computer work

This week I have felt like I have been running in place.  Stuck.  Part of it is that the things I am working on take a bit of time.  It also rained three days in a row which did not help anything.

The computer work I did came in the mail.  The plates I created for the letterpress are here.  It does mean I am going to be cutting paper for a couple of days and then I will be printing.  The boyos wanted different things so I needed to create flexibility in the plates but which make the actual printing more difficult.  I am not going to worry about it currently.  I am just going to focus on the next step which is cutting paper.  This is when  I wish I had a paper cutter that is much larger then the one I do have.  But, I have no space for one that large!

There has also been sadness.  I had another friend die.  It was a surprise.  I think it is part of why I feel like I am running in place.  Stuck.  There has been a lot of sadness this year tied to people dying.  I do find a lot of joy and happiness in the simplest of things.  Everyday things but there is a definite counterpoint this year.  There is nothing I can change.  Be sad for me and her family.  Enjoy life everyday and be grateful.


one of the many french style breads

Obviously, when I got back from camping I had milk that was going bad.  Drinkable but it tasted just a bit off.  I also needed bread.  

I have been wanting a French style bread.  The boyos really like the oatmeal.  I could have made the oatmeal bread with the milk.  Not a problem.  I just wanted something a little different.  I like a French style bread with butter and jam.  A bit drippy but not holey.  Which is why I say French style.  I do not wish a crust that cuts my mouth and I want enough bread to hold the butter and jam and not fall on the plate.  I can make the artisan style breads.  I chose not to because I want the jam and butter to be on the bread not running down my arm.  It sounds so picky but is true.

I went through the Bein Cuit cookbook to be inspired.  There was a French style loaf with milk and olive oil.  I have to admit I quite like it.  Here is where it gets really silly.  I looked at the proportion of measurements, realized they were very close to Chris Bianco's pizza dough measurements and went from there.  It is really how simple bread is to make.  Please try it!

I have actually made this bread again already with the whey I saved from straining the yogurt.  Again, so good.  There is a a half a loaf left and I am told bread is needed.  Partially because the boyos have said there is a need for bread pudding with rum sauce.  This is my life.  There are many times where I do not feel like i am not getting anything done but it is because I am always making and doing!  I just laugh. 

Eat bread, butter, and jam.  This is a good starting place.  Ask questions if you want!

I also realized as I reread this post that words, fingers, and keyboard are not necessarily working very well.  Ask questions if I am not clear please!  I just have to laugh at myself.  Time for more tea.

French style bread

Note:  Used ideas from Zachary Golper of Bein Cuit and Chris Bianco of Bianco.  It is bread.

a couple tablespoons of sourdough starter (I then add flour and water to my sourdough jar to refresh it for next time)

1 cup water

1 cup milk or whey

1/4 cup olive oil

5 cups or more of flour

2 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl, place the starter in a large bowl.  Add the water, milk, and olive oil.  Mix in 3 cups of flour.  Stir really hard.  Cover and let sit until bubbly.  Starting with cold starter and cold milk, that is four to six hours.  Maybe even eight depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  No, I do not warm my milk.

Once the batter is bubbling, mix in the salt.  Mix in almost two cups of flour.  My flour is very fresh and very moist so I actually need to add almost another cup of flour to get a smooth dough.  Mix in the two cups of flour until there is a rough ball.  It will probably still be sticky but knead it until smooth.  Get your hands in.  Add as little extra floor as possible because the higher the water content of the dough the lighter your bread can be.

When the bread is a smooth ball, put back into a bowl and cover.  Come back in about an hour, flatten, fold into the center, and make another bowl.  Do this three times.  After the third time, or I am ready to go to bed, I put the ball of dough in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator.

The next day, I line a loaf baking tin with parchment paper.  I take the dough out of the refrigerator and shape into a loaf shape.  I put it into the tin and cover.  I let it proof until double.  Or the fingerprint pressed into it does not bounce back.  My kitchen, this can take eight hours.

Once it is at this point, put the loaf into the oven.  Turn the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and back for one hour.  It should be golden and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped.  If it is not proofed enough, the center will be doughy and it will never truly bake.

Bread.  Good basic bread that used milk that was souring.  It is good with fresh milk and whey too!  I am starting this bread this afternoon.  I will probably bake it on Saturday.  That is how my timings work.


almost soured milk

I have talked about yogurt before here.  It is not hard to make.  Just, a lot does not get eaten here so I do not make a lot.  But I came back from camping to an almost gallon of milk close to being soured.  That was a lot of waste for me.  I made it into yogurt.

It was a very thin yogurt when it had fermented so I strained it a bit.  A lot of it is still very soft but some was much thicker.  That is how much yogurt I made.  You could tell consistency differences in the batch.  

I saved the whey that was strained out of it and have been using it the bread I have been making.  I will share that recipe tomorrow because it is quite good!  French like without being French.  

Life is quiet.  I am having a hard time finding things to write about because it is just my life.  I do kind of wish I had pigs for the milk but I do not.  I would have to live on the mountain for that full time.  Someday.


needing color

I should not watch movies about people who do not live the norm.  Or rather live the norm I always wished to when I was younger but do not.  Captain Fantastic is one of those.  

Good things that came out of it is that ir reminded me that I need to do more yoga.  Palo Duro Canyon helped remind me as well.  More movement for arthritic hips.  More strength. 

One of the things that came out of Captain Fantastic is that I want more color.  I do not mean more prints but more vibrant colors.  Jewel tones.  I am that crazy person though if I am wearing white you may wish to check if I am depressed.  I really like blacks and greys.  Woodland tones.  But I need to intersperse more jewel tones.  More tropical.  Not the prints.  Just the colors.

I went through some of my leftover yarns and started to put this shawl together.  I had some yarn leftover from my Taos Mountain shawl I had made.  I had some skeins I had purchased just one of because I liked the colors.  After pondering this through a whole yoga asana, I started to make a triangle shawl.  Honestly, my shawls are all triangles.  This is modeled after a granny square.  It is exciting to work on.  

I am actually almost done with all the bright blue in the picture and the green.  Which means I still have two dark blues and a grey blue to go.  That bright blue is the ball of yarn that decided to roll off a mountain.  

I am having a hard time settling.  Part of it is the air in Houston.  The sadness.  Part of it is that I still wish to be in the desert camping.  Or someplace in the middle of nowhere but with ice cream not too long of a drive away.  That is me.  I can be as happy with a bowl of ice cream as a glass of a tequila based beverage. 

I have also spent a lot of time on the computer this week.  That always makes me antsy.  I was redesigning business cards for letterpress printing.  I am going to need to spend some time printing soon.  Such exciting pictures!  I am being sarcastic.  Like pictures of my working on the computer are exciting too.  Not really.

I am now going to putter off to my sewing machine after some yoga.  I might even get a quilt laid out in the next week or two!  Another way to add color. 


Palo Duro Canyon

It has been awhile since I got to go camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Part of that is that it is a ten hour drive from Houston.  It requires a long weekend to get there.

It is desert so it can be hot.  The day we arrived it was forecasted to be about 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the canyon itself.  It is nice that it cools off during the night.

We did go for one of the longer marked hikes in the canyon.

The rock formation called the Lighthouse was the destination.  Most of the hike is very easy.  The last quarter mile had my bad hip not happy with me.  I had to rest more then I would have liked to wish to let pain stop.  I was at the extremes of movement for my right hip.  But I made it.

I even made it with a crochet project in my pack.  Fruit, water, and crochet. I could not ask for more.  Though one ball of yarn did decide to go over an edge.  At least it was not too far so I was able to have help getting it retrieved.  

I usually do not get to hang out much when I am camping.  Especially when there is someone else with me.

My family likes to go.

This time, with the heat and the drive and what life has thrown at us recently, there was a lot of sitting.  A lot of walking too because we always walk.

Hanging the hammock and having books helped.

It was really hard for me on Monday to say, yes back to Houston.  A large part of me wanted to go west.  Five hours to Taos.  A diner I like.  Mountains.  A yarn store I like.  Maybe soon.