I am on a mental ramble here, which is how undisciplined I have become since leaving the academy. Sometimes I feel concerned about it, but most of the time I am having the time of my life, and I value the joy of living.
The last few weeks have been mild, and one might think spring arrived early. I know better, as we experienced this sort of interlude in 1994 when we moved into our house in the little city. That warm spell was shorter than this one, but no less memorable. Yesterday began with spitting rain falling from the overcast sky. By mid-afternoon the sun came out, and the temperature soared to 15C on our back porch. And where was I? I was out on the back porch, soaking up every ray of sunshine that came my way. I cuddled in my jacket, as the brisk wind was keen on robbing the warmth the sun provided. That is where Attila found when he returned from work, and where he joined me. I know this warm weather is not meant to last, but it is a lovely reprieve, and reminder that soon spring will arrive.
In mid-January I experienced a gastrointestinal upset that lasted for a month. It was puzzling, and worrisome. I had a few theories as to what it might be, some of them downright scary, and others not so much. The problem cleared up a week or so ago, to my great relief. But my system swung the other way to experience the opposite extreme, which has been equally uncomfortable. An experiment was in order. Yesterday I consumed a 70g portion of the ricotta cheese I like so well. Sure enough, during the night my gastrointestinal system swung right back to the original extreme condition. I am in a see-saw situation.
I had used this ricotta cheese in baking, and it did not affect me at all. I froze some of the ricotta cheese, thawed it and consumed it, and it did not affect me at all. I drink milk, and eat other cheeses, and they do not affect me at all. But eating this ricotta cheese fresh does affect me, distinctly and unmistakably. Going forward it can be my own fool-proof cure for constipation. My next experiment will be to try different brands of ricotta cheese to see if I can tolerate any of the alternatives.
My son-in-law Janus has expressed an interest in my 2007 iMac. It will only run operating systems up to and including El Capitan, and so has become a less flexible solution for us, which is important because we rely on computers and not cell phones. I spent yesterday cleaning up the hard drive, removing the last vestiges of my files, updating the software that I was leaving on the machine, and creating a login account for Janus to use, since he should not use the admin login account for day-to-day use. Attila brought the computer box in from the new shed, after he got home from work, and now the computer, the OSX install disk, the keyboard and the mouse are nicely packed and ready for pickup or delivery, whichever comes first. I will miss the old iMac, it is a beautiful machine. But we really need to keep current with our technology, and we do not have room for more than one computer in our little Mist Cottage.
Today I am baking my first loaf of Finnish Pulla, using the yogurt sourdough starter my friend Auntie Mame sent me. I learned a few little things with the first loaf of sourdough I baked last week, with the rye starter. It is important in my Bosch mixer to add the dry ingredients first, the starter will smear and fail to incorporate itself into the dough if added to the mixer bowl first. Adding the dry ingredients first really worked well, and the dough was very easy to work with when it came out of the bowl. The recipe I used was sent to me along with a sample loaf of Finnish Pulla by Auntie Mame, and I am looking forward to seeing how my first loaf will turn out.
Attila does not like sourdough bread. I love sourdough bread. All for me is what I say! He likes the Finnish Pulla though, and I will have to share that. The loaf of bread I baked with the rye starter was very nice, it had a very good crumb, and was nice for sandwiches. But Attila doesn’t like it. Since I was the only one eating the loaf, it was in danger of spoiling, so the last half of it was used for croutons. The result was disappointing, the croutons were rock hard, and very hard to crack with out teeth, not really very pleasant on a green salad. But we will eat them, nothing goes to waste here, our mistakes are usually consumed. Thank goodness we don’t have many serious failures in the kitchen!
Lately I have been watching a channel on youtube, about a family who moved into a yurt with three small children and built a small house over the course of three years, which they moved into. I enjoyed the mountain dream home series Fouch-o-matic, which featured the whole family. They are very likeable people, and I enjoyed hearing about how they met their challenges and made progress.
The wife Esther did another series which featured just herself, and other homesteading wives, all around her own age. This series I found tedious, there was nothing new to me in anything that they were talking about, which is not really a problem. One positive aspect of it was that the information “taught” held no glaring areas of misinformation. I think my problem was more that they thought of themselves as teaching others, when in fact they were only just learning themselves. I would have enjoyed hearing about what they were learning, but could not get past their belief that they were in a position to teach, when all they were doing was sharing their learning experience. Trained as a teacher I know how carefully one needs to structure information and delivery in order to make it easily understood, and what a thorough knowledge one needs of the subject at hand to successfully teach others. We can learn from sharing, but the act of sharing is focused on the me, and not the same as teaching, which is student centric.
Date: 10:00 AM EST Friday 24 February 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Dew point: 1.2°C
Wind: NE 22 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”
Edward R. Murrow
1908 – 1965
That bread looks mouthwatering!
With loaves we don’t eat soon enough, I slice and freeze them for toast. Nothing goes to waste around here either — especially with dogs and cats about.
Thanks Kate! It didn’t cook through, there are dense areas. This was my first braid, so I am not sure what happened there, time for some research. The taste though, irrestible, so much so that my lunch was Finnish Pulla Bread, 🙂
Freezing for toast is something I had not considered, thanks for that tip. We will also use the sourdough bread for turkey stuffing, just not croutons!
I also am a sourdough lover. Paul is not, so much. I have Sour Dough bread mixes that are lovely and easy to make in my bread machine. In fact, I may make another soon… thanks for the reminder.
Gorgeous pic of the morning sky!!
Count me as a sourdough lover!
I really think we’re just going to do a journey into coolish weather, with temps somewhere between normal and the very warm ones of this last week. I don’t think we’ll see true winter cold for more than a day at a time.
DH and I are both big fans of garlic. Just the other day we had a lovely garlic and veggie stir fry with pork, red peppers and zucchini. One of our favorites!
Bex, the mixes sound really good! The Finnish Pulla is very nice, I am pleased with the taste. I have to work on the baking of it though, there were sections in the middle of the loaf that were too dense, they either did not rise enough, or were underbaked. More experimentatin is needed!
Thanks Teri, the photo was a lucky catch, having the camera out when the colours were there, they sure don’t last very long.
The weather report shows a real dip in temperatures, both day and night, to below seasonal averages for the first week in March, with snow, so I think that will be winter’s last gasp. By mid-March I will be thinking about opening up Iris and getting started on the season’s preparations for camping.
Garlic is wonderful stuff, along with onions, and they save the day for me with their flavours, since I am eating low-sodium these days. Your stir fry sounds yummy!
Oh, yes! My mistake, our stir fry does also have onions.
Looking at the NOAA forecast for the next 10 days (I consider it valid as my area of Ontario does dip down between Buffalo and Detroit), I’ve been seeing forecasts for highs mostly in the 40s and no lower than just above freezing, but we’ll see. The forecast is no better than the next surprise polar vortex. 😉
Teri, we have a week coming up where the lows go down to between -6C and -12C, definitely winter weather, but mild winter weather. Even if we get a big load of snow during that period, it won’t last long! Ever since the March at the country house, when we got a whole winter’s worth of snow during those weeks, I’ve been cautious about regarding March as anything but the dead of winter. Here at Mist Cottage, March brings the feeling that spring is definitely coming, but I keep my chops up, so to speak, so that a blast of winter doesn’t blindside me.
We woke up to gorgeous blue skies and temps above freezing, this morning. Temp is supposed to get to about 7C/45F, today.
After most of December and January being sunless gray, I can’t believe what good luck we’re having with sunny days! We had a thunderstorm a few nights ago but, other than that, we’ve had quite a bit of sunshine.
Beautiful here too Teri! The sunshine is very welsome, a real tonic. Very windy, which I think will take the last of the snow banks on either side of our driveway.
I know winter is coming back next week, but when the mild weather next appears it should stick around!
You startled me with saying winter was coming back next week. I rushed to look at the forecasts. There are 2 days forecast below freezing, here. I guess I just see them as an quick cycle of coolish weather and then back to the warmth we’ve had.
Two days out of the week doesn’t seem so bad, though you may have more than just 2 days up where you are.
Where we live we have 11 nights of below freezing temperatures coming up, ranging from -2C to -10C, some with snow. On a practical level, at our house, this means that the oil furnace will come into play, dry air will need to be mediated by the humidifier, which I would love to put away for the season, but it it just too early for that. Lots of little things that we do to survive winter weather can be set aside when we decide spring has arrived, so I am putting them all off until mid-March. When spring comes back, I think it will stay!