Not a lot happening on the farm on this mid- summer weekend. The weather is hot and drier lately so John has been baling the straw left over from the wheat crop. As the cover crop of clover begins to take off, I think the straw will become hay! Next year will be corn and then corn stalks so we need to get as much straw as possible. A few years worth.
The loss of Sheila still sits beside me. Like a good old dog I must let her go now but I not ready yet. We all must let go our pets eventually. Pet is such a small word that does not cut it. It is interesting the connection between man and beast. How strong it is, yet how short. And why do people have to live so long when our dear companions only have such short lives.
For a while I felt like a child’s balloon with the string cut. You know the feeling. It takes a little while to come back down again.
There is just so much going on and big parts of a persons life are not for a public forum such as this. I often remind myself that everyone has silent struggles – we will never know of them – so we must try to be kind.
Today I send another 40 Bake Your Own Bread in a Box Kits to Chicago. I am told they have been well received by the households we are donating to through IGrow Chicago. I think they will do even better as the summer lifts and the Autumnal cool slides back in.
The Janie’s Mill bakers and you all, have donated 408 kits. And that does not count this weekend. I am so proud of this.
Not one duckling hatched – once again. I took all the ducks off their nests; made under trees, in long grass beside the track, in the gardens and sheds and barns. They were ( and still are) everywhere. At least 15. The stink of rotting and popping eggs is pervasive – getting into every corner of the farm. Some have remade the nests and laid more eggs and are sat again. There is only one drake now and I wonder if he is just too young to be fertile. Or these ducks are like mules and cannot re-produce.
The pond continues in it’s construction at a pace. John and his friends keep scouring the local farms for piles of rocks. The ducks are not waiting for completion though. There is always a little water in the bottom of the developing pond and the ducks hobble down the rocks and in for a good swim. I got on the back-hoe myself the other day and deepened their puddle pond in the corridor paddock but they prefer the new pond already.
WaiWai was appalled that I deepened his puddle. He lost the shallow drinking edge – ( though I made him a better one) – Wai is a creature of habit. He has spent all summer covered in zinc cream. His skin is way too thin for the sun. Such a grumpy pig.
Well, it is Sunday here. And a beautiful day. I need to make more bread today.
I made a lunchbox loaf yesterday (specifically for my breakfast at work) – two loaves.
1000 grams of whatever flour needed finishing up ( Glenn, Red Fife, Bono) + 800g water. ( whip or sieve to combine the dry ingredients before adding the water). I gave this a good two hours autolyse because of the Red Fife. During this time I soaked two cups filled with cracked rye, raisins, flax seeds, sprouts, assorted nuts and seeds, a lemons worth of zest, plus two cups of rough cut oats, all in warm water with molasses. After one hour I strained the oaty, fruit and nut mixture and added 200g sourdough starter. After another hour I added the oat and sourdough mixture to the flour and mixture. I turned it out on to a floury counter and pressed in 20g salt.
I gave it a couple of folds over an hour or so – this is a very wet dough so I used the bench scraper. Divided and rolled into shape and set the dough in two loaf tins to rise for the day.
Sprinkle with rolled oats.
Use a lot of steam in the oven. Bake at 500F for ten minutes then 450 for ten minutes then 375 for 40 minutes. This is a dense bread designed for nutrition during the work day, not prettiness, so the loaves will need a good long cook.
When the loaves are very cold – slice and freeze. My house is not air conditioned so freezing is best. Every day I bring out a couple of slices, slather the frozen slices with butter then wrap them and stow in my lunch bag for my breakfast at work.
I start work at 5.30 in the morning so by 8am, when all my teams are up and running, my sandwich is perfectly thawed and ready for a munch with the last of my coffee.
I hope you all have a good day.