Days 127 – 129: De-Christmassing and Baking and Mingus

I spent these days starting to clear up the Christmas decorations — Dean doesn’t want to take the tree down yet, but it’s not as if we hang out near it since it is in the lodge.

I also baked yeasted bread and sourdough. Always delightful!

Mingus has been hanging around me more lately — although I suspect he likes the soft blanket I wrap up in on chilly mornings more than he likes me. Still, delightful.

Day 71: More Bread

What goes better with leftovers than freshly baked bread? Well, freshly baked bread goes with anything I suppose.

Recently I have turned to the Internet or newer cookbooks for my bread recipes, especially since I have been working with sourdough but today I chose a recipe from a cookbook that we received as a wedding gift from Dean’s PhD advisor and cut it with the bread knife she also gave us.

I probably baked my first bread from Beard on Bread. I am pretty sure it was James Beard’s Home Style White Bread recipe that proved to me that I could actually put a few ingredients together, pound it with my fists, let it rise, bake it and make something delicious.

While the bread turned out delicious — delightfully delicious — its shape and size, especially before baking looked disturbingly equine phallic. I need to work on my shaping techniques.

I think it was also a little dry. Next time I will not use so much flour.

Days 47 – 64 Many Delights, Big and Small

I really thought I could keep up and write every day, or at least keep up the illusion that I was writing every day, but I was wrong. I am not even sure I noticed all the daily delights since last I wrote.

Here are some that I remember.


I baked Italian bread twice. Both times it was delicious and once again, I was shocked that putting together flour, water, yeast and a few other ingredients made such delightful loaves. Note that I also baked sourdough, naan and sandwich bread, but they are less new than the Italian recipes.


Two memorable cocktails were the October 9 Tom Collins* cocktails in our republican presidents Tom Collins glasses (a tongue-in-cheek gift from my friend Catherine who was not republican either) and our Liberal** cocktails the evening after we voted.

The Pumpkin Murder

Remember the Egg Man’s Cinderella pumpkin? We murdered it on October 11 and recorded the gruesome act. Andrew is still working on the stop-action film, but above are some stills from the production.

After that we cooked it and ended up with over 30 cups of pumpkin puree.

*The gin we used is an amber color, that’s why the drink isn’t clear
**We didn’t have the exact ingredients for the Liberal, cocktails, but made sure our cherries were held by blue mermaids.


We voted.

An Excursion

As a way to get out of town and celebrate my retirement (and Dean’s 18-month-old promotion) we ventured to Washington, VA and splurged on dinner and a stay at The Inn at Little Washington. This included afternoon tea, dinner (and wine pairings), a night in a huge suite, and breakfast.

For dinner I had the vegetarian menu and Dean had the non-vegetarian menu. Everything was exquisitely delightful. Even Rupert dressed up for the occasion.

Skyline Drive

We took the long way home along Skyline Drive, purchasing a senior lifetime national park pass on the way in. I also saw my first of the year Dark-eyed Junco and Rupert took a hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Shadows, rainbows and clouds

Shadows of everyday objects that appear when the afternoon sun shines through the west-facing windows delight me. Any kind of rainbow delights me. Sometimes clouds delight me too.

Day 45: Pain de mie

With Dean not eating much during the day — no sandwiches at lunchtime, no toast for breakfast — I’m not baking as much bread as I’d hoped to during my retirement.

That’s not stopping me from dreaming though. Or buying bread tools.

I was craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the other day and all of our bread was moldy. I was actually craving a pbj on Wonder Bread, so I decided to use my brand new pain de mie pan and make myself a homemade loaf of white bread.

While it was not Wonder Bread (and that is probably a good thing) it was delightfully close. Net time I will try to make a wheat loaf.

I only have a 9″ pain de mie pan and the recipe I wanted to use was for a 13″ pan so I had enough left over for two smaller loaves. Rupert approved.

Day 36: Bread

One of my retirement plans was to make bread more often. Well, because Dean is not eating bread like he used to, I’ve not needed to make bread very often at all. I’d bought some bread that I’d stored in the freezer, but that ran out a couple of days ago. I was missing my occasional peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches so I decided to bake a loaf of sandwich bread today.

It looks okay, but in my opinion, it is too short (as in its texture is more like cake than bread) but it tastes good. That does not surprise me since there is a lot of butter and oil in it. That said, it was delightful making bread again today.