Wheat Berries

Attila ventured out on Monday after work to find a Christmas Tree. He likes a real tree, and so do I. There weren’t many available by the time Attila started looking, but he eventually found one, for $40. It is our Christmas indulgence, well one of them, food is the other. I am lucky in that he will do all the decorating, and enjoys doing it. I just have to be careful not to supervise, although the temptation is great at times! I have to content myself with sitting in my easy chair and playing the part of the great admirer… I’ve got this! I milled flour earlier this week, and used the last of the bag of wheat berries. That bag lasted for four months, as we purchased it early in August. It provided us with all of our wheat related products, which are primarily breads and muffins. We have two more bags in the freezer, which should last until early August, at which time another journey to the supplier will be in order. Whole wheat flour will go rancid. We used to purchase large bags of it, when I was working, and we lived in the country. But … Continue reading

I’ve Got This! Or Maybe This Got Me.

Chocolates have always been my favourite treat at Christmas time. But now, being older and experiencing the inevitable consequence of time, chocolates are something I no longer indulge in. What to do! I think I have found my solution. Sweet yeast breads! I made loaf of Panettone number four yesterday, and it is so, so good! I eat it plain, and sometimes I spread a wee bit of butter on it. And I enjoy every single bite. This bread has me on the hook. We are having a quiet weekend here at home, as usual. Attila is working on the insulating the basement. He now has the stud walls built, and the insulation installed, for about 50% of the total area to be covered. It is slow going but oh so satisfying. The difference can be felt when standing in the area of the basement that is now insulated, then moving to an area yet to be insulated. The chill in the area that has no insulation is unmistakable. This is a good winter project, as most of the work is indoors, with only a bit of lumber to be cut in the garage. I’ve asked Attila to build me … Continue reading

Looking Back, and Forward

I have entertained myself during the last few dreary gray weeks by watching The 1940s House. I enjoyed it a great deal, and loved the practicality, and the attention to the truly important aspects of family, the glue of society, during that awful war experience. Life was shown to be very difficult for those who maintained domestic stability during that era. So many times I have heard balanced historians describing survival during “pioneering” or “unstable” social periods, to be centered around the ability of families or small social units to maintain the basic necessities of life… human connection, shelter, food, and clothing. Too often, I think, “history” focuses on the wealthy and the violent, ignoring the vital role played by the provision of basic human needs. A delightful aspects of the series were the appearances of Marguerite Patten OBE (1915 – 2015), who was one of the consultants for the series. “The Ministry Food Advice Division employed dieticians and many home economists, to help people throughout the country. Our role, for I was one of the food advisers, was to conduct cookery demonstrations and talks to show what interesting things could be made with the rationed and unrationed foods available.” … Continue reading

The Last Harvest

Saturday! Since retirement, the days of the week aren’t the focus of my life, as they were when I had to be at a specific spot at a specific time. I like retirement. I was sitting here just minding my own business, and Saturday night snuck up on me! Yesterday I milled flour, it took me quite a while, the supply was down to two cups of flour. I only mill about eight cups of flour at one time, then I let the equipment cool down before milling again. I ended up with about 44 cups of freshly milled whole-wheat flour. Today I used the flour I had just milled to bake five loaves of bread. We were completely out of bread. No, wait, there was one partial loaf left in the breadbox, Chocolate Bread. Not really suitable for savory sandwiches. This evening I made Hamburger Gravy with potatoes in the Instant Pot. I sauteed ground beef in the Pot, then added chopped onion and sauteed it all, adding a few herbs, Rosemary, Pepper, Garlic. Two cups of homemade vegetable broth were then added. A metal steam basket was set over the meat mixture, and the peeled potatoes were placed … Continue reading

Insulating the Basement

Last weekend Attila started on the insulating the basement project. Monday evening we visited the local lumber yard to order the materials needed to build the stud walls and drywall. Today the materials were delivered. I have taken a lot of deliveries in my time and, with a few exceptions, the delivery fellows, and they have always been fellows, have been courteous and helpful. The delivery man today was exceptional. He was friendly, and helpful above and beyond the bare bones of a delivery. Attila had told me that the drywall could be stacked outside, assuming the delivery people would not bring it into the garage, and I was left a plastic sheet to cover it up in case it rained before he got home. But this young man did not like that idea, and he suggested that the drywall be carried into the garage, which he did for me. Then after he stacked all of the wood on the driveway, he covered it with the plastic sheet and secured the sheet so that the wind could not blow it around. This was a delivery from Home Hardware, and I have got to say that their employees are pretty darn … Continue reading