Saturday
Jul222017

indulgence

Leaving Washington, there was lunch with friends and then the decision to go to Tolt Yarn and Wool.  I have read about this yarn shop online.  Seen some of the workshops they have to offer.  One of those that I always thought might not be the best place for my wallet for me to go.  But I did.

They have a Makers Market that has sounded interesting.  Not large.  Just a few makers, dozen makers, in a yarn store.  What could go wrong?!  I picked up some interesting insect prints that I am going to put over my work bench.  A white hand thrown cup that I have been using for tea, even though today it is for hot ginger.  A smaller version for simple pours.  Yarn.  

They did have makers of yarn there.  The two blue skiens above were from one of those makers, Spincycle.  I could not pass them up.  I was thinking hats.  Maybe for me?  Maybe for gifts?  Maybe for presents?  I will see.

Tolt Yarn and Wool definitely caters to knitters, not hookers.  There are so many ways you can make crochet sound bad!  One of the Spincycle ladies made the comment she never knows what hole to use because there are too many holes.  It just came out so badly!  I did find a knitting pattern called Baern that I should be able to convert to crochet.  I am using the Yoth yarn I found there.  It is the cream and green skeins in the top picture.  It is an indulgence because it is large part cashmere.  The sweater will so soft.  I personally love the feel of cashmere sweaters but I always wear them out.  I am hoping this will be different.  I can hope.

It was nice.  I may go back to Carnation, WA just to wander.  I wil definitely go back to Tolt but they are online.  I like small towns and I like to look into windows.  When someone says window shopping, that is my favorite type of shopping.  Just looking into the windows.  

I have put down the sewing needle at night and put up my crochet hook.  I am hoping to have a sweater soon even though it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit most of the time.  If it works, I may order more of this Yoth yarn.  Or maybe I will see how the sweater wears.  Or maybe I will spin some more.  

Thursday
Jul202017

mountain jam

So much about going to the mountain is maintenance.  My Beloved and I cleared the path to Canada (the end looks towards Canada) with the tractor and the clippers.  I am horrible!  If I think it is going to hit me in the head, it comes down!  Including any berries.  I clipped back huckleberries.

Since we have cleared out trees to make room for the possibilities of gardens, we are actually getting berries now.  Mountain berries crawl over things.  The seem to get no higher then knee high and have the tiniest blackberries on the brambles.  But the flavor so good!  I usually think blackberries need sugar because they are a bit tart.  I find the invasive Himalayan blackberries are tart like that.  Or store bought strawberries.  These are berries that make your teeth hurt because they are so sweet.

The blackberries were what was most ripe.  But there were also salmon berries, a few huckleberries, and a few thimble berries.  We picked for a couple three hours and came away with about 3 quarts of berries.  There was no way they would have travled well cross country.  The thimble berries and salmon berries all but crush in your fingers when they are ripe.  Even in the Yeti container I was picking into they would not have made it.  I made jam at my parents with the berries.

2 cups of washed picked clean berries to 1 cup sugar.  Bring to a simmer and let cook until a bit of juice slowly runs down a plate.  I take my finger nail through it and see if it stays where it is put.  If it does, the jam is done.  I

bought a sourdough French from one of the bakeries I like it Bellingham.  With butter, that just makes breakfast so good.  I had to make a loaf of French bread when I got home.  The only negative is that I am still not on the mountain.  I would be picking berries every day and making jam.  25 pounds of sugar back in my life.  But I have little bit of mountain with me until it is gone.  1 and 1/2 quarts of jam.  

And more memories of sunsets.

Tuesday
Jul182017

back from adventuring

Koda Bear is back with the Tall Short Person.  But at the very last minute, adventuring was decided upon.  Koda Bear really likes to sleep in tents.  So does my Beloved.  I found state parks to camp in across the southwest of the United States and the boyos could not have been more pleased.

Davis Mountain State park is one that I have wanted to visit in the past.  I want to go back now.  I would love to hang out for a week.  There was just not enough time.  The skies were so clear!  It is near the MacDonald observatory so I should not have been surprised.  

We were supposed to camp at Picacho State Park between Tuscon and Phoenix Arizona but 115 Fahrenheit was just too hot.  It was a hotel night.  But Stoney Creek Campground in Mount San Jacinto State Park south of Palm Springs California was lovely.  The elevations meant that it was cool.

I had time to finish a present between hikes.  

There were so many rocks for the Bear to climb on!  Places to run down hill because it is the best according to him.  He gets his energy from running down hill.  Most times he is pretending he is riding a motorbike so it is a lot of fun.

But Koda Bear and my Beloved could have their adventure of sleeping in tents.  Which was really what they wanted before Koda Bear landed back with the Tall Short Person.  It is lovely to watch.

Wednesday
Jul052017

hand sewing

This is the season where I seem to have a lot of birthdays.  Or maybe it is better said that I have birthdays where I wish to deliver more then a card or flowers.  Since what most of what I have been working on is gifts, I cannot show the pictures until the end products are delivered.

I also have this tendency to plan more then I have actual time for.  Especially when Koda Bear is about.  But that is life.  I will make sure all parts of the presents are delivered but it might take until Christmas!  Then I start this all over again.

I have been dealing with first world problems this last week.  The internet to the house went down and I figured out a way to get around that today.  But it is very much a first world problem because I could have gone to the library.  I do not like to leave the house most of the time and it would have felt like there were too many people about.  And since my ant bites, my lungs have felt very congested.  It makes every bit harder.

There has been a snap decision made and adventuring is going to happen.  Starting tomorrow!  There is usually more planning in my life but that is not the norm this summer.  Everything seems very spur of the moment.  It is a nice place to be actually.  To have the luxury.  

So . . .  off to the mountain we go.  Maybe I can thrift some wool threads to fix a sweater.  Boyos will be around but not me.  I am also planning on bring back fir branches to play with dye.  I might just have room in the vehicle on the way back.  Who knows though!  

Thursday
Jun292017

heritage grains

It has been an interesting week.  Boyos went camping but then Koda Bear ended up not feeling well.  Not feeling well with a low grade fever and just wanting to be held.  I do not mind all the cuddling but it does mean not much gets done. 

My garden is swamped in weeds after being gone, heat, and rain.  While pulling weeds, I found an ant bead and was bitten multiple times.  This should not be a big deal.  Yes, ant bites hurt.  Burn.  The problem is I have been bitten too many times and my body is reacting very badly.  My hands and feet are badly swollen, I got dopey, and my throat tightened.  I do try to be careful but I did not even see the pile until after I had been bitten.  The rest of my day was taking care of my bodies reaction.

Days like these just make me wish to bake bread.  But I bought flours from heritage grains recently and one of the flours is being troublesome.  It absorbs a lot of water after the dough is mixed.  It is a Sonora White whole wheat flour.  The Red Fife whole wheat did not react the same way.  I have add to rely  more on measurements then feel.  I do find letting all the liquid and just the Sonora flour rise together for a few hours does help.  

Bread baking is one of my meditation spaces, healing spaces so this has been very hard on me.  

But I am getting there.  I have been relying more on weights and technique then feel.  But that is what you have to do sometimes, go backwards to go forward.  

Especially when you are fulfilling a request.  Every week I am currently making a loaf of oatmeal bread (which also needed tweaking with the new flours) and a loaf of cranberry walnut bread.  The cranberry walnut bread is not a sweet quick bread but a yeasted loaf.  Not cake.  A loaf that has not sugar except what is in the cranberries.  

It is based off a loaf I purchased from Barrio Bread.  A bakery that is only 1100 miles away from one home, 1500 miles from the other.  Another spot I cannot get to every week.  Where Koda Bear asked, "Grandma, can you make this?" from the back seat of the car while adventuring.  He was eating the loaf.

Since I am not a sandwich person, I do not eat this bread on sandwiches.  But I eat it on and with everything else.  I do use it for open face sandwiches.  Salmon and cheese on top.  Or just cheese.  I like it as toast and with my eggs.  It is just a good bread.  It also satisfies the craving for sweet at times.

What I make is denser the Barrio Bread's.  Mostly because I put more walnuts and cranberries in it.  I like it!

cranberry walnut bread

sourdough starter

100 grams water

100 grams whole wheat flour

350 grams water

300 grams white whole wheat flour (or just all purpose white flour work here as well)

20 grams salt

200 grams whole wheat flour

130 grams cranberries (these can be chopped if you wish)

100 grams chopped walnuts

A bit of extra flour for folding

In a large bowl, mix the sourdough starter, 100 grams water, and 100 grams whole wheat flour together.  Cover and let sit overnight or for ten to fourteen hours.  Eight works too.

The next day, set a bit of the starter aside for next time.

Mix in 350 grams of water.  Mix in 300 grams of white whole wheat flour.  Cover and let sit for a couple hours.  This is where I am using the Sorona flour which absorbs a lot of water but I find it works with any flour.

After the dough has sat for a couple hours, it should be bubbly.  Mix in the salt.  Mix in about 150 grams of the remaining flour.  Dust a clean surface with the rest of the flour and knead the dough until smooth.  Cover and let sit for about an hour.   I usually put the dough in a bowl.

After the hour is up, flatten the dough.  Fold a long edge a third of the way across the dough.  Fold the other long edge across the dough that has been already folded over.  Fold one short end into the center.  Fold the other short end into the center.  Fold the dough into itself along that crease.  You should have a squat cube.  Set in a bowl, cover, and let rest for an hour.

Do this flattening again.

After the previous wait, flatten the dough.  Spread the cranberries on it.  Fold the long edges in.  Knead the dough up into a roll.  I sometimes divide the cranberries into a couple of groups and do this with each group.  Add the walnuts in the same way.  In the end, of the dough in a rough ball.  Let sit for another hour.

After the dough sits for another hour, flatten again.  Put in a plastic bag with lots of room.  Put it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, take the pan or pot you will back in and line with parchment paper.  I have been using a vintage cast iron porridge pot.

Take the dough from the refrigerator.  Shape into a better ball or a loaf shape if you can.  Put it into your pan or pot.  Cover.  Let rise until there is not spring back when you push your finger into it.  

Put the pot into the oven.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for one hour.

The loaf should sound hollow when it is done.

If you can, wait until the bread has cooled before you cut into it.

I have prettier pictures but this crazy little loaf called to me.  There are also pictures of slices other places but this is about what I could do today.  And eat bread.  I can eat toast and tea today.  Even with all the strangeness, life is good.