Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Yesterday was bread baking day.  The wind was out of the south and when that happens the oven does not draw very well and I get a lot of smoke in my face when I first fire it up.  I've developed a technique now where I lay up a fire the day before we are going to bake.  I start with a bed of old coals that I have dried on a screen in the green house.  On that, I lay out some crumpled up newspaper and then some kindling and finally some fairly good size wood.  While I'm doing that, Marlene is doing the preliminary steps of starting the sour dough base of our seed bread.  On baking day, I start the fire at 11:00 and keep feeding it on a regular basis until 2:00 pm.  I use any wood from tree trimming around our property mixed with recycled 2 x 4s all cut to about 10 inch lengths.  At about 2:30 the fire has burned down to a nice bed of coals that I then rake out into a bucket of water.  I wash the bed of the oven with a wet rag on the end of a stick and insert the door so the heat is retained and allowed to soak uniformly throughout the walls and floor.

An hour later, the oven temperature is down to 550 to 580 degrees and the bread goes in.  After 25 minutes of baking, we check the internal temperature of the bread and if it has reached 190 degrees, the bread is done and we take it out to cool.  The remaining heat is used for baking beans or some other dish that we can have for dinner or later use.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's a little cold and wet outside on most days so garden projects are on hold and indoor projects 

come to life.  Marlene has been quilting and caning.  These chairs have been in the family more than 100 years.  About every 10 years we replace the cane.  A couple of years ago we took two chairs with us to the desert and she worked on them there.  Notice the ear buds!  This is a great project for listening to a book on tape while working with your hands.


It's a sure sign of spring when the daffodils start to come up and buds begin to form.

The ones along the road   are the last ones to bloom, but, on the south face where the hanger and driveway meet, we usually have blooms by March 2nd.  This is just in time for a bouquet for Carol's birthday. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012


A little update from this morning.  Marlene snapped a picture of Casey and I going at it in a duet performance.  As you can see, Casey was really into the spirit.


On a rainy Saturday we spent the morning at the train show in Portland.

There were thousands of kids, parents, and grandparents.  The boys all got their hands on the controls at one point or another.  Later, just before we were going to leave the house to take the boys home, Casey asked if we could practice with the trombones.  I have two of them.  One old one that the boys can use and one newer one that I bought when I retired.  I got them both out and Casey did his best at composing songs.