven trying out my son’s bed. Where he has never ever slept.

Annie.  Who was unimpressed with getting her picture taken.

Annie. Who was unimpressed with getting her picture taken.

Jake.  Still alive, amazingly, and hanging around on the couch.

Jake. Still alive, amazingly, and hanging around on the couch.  Notice my toes and the toes of my ‘shadow’ who was supervising.

And even though it rained all day yesterday, Mr. Toad spent nearly 2 hours just soaking in the water dish.  Go figure.

And even though it rained all day yesterday, Mr. Toad spent nearly 2 hours just soaking in the water dish. Go figure.

Out In The Yard

My son made a bird house many years ago when he was little.  We hung it on the porch and every year since, we have had House Wrens raise a brood, sometimes two.

We had our usual nesting pair this year, but they only raised one brood, so we thought we were done.  However, about 3 weeks ago, we got a surprise one morning.  A pair of Carolina Wrens had raised a brood in our porch bird house, quietly, without us noticing.  Now if you know anything about wrens, you know that quiet isn’t a word you would normally apply to them.  But they managed it!  I tried to get pictures of the 4 babies as they fledged and explored the porch.  But they wouldn’t sit still long enough AND I was trying to shoot through the screen door.  So this was the best I could do.

Sit still, dammit!

Sit still, dammit!

They had an audience.

They had an audience.

Mug of the Day

An oldie but goodie.

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Tonight’s goal is to be in bed by 1:30.  Wish me luck!

I’m Baaaack

Random Thoughts

Wow.  Amazing how fast time can pass when you’re not having fun.  My monthly friend came along like 3 all at once and I felt like I got run over by a 100 car coal train.  (TMI?)  My days and nights are now screwed as I was getting up every 2 to 3 hours.  Thus my eating has been hit and miss and I’m down to 122 lbs. which is Bad.  As soon as I hit 120 or below I start getting sick.  So got to start piling on the calories.  Cranky and tired are the words for the day.

I did make it out to our local Farmer’s Market and bought myself some comfort food – Butter Toffee Peanuts.  I deserve them.  I sucked down half the bag on the trip home.  🙂  (Oh, and I also bought ‘real’ food, kohlrabi, tomatoes, plums, mmmm – just picked raspberries.)

I still haven’t decided what to do about apportioning time for the blog (here I am at 10 pm again!), I’ve been brain fried for the last week.  And I still have to do bills!  I’m also currently wrangling my husband to get him to decide what in the heck he wants to do for Father’s Day and his Birthday (the 20th).  He is being uncooperative. *Sigh* (with a slight growl)

Sitting in the grass late yesterday with my baby lizard, I was eating and looking at life in the grass and realized that in our hustle and bustle we forget how much goes on around us unnoticed.  It made me think of this quote and it’s one I need to put up somewhere where I can see it regularly.

“The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.”  — Veronique Vienne

Life at Our House

We had a pop-up thunderstorm that made me smile.  It was over our house pouring down the rain and in the back part of our yard the sun was shining.

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School is out and Spider Bait is now home for the summer.  He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be working his butt off helping his mother get Shtuff done.

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Okay, Saver of Bugs, here is the sourdough bread recipe leaving out proofing times and temps, just doing it the way I do it at home.

World Bread

  • 1/2 cup cold sponge culture
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Bake at 375

Mix the 1/2 cup of sourdough with 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup of water.  Cover bowl and sit on top of the refrigerator.  Do this right before you go to bed. (Note:  In the summer it should be warm enough in your room that you don’t have to do this downstairs.  Out of curiosity, you should check the temps on your dorm fridge every 15 min.  for about an hour and a half.  You might be able to raise the loaves on it.)

When you get up, add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and mix well.  Cover and put up on the fridge (or in your room – you’re looking for min. 72 degrees, no more than 85).  Let it work no less than 4 hours.  Depending on how warm your room is or on top of the fridge, the culture will start to go down at about 8 hrs.  At 12 hours it is flat.  I generally like to set up the loaves at about 6 hours.  But I’ve done it all along the time frame at one time or another.

Bread time.  Grease both bread pans and make sure you have enough space to knead bread.  Get your small saucepan out and toss 2 tbsp butter in it at medium heat.  With my old nasty pans, you should probably do it at a notch or so below medium.  When the butter is melted, put in the 1 cup milk and heat till lukewarm.  Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. salt and 2 tbsp. sugar and mix till dissolved.  Pour into sourdough mixture and mix well.  Begin adding flour 1 cup at a time till it gets too hard to stir well.  This is usually at about 5 cups for me.  Dust kneading surface with flour and tip sourdough out of bowl and start kneading and adding the rest of the flour.  Knead till smooth and elastic.  Depending on how humid it is and how dry the flour, you may need less than the 6 cups or more.  This is the part you learn to do by feel.  You want the dough as moist as possible and still workable and elastic.  Not gummy gooey.  Not stiff as a brick.

Divide the dough into 2 loaves, knead into shape and drop into the pans.  As wide as those bread pans are moosh the dough to cover the bottom.  Cover and let raise in a warm spot till the tops are just barely below the top of the pans.  About 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.  If you forget and the dough gets above the pan sides, use a fork or the tip of a knife to burst the bubbles or the top of the crust will come off when you cut it.  Spray or brush with water and cut the tops of the loaves.  Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

(You are feeding your sourdough at least once a week – riiiight?)

Fur Babies and Other Friends

This poor baby deer, just out of his spots, was apparently hit by a car.  That front leg is barely moveable.  And it clearly didn’t learn much from the experience, ’cause my husband almost hit him the next night coming home!

Will someone please explain to me how in the heck this is comfortable?  He didn’t even wake up when I turned the light on to take the picture!

Out In The Yard

Our header for today is one of my daughter’s Dianthus.

My lizard with no name* is also part of the yard stuff today, or should I say –  last night.  They need sun to manufacture Vit D to process calcium and I don’t have a UV bulb up yet so I take him outside.  While sitting there, I started watching life in the grass.  It was sooo relaxing.  There is so much going on right beneath our feet.  I managed to get a couple of pictures of my lizard and a couple of the lawn’s occupants living their lives around my feet.

The Jungle

Naw, I don’t let him run free.

I’m so cute!

Busy, busy, busy, Bee. It was really hard to get a picture of one of these guys!

One of my fav’s, the Preying Mantis. That clover flower next to him is about the size of a pea.

(*What to name this lizard?  I keep calling him Squirt, but he won’t be a Squirt forever.  More on that in my next post.  I kinda liked Willow but everyone’s running away screaming on that one.  Then Cooper kinda hit me, but Spider Bait sneered at that one too.  And apparently my hair dresser says it has to have a lizardish name or a dragon name. [Spider Bait got his haircut today and was discussing my lizard.]  Suggestions?)

Movement

Also while I was miserable this past week, I had problems with my right knee.  A reminder that I need to find my ankle weights and start back on my old knee exercises.  Horseback riding in the number of hours that I was putting in back in the day plus running created a muscle imbalance that will always be with me.  When I was working and running it wasn’t so much a problem because I was also doing weight work to keep my body evened up.  It was during the off-season when the muscles began to atrophy that my knees would give me the most trouble.  At one point the imbalance pulled my kneecaps sideways, which was less than fun and had one doctor wanting to cut the muscles off the sides of my kneecaps.  Well, you know that ain’t happening.  I eventually found a doctor and runner who realized what was going on and gave me exercises to do to save my knees and keep me moving.  The catch?  It will always be there and require exercises to keep my parts where they belong.  So gotta get back to it.

Things did straighten up enough that I started walking again yesterday.  NO sore muscles!  I’m excited.  I’ll walk a couple more times and if I still have no soreness I’m going to go from 20 min. to 25 min. and see what happens.  Squee!

Mug of the Day

I really need to bake some homemade ones.   Mmmmm…

Can you paint with all the colors of the Wind?

Random Thoughts

My son was playing Disney music this morning and Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas began to play.  Now I wasn’t hugely impressed with the film but this song never fails to bring me to tears.  I hate the way we humans treat the Earth.  Did you know there are rafts of garbage floating in the ocean?  Here’s one of them:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch

This also reminded me that at one time I was a regular woods tramp.  I tried to remember when the last time was that I enjoyed myself in the woods.  I couldn’t come up with anything more recent that when my son was young.  So we’re talking about 10 yrs.  That’s really sad.  So after I dropped Spider Bait off for an afternoon with his friends, I made a detour to a nearby State Park.  Things had changed since I was last there!  They’ve spiffed up the info center, evidently have more trails, and…. lol, they’re selling t-shirts!  Nice ones!  I chatted up the people at the center,  grabbed brochures, a map, and got the card of the educational dept. guy who handles classes.  It’s the same person from way back when!  I wanted to go pop in at the Wildflower Preserve but was short on time so since the rain had stopped, I grabbed a couple of quick photos from the hill in front of my car.

Trilliums

Trilliums and Bluebells

“…and we are all connected to each other / in a circle  / in a hoop / that never ends…”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkV-of_eN2w

Crystals

This is where I’ll give you a brief tidbit about crystals.  Hopefully getting me back in touch with why I started collecting them and educating and entertaining you in the process.

Today’s crystal is Rose Quartz.  It can be found in South Africa, the United States, Brazil, Japan, India, and Madagascar.  Astrologically it is associated with Taurus and Libra.  This crystal has no bad qualities.  It is the ultimate in healing crystals as it can help with both physical and emotional problems.  Rose Quartz is important for both your heart and heart chakra.  It can also draw off negative energy, is soothing for those in crisis or in grief, helps in self-forgiveness, and aids in acceptance of necessary change.  Wear it, especially over your heart.  Rose Quartz is also a crystal of infinite peace and unconditional love.  If you wish to draw love into your life, keep some by your bed or in your relationship corner (Feng Shui).

Polished. A bit bigger than a quarter.

Rough. Fist sized.

The color is somewhat light.  I’m still working on lighting.

Life at Our House

 Today I made bread.  A rye sourdough with molasses in it.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

 Stolen from the stash.  All my pics were a bust.  Damn dizzy’s.

Out in the Yard

No yard work today!  Our header today is pink phlox.

And here’s my mug for tomorrow.

A Quiet Day

Random Thoughts

 I was sitting at the table this morning eating strawberries and reading blogs when I happened to look into the bowl.  Small white lumps were floating in my strawberries.  Huh?  They can’t be getting moldy already!  I just thawed them out yesterday!  A closer inspection revealed a lump with black dots.  Eeeeeew.  Another lump appeared with orange on it.  Wait.  Orange?  WTF?  I turned my light box back on, shoved my glasses up where they belonged, and stuck the bowl in the light.  Oh-for-pete’s-sake.  ***head to table***  I had eaten eggs for breakfast and was using the same spoon.  Egg bits had soaked off the spoon while it sat in the juice.  Mornings are not my best time.

This appealed to me today.  An attitude reminder from Robert Louis Stevenson:

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.  By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”

Life At Our House

The ‘big event’ here today was my baking bread (sourdough).  Unless of course you want to count my succumbing to a chocolate craving and going out to buy a stash of Sixlets.  Here’s the bread:

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Sourdough

It’s been out about 30 minutes now so when my tea is ready I’m going to lop off a chunk and slather it in butter.  Can’t wait.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

Hey!  Saver of Bugs!  About those peacock feathers…

Annie

Annie

 While eye shine normally annoys me, I think this is very accurate showing of our ‘witch’ cat.

Is it dinner?  Is it? Is it?

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Out in the Yard

You’ll notice I changed my header.  I’ve decided to try to put some small picture from in the yard as my header every time I post.

Today’s pic is a very small pansy that I found in a planter in my yard.

A tiny determined seed survived the winter.   And despite a less than ideal beginning to life, has produced a beautiful flower for all to enjoy.