Sourdough and Snow

My friend Celia, from Fig Lime and Cordial, sent me a sourdough starter from Australia a while ago that has been languishing in the belly of the fridge until I ceased my globe trotting.. (not quite ceased but never mind). Yesterday, stuck inside with snowstorm outside, I started the starter up.  Her name is Priscilla  and Celia has asked all the recipients of her sourdough to rename their sourdough starters with a reference to the mother – Priscilla so I called mine Bob  – Bobsilla (kind of like Priscilla do you think?). She has very generously sent these starters out all over the world. sourdough mother

Anyway young Bob  is now wildly busy and active so  last night I began to make some bread.(The black dress diet is officially over “Thanks Gods” as my German Godmother would say).  As a great kindness to me and my other sourdoughly challenged friends – Celia posted the simplest of bread recipes on her site – with pictures, I have always had  trouble with my sourdough breads sadly resembling depressed hard cowpats.  It took the chickens DAYS to even peck through the crust. I could have used them as water bowls. I needed pictures. So this morning I am in the last stages of making a good loaf of bread.

Yesterday it gently snowed all day. Big wet benevolent flakes.wet-snow-006

Soft and still, the wet heavy snow slowly built up to about six inches, it was above freezing most of the day so there were incidents of whole avalanches of wet snow sliding off the roof with solid Thwumps which set Ton to barking thinking we were being gently bombed by an apologetic army on the roof.

Being Sunday, and The Matriarch’s day to cook lunch, we drove into town, very slowly. Here is the drive. abc122wet-snow-071

Our lane. abc122wet-snow-019

The closed ashphalt plant.



I love this beautiful old broken down service station that was a restaurant about 70 years ago. I really want to buy this place. Really.  Really. It is called Three Mile Corner being three miles out of town.  I know I  need to save for a truck first. Though I have a feeling this plot might be cheaper.

car on snowy road


Local farms all tucked in on a sluchy snowy salty day. The roads are salted frequently so that they do not ice up.


Not much traffic.




And into town.

Later, back at the farmy,  just about chores time, of course, the wind wooshed around to the North, the temperature plummeted as the wind picked up and the snow became Driven.  Driven snow in the eyes hurts. The temperature continued to drop so fast my ears were popping.

The barn suddenly became noisier, manic. Early to bed tonight, I said to the pigs. No walkies. Poppy and Sheila were fighting, after being inside all day,  scrapping  like naughty children.  At one point I got so sick of Poppy screeching that I used my teachers stern voice, raised it above the clamour and told her – “Stop that Immediately, Poppy,  I cannot hear myself THINK. Share your hay!.”  Mid battle both pigs went silent and slowly turned their great piggie heads towards me in surprise.  Blinking.  I heard the kunes wheel and scuttle quickly, on short legs, bottoms wagging,  towards their own pen.

Hmm,  I thought.

Thank you, I said.

I turned back to making their dinners. Chopped vegetables, fruit, eggs, yoghurt, warm soaked alfafa cubes. Godot flew down from his three story perch, landing behind me. Silent. A good boy.

Dinner? He breathed.

Of course,  Godot, I said, I have been waiting for you.

Sheila snorted in a most unladylike fashion.

Good morning. Today I am going to order the next aquisition in my chicken enterprise- an incubator for hens and peacocks eggs. (I will grow all the chickens for my own freezers and hatch the next laying flock from the farm this year) You will remember that we have these two big beautiful new roosters.  I have never had an incubator before so if you know anything about them I would be grateful for the information. I will be getting one that I manually turn,  the mechanised ones are astronomically expensive.

When the sun rises it will be interesting to see what this wind did to all that snow.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farm






88 Comments on “Sourdough and Snow

  1. I hope you have great success with the sourdough and hatching chicks is easy – you won’t have any trouble 🙂

  2. Glad you didn’t get buried in feet of snow! mind you the wind can make some impressive drifts when it gets going! turned my calendar over to February yesterday and there I saw a lovely picture of a sheep leaning against a tree as if listening to it. Of course my brain had to add a bubble with the words “I can hear you breathing” LOL,
    Must get some sough dough started and start making bread again. Have held off for a while as my kitchen is so cold in the winter i have trouble getting anything to rise.

  3. It looks like it was a good sourdough day. We had tons of snow and then freezing rain on top. Now waiting for the temps to plummet. A baking day sounds good! Great photos!

  4. Those photos are quite simply gorgeous. Stay warm, love, and greetings to the farmy.

  5. Brrr, but beautiful. Good luck with your bread project. Good to know the teacher voice is still in good shape. Piggies falling silent. That’s some voice! The wind is blowing today with a chilly breeze, but no precipitation. Have a good day, Celi.

  6. I love that the snow photos look like black and white, with accents of color added in, like the stop sign. Sheila and Poppy startled into silence with your Teacher Voice. Funny! Keep that one in you sleeve! I can smell the bread from here! We’re getting another 16″ today on top of the 29. Sheesh!

  7. I envy your sourdough. I’ve never been able to achieve success with my gluten free flours and a sourdough starter. It smells so brilliant. I love the sight of the farmy and surrounding countryside tucked up under a fluffy white blanket. All is hushed, even the pale light is filtered and muted. Everyone has retreated into their warm homes. That’s the time I used to love to go out and make big footprints. Not any more!

  8. Stay warm—I know all your animals are happy you are home even if it is cold and snowy out. I find it difficult to believe that you can not make sourdough bread! I think that must be a fluke — you are such a wonderful cook and baker from all you share here.

    • I make good Kefir bread. Have just got the sourdoughs out of the oven and they are VERY good.. I am excited.. c

    • thank you buffy, I am looking forward to it, particularly the roosters for my chicken stock.. I can never get enough of that.. roosters are the tastiest!

      • I have a few extra roosters that are going to be stock too! Too bad they are so pretty! I steamed my fresh eggs yesterday! Thank you so much for that tip! It worked great!

  9. As you know, we incubate all our own eggs, manually, and it’s pretty easy. Particularly hen eggs. Two points; always turn your eggs an odd number of times each day, so that they never rest overnight on the same side. Also, if your incubator doesn’t have a humidity guage , then buy one to stick in there as humidity is important, especially for the last three days when it needs to increase. If it’s too low, the chicks may be unable to hatch as they are too dry and become ‘stuck in shell’. Good luck!

  10. As you know, we incubate all our own eggs, manually, and it’s pretty easy. Particularly hen eggs. Two points; always turn your eggs an odd number of times each day, so that they never rest overnight on the same side. Also, if your incubator doesn’t have a humidity guage , then buy one to stick in there as humidity is important, especially for the last three days when it needs to increase. If it’s too low, the chicks may be unable to hatch as they are too dry and become ‘stuck in shell’. Good luck!

  11. I didn’t know your grandmother was German. We have to get together to make potato pancakes. My Norwegian grandmother neglected to teach me her German recipe and I have been searching for years on how to get it right. Ya know I thought about buying that place on the corner toward C town too.

      • My mom made potato pancakes all the time. We would eat them for lunch ( which was our dinner ) with apple sauce. My friend in Germany also makes them with a quark cheese sauce . I don’t have my mom’s recipe but I think I can duplicate it. If your interested let me know. I could even post it on my blog.

  12. All I know about eggs is how to cook and eat them, so I am no help on that score. That’s a city girl for you! I learned three things from this post today, Celi: a new interesting blog to follow, how to make sourdough bread and shower caps to cover bowls in waiting on the kitchen counter! Stay warm and upright.

  13. Your Sour Dough bread making looks wonderful. Have you tried making this with a bread machine? I would imagine the timing would be off though and the dough too wet. However, I am interested in the starter. Do you share it? Would you like to do a swap for a Kombucha Tea Scoby or some Immune Tea (I make it from my own herbs grown in my organic garden)?
    Diann Dirks

    • I don’t have a bread making machine but I have heard that you can make sourdough in one.. ! I will look into how to share the starter.. I have only just started it up so far.. c

  14. Thank you for the snow filled journey this morning. We have had no snow worth discussing this winter, with nothing expected into spring as we are just “too warm” here along the Pacific coast this year. Your stern voice towards Poppy reminds me of the stern voice I have felt compelled to use with the granddaughter in the last few weeks. That year between 2 and 3 can be so frustrating, for the young and for the old.

  15. The snow is beautiful, but being a Texan, I would be over it very quickly! Poppy and Sheila were probably so shocked you raised your voice! My dogs straighten up immediately when my ‘stern’ voice happens. Hubby has no ‘stern’ voice and is amazed how the dogs obey me when I go into my stern mode.

  16. I once had a sourdough starter. Oddly, it didn’t add much taste to anything I made. When my and my hubby’s waistline began to grow, I ditched the sourdough starter. Baked goods are just too irresistible for us.

    • I have a similar problem if there is fresh bread in the house i HAVE to eat it .. ALL.. with Butter, lots of butter, which is fine when you are fifteen, not so good at fifty.

  17. We paid about $45USD for our automatic egg turner. I think they’re worth every penny, but I would never remember to turn the eggs three times a day for 21 day. Incubating is easy, but as the chicks do not get exposed to their mother’s bacteria upon hatching,

  18. “…solid Thwumps which set Ton to barking thinking we were being gently bombed by an apologetic army on the roof.”
    Celi, your pictures were amazing, but it was your words that held me today. You paint with words like the old masters did with brushes and oils. It is a gift.

  19. I’m reading your post, as I do most mornings, sipping a hot cup of tea and munching a slice of sourdough toast. This one is a spelt, pumpkin seed sourdough and was astronomically expensive at $7 for the loaf (whole foods). You are extraordinarily lucky to have been given a sourdough starter. I was just thinking…actually for about a month now…of making my own bread again, so am about to have another go at growing a Priscilla. (I get a 8 out of 10 failure rate with sourdough starters 😦 but nevermind that)

    I absolutely loved seeing your sepia world! That shock of that stop sign, just heavenly. For a visual person like me, a treat to the max. Thank you so much and now I have to go back and look at them all again. Big hugs and good luck with the chicks and the incubator. X

  20. I love seeing those snow photos of places near the farm–gorgeous. And making sourdough bread (and mastering it) is on my list of to-dos for this year, so I’m interested to hear how yours turned out.

  21. I had to read your description of the pigs squabbling and their shocked reaction to my husband. He enjoyed it too. (we’re retired teachers.) One of the many mistakes I made as a 21-year-old, teaching in an inner-city high school, was trying to control some 60 students in “Study Hall” by losing it completely and screaming, SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP! They roared right back, YEAH.!

      1. That is so funny! When I was training young teachers (I was the Dean) I would tell them never to use confrontational discipline, but they could lose it about once a term and use terrible language just as a reminder to the kids that they could play hard too.. 60 kids, that is tough.. c
  22. Ah, the memories of Nebraska winters… just looking over your photos gave me that feeling of riding in a toasty, warm pickup truck, watching the blustery, frigid conditions just outside, listening to the “whump whump” of windshield wipers. It was twenty-five years ago on the 16th of this month that I moved south permanently. On days like today (BRR!) I’m not sure I went far enough south!! Keep warm and toasty if you can Celi! 🙂

  23. It appears my comment disappeared .. sigh. Had to smile at Poppy’s dismay at being shouted at 🙂 I enjoyed the trip into town, but was grateful that somebody was driving. I am almost tempted to start a Priscilla again, tried a couple of years ago and failed dismally. Hope your temperatures rise and the sun comes out again. Laura

  24. We got over a foot of snow here in Michigan, I think we have even more where our apartment is located, but we’ve been stranded with my parents for the duration of the storm. Have fun with the sourdough, it’s my favorite to make!

  25. We have snow coming down and swirling around madly. Blowing snow warning in effect. I came out of a class to find 4 inches of fresh snow on one side of the car only. Drifting and sculpting into fantastic effects… I, too, have a teacher voice that I call up occasionally. The dogs are impressed. 🙂

  26. i have the cheap hova bator styrofoam incubater, always have good luck with them
    make sure it is the model with the fan to circulate the air inside, the fan keeps air even temps throughout,and follow directions that come with it.
    i have been useing the same egg turner for 30 or so years, they are a good investmewnt, seems to increase the percentage of hatching, because you are not opening it as much to lose heat and humidity
    i usually put few drops of food color in the water,that way i can tell the water level without opening

    i also buy a digital indoor/outdoor themometer, i put the outdoor part in incubater to tell what temp is without opening.
    after hatching, disinfect the inside, put in sun to dry
    store till next yr in sealed up garbage bag
    it will last for years

    • thank you ron, some good ideas.. the one I am looking at has a fan, I can buy an egg turner for it later on, one question when the chicks are hatching do I leave them in there until they are all hatched? or take them out one by one and put them into the brooder – it seems to me that opening it and closing it would let humidity and heat out..

      • i remove the turner day or 2 before expected hatch date.
        sometimes if temp is bit high,not all thermometers are accurate.the eggs will hatch a day or 2 early
        i then turn them last couple days by hand

        but if you forget to remove turner, the chicks can scamper out of way, it moves so slowley

  27. I’m glad you’re back safe and sound Celi. Mind you, you could have left the snow behind. It’s bad in Toronto too, we’ve already shovelled once and I suspect we’ll have to do it again, sooner than later. I love these winter photos, particularly the ones that looks as if they are black and white with one brightly coloured thing, like the stop sign. You have such a good eye. My dear Mother had a voice like that, I swear the world stopped when she said “enough”! I am looking forward to your sour dough bread, I’ve ruined my share of starters so having a real good one is so fortunate. How did you import it?

  28. Pingback: A Cold Confidence | Who Is Selma Siri

  29. I use a hovabator at home for lizards. I’ve never hatched chickens! I will say it sometimes takes a few days to get the temperatures right, so I always get set up well before I actually need it. But you already knew that!

  30. Baking sourdough seems like the perfect thing to do amidst all that snow. I’ve been very lucky to benefit from Celia’s wonderful sourdough generosity too & Priscilla’s offspring, Edna, is looking ready to bake with, will write about results soon. Good luck with the snow, sourdough & hatching!

  31. “…gently bombed by an apologetic army…”.
    Which reminds me that I have been wanting to thank you for all your adjectives and adverbs, those little surprise delicacies.
    Actually, I thank you for your entire one-of-a-kind daily blog.

  32. The images of your cold cold exterior world are amazing to contemplate, stunning in their clarity, simplicity and detail. I imagine how wonderful it would be to experience that snowy climate but I know the reality be for me a grander version of brain freeze!
    I have a Priscilla starter from Celia languishing in its dried form still, waiting for me to give it some attention.

  33. Feel totally useless and inefficient! Way back Celia actually gave us the address of the NW US firm which supplied her with ‘Priscilla’ . . . well, I promptly ordered, not one but two kinds [!!] – after more than a year they must be at the back of the fridge somewhere 😀 !! Hmm, looks as if I am not a baker 🙂 ! Absolutely love your winter photos: well, can’t feel the cold or the rain here . . . just look at the beauty! And it looks as if you have not ‘lost it’ as a teacher . . . methinks the piggies all will look at Miss C lots more in awe . . .

  34. Sheesh, Teach! That would be a ‘tall ask’ but I just might be as good as the piggies and listen to you 🙂 !

  35. Funny, I made sourdough bread yesterday too. A friend gave me the recipe for starting the starter a couple of years ago and I’ve been using it since. I make a white wheat multigrain bread, four loaves at a time. They freeze well and while they aren’t the best for sandwhiches it makes wonderful toast – sticks with you for hours. I also make some really tasty sourdough pancakes. My starter is more liquid than most I think, I have to feed it with milk, flour and sugar, it smells really beery. We had the driven snow all day yesterday so it was a good day to bake. Today we had beautiful sun though it was only in the teens F but no wind so I was able to get out and walk with the dogs. They were much like Shiela and Poppy after being cooped up all day yesterday. Two miles in the cold took their edge off quite well!

  36. i forgot
    i have set a few eggs every day,when not have enough to fill it up all at 1 time.
    or if i have chicken and guinea eggs that hatch at different times.
    i use pencil to write hatch date on each egg, do not use ink. eggs written on with ink will not hatch

    also chicks need time to dry off on incubater, so i open mine 3 or 4 times a day to put hatchees in brooder

  37. I love all these pictures, but I was especially struck by how bright the 30 sign was against the whites and greys of the rest of that picture.

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