Monday, November 7, 2016

Catch Up Time, Installment 1

Today as I was making noodle dough, I thought about part of some western that Hubs was watching the other day and as I walked through the room (on the way to somewhere else), I noticed a rancher's wife was making bread on the TV.  It was just a small part of the show and not an important part of it so I guess they thought they didn't have to be all that authentic.  And oh, it was so obvious this actress never made bread or grew up watching someone else make it, in all her life, nor had the director.  For one thing, if you're going to be feeding a husband and several hungry ranch-hands along with your children, you'd better be rasseling around a lot bigger chunk of dough than she had, because just one small loaf isn't going to cut it.  And on the other hand, the way she was kneading it, with her fists, there's no way the dough was going to be developed enough to even get a good rise.  You know, I live in my own little world.  Lots of times I think everybody ought to know how to do the stuff I do, I don't think of my little day-to-day tasks as anything out of the ordinary.  This small portion of that western made me realize that the preparation of dough, whether it be for bread, noodles, or even homemade play-dough, is something that some people find daunting. 

I have a lot of memories of my childhood, just as I'm sure all of you do.  Some of my memories are not all that wonderful.  But there are those that make me smile, and I'm grateful for them.  Among them are the ones of my mother making bread.  She would work at the dinner table, because it had been outfitted with a Formica top, and because it was a more comfortable height for her, since she was only five feet tall.  Mom enjoyed kneading bread, and it was a rhythmic thing that she put her whole body into, rocking forward and back.  When she married Dad, she didn't know how to cook, and Dad's German/English grandmother would come and spend the day with her every now and then and teach her how to make things.  So I'm sure the recipe and techniques Mom always used were taught to her by Martha Elizabeth (Hufferd) Dalton, Stimpson, or "Liz", as they called her, which had most likely been taught to Liz by her mother, Eliza (Beasley) Hufferd, who was, by the way, an English woman married to an old German guy who'd already had a slew of children by his first wife.  So Mom's recipe and techniques, which is what I use, could come from my German roots, but it's more likely they came from my English ones. 

It seems like kneading bread just draws a kid in.  I know I was fascinated by it when I was young, and after me came Mom's grandchildren, who would stand there beside her till she would pinch off a small piece of dough and let them knead, also.  In her later years she delighted in bringing out some little loaf pans that she had so each child could bake their own little loaf.  That was their very own bread and they always ate it if they ate nothing else.  In my case, I would usually pat my piece of dough out flat.  Mom would butter it and sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon and then I would roll it into a roll and slice it.  They would bake in a pie pan and we'd share the little cinnamon rolls at lunchtime, just her and me. 

So I thought today I'd finally get around to putting up a post, and I had Hubs take pictures during my kneading process, but I don't think they'll be necessary because I found this very good YouTube done by The Bread Kitchen HERE.  Her technique is pretty close to mine.  Plus she has some other selections on her video channel that I plan to watch -- especially the one on making English Muffins and Bagels, and then she has a couple of other channels, Titli's Busy Kitchen and Titli's Busy Garden, that I want to look at when there's time.  I also enjoyed her personality and English accent.

The only thing that I do differently than she does is that I push the dough away from me with the heels of both hands rather than with my fingertips.  I have my fingers free to wrap around the edge of the dough and that becomes the "fold".  Like I said, dough kneading should become a rhythmic thing.

You can make egg noodles without kneading the dough very much but then they will be very brittle and will break and/or crumble easily after they have dried.  So they won't store very well.  I always make enough for several months to come.  Some people store their noodles in a lidded container but they don't even so much as refrigerate.  I guess the fact that they are dried means that bacteria doesn't grow.  I keep mine in an ice-cream tub in the freezer, anyway.  They're a lot of work, I don't want to have to be throwing any of them away.  My recipe is simple: about a dozen eggs, a teaspoon of salt, enough flour to make a stiff dough.  Mom used to put water in hers, and some people do that or use milk.  Some add oil.  Some add a little baking powder.  But I don't do any of that.  Homemade egg noodles need to cook longer than those you buy in a cellophane bag.  But once you get used to homemade noodles, you'll find the store-bought kind to be slimy and lacking in flavor.  If you want to make green or orange noodles, you'll need to dehydrate spinach, or grate and then dehydrate carrots, then process them into a powder in the food processor, and add the powder into the flour.  I've done it before, but Hubs gives funny-colored noodles The Old Fish-Eye and won't eat them so that process has been relegated to other time-consuming tasks I no longer take the extra trouble to do.  My mother used to call doing things for people that didn't have an appreciation for them "Casting Your Pearls Before Swine", and not that I'm calling Hubs a Swine, mind you, just sayin' .... 

Here they are, all rolled out and cut, lined up on cotton tea-towels to dry. 

We have not yet had our first frost yet and it is later than usual.  This happens about once every five to ten years.  I still have cheese pepper plants and okra plants producing.  My sweet potatoes were dug about October 15 but now there are new plants coming up in the sweet potato bed from pieces left behind.  And I have potato plants growing from little small potatoes that had started sprouting in my pantry. 
It was early August when they started sprouting, so that's when I tucked them into this spot where I tried (and failed) to grow bush beans.  (They grew, they made beans, but the beans fell off before they got any size.)  What I hope to do is to be able to keep the potatoes from these plants for use as my seed potatoes for next spring.  It's an experiment.  Sometimes these experiments work, sometimes they don't.  I think I'll grow more potatoes next spring, simply because there's not much growing in the garden when they are.  I usually get 5 pounds yield from each pound planted, what's in the ground now are mostly Red Norland and Russet Norkotah, but there are a few Yukon Golds in there too.  Even if these do well and are usable next spring, I might buy an additional variety, just for fun.

Below is what the sweet potato bed looks like now.  We rearranged the bed after we dug the potatoes, so it would be narrower.  We'll still get the same yield because we used the extra block and soil to make it longer.  It was too wide to let me reach to the center, and being that I'm going to be 70 years old real soon, I didn't think it'd be wise for me to be climbing up into it. 

I don't know how well you can see the little baby onions coming up in the sweet potato bed, below left.  I decided to try sowing seeds close together in the fall and seeing if they will winter over.  If they do, I can thin 'em out in the spring.  If they don't, all I've lost is my seed.  I found a greenhouse here in town that sells Candy onion plants in the spring.  I'll just buy a bunch of those from them.  Maybe I will, no matter how this experiment turns out. 

Had my Lazy Housewife beans not crossed with something else (anyway I THINK that's what happened), I'd be having another crop from them.  The beans on the vine are not the long, straight beans, three or four in a bunch, that I've grown accustomed to seeing, but are short, curved pods.  And though Lazy Housewives are normally stringless, these are so fibrous that, even after stringing, there's still something that has to be removed from the mouth after they've been cooked.  I just hate when that happens.  I planned to buy fresh seed from Baker Creek but they do not even have them in their catalog this year.  Neither does Terroir Seeds.  So, I'm looking for a good pole bean alternative.  Anybody have any suggestions?  I heard from one person that Rattlesnake beans are absolutely The. Best. 

Here's what the garden looks like now, with White Dutch perennial clover coming up in the walkways and annual Rye Grass coming up in the raised beds for winter cover.  Those "bushy-looking things" on the right are new black cherry bushes, started from seed.  They'll be transplanted to their permanent home next spring. 

Oh, I love marigolds.  Love how they smell, how they look, how they need absolutely NO care.  I'm thinking next year, I might plant them in the holes of those concrete blocks.

I've had to go at this in stages so the clover and rye grass is further along in some places than in others. 

I've been watching some YouTubes about farmers who are changing their practices in order to build healthier soil and I've found Gabe Brown and Dr. David Montgomery's "Dirt" presentation.  All you really have to do is go to and do a search on either man's name to find several selections.  Good presentations.  Gabe Brown says now he makes it a habit to have roots of something in the ground all year 'round.  I've seen those Hugelkultur videos before and I think that is what got them started.

We're getting some rain today.  We've been getting a good rain about once a week, that's enough now that the temperatures are always below 90 and the nights are cool.  I like to get my seeds sown right before the rain.

We had an impressive tremor on Sunday evening.  Usually they are as far away from us as Oklahoma City and I didn't feel them before, though Hubs has.  This one was centered in Cushing and that's 50 miles closer to us.  It was loud, and gave our house a good shake.  And now I wonder if Hubs and I have reached a point where we need to quit spending money doing cosmetic things to our house.  Is it all going to end up at the bottom of a sink-hole? 

I've already paid for new countertop in the kitchen.  They are doing "invisible mitered corners" at the factory and will come to install it in a few weeks.  My present countertop is Formica and is not really an objectionable pattern, but it's cracked in places and has come loose from the decking on one side.  Plus there's a bulge on the decking in one spot, not sure what that's about.  The new one is that new Formica that looks like granite, and it will be on new decking,.  I've always liked Formica for its ease of care.  Here's the pattern.  It's Formica's 180FX line, "Crema Mascarello" with the "European" edge.  I can't find an example of it, it's a straight edge like the old Formica countertops, but the laminate is folded over the top and bottom of the edge and goes all the way under instead of having a strip cut and glued to the edge.  No seam.  Colors are white, off-white, taupe, reddish brown and gray.: I like that the gray will tie into the stainless steel appliances, the brown goes well with the floor.  The cabinets are white and the woodwork door and window trim are a cream color.  Botta bing.

I had granite installed at The Ponca House and it was beautiful, but I was disappointed in it because it tended to soak up spilled grease.  The granite people pooh-poohed that and said, "Well, if you SEAL it.....", and then they looked at me like I'm a lazy, careless lout.  Sheesh.  I have better things to do than to be putting chemicals on my countertop all the time.  Considering what we had to pay for the granite, there should've been a PERMANENT seal on it, that's what I think.  Hmmmph!

Here's what my little galley-style kitchen looked like after Paula and I painted.  Since then we've replaced the refrigerator with one in stainless steel.

Our cooktop (it's on the left, just past the built-in oven) was off-white, so we got a new stainless steel cooktop, too.  I did not want glass or ceramic, and I was thinking about trying that stainless steel spray appliance paint but Hubs did not want to go that route.  The sink will have to be removed before the men will remove the old counter.  Hubs knows how to do that.  What better time to put in a new stainless steel sink that has no divider in the center?  It's waiting, in the garage.  Sort of like those "Farmhouse" sink styles except it doesn't have the apron on the front, and I didn't like that part, anyway.  I'm sick to death of not being able to get my big pans into the sink for washing and/or soaking.  I don't know when the last time was that I actually filled one of my double sinks with hot soapy water for dishwashing, anyway.  I usually just put my soapy water in the biggest pan that I have to wash, wash everything else in it, and then clean it, last.  Works for me, saves water, and if the water has gotten really dirty, I can always take it to the garden and dump it.  If it's a really greasy pan, I might deglaze it first, refrigerate it, and put the solidified grease in the burn barrel or save it for soap-making.  Otherwise, I will wipe the pan out with paper towels or newspaper, which then go into the compost or the burn barrel.  If I have to soak the pan before washing, I dump the water with all the loosened bits in it into a hole I've dug in the garden, along with what's in the compost bucket.  I do what I can to keep stuff like that from clogging up my drains. 

Well, there's more I could talk about but that can be for another time.  Till then, be well, be safe, be happy.  Hugs xoxoxoxo


  1. At last, a nice long post; I thought maybe you had retired.

    My favorite pole beans are Fortex (I have ready to pick now) and what used to be called Kwintus. Then it went to Early Riser.....very hard to find and I don't know why. It is a flat Romano type that never got stringy. I may have to try one called Noreaster. It sound very similar.

    We never felt the earthquake here, but some swear they did. Scary things. My sis says it is due to fracking for oil.

    Your gardens look ready for winter; wish mine did. May get it done yet before spring!

    Love your choice of countertops. Mine are about ready for replacement but I can't dredge up much enthusiasm.

    Have a wonderful week.

    1. I do think, sometimes, of not blogging. And maybe I will quit one day. Technology is fast overwhelming me and there is so much that I don't feel like is safe. It was sure nice, back in the days when all we needed to hook up was AOL software and a phone line, and we all thought security was what we had if we still had money coming in.

      Seems like I just need to take some time off now and then, I imagine, since you've been with me since The Git-Go, you've noticed that about me.

      Carole, in Joplin (you know her as Sunnyside from the forum)told me she felt the tremors.

      I have grown Fortex before and liked them but had trouble getting them to come up. I may be planting too early. I plan to start using that inoculation powder they sell at Tractor Supply, see if that helps.

      You still have some time to get the garden put to bed. But it's not the end of the world if you don't, just more work when spring comes and you want to spend your time getting things started.

      My dad was a driller after we moved off the farm, and so long ago I started wondering how it was that the substrate underneath managed to stay stable after all the oil was pumped out. Hollow places eventually will cave in, obviously. They seem to be trying to do what they can to repair the damage but it's too little, too late. There is a lot of resistance here when it comes to going to wind power or solar power but I believe we should've gone over to power from those sources long ago. Wind and sunshine are still free. I wonder how they'll manage to make us have to pay for it.

  2. Pole beans require much warmer soil than bush beans. You aren't doing yourself a favor by early planting. I plant pole beans lst or second week in May here. BTW, I picked Fortex for Thanksgiving dinner. Put about 4 packages in the freezer. They had been hanging forever but only a very few were too tough.

    1. Oh, I didn't realize that! I've yet to find a bush bean that I like. Plus I have to stand on my head to pick. So time to plant pole beans is about same as when to plant sweet potato slips, maybe? I'll keep that in mind. Hugs xoxoxo


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