Bread Me Baby

Around these parts we love bread.  Growing up in New York with access to some great bakeries and spectacular baked goods gives you a certain amount of taste for these things.  I’ve always loved baking and am proud to say I’ve managed to produce some tastey breads and such, but it’s so much work that it’s always been a special occasion thing.  Imagine my happiness finding this book.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.  Seriously – it delivers.  I snatched this book up and tried it straight away and was ecstatic to find that I can, in fact, make excellent bread in next to no time.  I’ve made boule bread almost every day and even tried the Pumpkin Oatmeal bread (which is fantastic with butternut squash and apple soup, btw… well as with a slice of leftover pork roast and some apple butter.  Yum!).  I’m considering a second fridge just for storing dough!!!!

I did manage to make some apple pies this weekend.  I still have an obscene amount of apples left, so I made 2 pies and only partially baked them.  Then once they were cooled I wrapped them in foil and stuck them in the freezer.  If they can be successfully thawed and baked the rest of the way and still taste good then I’ll use up all the apples this way and have pie whenever we want.  Now if only I could get anything else done, it would be a miracle.

Apple Picking, and The Crushing Engine Incident

Saturday was a bit crazy.  And by a “bit” I mean first relaxing, then horrfying, then hilarious.  But I’ll get to that in a moment.  I’d like to start with Sunday.

We trekked out to the local orchard (and by local I mean about half an hour away) to pick some apples.  I hate to admit I’d never been there before then, because it is a fairly huge attraction around here and we’ve lived in the area for going on 12 years now.  They have peaches and all manner of berry in the summer (I’ve had their peach sangria – divine.  And I don’t usually care for sangria) and they have many varieties of apple in the fall.  I was looking forward to appropriating some yummy fresh apple cider, but alas they have not yet harvested enough for a press so no cider until next week at least.  Still, they had 3 varieties open to picking while we were there – Golden Delicious, Jonagold, and my favorite – Gala.  We got our bags and took in the view (on a mountain top – very nice, but also very sunny and very HOT – thank heavens for the breeze) and started off to the Jonagolds, the kids’ spirits high.

The view as we started off.

We went with friends, which sweetened things nicely for Emily and Neve, and I had left Oona home with Paul, which turned out to be a good thing with all the walking and sweating and all.

The girls had a blast picking the Jonagolds (and sampling as well), but it wasn’t long before little Neve began complaining about the heat.

We hit the goldens second, and by the time we got to the Galas the girls were hot, thirsty and grumpy.  The Galas were relatively small and mostly picked over so we took awhile filling up our bags before heading over to the weigh in and gift shop.

Neve is hot and grumpy.

Our haul was about 30 lbs.  Not bad!  And much cheaper by far than the grocery store, plus these are fresh off the tree!  I also snagged a peach cider slushy for me and some muscadine grape cider slushies for the girls.  Yum!  The net result of our efforts will be several pies, a crisp or two, some apple sauce and some butternut squash with apple soup.  Some yummy home made bread will round that out.  Yeah, we’re psyhed.

But let us now turn our attention to the events of Saturday afternoon / early evening.

It began as a pretty lax Saturday.  We had done our shopping Friday night to avoid the weekend crowds and were looking forward to a productive two days.  I had bread to bake and cleaning to do, etc, and Paul decided it was high time he fix the bobcat so that I could get the front garden finished.  You see not too long ago it decided it was old and tired and done and wanted a new engine.  Being the well – connected with all things and people mechanical – type Paul was able to snag a used bobcat engine from a co – worker that would likely fit, and had plans to make a swap.  If you’re wondering, let me answer by saying that no, this is not unusual.  Many engines have been pulled from the many and sundry vehicles kicking aorund here.  I’ll also add that no, Paul is not a mechanic by trade, but it is definitely his secind calling.

Anyway, the dilemma Saturday was either fix my languishing B-mer of its deer damage or fix the bobcat, and we opted for the bobcat to accomplish the aforementioned landscape work.  So after a hearty lunch off he went to attempt the swap.  Being that it was rather humid and hot out the girls stayed inside with me and we all took up places in the play and craft room.  I had the whirring of the sewing machine keeping me happy, there was a seasonal movie on (Monster House) and Oona spent quite a lot of time banging away on a very loud mini piano while Emily and Neve fought over every last thing in the background.

Two, maybe three hours later I hear Paul coming up the stairs and turn to see him lope into the room, all red and dirty and sweaty and looking rather beat down and ready to collapse.  Also not very unusual.  He’s frequently over worked himself in the heat and can’t be bothered to stop for things like water or rest. That’s for wimps.

So rather calmly, though slightly out of breath, he asks why I didn’t hear him outside yelling.  I cocked my head to the side and tried to figure where he was headed with this when he informs me that he’d hurt himself and I evidently had not heard him yelling about it.  He goes on to explain that while hoisting the old engine out of the bobcat using a 2 by 4 as a pry bar he had overestimated the wood’s ability to be easily controlled as well as the engine’s weight (about 200 lbs) and while pulling up and back on it managed to yank it out and back and down  – onto his “man parts”. (he didn’t say “man parts”.  Use your imagination)

He then managed to throw this 200 lb engine off of himself after it rolled off his “parts” and onto his chest and proceeded to scream in pain (the part which I clearly did not hear over the din of childhood in action).  It took him ten minutes to get from the spot where he fell to the door (not far at all) to see what damage he had done.

Now, at this point, I was thinking that you know, hey – here he is, calmly explaining all of this to me and over the worst of it.  So I tell him “Gee that sucks”, etc, and tell him that maybe he should take it easy and get some water and rest for a little while before going back out.  And that’s when he took off his pants and I saw the blood.  It was leaking.  From there. You know, no cuts or scrapes of any kind.  Just leaking blood.  Um, ER time?  Of course he would not hear of me driving him in.  None of that.  He drove himself, thank you very much, and then had to explain to the hospital staff that he had dropped a bobcat engine on himself down there and was now bleeding out of his urethra.  You can imagine the responses.  My doctor winced when I relayed the story to him.  In fact, most people did.

As it turns out, there is no major damage.  He didn’t even get any pain meds while he was in the ER.  Just a lot of questions about how the hell he dropped a 200 lb bobcat engine onto his parts.

And when I went in for my check up this morning they had this message for him:  if he wants a vasectomy so bad, they’d be happy to handle it for him, he needn’t do ti himself.

Little Bits of Progress

Yes!  We have progress!  I can thank having a birthday for it – one of my gifts was “time”.  And what a wonderful gift it was!

I made some lounge pants from the Amy Butler In Stitches book, using some Heather Bailey fabric.

I made some accent pillows for the bed.

Emily and I spent time making yo yo’s.

I also worked on some knitting and quilting, and made an apple  pie and some butternut squash with apple soup.  It’s officially my favorite time of year (now to January 1).

I also repainted Emily’s room.  When we first moved in I painted 3 of her walls lavender with a butter yellow accent wall.  I thought it was very sweet, and when clean it looked like this:

Then it went through some various changes – the bookshelf was replaced by a smaller one, the dresser was moved and finally a large chrome rack was put in to give her a place for all her stuff.  I hate that rack.  It never looks good, no matter what.  One of these days I’ll sew up a tent for it….but for now, ick.  But I digress.  Emily’s been asking for a repaint to blue for months now, and when I managed to snag some lovely aqua colored mermaid print fabric we decided it was time.  Off to Lowe’s,  fabric in hand!  It took me only a couple of hours to paint her room and refinish her dresser.  I have yet to get her window treatments or bedding done (and you’ll pardon the mess!), but this is the color and how it’s starting to shape up:

A little more grown up?  I’ll have better pictures once it’s complete.

For now I’m off to comfort Oona, who is grumpy and prone to vomiting today.

I Can’t Catch a Break, But I can Catch a Bug

I do have some crafty type pictures to share, some progress to report, etc.  But, that will have to wait.  With the older girls back to school Oona and I have been the lucky recipients of every germ they pick up and bring home.  I’ve got a bad cold I can’t seem to shake, which has gotten worse yesterday and today.  Hopefully I’ll start feeling better soon.  If I am still feeling this bad tomorrow I’ll go get checked out, but for now I am laying on the couch miserable, marveling at how well and quickly Oona is walking.  Now that she’s got the hang of it she’s totally taken off with it.  Pretty soon she’ll be running.  Maybe it;s all the Munchkins we’ve been eating.  Yes!  We got a Dunkin Donuts here!  The holy grail of all businesses I’ve wanted to move south with me!  The best part?  It’s literally a mile from my house!!!!!!!  Too bad I’ve been too sick to enjoy the iced coffees more.

Being this ill also means I haven’t been able to do much cleaning or cooking or crafting.  The house is a disaster, and there is so much clean up work to be done outside I can hardly stand it. I tried over Labor Day to make it look more presentable, but the bottom line is that it is way too much work for me to do by myself when I have no Oona help other than my 9 year old.   But I can sit with the laptop and surf, so I have been doing genealogy research.  It’s pretty interesting – my family mostly seems to have been in the US a lot longer than I had suspected, which is kind of neat.  I’ve come to a dead end in 1811 in Massachusetts so that will require some serious digging to get any more info, if it is to be had.  But see????  I TOLD you I’m a New Englander in my bones!!!!!