Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the damp dark

Well, I think we've had an all time record for comments on that last post. Thanks for talking with me! I really appreciate hearing from you blog readers so I know I'm not all alone over here. Thanks for visiting! First, to comment on some of your comments (redundancy is fun) ... I must say I've never been able to make any home I've ever lived in "sparkle" and I haven't even considered trying this while feeling down. Cleaning seems like such work! Sarah, you remain an inspiration. Keep trying to motivate me. Who knows? It might work...but how would I stay warm without all the dog fluff? :)

This is my cast iron Dutch Oven. Today I wrote an ode to it; I feel that strongly about it. I've used it and its little trivet and the top to: cook whole meals in my fireplace, bake on top of a stove when my oven in Buffalo, NY was infested with mice (yup, gross, I know) and serve whole winter time stews and roast chickens inside of it. Now, I add the perfect bread to its talents...the recipe from the NY Times calls for a covered pot... I didn't buy this oven. In fact, it happened to us. The husband volunteered to help clean out a neighborhood basement in Durham, NC, when we lived there. (we had a friendly neighborhood, I now realize, I miss it.) Amidst the 20 year old chowchow and other scary canned delights that nearly killed him, he found this dutch oven. It was rusty and sad. The new owners gave it to him. I used vinegar and lemon and scrubbed and here it is, a trusty friend, back again. I'd buy more cast iron if I had space in my kitchen to store it. I'd also have a bigger fireplace so I could do fun cooking that way in the winter time, but for now, I'll stick with the fancy electric oven that the last owners left. It works just fine and there are no mice involved. That's good.

This is the whole wheat version of the no-knead bread recipe. What did I do differently? I used 1 and a half cups of all purpose organic flour, and one and a half cups of whole wheat organic flour this time. I coated with cornmeal instead of wheat bran. The results? Still incredibly good. I'm starting loaf number 3 tonight. We're thinking that if I keep doing this, maybe I'll save enough money (by skipping the not so good grocery store bread) to buy another cast iron dutch oven. Or not. In any case, the bread is danged good but I do miss kneading a bit, since this is no-knead bread.

I am taking advantage of the tons of rain and dark here to knit a little color into my designs. I'm working up swatches for a December deadline and I'm using this silk I bought from Ohio Valley Natural Fiber at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It's bright and cheery! The rain has been so bad here that I had to take an abbreviated walk with the dogs. Then everyone got dried off, I had to change clothes, and it's been an effort to get them to go outside again. That's a lot of rain.

I think that when I'm not down about other things, I really like the dark time of year...lots of time to nest, make warm drinks, and cuddle up...plenty of knitting and spinning time. However, when I'm stressed, I sleep a lot, feel crummy, and generally can't cope, no matter the season. I've already accomplished more today than in the past two days. Perhaps the fog is lifting, metaphorically. Literally? It's dark, muddy, damp, and a great time to be inside, knitting. Gotta go start that bread rising.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm going to try that bread recipe tonight, i figure if i get it started right before i go to bed, we can have it warm and out of the oven for dinner tomorrow. yum! i feel the way you do about comments, it is nice to know that people stop by my blog to visit.

November 15, 2006 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you looked in the 'antique' shops for cast iron ware?

This rain does get depressing, doesn't it? I want to mow one more time to mulch the leaves, but each time it dries out enough, I have something else to do that day - and then it rains again.

Adele in far western KY

November 15, 2006 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 16, 2006 at 1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 16, 2006 at 3:28 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

I'll try to think of the cathair as adding to the insulation value, rather than just a **** nuisance on my black sweaters :-) But I know that if I don't keep the dust kittens under control they'll take over the house!

I know what you mean about dark and cold being good at times. I like the afternoon ceremony of lighting the fire in the woodstove that heats our tiny front/living room and drawing the curtains against the dark. The fire takes hold and warms the room with both heat and light, a truly atavistic pleasure. But on grey mornings drenched with cold winter rain I can almost see mildew growing on everything in the corners. If the doorbell rings Minnow dives behind the couch ("Monsters! Monsters at the door!") to emerge smelling musty and covered in cobwebs 5 minutes later. Only one thing for it, summon the courage to vacuum everything into submission, discourage moth from the rugs by sprinkling lavender oil on the backing, clean the ash off the fire surround. And rediscover my stash, which lives behind the chair in the corner. A good way to lose the rest of the morning, contemplating possibilities :-)

November 16, 2006 at 3:51 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Hi--I've deleted a couple of comments filled with spam. There's no scary "adminstrator censorship" here or anything. just shielding you from mumbojumbo that shouldn't have been posted in the first place...

November 16, 2006 at 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Seattle we tend to be snobs about our bread...but I think we'll quite buying the $5 loafs and just make this recipe from now on. It really is amazing, isn't it?


November 17, 2006 at 11:51 AM  

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