Phenology watch

Friday, February 4, 2011

A busy couple of days

Things have been relatively quiet around here, which is good!  The rest of the country is being pounded by a "killer storm", yet we here in the Great PNW have been enjoying sunshine and mild temperatures the last couple of days.  Today, it seems the clouds are returning, and may bring some showers.  Fine by me!  No more waking up to 27 degrees, and having to break the ice on the chickens' water and all my bird baths around the yard!

On Sunday, I attempted, yet again, to bake the perfect loaf of bread.  And I failed, again.  What is it with me and yeast???  Either the bread doesn't rise at all, or it rises so high, that it falls flat if I touch it, and bakes to a fine brick-like consistency.  On Tuesday, I decided I was going to try several different recipes until I had accomplished what I set out to do...bake the perfect loaf.  I decided to start with a whole-grain recipe, spend my time perfecting that, then re-visit the whole white bread/artisan/french bread-type.  I decided to start with this recipe and oh, man, did I pick the right one!  It calls for 7-grain hot cereal mix, which I didn't have, so I used oatmeal.  It turned out moist, soft, and absolutely delicious!  I think I may have even converted my oldest son, whom I affectionately call "Wonder Bread Boy" when we discuss his eating was that good.  I then bought some 7-grain cereal mix and made the recipe as written.  It still turned out great, but much more dense than the oatmeal.  I will now be making both kinds every week.
Now, to find the perfect french bread recipe....

Ready for its first rise

After first rising

Ready for second rise - in the oven with the light on

After second rise.  Please don't ask if I took a photo of the finished product.  Because I didn't.  Dork!
The rest of the week has been spent doing housework and yardwork...yes, my life is that interesting!  I did have a little bit of excitement thrown in on Wednesday when I heard a horrible commotion coming from the chicken coop and went out to find a Red-Tailed Hawk terrorizing the girls...but the Mister did his job and quickly ushered them all into the coop.  I spent the rest of the day shoveling yard compost and horse manure on an area of the garden I want to expand.  Boy, was I glad when the Kid came home from school and was able to help!

Free from a local horse farm.  Gotta love free!

Smelly goodness

The part of the garden I'm expanding - the chicken wire fence is temporary.

The Mister and his girls

Garden in the foreground - chicken coop and run in the back

Kasie - my guard dog.  HA!

  Oh, and I brewed another batch of beer with my Mr Beer Brew Kit.  The first batch should be ready in a few days! 


ONG said...

Glad I found your blog!! Incredible photos. I am still in the "corporate world" but wouldn't mind escaping soon.

jen said...

Well, thank you for visiting! I hope I can inspire you in some small way!