A Time to Bake

In the winter I seldom bake and almost never bake bread. If I bake it I have to eat it and you know how that goes.   But now it is spring and my workers are beginning to slowly filter in (more coming next week) so I have begun to wind up the baking routine.

Here is the link to my favourite recipe for bread.  It is deadly simple. 

Sheila is settled in well down the back. She spends her nights in her underground home. Here she is watching me feed the chickens knowing it is her turn next.

Yesterday the asparagus was cleared off and covered in mulch and fertilised. It is pouring rain today. Boo is watching me write from the back of my wardrobe, hiding from the thunder.

Alex my student worker has found his feet very fast.  He has just come out of the Navy where he worked in a submarine. He is very organised, easy to work with and has a great sense of humour. His objective is to learn as much as possible about farming this summer, with the intent to join the Peace Corp in West Africa. Learning how to grow his own food seemed to him to be the best training for this mission.

Last night he was working on a spreadsheet designed to keep track of the plantings in the glasshouse (which he has tidied up). He is excited to have found many fresh seeds for some very hot chilis. He has taken to the glasshouse finding his passion in there.  I told him he could grow and pot up one of each variety of hot pepper I have and take them with him in his car as he works his way around the country learning.  He loves hot food.

I am not a spreadsheet kind of person so this is good learning for me. This summer we will be  Seed Saving and creating a bank of seeds. So record keeping is pretty important for that. I am getting a lot of support and advice from the Seed Savers Exchange. And will be hosting a seed saving event in October called My Great-Grandmothers Garden. I am worried about the lack of genetic diversity in our vegetable gardens (let alone the supermarket shelves) and hope to develop a small group of gardeners who can learn and teach seed saving with and to me. It is literally dangerous to have such a limited pool of food varieties. Take the potato famine in Ireland as one example. That was an important lesson that we have forgotton again. Putting all our eggs in one basket.

I have always saved a few seeds but I am late to serious seed saving and I know many of you save seeds for your gardens so I am hoping we also can swap seeds in the future. This is pretty important work. We need to spread the seeds.

Alex will be helping me with this and the knowledge he gains from this enterprise will open up a whole world of exploration.

There will be more on this as the summer progresses. BUT WE NEED SUN!!

I have a few daffodils out and though this endless wet weather has beaten them up they soldier on with their soggy message of spring.

Wet weather gear again today. Sigh.

I hope you have a lovely day.



Rain early…then remaining cloudy with showers and windy conditions developing for the afternoon. Thunder possible. High near 50F. Winds ENE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 90%.

Wednesday Night 04/05 100% / < 1 inWindy with evening rain…then a mix of rain and snow overnight. Low near 35F. Winds N at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of precip 100%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph

37 Comments on “A Time to Bake

  1. I have not had my breakfast yet, and seeing that amazing bread makes me want to reach through my computer screen for a loaf and slather it with butter…YUM! Sounds as if you have an excellent first woofer on the farm…teaching each other needed skills for the future is wonderful. Try to stay semi-dry and have a good day!

  2. My Great- Grandmother’s Garden. Now that sounds lovely. What a good idea! How did you think of such an adventure? (My oldest is in the Navy. Just hearing about Alex and his plans pokes me in the heart. I miss him.)

  3. Alex sounds great. My daughters best friend, Malloy Sheehan, is with the peace corps in west Africa and loves it.

  4. Bless those Daffys cotton loving little bulbs 🙂 I know potatoes aren’t grown from seeds but I would love some of those beautiful purple (flesh and skins) potatoes from NZ. we can’t get those or the orange flesh sweet potaotes this side of the world 😦 Give me a spreadsheet, I love me a spreadheet 🙂 Laura

    • Oh no, Laura! No purple potatoes? Those are our favorites! Maybe I could send some seed potatoes to you!?

    • Must tell you: Recently I’ve read that it is strictly forbidden (!) to import any potatoes to Europe (from where ever) on private journeys. It makes me wonder and couldn’t believe that. Why potatoes?

      To Celi: Could you tell us a little bit about the fertilising process you have done with your asparagus? What’s that? Cannot imagine what that means… Oh, I just asked my dictionary and there are two meanings of fertilising – like fecundate or inseminate (what I understood!) and like nourishing. I think you mean the latter. What fertiliser do you take? I absolutely know nothing about the growing of asparagus…

  5. I miss good bread…. your loaf looks magnificent. I think your seed saving idea is brilliant, and I hope it takes off in a big way: From little things, big things grow.

  6. I am smiling this morning for this post – but especially reading the bread post. I can hear your lovely accent reading that post……

    It is good that Alex likes spicy food as all the friends I have from Africa (mostly Kenya on the other side) eat food that makes my eyes water to just smell it!

  7. You are absolutely right about the importance of keeping safe our bio-diversity of edible plant varieties. I personally have been saving and collecting seeds and attending seed swaps for about 5 years here in NE Georgia. Each year I plant as many of the unusual varieties as I can, giving a bit of garden space to a number of different cultivars for each kind of plant – like beans, tomatoes, beets, and many others. I keep the most viable ones trying to develop some ‘landrace varieties’ for my area (a landrace is a cultivar that is especially suited to a given area, growing many generations season to season), as well as keeping alive these valuable treasures of life forms. If anyone is interested in sharing some seeds with me, go to my FB page: Georgia Dirks or blogsite: thegardenladyofga.wordpress.com for people growing in zone 8B or within the general area. I’m happy to do exchanges. And Celia, having a seed exchange within the fellowship is a GREAT idea!!!!!.

  8. I’d have to work a lot harder than I do to eat bread and get away with it. Having young men around who consume everything like a vacuum cleaner does make it worth the while to bake. He sounds like he’s going to be a great help to you. Sheila looks a bit forlorn there under those gray skies. Me too. We had mostly dry and cloudy yesterday and the same today. Then the rain comes again for 4 more days at least. I’m ready for sun too.

  9. I was wondering whatever happened to the seeds that you accidentally put in the freezer Celi. Did they make it?

  10. There’s nothing quite so scrumptious as eating freshly baked bread straight out of one’s oven! I’m drooling at the thought over here in Oregon! Oh, better not tell me that Alex is a dog lover! Might make him an offer he can’t refuse! 🙂

  11. oh yes-I remember that yummy recipe and glorious gorgeous bread! Stay warm and perhaps dry today…hugs

  12. Spreading the idea of seed exchange is a great idea and a spreadsheet would be very helpful with that. I too love a good spreadsheet. Maybe talk to Alex about also putting the spreadsheet up on the Google cloud if he hasn’t already…for safekeeping. He sounds great. I’m sure being out on the prairie is a nice change from the submarines. Sorry about the rain. We are sunshiney here in Central Texas. It was almost 90 degrees yesterday which reminds of the hot, hot summer to come. Give poor BooBoo a pat for me.

  13. I zipped over to the bread recipe, too. I am a timid bread maker. I might try this…Sometimes it’s worth screwing up just so the house will at least smell amazing.

    • Do you have a cast iron casserole pot with a lid? if you do it is pretty hard to fail at this bread – and the Scent of cooking bread is a great enticement to inclement eaters. I can do little vids for you if you like.

  14. I love to cook and bake but never bake bread. That’s because we have such good bakeries in town and I got lazy. One of them makes the best 100% rye bread.

  15. Celi, my tongue is almost licking the screen looking at that bread. I can smell it. If I promise to eat my two dinners a day, may I have a thick heel – the crusty end piece. None of the ‘B’ word on it for my, I have my own yellow stuff… home made lemon curd. Yum, yum, yum.

  16. I’m part of a Seed Savers/swappers network here, and save my own seeds. Sadly, my town has recently been inundated with flood waters and all my seeds are gone. As well as all the trays of winter veg I had sown and that were nearly ready for planting. There will be more seeds of course, but all that work gone, pfft! My veggie garden is under 3 ft of mud so I doubt there’ll be any homegrown vegetables this winter, I will think about doing some in pots and tubs once the water has all gone down and the mud cleared away. I like to think that along with the piles of chook poo I had cleaned out of the pen right before the river rose, and all my compost floating away, my seeds and seedlings will embed themselves all over my neighbourhood and people will be finding cabbages and broccoli and flowers popping up all over the place 🙂

    • I’m so sorry to hear all your hard work gone to 3 ft. of mud. What a bummer. I hope flowers and cabbages and broccoli do pop up all over your neighborhood and you will be blessed with friends thanking you.

      • It would be good, wouldn’t it, like Day of the Triffids. It’s a thought that keeps me going.

  17. Finally, even the G.O.has all but given up his bakery bread habit. We rarely buy it, I bake semi-regularly, we don’t eat it all and the remainder goes into the freezer sliced up for toast or as breadcrumbs. But it’s so nice to be able to do it. We’ve also started saving and sharing seeds. A spreadsheet is a good idea, rather than the assortment of -at least labelled- bags I have accumulated in a tin…

  18. I got to chatting in the middle of last summer with the gentlemen who runs the drug diversion program in the courthouse. Danny is his name. Who knew he came from a farming family? We talked plants for nearly an hour, and the next time he saw me, he brought me four packets of beans that he saves that his family has grown for generations.

    I promptly messed up the label.

    So now I call them Danny’s Beans 1 and 2. Such a treasure! And I’ve harvested plenty to share, too.

    My next door neighbor also grew up on a family farm. He says he escaped the farm by moving to the city, and now I’ve brought the farm right back to him. Ha! He brought me some canteloupes from his home place, two summers ago now. They are the sweetest things. And super juicy when they are ripe. I saved seeds from them and grew them out last year, and I’ll be doing it next year. I’m already excited to share these with the farmy friends!

  19. I must start our own collection, as you say it’s important for our future but easily overlooked.
    I just spotted our first asparagus poking through yesterday, time to poach some eggs 🙂

  20. I have never tried the dutch oven method. I can’t wait to give it a go! Do you use a sourdough starter or is this just basic bread dough? The loaves look perfect! Wish you could share a picture of it sliced sometime : )

    • This is a basic bread dough – flour, water , yeast and salt. With a very simple method. Start it at night make it in the morning – easy peasy.. c

  21. Alex sounds marvellous. My Grandad was a navy man and my grandmother a Wren…so happy memories. Love the seed swap idea 😀

  22. C. We make the no knead bread too with the exception of swapping out the water for beer but I’m wondering…does your bread come out with all those lovely holes or is it more dense? Ours is on the dense side and I would love to have it holier…Maybe it’s the beer that makes ours so dense…let me know and yes, we’d love to see a vid of how you make yours!

  23. Well, I take some time off and what do I find? Sheila has a bunker all of her own. I hope she likes it.

  24. Last year I grew tomatoes from very old seeds I saved…some as far back as 2007, if I remember correctly. Now I have tomato plants growing from last years seeds I saved. Very exciting! Also growing some new varieties from Seed Savers Exchange.

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