Friday, April 3, 2020

Desperate times call for desperate measures

With all this desperation and pestilence about , the bread shelves have been a bit sketchy looking at the local supermarket .
Nothing to it then , we can make our own . . .
16 oz of warm water in a warm bowl
1 & 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of yeast
3 &1/2 cups of flour
One minor issue . . . that jar of dry yeast we had in the fridge . . . Yea I gave up making my own bread six years ago cause it was too darn good and I was putting on too much weight . . . So I used 1 & 1/2 teaspoon of yeast instead of the half teaspoon called for and tossed in a teaspoon of sugar for good measure to boost the prehistoric yeast figuring it might all go pear shaped on me anyhow .
. . . anyhow mix it all up with the round handle of one of those large white plastic spoons till it looks like this . . . cover with cling wrap and stick it in the oven with the light on to proof .
Took all night to get it to double in size .
In the morning we de-gas it by stirring it with the plastic spoon handle again and dump it in an oiled bread pan and let it rise for an hour while we warm up the oven to 400 deg F
Brush some olive oil on the top and pop it into the oven at 400 deg F for 40 minutes . Dump a couple glasses of water in the hot pan beneath it so it makes steam and gives you a nice crunchy crust .
Et Voila . . . 
 Behold the masterpiece  . . . it tastes as good as it looks .

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Swarms of locust , calamity , pandemic , disater . . .

Monday last I got a call from mom saying she could not get out of the driveway .

Seems the recent winds had some fun with the old tractor shed and we had the Hindenburg laying across the driveway .
Dad built this thing out of scrap strapping and tarps about fifteen years ago and there was really not much solid to it any more .
It was not worth saving and I really don't like to keep the old Ford so close to the road where someone can decide they need it more than we do . Rolling it back on its feet and getting it back in place would finish breaking it apart , so the best solution was to dismantle it .
Mom was all excited as she had all sorts of scrap tarp pieces for her firewood piles .
Not much left after I spend a couple hours picking it apart .
Fortunately I had thought to bring a couple toys with me , so after chuffing down a bite to eat , I took a walk to the other end of the property . . .
 . . . to make some noise .
... yea I'm blind as a bat .

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Emerging from hibernation

Got to love all this globular warming.
A bit early , but we have the first flowers of the season under the kitchen window .
 As most of the snow is gone and I can once again open the doors to the Volvo shed , I unhooked the trickle charger , rolled the Volvo out , squirted some gas in the carbs and it fired up on the first turn . Pumped up the tires , wiped off five months dust and . . .
. . . . took a ride out to Kettle Cove for a walk on Crescent Beach .
By 5:30 pm we had the Volvo packed away safely in the shed again .

Friday, January 3, 2020

Food porn . . . .

Random photos taken while cooking . . . .

Asparagus , they are supposed to be good for you . . . especially tasty when cooked in bacon fat with salt, pepper , garlic and nutmeg .
Steak and Portobello mushrooms under the broiler
Cilantro and garlic sauce for dressing , with roast chicken , tomatoes and mozzarella
Left over pot roast works well too
Roast Chicken , Calmatta Olives , Pickled Red Peppers
Smelts in butter
Asparagus tips , Brussels-sprouts and taters about to go in the oven
Hand-pies filled with minced pork spices and dried cranberries 
Massive three bite scallops done with butter and brandy . . .
On the plate
Lamb-burgers on the grill
On a ciabatta roll with blue cheese salad dressing , pickled onions and avocado
One duck egg on whole wheat toast
Flank steak on the grill
Ready to serve
 . . . and then there is this . .
 . . bought it on a lark twenty odd years ago while in Newfoundland and have not been brave enough to open it .

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

First of winter progress report

A couple of Sundays ago  . . .
I took the Volvo out for the last ride of the season . . .
. . . before I put it away in its newly floored shed .
Today this is what my driveway looks like . . . . yea not so nice
Detestable garbage really . . . only pain and agony ensues from it and it puts the kibosh on getting any projects done outside .
Like this job we squeaked in just last week before the snow .
The driveway at my parents house has always been a problem . Forty years ago when the place was built they never quite got it right leaving a lot of clay and loam under the ever so thin layer of gravel . In spring time it is a boggy muddy mess and a real challenge to drive on . It was sheer agony , but we finally got mother to agree that it needed to be fixed . This project has been over a year in the making. Yea , mom hasn't exactly made it easy . I really did not think we'd get it done at all . Paving plants are closed for the season but at least we got this part going .
They dug it all up about a foot deep and hauled the old muck away
Right there at the edge of the black fabric , there was a deep trench full of loam running right across the driveway under the gravel . So every year we get a massive frost heave about a foot higher than the slab in the garage , so that any snow melt would flood the garage badly . Hopefully that problem is gone now .
They dug up and hauled away three giant stumps from the trees that came down in the big storm two years ago .
Glad to see that stump gone , should make mowing a lot easier .
After the Geo-Tech is laid out
 . . a thick layer of heavy crushed rock goes down
Spread out and compacted
Then finished off with three inches of nicely graded and compacted gravel .
Next spring , when things thaw and the paving plant opens up again , we get it all hot topped .
But for now we finally have a driveway that's pitched the right way so the garage don't flood . . . That's five feet of pitch over one hundred and fifty feet , from the garage doors to the T in the driveway .
. . . . and you don't need a monster four wheeler to tackle the mud bog at the turn in the spring . . .
See those big granite slabs ?
Those are the front steps to the house .
They too were never put in right and were all wonky from forty years of frost heaving , and as the grade would be changing , I needed to fix that .
So back in late August I yanked them out in expectation of the driveway rebuild .
Doing the math on those things I figure they weigh about seven hundred pounds a piece and the bucket could not even begin to budge them without a counterweight on the back of the tractor , so I chained them up and used the three point hitch to lift them .
Then I bought some of these commie chinese made thirty inch fork lift tines for the bucket for the grand sum of $89 on Fleabay . But of course , when I try to pick up seven hundred pounds of granite with the bucket , the back wheels come up and loose traction and I can't go anywhere .
So using the base from an old engine stand and a steel barrel dad had laying around .
I cobbled this rig together so it fits in the receiver of the logging hitch I built last year .
 Now I can fill the barrel with rocks and off set the weight of the granite slabs . . .
But I guess we'll tackle that job in the spring when this garbage is gone