Monday is baking day in my household. Not so much out of routine or necessity, but somehow, I always seem to bake on Mondays. After spending the weekend with my husband and son, taking it easy, I find that Monday is a restful day, and I usually feel like I’d like to do something nurturing for my husband to show I care in a little big way. Something to show him how much I appreciate him, and miss him when he goes back to work. Baking, to me, is one of those things.
Sometimes its just cookies, others its bread, or maybe a quiche or empanadas. Sometimes its all of them. Always, Monday seems to involve flour.
Today my son and I are baking a simple whole wheat and unbleached white wheat bread. Actually I’m making two loaves, one to eat this week and one to freeze for next week. We found a gorgeous breadbox at the goodwill yesterday for $3, so I am looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference in the bread after a day or two. Luke really loved kneading the dough, and getting shoulder deep in the flour.
This recipe is a basic european recipe that I found in Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of County Living, which I received for Christmas. I am in love with this book, and am reading it cover to cover, all 928 pages. I think i am about 1/3 of the way through now. If you are interested in living off the land, homesteading or just learning more about how to make things from scratch, this is THE book to get. It has everything. I have several other “homesteading” books, but none of them hold a candle to this one.
This morning I found out that the Department of Agriculture is pressuring my beloved state of CT to put much stricter regulations on raw milk, including requiring all sales to be on-site. All the farmer’s are up in arms, and the consumers too. If we have to start buying our milk on site, we will have to drive 30 minutes each way to get it, which is just silly. The hearing is tomorrow, and I have written about 50 people on the committee about it, and signed a petition. I wish I’d known earlier, so I could have arranged to be at the hearing — and I am surprised we didn’t know, since my husband is a retail distributor of raw milk. He sells to about 6 people a week, but the farmer never told him. Ah well. Wish our farmers luck!
And talking to fairies. And Devas. And animals, insects and plants. Over the last few years I have been doing a lot of research on co-creative gardening. This is the sort of gardening that made Findhorn, that gardening miracle, possible, and that fuels most flower essence companies today. Rudolf Steiner and biodynamic gardening have also embraced the idea of co-creation. Some great books about this are “Behaving as if the God in all life mattered” and “To hear the angels sing.” Both books have very Christian titles, but no dogma lies withing their pages. The writing is entirely about communing with nature — which necessarily connects you to Source energy, and the realization that All is One, and so, yes, God is everywhere.
Every year about this time I begin looking at solar options for our home. With visions of tax returns and sunny days looming in my head, its only natural. In the past I’ve focused on solar power, which we haven’t been able to afford — Even the small arrays haven’t been cheap enough.
This year, I’m looking into the possibilities of a passive solar collector/warm air heater, which we could build for a few hundred dollars, and/or a solar cooker. While a solar cooker is a very cool idea, it’s the solar heater that I am most enamoured of. The idea is to build a shallow, big box made with corrugated fiberglass (like on greenhouses) and black paint inside. Nail it to your south wall or roof, and let it collect the sun’s rays. A small vent into your home, equipped with a blower fan, is all you need to bring the sun’s heat into the house. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Well, here’s the thing. We live on the east side of a mountain. To the the south and north of us, we are bordered by a nature preserve: lots and lots of trees. In December the sun hits our property directly for about one hour. Today, we are getting a couple hours of sun — this sun is all filtered through the naked trees. Not too good for solar collection. But this morning I looked up at the roof, and saw that although the ground around our one-story house is getting minor rays, the roof is high enough to be getting full sun.
So I think the solar collector may be a go! At the very least, it could definitely heat our house in October, March and April, when we usually burn the wood stove several hours a day to take the chill of at night and in the morning.