Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here Comes the Sun, doot-n-doo-doo


It's another gorgeous morning.

I'm sure anyone reading this will fall off of their chair in shock, but the list from yesterday was not completed.

We got to go get straw bales right away yesterday morning, after a call to see if they were available at the barns. The man who owns the farm met us. What a lovely old man of 80. He said, "Follow me!" and proceeded to lead us to the place we needed to load at approximately .097 miles per hour. It was a great day for a drive!

He was so sweet, and had tons of stories. As one of the best ways you can bless someone is to listen to them, we did. For about an hour in one of the hay barns we heard about his family, his farm, his business dealings, his children. It was a real treat to listen to him and I don't regret a moment of it.

We arrived back home and I immediately got to work on the list, but after distributing the bales at their various sites, mulching the gooseberries, repairing the barbed wire fence, harvesting cow manure from the pastures, and a hiccup start on mulching the strawberries - the raspberries arrived.

These were such a good deal, ordered before I knew the car needed repair. "Strange how that happens," she said dryly. I got 36 Heritage and Black Jewel raspberries for a dollar each. But now I had to get them in the ground. Michael was able to help me by then, and we have such a good time working outside.

So the rest of the day was spent doing all but 9 of them before we had to do chores and leave for office cleaning. We were really pleased at the condition of the soil. When we had planted raspberries in that location 8 years ago, the soil had not been very good. But I think the Lord waved his hand, because we had brown soil there.

Each rootling got a hole, a plop of black gold on each side, and a six inch dressing of straw. These went in a row, about 2.5 feet apart, under a wire trellis system that was already there from before. We are hoping for summer raspberries next year.

So today I need to finish the raspberries, and then work on the figs, the greenhouse, and figure out the strawberries.

I've never actually mulched strawberries before. But I think that one reason they did not do so well in this last planting was that I had black fabric down that they were planted through. We had a very warm summer, and they may have simply been too hot. So I wanted to try mulching with straw.

Makes sense, straw-berries, right? Not so much. Everywhere you go, people are blogging about how they mulch their berries with straw. But no one still has green berry plants when they mulch them. As a matter of fact, if I recall correctly, my berries never actually completely stop being green in winter. So I am thinking that if I cover a bunch of green plants with straw, the inevitable is going to happen, right? Green plants, cover with material, dead plants. I do this with weeds all year.

So I tried mulching around them. Well, I have these tiny little newbie plants that are so small and too close together for that to be done with any success at all. I am currently stumped on how to approach this one, so that will be last on my list today.

I made yesterday what Michael judged to be my best 100% whole wheat loaf yet. It was my third attempt this week. I am determined to not buy another loaf until I figure out how to make our own. Personal goal. Still only four inches high. Actually, with the braided top, this one made it to about 5.5 inches. But they taste utterly fantastic.

This one used potato flakes or flour. I'm thinking, "I always have a box of potato flakes in my pantry." I often get a craving for quickie mashed potatoes. Nope, no flakes. So I juiced a potato in my juicer and used some of it for the required starch the recipe wanted from the potato flakes.

All this in the middle of outdoor work, means I've still got potato in my juicer. Blech.

Time for KP duty.




  1. I have a juicer that I barely use. I find it so difficult to clean. haha. I really should use it more, though.

    A couple thoughts on the bread: use a candy thermometer to get your liquid the right temp for yeast, 110 degrees. And salt kills yeast, it inhibits raising, make sure your dry ingredients and salt are completely mixed together BEFORE mixing in the wet ingredients. And yeast needs sugar to activate properly (hope I'm not of line, just want to help).

    I can bake just about anything yeasty except for plain old white bread, it is so dry whenever I make it. So I quit making it, haha.

  2. In this connected fast pace world the "listening" skill is being neglected, as is the art of learning from the experiences of our elders. So much knowledge is being lost and the people in this country don't even realize it.

  3. I hear you on the juicer. I started out with a Jack LaLanne juicer many years ago. It was not long after that I went to a much more desirable model of juicer, wanting the best juice possible.

    You know what? I think when this one dies, I'm going back to the JL. It may not have been the one that was supposedly the best, but it cleaned faster, and it juiced faster, and time is of the essence to me these days.

    I love helpful advice, thank you! I'll pull out the candy thermometer next time. I am careful about the salt. I can make a near-ww recipe just fine. But I am wanting to avoid white flour completely. I'm sure it can be done, but it's going to take some practice. Bread baking really can be an art.

    I remember my mom liking to make potato bread. I once accidentally drank some potato water, thinking it was lemonade in the fridge.


  4. You are so right, Chai! Even if we don't agree with everything someone might say, we will do best to shut up and listen, and later sort the nuggets of gold from the rest.

    This world is so geared to worship the young. I am guilty of it as well, I think. Not wanting to get old, not wanting my life to change in that way. Some cultures still retain the quality of a real respect for the wisdom and leading of the older generations. I'd say that very wise.



I always enjoy hearing from others. If you become a regular commenter, I'll assume you are being friendly and pretty much comment regularly right back. :o) God bless and have a terrific day!