Sunday, April 30, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bacon Bread

Today I made Pain au Bacon from the Ken Forkish cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast.  The kitchen smelled amazing while it was baking.  This is my first time making the Pain au Bacon and the bread is delicious.

See all those bacon bits?

This bread is a levain bread, made from the wild yeast that is everywhere.   I got interested in these recipes when our neighbor, Peter, shared some amazing bread he baked from the Ken Forkish book and method.   Peter bases his recipe on the book recipe Field Blend #2 adding fennel seeds and caraway seeds and some honey.  I call it Peter's Bread and it is John's favorite bread ever.  So for John's birthday, I learned how to make Peter's bread.  I've made it several times and it is really good.

Yesterday we bought a 50 pound bag of Shepherd's Grain flour, which is what Ken Forkish uses.  Shepherd's Grain is a Northwest Regional group of farmers who are good to the soil.  Their flour is used by many of the local artisan bakeries, including Ken's Artisan Bakery (Ken Forkish bakery).  We bought a 50 lb bag of Shepherd's Low Gluton flour at Cash and Carry for $17 .

Besides the book and Peter's tips on making the bread, I found a series of YouTube videos Ken Forkish made  to illustrate his methods.  They were very helpful.  Here is one on feeding the levain.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring flowers

We had one nice dry day.  It was great.

But mostly it just rains and rains this year.  It's been awful for the farmers.  Here is a picture of a field at Sptringhill Farms.  We get their tomatoes at the farmers' market.  I fear for this year's crops and for the farmers.

Image may contain: plant, outdoor, water and nature

Our Horrible Winter

We had huge amounts of rain, record rain.  We had snow and major ice storms and lots of freezing rain.  Most of the winter it was unpleasant to be outside.

This chart is from Mark Nelson, local weatherman.  His weather blog is excellent and has lots of great information on our horrible winter.

The Columbia Gorge took such a beating.  I've never seen damage like this in all my years here.  They even closed the Historic Columbia Gorge highway from mud slides.

Source Mudslide closes road
Some intrepid hikers did visit the Columbia Gorge and posted photos of the conditions.  The links are to trip reports on Oregon Hikers.

Source: Don Nelson
The snow and ice and mudslides and fallen trees make a mess of the trail.

Source-Eagle Creek Jan 30th

The freezing rain coats everything again and again, taking down trees and branches and making beautiful treacherous sculptures.

Vista House

And by mid February the trails look like this.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring finally arrives

Spring is at least a month late in Portland.  We had our worst winter ever (in our 22 years anyway).  It was cold and windy.  It was icy.  It was not like Portland.  Much of the winter we could not do our usual walks.  John was more resilient than me but he doesn't mind the wind as much and he bought spikes so he could walk in the ice.  Yes, it was that bad.

From our local weather man, only 6 clear days in the last six months.  Ugh...

Anyway, spring is finally here.  We've resumed our frequent visits to Portland Nursery.  Here is Marje, who I love.  It is such a treat to have Portland Nursery so close.

These were taken mid March at Portland Nursery.

 The back yard yesterday.  Love that bleeding heart.  It lights up the back yard.

Our magnolia is looking good.

The front yard has some color and growth.

John put a new roof on my bird house.  I bought it on Etsy  four years ago.  The roof isn't finished yet.  I think it is going to be stained red and sealed.

And he added flying buttresses to support our old fence.  He had a good time with that project.