Wednesday, February 03, 2010
The Nature of The Day
Once again I went to sleep by the gentle hum of the vaporizer. It helps. The moist steam filling the air around me with an earthy sort of smell, oils of cedar, camphor , eucalyptus and nutmeg. By loving orders of Emery, I have to keep it going all day long and spend the day resting. Yet, there are things that need to be done in my eyes anyway. Its a damp, dreary day, perfect for simmering soup all day long on the stove. A big head of cabbage just picked from the garden joins carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, garlic and leaks in a large pot, seasoned just the way we like it with a touch of caraway seed, a couple bay leaves, a sprinkle of turmeric and a few dashes of this and that. Soup needs home made bread in my thinking so in no time at all the big bread bowl is on the counter top ready to receive just the right ingredients. As I was mixing the flour into the yeast mixture, I thought about the fact that I have been making bread for over 40 years. I made my first loaf of bread in Mrs Allston's class in the 7th grade. Wearing my blue gingham checked apron we had made the first part of our home economics class. We loved bread making so much that we ended up making it for a class project and selling it. We made a lot of money for our class. It was the year we spent having class in our church, two grades to a room, as it always had been. I went to a 4 room school house for my first 8 grades. Our 7th and 8th grade were moved into the fellowship hall of the church, which had a fantastic kitchen attached which gave us the opportunity for proper cooking lessons. I have always loved bread making since that year. If you have been a reader of my blog for any length of time you know I am somewhat of a purist when it comes to bread making. I don't use a bread making machine and have always viewed those machines as "cheats". Don't worry, I am not going to try and convince you that you should give up your bread making machine and its fine with me if you use one, but for me, its just seems a bit like missing out on the most enjoyable aspect of bread making. I love feeling the dough as I mix it together, and knead it. Feeling it for just that right feel. Listening to the sound of the dough as I flip it over and over is a soothing sound to me and I have always used this time to pray for my children. I must admit that as I get older I think about how good it is to use the muscles in my arms that way and think its a perfect work out without having to be at a gym or lifting some lifeless weights. I enjoy knowing that my bread is not just a home version of some industrial bakery bread machine, but that it is made with the work of my own hands. Lovingly kneaded, lovingly watched as it rises on the counter or on the hearth of the stove, in the big bread bowl, covered with a warm, damp cloth used only for that purpose. I still make the same amount of bread I did when the house was full of hungry children....now, I just share it with Melanie for her little growing family or freeze a loaf for another time.
I love this simple old fashioned life of mine.
Life is good
First thing this morning there was one guilty looking kitten sitting in the bird feeder. He was promptly banned from the area !
A very wise bird, keeping his distance from that feeder until I had shoo-ed the kitten away.
My new best friend, the vaporizer
Whole wheat bread set to rise
A big pot of vegetable soup on the stove
It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...