Month: February 2004 (page 1 of 2)

Henry Watson Bread Baker

I obtained a new kitchen item via eBay this week. I was looking at auctions last week and found something I’d been considering wanting: Terracotta baking and tableware pottery.

What I found was Henry Watson Pottery, Wattisfiled, Suffolk, England.

There is some of this on eBay, though not a whole lot. I started comparing pieces and prices, and looked at the one US Distributor’s web site, and figured out that most anything on eBay for this company would be a good deal.

I got my bread baker for $5.50, plus $8.00 S&H. A good, good, buy at $13.50 total! It’s brand new, in a box and has instructions.

Here it is, as it’s about to come out of the oven after it’s inaugural seasoning earlier today.

Henry Watson Pottery is nice stuff. From having just one piece now, in hand, I do think I’d love the rest of their Original Suffolk Collection, as well as the blue glazed tableware of their Suffolk Tableware Collection. Since we aren’t well-to-do, I’ll have to totally piecemeal these items into our home as they become available on eBay and elsewhere for reasonable amounts.

This is the catalog for UK operations, and here you can see the different collections and what they offer in pieces.

Kitchen and Beyond is one of the USA Distributors, the only online comparison here for such. Compare the price of my bread baker dish to this place, mine was $13.50 including shipping, this place charges 20.99 — before shipping. I like finding stuff through alternative sources, so I’m glad to have found this stuff on eBay to some degree.

I’ll be baking some bread in this tomorrow. It’s a french bread type recipe, but it’ll just be a nice rustic loaf in this pan, good for french toast, or dinner bread. I usually make a long loaf free form on a sheet for this recipe, but this is a nice pan to try something different with. I’m glad to add this terracotta bread baker to my kitchen utelizational stuff. πŸ™‚

Winter Wonderland

It’s nearly the end of February, and we got our first real snowfall for the Winter over night.

It was raining off and on yesterday, and continued doing that at night, with wind picking up, and lots of gusts … I had a hard time sleeping, with the pelting rain at the window, and hearing things flap and bang with the wind gusts. (metal edges of the hen pens particularly).

I got up a few times to be sure the hen pens were alright. They were. Frank got up last, around 3:05am. Everything was fine.

We both slept finally, until around 6am, and Frank told me there was snow on the ground. So of course, now I’m awake, and he went back to sleep. urg.

I had a really hot fire in the fireplace last night, and it was definitely not going to cool down before we went to bed, so I left it. I was able to start a fire fairly fast without any aid of firestick or match … the embers underneath the ashes did the work. So I’m up with a fire going, and no one else yet is awake. The sunrise is yet to be: 7:08am. Everything is slowly brightening up outside, with twilight growing.

It’s nice to see the snow, it covers everything, the light and warmth from the snow is nice. The children will be thrilled when they wake up.

I’m estimating an inch of wet snow is on the ground here. Maybe more. It’s instant snowball kind of snow. Grab it and you’re ready to throw.

The wind is still a bit breezy to gusty … and we are under wintry weather advisories most of the day … with more snow or sleet maybe … a good day to stay home. πŸ™‚

Hopefully the digital camera will cooperate for some pictures a bit later.

Which Movie Do You Belong In

Y’all people out there should have more sense that to take so many quizes and try and entice others to take them too by displaying your own results to said quizzes …

So since that’s how y’all play, I’ll just be sure and post my results too, to make sure it spread πŸ˜‰


You belong in the Disney movie, Pirates of the
Caribbean. Your life is a constant drama with
many twists and turns. But in the end there
will be a true romance.

Which movie do you belong in? clh
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Rebeka for this one.

In the end there will be true romance … should I tell my husband? πŸ˜†

This quiz is simple and of course not filled to the brim with “really” figuring out what kind of movie one should be in, but it does allow for reasonable answer to a degree. πŸ˜‰

I am this classic movie

So I took another quiz. It’s the ‘What Movie are you’ test, based on one of the personality test you can take that has the same questions, this one though just tells you that you are such and such classic movie.

I took it twice. One answering 27 questions and one answering 45 of them. There are lesser options. Said instructions tell one that the more questions answered the more accurate the result of the test. Well, I came out as below both times.

Hmm. I’ve never, ever; really, truly; never, ever have I watched that movie or series of movies or whatever it is.

So, interesting. Hmmm?

Cotton Dishcloth one night

The Godfather the next.

Sounds fishy to me. πŸ™‚

Ok, I just went back and tried the 9 questions version: I’m Schindlers List (another movie I’ve never seen)

And also I tried the 18 questions version: Once again, I am the Godfather. So, that does it. I’m the Godfather, obviously. Watch it people. I know a bit about the Godfather, it’s so popular, after all, just haven’t ever seen it myself.

Gretchen Buried, and life continues

We buried Gretchen in an old part of the garden. We had dug it out a few years ago, but it had all kinds of house building junk buried there, so we didn’t use it for veggies. I did plant wildflower seed there, and packets of particular flower seed, but nothing much grew and nothing seeded that did grow, and really no flowers bloomed either, so it went to weeds, of course. Well it’s been wet enough the past months that the ground was diggable, but it was still hard work.

Russell helped dig some, we then took a break for a few hours, then went back out and actually buried Gretchen. We’ll be planting perennial wildflowers there this Spring.

I haven’t seen anyone from the house behind ours, and neither have I seen their dogs that did the deed. Maybe they got rid of them right away, that remains to be verified though, of course.

No one worked on the hole, filling it, unfortunately either.

Lothar is very different now that Gretchen isn’t around. I’ve taken him out on the leash several times, and he’s more willing now, than he was last week when I tried to faithfully get him leash trained again (we had stopped using a leash and just let them be in the kennel for awhile, or run around the yard, or be in their spot in the laundry room in the house. Leash training had just never taken, so we gave it up for the time being.)

Lothar seems to know his sister and buddy is gone, but who can tell what he really is thinking or knows. He’s happy to eat, and happy to get “luvins” as we call it.

Now what to do with him is a bit of a dilema, for neither he nor Gretchen, before, liked to play with toys that we gave them. They had balls and a squeeky stuffed white fuzzy thing shaped like a “man” gingerbread-kind-of-shape. So now that stuff is all Lothars, but he is just not interested in the least, same as always, for now.

How to get a dog to like a ball? Chase it, or retrieve it, anything, carry it around, chew it up. Anything at all. But no, the nice size balls for their, oh it’s so hard to stop with the plural dog things … nice size balls for his mouth are purely ignored.

Yes, I need to get some other toys, but mostly I’d like to see if there are any we can make from around the house stuff. Any ideas, anyone? I’m open to suggestions!

What does Lothar like?

  • Food, anything to eat (he eats raw, and does that well)
  • Looking at me in deep love
  • Sitting by me begging head rubs, and begging for more of them
  • Trying to frequently lie at my feet on his back, and give his “belly rub me” bedroom eye looks (belly rub fiend is he)
  • So there you have it, he’s a mushy mush of love. Toys for that? Something besides me? Please, help y’all! He was like this before, but always had Gretchen around to compete with, if I had one puppy head in my hands for luvins, another would be thrust in there within a few seconds … now it’s just the one, and he’s loving it to pieces even more.

    The nice thing is, with him inside, in the laundry room, without Gretchen, I can keep the door opened. Gretchen would climb out all the time, as soon as you turned your back if you left the door open and just the baby gate left in the doorway. I don’t recall Lothar ever doing that, so this first day of trial, he’s proved thusfar that he stays in. He loves to put his paws up on the gate and get attention, but that ‘s it. No climbing out. So he’s more a part of the family with way. Nice. He’s to be a inside trained dog, but so far we’ve had to totally keep him (and before, Gretchen) contained due to the rummaging constantly for anything they could find on the floor, racing around the whole time too, whenever they’d be free in the house. Mostly it was always something they weren’t supposed to be doing, but we hadn’t found a way to train them to stop it yet.

    Puppies that they were. Puppy that Lothar is now. I had Lothar on a leash by my side here while I was on the computer this afternoon, and he stayed on the floor and laid in the sunshine streaming in. (My ‘puter is back in the kitchen by the French Doors to the deck since it’s warmer suddenly and Spring is a-coming.)

    So then, Gretchen’s death was a horrid thing, and very much a loss. BUT there is a bright side to it, and now I think Lothar will be more trainable and we’ll have a companion dog sooner, instead of two companion-dogs-maybe later.

    Gretchen and Lothar

    Here’s the latest photo I have of Gretchen and Lothar together. I don’t have one of her alone, or a decent shot of her as far as I know. What’s on undeveloped film is another thing though πŸ˜‰

    This was taken on January 19, 2004, the day after our new pullet had “disapeared” and so I took this photo as one in a string of “evidence”. I have a page devoted to that elsewhere. I have it linked in a post here, but I’ll link to it again later here, when I’m up to finding it. Right now I can only stand to type a bit, not find othe stuff. Emotionally I’m done for, for now.

    I got the digital camera to work (surprise!) yesterday, and thought I’d taken a picture of Gretchen, well I didn’t. I had tried, but the way digital’s work, it’s a pain … she wasn’t in the picture by the time it was snapped.

    I got the camera to work again today, after it not working for awhile last night … it needs to be sent in for repair or replacement, still in warranty, so I’m hopefully going to get a photo of Gretchen before she’s covered with dirt.

    I got a couple of Lothar a bit ago, in the laundry room, getting attention over the gate in the doorway. Poor lonely guy. Those photo’s later.

    Death. It’s what we expect

    My puppie died in the night. It’s such a beautiful morning, and she’s curled up in her outside basket with her head hanging over the side. My worst realizations came true.

    I was so tired last night, and could barely keep my eyes opened, so I could just kick myself for this whole thing, I couldn’t be with her. Oh the poor thing.

    She must have had internal injuries, I just have no way of knowing what happened. The guy behind us did come talk to me last night, and he didn’t seem to know what happened in his yard.

    Well I have chickens in my yard, so if anyone wants to come and help me dig a hole they just can’t, as then it’d be something on the table for discussion. We have a beautiful sunny day in the 60’s scheduled for today, and another for tomorrow.

    Oh for the anonimity and mourning of overcast skies and pelting rain. (Digging mud is easier when you are talking “clay”) The house is a mess, and the last thing I need to do is get someone over here who’ll see the house. I have to dig a hole big enough. I can use the Mantis for some of it, maybe. If it’s ready to run. Haven’t used it since last Autumn.

    Well I’ve cried buckets since arising this early am. Not too surprising to feel a migraine coming on, I had two bad nights in a row, sleep-wise.

    Last night I dreamed of Gretchen a lot. Reasoning dreams, that she was alright, and would be wagging her tail brightly when I went next to check her. As I awoke this am, I had the sinking feeling that she was gone. I got ready, went out, and that’s that.

    Oh, the tangled webs we weave. If only they were better trained, if only that guy didn’t have mean dogs, if only they didn’t dig, if only he filled in the holes, if only my DH filled in the holes, if only his dogs were locked up, if only my dogs would have just peed and come back, as usual. If only.

    Recourse, what is there? The things that are recourse are what need to be fixed already, and what the guy said they will be doing: fix the holes, and get rid of the dogs. There’s no interest on my part for anything more.

    So 5+ months old Gretchen, thawrted death as a little pup, and found a home with us, with her brother. Only to go on to her death 3 1/2 months later via the resulting injuries of some mangly dark night interlude with two mean dogs in the yard behind ours.

    I know how badly the children reacted when Cinnamon died. Now it’s their puppy Gretchen. They’re still asleep. Today is the day their Grandma Meints is being buried. Where is Grandma now? In heaven with God. Where is Gretchen right now? Gone. Will she be in heaven? Child, I have no clue what really happens to our dear animals. It’s one of the mysteries of life.

    Can you imagine if all pets of Christians would go to heaven? Now that’s a lot of animals, do stock farm animals count? Chickens, horses, dogs, cats, etc. Well this is a pandora’s box. I’m not going any further. πŸ˜†

    So now is the first day of Lothar as our only dog. When will he understand. Poor guy has lost his buddy.

    What kind of yarn are you

    In desperation to take my mind off of Gretchen, I took the challenge from Tamara and took this quiz to see “what kind of Yarn I am”.

    This answer is a surprise:

    You are dishcloth cotton.
    You are Dishcloth Cotton.
    You are a very hard worker, most at home when
    you’re at home. You are thrifty and seemingly
    born to clean. You are considered to be a Plain
    Jane, but you are too practical to notice.

    What kind of yarn are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Thrifty and hard working — seemingly — NOT! πŸ˜†

    I once had a guy tell me, often, that I was ‘plain, but have a great bod’ … πŸ˜‰ I wasn’t so plain back then in my younger years. Perhaps now I am, with my blah, blah, look … πŸ˜‰ (long hair, usually pulled back in some fashion, no makeup, old Ralph Lauren glasses [80’s], and always in a dress of some kind, for too many days in a row …)

    Well, I am thrifty to some points, but I go for the best quality, not the cheapest price. That usually is much higher priced than the lower priced “thrifty” things. I am hard working, if you can get me going. I sure am not a cotton dishrag if it means I’m a good “house cleaner” I’m not. I am a stay at homer though. That part is right.

    Weird quiz. Take it and see what it turns up for you. I answered the Christian Slater movie question with “Heathers”. I barely remember it, but know it was a black comedy that I did like at one point in time, and I guess that C. Slater was in it, but wouldn’t have remembered that if it wasn’t suggested. So I’m not even sure he’s in it. πŸ˜‰ Maybe I should have chosen “Pump up the Volume”. Blech. I saw that in the theatre alone … one of two times I ever went to the theatre alone. Other time was … well, I can’t jog that name out of my memory. I can see the whole flick in my head, though that does no good here. Rabbit trail anyway.

    I checked Gretchen a few minutes ago, she opened her eyes and looked at me without moving. She’s laying down curled up how I left her. Hope that helps her and that she really sleeps.

    CottonDishcloth sounds icky, but in checking out their other possible “results” I can say I’m glad I wasn’t acrylic …ugh.

    I do like cotton as a fabric, so I’ll say it’s just fine, just not the dishcloth part. πŸ˜‰

    Dog Fight, or what?

    Oh boy, I’m freaking out.

    I asked my eldest to let the dogs out to go potty, as usual, just a bit ago — probably the last time for the evening. Seconds later, horrid barking and people screaming began, and Russell ran inside yelling that the pups were in someone elses yard.

    What to do when the house lights for the backyard barely penetrate to the swings, let alone the whole length and breadth of 3/4 of the back yard? Where’s the flashlight? Who knows. Mystery. Daddy’s tool, messy guy, he not here, we have no flashlight. So I’m clapping, yelling, calling for them pups and snarling is going on, barking, crazy, crazy, crazy … it was so inept. Finally Lothar came back through that dratted hole under the fence, and Russell took him inside, well who come running back minutes later … Lothar … so I picked him up and hauled him inside myself.

    Come back out, Gretchen is still not back through the hole. I could hear the guy that lives in that house trying to get his dogs enclosed. Finally Russell said Gretchen was coming, but something happened, sometime, somewhere I have NO IDEA what … for the fence is way taller than me, privacy solid wood panels … so the guy says he’s watching the baby alone, and that’s why he didn’t get out sooner … and that he thought the dogs were locked up … well I know for sure they were roving their yard alone all day … I first saw them at 7:10am from my bedroom window, where me and my cats lay in bed and watch the birds first thing most mornings … they were both out there licking the dew off the permanently parked vehicle on the side of their yard.

    Today our pups ran over to the fence barking several times, but NEVER tried to get through, and we had the hole clogged up with stuff on our side … the hole is actually on THEIR side, from THEIR dogs, and he’s promised to fill it in, since the last freaking out time HIS big dog came into our yard and scared the crap out of me near midnight, as it barked like a hound out of hell below our bedroom window. Eek.

    So now, Gretchen was through, and Russell was holding her or something, I went and grabbed her, and she was limp in my arms, but awake. Weird. The guy might have seen something happen, but he didn’t tell me, just says “Is she alright?” I said I suppose so, maybe she’s just scared, I’ll have to check her over …

    She has about three spots of blood, around her neck, throat, but nothing deep. Her back and side towards the rear were wet. She was NOT acting like herself, she’s droopy, won’t drink or eat anything, just stands there if stood up, lays in a heap eventually, or lets you position her however laying down. Her eyes are open, obviously stressed, but not making sounds, not soundling like in pain, nothing seems apparent …

    So, was it a tramatic rape? That’s all I can imagine. She’s …5 months old. She was full of vigor this morning, this afternoon, this evening. She’s the sibling of Lothar, and the victim of his dominating eating habits. She started to look thin … and so I’ve been feeding them with total watchfulness, and giving Gretchen extra stuff, and she was responding beautifully, but still not fat enough yet today … so she looks horrible tonight, all droopy and oh I hope she doesn’t die … she has that look. All from going under the fence instead of peeing like she was supposed to do, and does every night, every night but this one.

    It’s horrible for I have no one here, Frank’s not home, he could get more out of that guy than I could … I’m not about to persue “Your dog …” without my husband home. I have no vehicle, and no recourse with a vet anyway right now. If she lives, she lives, if she dies, oh boy, oh boy. Last time a pet died was September, and Frank was out of town then. I had to bury Cinnamon, our cat, and did a pitiful shallow job. Like I can do any better with a dog many times her size. Frank won’t be home until LATE Sunday night.

    So… based on all that, anyone who will pray for us, pray that Gretchen will live, that she’ll be OK, or that AT LEAST she hangs on until Monday … πŸ™

    I’m so upset about this whole affair. This is a nice dog, due for more training, and was receptive to much love. It’s a mystery what happened, and my hands are tied as to knowing what it was, finding out, or doing anything about anything but petting that pup and washing anything I find needing washed, and tempting her with milk and meat.

    I have her outside in the pen. It’s a mild night, and she is better off there than in the laundry room. I insist that she and Lothar be separate, and he’s better off contained in the laundry room. One last thing about Gretchen, I could hear her guts gurgling like crazy, so I was wondering if she was massively stressed and getting diahrea from it, so having her outside is also good in case of that … πŸ˜‰

    Sigh. I can hardly believe this is happening. But since there’s no one to talk to about it, at least I can write about it, this is helping make a bit more sense of things, and at least I’ll have a coherent record of the evening thus far.

    I’ll be sure to update.

    My 2003 Clouds Desktop

    I found a little stack of photo envelopes that we had developed at the end of Nov 2003, and this was one of the pictures. I loved it, so here is my new desktop!

    The photo was taken sometime in late Summer 2003, I am guessing (this past year our photo developing has been very backlogged).

    I extended the blue sky portion a bit, to get the full width of the cloud scene on my 1280×1024 monitor. (digital photo editing is great stuff!)

    Download this desktop:

    Please leave a note under this post to let me know if you downloaded one of the above versions of this desktop. Email addresses are not displayed on this site when you post a comment.

    Master and Commander

    We went and saw Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World yesterday, as a matinee at the theatre. It was a “private viewing” as it turned out. It’s always nice to go to a week day matinee showing of a movie, particularly one that’s been out for awhile. No one else goes πŸ˜‰

    We took the children. Asa was a wondering bother, but there was no one else but us to bother, so it was fine. Victoria and Russell were engrossed in the movie for the most part, switching seats being the only activity that they really did πŸ™‚

    It’s a movie rated PG-13, and it’s mostly for the violence, of course the movie is about fighting ships in the early 1800’s, so that’s to be expected. We had watched the clips on the computer, and the children were alright with it, we explained it was historical, and all that, and they received it well. Asa was alright about it too, until we drove up and Russell said “Peter Pan is here” reading it off the theatre’s marquee. That set Asa off in thinking “we are going to see Peter Pan” since that’s what we’ve done the only other times they’ve gone with us to the theatre. No amount of explaining would get him out of “Peter Pan” mode, and into what we were really there for. He likes westerns we have, he watches them, they are all shoot ’em up things. So this movie, I didn’t expect he’d watch all of it, but some of it, more than he did.

    The movie itself was fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, see it if you can, and then see it at home on DVD. Wait for the DVD if you must, I’m now waiting for it myself. It’s a keeper, for the home theatre in our family.

    It’s based on the Patrick O’Brian series of novels about Aubrey and Maturin, Captain and Doctor, friends. No one in our household has read them yet, but we’ve eyed them in the past, never actually going far enough to read one or get a clue about them. This movie was out in the theatres, but we didn’t know what it was, then Frank started to try and see about it, thinking it was a pirate movie, at first. We then knew it wasn’t, and only this past week did I get interested enough in it to push the envelope and be totally inculcated with what it was about.

    That’s why we went and saw it yesterday, as it’s only in a few theatres now, and Frank was going to be gone for a few or more days, this was a nice outing to have before he left.

    His mother died on Tuesday night, so he’s “home” for the funeral. It’s on Saturday. He’ll be home Sunday night, if all goes as planned, and the Lord wills it. (She was not doing well the past year, and the past few months was expected to die anytime, years of Parkinson’s and about two of Cancer.)

    I’ve read some about this series of books, and it looks very interesting, there are 20 of them. There are two different books, one a lexicon, out which help one to read the O’Brian books with better understanding, so I’m planning on finding this one as well as this one before getting into thefirst novel of the series of which there are twenty and various “versions” what with the movie covers, or not, hardback, softback, cassette tape, etc.

    We’ll be going to the local used book store, very nearby, to see what we can turn up from this series.

    Here is the link to the publisher of O’Brian’s books

    Here is a the link to B & N’s writers page about Patrick O’Brian, with good info to get started on his stuff, a short bio and interview if you click the link under the first paragraph of “Meet the Writers” on that page. You’ll read that sadly, the US doesn’t have all his stuff published, but we do have the Aubrey/Maturin series, and a few other good things. Mr. O’Brian died just a few years ago, age 85, and what a nice gentleman he must have been.

    Weather is warming soon!

    In viewing the weather for the next 15 days, tonights cold will end the coldest for awhile. Most every day hence for the 15 day forcast is highs in the 50’s and 60’s, nay, even to the high 60’s some days. Wow! Spring is near. There is one day, the 25th I think it is, that snow is forecast off and on that night, with temps down to 32. Besides that, all nights are in the higher 30’s or more. It’ll change, for certain, before the 15 days plays out, that’s for sure. Even so, this forecast is a nice one to ponder, due to the “balmy” temperatures it speak to my heart with πŸ˜‰

    Fireplace, Movies, Bread

    Well it’s fireplace day for us. It was very cold in the house yesterday, with enough wood for that day or this day. So we held out. Today I also held out as long as we could, so now the fire is started.

    The morning wasn’t so bad really, but by 11am cold toes were beginning in my boots. I’ve been making bread, so that kept me busy (not as busy as most of you probably think though πŸ˜‰ ) as well as doing some more looking for movie stuff online.

    Frank wants to see Master and Commander at the theatre, and he’s away today, so I thought I’d see what stuff is on their website and get a Desktop for him, or make one if need be. I found that their trailer is one that is only stream-able … pooh to that. So then I saw on their front US interface something about “broadband users” and clicked on it. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a channel in Maven, a tool that different companies can utilize to distribute content. Maven is a light install, and then the “channels” are downloaded behind the scene. Content is richer than is on the website. And it’s on ones own computer en total when desiring to view it. Nice.

    The movie clips are all Windows media player files, seemless in the Master and Commander “Maven” interface. But if you know where to look for them on your computer, you can snag them to view in Windows Media Player. .wmv files.

    There are other “channels” you can get … but nothing I’m interested in yet. There is a National Geographic one that may be coming soon, that’ll be interesting to check out, not knowing what IT’S content may be, and seeing if it’ll be available to just “anyone”.

    OK then, my bread. I experienment with bread whenever I make it for the last couple of years. This time I’m using a 2-cup 2-day-old sponge … flour and water and 1-teaspoon of active dry yeast in a widemouth jar. I shake or stir it everyonce in awhile and just let it do it’s thing. It was really smelly this morning, as expected. Very much what I was looking for this time. It’s a sourdough taste, but using modern yeast. Something that’s not “really sourdough” but it’s a nice flavor.

    I use that then with other ingredients and a few pinches of active dry yeast to make the dough. It’s resting/proofing in a bowl in the oven right now. I’ll put it in pan in less than an hour, and keep them in the oven too. I wet papertowels and place them over the loaves while they rise, replenishing the wetmenss as need be. I put the oven on warm for a few minutes, then turn it off. This is a decent environment for the bread.

    Well I’ve left this post for a bit, and since I don’t feel like editing it, I’ll just say, time has past, the dough is in the pans and proofing.

    What recipe do I use? None. I worked out developing my own “from memory” kind of recipe. So I just add stuff like:

    Fresh ground Wheat Montana Prairie Gold flour
    Eggs
    Butter
    Salt
    Yogurt
    Milk
    Honey
    Black Strap Molasses

    I usually start out with some kind of culture or sponge. In the Spring, Summer, Fall, I used Piima cultured milk in my sponge, but this colder house this winter has had me stop making it. So I’ve adapted to making odd cultures instead … not actually trying to make a wild yeast culture, it’s too cold for that. Instead I use teeny tiny amounts of yeast to get a little bit of flour and water to start bubbling, then feeding it as one would a real sourdough culture. A few days of that and I hold it in the fridge, bring it out beforehand to warm it up if going to use it. I take part, then feed it and a day or so later back in the fridge it goes.

    It adds flavor and helps to rise any dough I make, and I only then add a tinier bit of fresh active dry yeast to the dough recipe.

    This probably sounds confusing to y’all, of course. I am doing this in my quest to do thing olde world style, for the reason of getting out of modern methods of cooking some things. Bread is the first and foremost. We have advantages of equipment that grind flour fast, so I’m trying to get WHOLE GRAINS done in an olde world style, utilizing no store flour at all.

    Sometime I do use store flour, only unbleached regular flour. About two-cups of that in a bowl, some water to make it goupy and two-teaspoon of yeast, stir well, in fact, beat it. Let it sit in a warm place, covered for a few hours, then add more water if you want to, or not. Salt, and more flour to make a nice soft dough. Let this proof, punch it down, let it proof again, punch it down, at this point let it proof again or form a long loaf, just whatever time tells you is right.

    This is basic bread making. Add olive oil to the recipe and it’s pizza dough. Add yogurt and it improves flavor and texture. Add something of a flour culture or sponge and get better flavor and texture. Use part whole grain, but only if using a long proofing -punch down phase of making it. Using cultured things in it helps to break down the whole grain to be much more palatable to mouth and body.

    My goal is only to be able to make any kind of bread with the most pure ingredients, and without using a book. When I say “most pure ingredients” I mean simple whole foods kinds of things. Nothing fancy manufactured-only.

    I do use black strap molasses, but only sometimes, and it’s not something I need to use. I use it to add color, or flavor, particularly if my honey supply is low.

    I make french bread as described in the basic way above. My sandwhich kind of bread is the main bread I make with whole grains only, and that’s my biggest experiment. I use steel pans, and coat them well with butter before adding the dough.

    These kind doughs must rise and be slashed in some manner before baking, to keep the top from separating from the body of the bread — or making smiley face bread, as you may know it.

    Well, this is a mis-mash post. It’s what life is usually like here, many things going on in and out, over and under, weaving, forgotten, remembered … πŸ™‚

    My Peter Pan Desktop

    I took the splash graphics from the Peter Pan movie site and put them together in Photoshop Elements 2, and pieced together some black to cover a hole, and also to cover over the graphic “playing now” as shown on the site currently.

    I then “saved for web” and re-sized it in that utility as a bigger file, the pixel width of my screen resolution: 1280px.

    The “save for web” utility allows for a nice graphic, even when blowing it up. It’s really nifty. The original file I made is 584px wide. The picture isn’t the full height of my monitor, just 769px and my monitor is 1024px. So I chose the graphic in my desktop properties, chose “black” as the background color, and “center” for the graphic. Voila, lovely desktop. I could add black to the actual picture file to make it larger–my full desktop size, but why? It works fine to add the black via desktop properties, saving byte size.

    • Click here for a copy of it for yourself, if you like. If you want it narrower in width, just shrink it by choosing “stretch” in your desktop properties.

    Collecting graphical evidence

    Guess I need to explain parts of the earlier post a bit.

    I like movies. I like electronic movie stuff. I love graphics and photos and doing stuff with stuff on the ‘puter, so that’s part of my addictive hobby, collecting avatars and movie clips and stills and such, when the whim hits. It’s not like I have THAT much stuff, by no means do I. But every so often, the fancy strikes to collect some stuff.

    It takes some time, that’s it. It’s a free hobby, considering we have always on internet anyhow, and this computer is long ago paid for, in a round about way. This computer was actually no cost … but the one it replaced due to malfunction was paid for. OK πŸ˜‰

    So, the graphical evidence I collect is for movies that are current or recent, that I like for some reason. Most movies have a web site of their own, and there’s a ton of content to cruise through, download, etc. That’s not counting all the fan sites that are out there. People host websites and collect everything imaginable on a movie or some famous something that will one day be a movie, or TV show, or whatever. They are the folks to find info out from, sniffing the dark alleyways they hear the first news of “When such and such is …” beginning filming, casting, who’s who, etc. First pictures, etc. and etc.

    I only get into this with certain things, I’m a movie buff, sort of. I like certain movies, but not everything, and certainly find no value in most movies out there.

    The one we are most excited with is the recent Peter Pan (2003) that started in theatres on December 25, 2003. We’ve seen it twice at matinee showings (pricey enuf! Eek!) We are awaiting the DVD release, which shouldn’t be too far away, perhaps May 2004 we are hearing. It’s actually in the cheap theatres already. I’m saddened by that, it’s a wonderful tale and the support for it really is and was lacking. Our meager family of five seeing it twice is the most support for any movie we’ve ever given while it was still in the theatre.

    The fact that this wasn’t a “disney” production seems to have hurt it, I guess [glad they didn’t have their paws all over it though!]. It’s absolutely a delightful movie, full of beautiful stuff one could only dream of. It’s a tale of growing up, and oh so fitting for all of us. It’s a classic tale, but only known by those who have lived in the last 100 years. It’s been wonderfully brought to screen finally. And the only consolation to that is the DVD will be out, and it’s appeal may grow. At least we’ll have the DVD for our enjoyment then as well.

    Well, the Peter Pan movie site has a lot of material in it. Several movies in the form of trailers, clips, and interviews. You can get a decent eyefull of what the movie is about. But it’s only the tip. It’s such a tease, post theatre for us, to see all the .mov ‘s. Sigh.

    Cold, diversion needed

    It’s a cold day. It was so nice the last few days. Well, DH is out-of-town, in the Carolina’s where there is snow from this same weather system we had here yesterday and today. We don’t have that though.

    It’s 44 degrees F. right now, with overcast skies. No warming sun, just residual cold left and lingering so that if feels much colder. The house got very cold inside overnight. Frank’s away, there’s not enough firewood for a whole day of fire, let alone two in a row — like we’ll need, so we suffer today. πŸ˜‰

    Frank gets back home late tomorrow night, and the next day is supposed to be nice, no need of a fire then. Figures.

    So to keep warm, I’m going in and out of fantasy land on my computer. I’ve been looking at Movie Trailers, and saving them on my ‘puter, and photos and such from the movies, like Spider-Man, Spider-Man-2, Peter Pan (2003), Secondhand Lions (fun site, all the dogs bark when you pass your mouse over them, cool, makes our pups bark for real πŸ™‚ ), etc.

    I view trailers online with Quicktime. They are .mov files. I have my plugin options for saving the .mov in Temperary Internet Files if possible for each. Usually, without that setting, they are there, unless they are a streaming video (as is Pirates of the Carribean, πŸ™ ). You can also snag Windows Media Player videos this way, (Temporary Internet Files) .asx files.

    Go to your Temporary Internet Files folder, find the things you want to save permanently, highlight them and Ctrl-C (copy) then Ctrl-V (paste) it where you want to keep it.

    Pictures, sound files, movie files, web pages, whatever you want they are in that folder. Most people don’t seem to realize that to view something online means it’s been downloaded to your computer somewhere. That’s important to know, since those files build up over time, and it’s needful to purge them every so often if you don’t have a huge unused harddrive.

    On Win XP find your temp internet files here:

    Documents and Settings\Your USER NAME\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temporary Internet Files

    (LOCAL SETTINGS may not be visible, go to TOOLS, FOLDER OPTIONS, View, Hidden File Folders — check Show hidden files and folders click OK and LOCAL SETTINGS should now be visible)

    Good Idea: Make a shorcut to that folder if you’d like to frequently gleen information out of it. If you’d like to just filter that stuff into a folder quickly: set up a folder and put a shortcut to it in your SendTo folder. Then in your Temp Int. Files you can highlight what you want to save, then right-click on it and choose “Send To …” the folder you set up for it.

    SendTo is also a hidden folder, visible via the above Folder Options settings. It’s in your main profile folder:

    Documents and Setttings\Your USER NAME\SendTo

    Water, wet, rain, rain, rain

    It’s been raining since yesterday, actually stopped for now, but it rained a lot yesterday, and overnight, and all this morning … we also had very heavy rain late this morning, then some tiny to nearly pea-size hail on and off for about 15 minutes. Wind gust picked up then, and the rain stopped, and sheets of mist were being pulled off the rooftops of the houses, very odd looking.

    The yard is a marsh. It’s so soggy, pools of water everywhere, a stream on the NW part of the back yard now too πŸ˜‰

    Slosh, slosh, slosh.

    Thinking of Spring’s approach

    Springtime is coming. It’s been a shorter winter than usual here. It’s chilly still, but the temperatures are not going near freezing for the past several days, and forcasted not to most of the next 15 days. Just two below freezings, the rest in the mid 30’s or higher for lows.

    We have a normal “last freeze” date of March 15th. It’s fast approaching, just, practically speaking, a month away now. By April’s beginning the garden will need to be started, and if anything is planted sooner, it needs to be watched, so delicate stuff should wait until April.

    Trees will be coming into flowing life again soon. We’ll need to spray the Apple and Willow trees for prevention of Fireblight, which is our dastardly viscious enemy here in this Georgia backyard. There are some very young trees that need to be trimmed as well, before they come out of dormancy. The list will grow. All these outdoorsy things will demand high attention.

    So I better get some of this indoor stuff under better control. Ugh. πŸ™

    I’m so looking forward to Pussy Willow blooms, wildflowers, Maple tree flowers (yes, they do flower, check one out close-up), Dogwood blooms, Yoshino Cherry blossoms, White/Pink Apple Blossoms, green willow growth, baby apples, and nests being built in trees and nest box.

    Not the allergies that come with the whole deal though. πŸ˜‰

    Mouse in the House

    Earlier this morning, Foster, our youngest cat, came running into the bedroom and stopped by the bathroom door, which is on my side of the bed. He dropped something. Yes, a mouse. It was already dead. Just a play thing.

    We put him in the bathroom and shut the door, with the mouse in there too. I later put Dixie and Scarlet in with them. It’s now 10:54 am, and the mouse was abandoned for awhile, and just a few minutes ago Dixie came back and found it underneath something on the floor, and proceeded to play with it some more. It’s looking frazzled, but not being really eaten by any of them … until just now. Ugh. I see some blood and guts right by the door, there is a one-inch gap under it which enables me to see into the bathroom for such an event as this. :rolleyes:

    So we had a mouse in the house. Foster caught it. That earns him a gold star. Perhaps now Dixie is getting a silver star for eating the mouse.

    Are there more? If one is seen, there must be more. Natural feeding, gotta love it. As long as they actually catch the mice and dispose of them more quickly in the future. πŸ˜†

    Misery

    Well my illness is progressing nicely. My right ear is burning and stuffy inside, my sore scratchy throat of yesterday was a different scratchy this morning and had become totally just a SORE PAINFUL RIGHT-side of my throat burning swollen horrid thing by Noon. Now it’s only worse. I just took some Excedrin, barely could swallow it. I can’t bare to swallow anything, ugh, 7 days from now looks mighty nice. This is day three of symptoms.

    I predicted this morning that I was getting larengitis, well, not yet, but this current throat situation isn’t so far removed from larengitis, it’s close to my vocal cords and I imagine they are posting track backs to one another, my vocal cords and my throat, that is. πŸ™

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