Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rainy Saturday

Still mushy today. Not really raining hard but misty and drizzle seem to be our deal for the day. Looking ahead I got two batches of bread started yesterday. Sourdough whole wheat and dough for Parisian baguettes so I have baking to do today to keep me busy. Keeping the fingers crossed that the weather allows us to see the eclipse of the Blood Moon tomorrow. I've also got the new Jodi Taylor book ready to go so I'm set for the day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Since today is the first day of Fall in our hemisphere and the Pagan/Wiccan holiday of Mabon. One important aspect of Mabon is that of balance where we have an equal amount of day and night. Here is a Mabon prayer on balance that seems appropriate for the day.

Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Baguette Challenge

Gardening done for the day and now I'm on to perfecting the homemade baguette. I am so tired of being disappointed in the so-called baguettes they have in the stores that I am determined to make real Parisian style baguettes myself. 

I've sorta kinda almost made them before but cheated with a pan and I didn't follow the traditional two day process for fermenting the dough.I just made some dough, shaped it and baked it.  No crackly to the crust and no deep fermented flavor not to mention the tight crumb. I'm following all the rules and traditions for these loaves. I even went out bought me a couche (linen sheet) to raise them in.

 I started my dough yesterday and now I am in the process of shaping the bread. The traditional method calls for letting the dough rest for 30 minutes between each step so that's where I am. Two more shapings and one more rest and then the final proofing and baking. We shall see.

I'm using a trick of mixing a tiny bit of whole wheat flour that has been sifted to remove most of the bran with my all purpose to try and duplicate the French flour. King Arthur does sell a "French" flour blend but I'd like to be able to do it with all purpose. 

I'll post a picture if they turn out stellar.  The recipe makes four loaves but I am only doing two today so I'll have another go tomorrow. That's the nice thing about a cold fermented dough is that you have a few days to work with. I should have a two or three more day window to get it done.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Going With The FIre

Too wet to do anything but weed in the garden today but I did get a lot of that done today. Staying ahead of the weeds without chemicals is really getting to be a PITA. I did try to use an organic weed killer made from orange oil and it knocks the weeds back but doesn't seem to kill them. Long story short I've decided that fire is the answer and I've just ordered a 400,000 BTU "Red Dragon" burner. Reviews are pretty positive so I'm giving it a try. A whole day on my hands and knees was a big incentive. Going to have to figure out how to haul a 20 pound around the garden but I think I can rig something with my hand truck. Amazon should have it to me in a couple of days and we'll see if fire is the answer. I refuse to go back to Round-up or the generic versions now available so this had better be the answer. I'm also think walking around and flaming things might be  fun.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Nice Birthday

Nice birthday yesterday. Number 66 but who's counting? Indulged myself with bacon and cream cheese on homemade sourdough toast for breakfast and then a BLT for lunch. I splurged a while back and bought 3 pounds of Benton's bacon which many consider to be the best. It is very good but Madam doesn't like it because it is very smokey. Dinner was a nice rib eye and frites. I pan fried the steak is some of the bacon grease from breakfast and that was tasty. I splurged on a nice Bordeaux as well. St. Emillion Chateau St. Louis. Very nice.

Got a lot of work done in the garden. Purple top turnips in as well as bok choy and more peas. I also got two beds turned and planted with buckwheat for a cover crop and it will be ready to turn over in about a month and a half.

All in all a good day. Looks like rain most of the day today so gardening may be minimal. We'll see. Right now a little dog is looking at me and wanting to know why it's already 830a and still no walk.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day. As is usual I'm going to be in the garden. I finally got my mowing done yesterday. I started on Saturday but broke the mower belt. That precipitated a trip to the Home Depot which said they had six of the 48" belts in stock. They didn't but fortunately the Lowe's across the street did. You have to remove the mowing deck to change the belt and while it was off I decided to change the blades to the high lift ones that came with the grass catcher. It is not a hard job but it is time consuming and I didn't finish until Sunday morning. So I got the maintenance tasks done and I can go back to the hobby. I have to replant spinach today as I got ZERO germination from the Martha Stewart seed. I have Botanical Interests to try now and we'll see.

I put my pork shoulder in the crock pot this morning instead of firing up the grill or smoker. I just don't have the bandwidth to tend a fire all day long and properly seasoned the roast will come out just fine. It won't be all smoky but otherwise will be very tasty. I am probably violating some secret rule about BBQ on Labor Day but whatever.

Everyone have a safe holiday.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Summer is Back

I got run out of the garden early this afternoon by the heat and humidity just as yesterday. I got in just before a real frog strangler went through and it looks a bit like we might get another today. The forecast is for a rainy weekend as well. The fall garden is coming along fairly well. We had a few nice day where I could spend the bulk of the day out there so progress is being made. Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and peas are all transplanted and the direct seeded beets and arugula are peeking out. For some reason not one spinach plant has appeared out of the whole packet I planted so I guess I'll have to replant. I won't use Martha Stewart seed from Home Depot again. The local nursery carries Botanical Interests and I've had good luck with their seed.

Just to make sure I have stuff to keep me busy I got a batch of whole wheat sourdough started this morning and it is doing a slow ferment in the fridge. I decided that I will extend the process out for a third day and see if the extra time fermenting adds more flavor. I'll take it out of the fridge in the morning and let it come to room temp and then shape the loaves.

I also took a Boston Butt out of the freezer that I got sale last month so I can do the obligatory BBQ for the holiday weekend. I won't drag out the smoker for just one roast and I'll do the Weber half grill drill. Not ideal but good enough.

Everyone half a safe Labor Day weekend and get all your summer stuff out of the way.