Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday evening


Outside my window  the moon is riding high and clear in the night sky.  I stood at the door  half an hour ago and heard an owl hooting from further up the valley and a fox barking.  I hope the hens are tucked safely away for the night.

I am thinking   of all the things to do in the garden and of the need to get my own laptop fixed.  I am writing this on Ian's laptop while mine displays the black screen of death.  Have I everything backed up on memory stick?  What do you think?

From the kitchen   comes the smell of white thyme bread.  Ian has been experimenting with sour dough bread again and today I had a go with the natural leaven.  If you haven't come across this before, it is a way of creating leaven using the natural yeasts in the atmosphere.  The process of making the leaven takes a few days but when you have it you can take from it every day and keep the leaven alive for as long as you wish.  It produces a bread with a flavour and texture which is totally distinctive.  I shall blog in more detail about sourdough when I have my own laptop and some photographs.  Today I made a bread with fresh thyme and green olives which is just delicious and as different from shop bought bread as  good wine is from coca cola.

I am reading   Beth Chatto's "A Woodland Garden" given to me three years ago by Zoe when I first started contemplating making my native tree walk.  Some gardening books are instructional and some are inspirational.  This one is a book I keep coming back to, loving the careful clear prose and the ideas which it provokes.   No matter how many times I read it something new always comes out of reading it again.

I am thankful for   the fact that Ian has disposed of the Scots Dumpy cockerel (apologies to those of a sensitive disposition).  He looked beautiful but he had taken to attacking me every time I went in to collect eggs or feed chickens.  Peace reigned today in the chicken run.

I have just finished   a piece of white thyme bread with salty Welsh butter.  Bliss.

Thanks to Pondside for the format.   I enjoyed her blog based on this so much that I have pinched the idea.

33 comments:

  1. Like all good ideas, this one came to me from someone else. I enjoyed yours too. I can imagine the relief at being freed from the cockerel attacks.
    Bread? I haven't made my own for so long that I'll most likely need a course if I ever want to have a go at it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We make all our own bread normally but this making of sourdough is new territory. I had a go about a year ago but it seems to be working much better this time!

      Delete
  2. I liked your blog too.

    Owls, bread, books and poultry - sounds pretty good unless you are a Scots Dumpy. Whata beautiful sunny day it has been here in Wales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our day has been still and mild and grey - high cloud rather than sun. Still beautiful though!

      Delete
  3. Wow. You can sure pack a lot of delights into a single post. I've just finished supper, and I still want a slice of your bread.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now if you were closer Rob you could pop in and have a slice!

      Delete
  4. Like this format so much. Much nicer than the last one. Poor old dumpy cockerel, but needs must. I hope you put him to good use.
    We went to Beth Chattos garden ages ago when we were in the UK, I had met both her and Christopher lloyd when they were in Oz a couple of times. such inspirational books and writers (and lecturers) even though I cant grow a lot of the stuff in their gardens I can use the ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You met Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd? I am overcome. I think I need to meet you now!

      Delete
  5. Hello Elizabeth. I like this format too and enjoyed reading through your list. The bread sounds lovely and as for the cockerel, no squeamishness here. It's all part of animal management isn't it? x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am afraid so on the animal managment front.

      Delete
  6. Like the new format very much. I can only eat sourdough bread but I buy it. My husband tried to make it once but it didn't come out right. I know we should try again but we're a bit stretched for time at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curious as to why you can only eat sourdough? I am wondering if it is to do with the enzymes added to shop bought bread? If so, I think home made might be a help even if not sourdough itself. Sourdough is easier than I had thought but does requite you to be around a lot!

      Delete
  7. I am so glad you've dispensed with the post flip format.

    And the format for your post is great - it has a lovely rhythm. It makes you pause and think. I've filed it away for later ;)

    I'm reading so much about sourdough at the moment, I'm going to have to make some. Now I know how much you like bread and that salty Welsh butter, but have you seen Carl Legge's salad recipe from last week? Worth keeping a little sourdough back if you can ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Am heading right over to Carl to have a look! I never intended to have the flipcard format and it was the fact that I couldn't make it revert to magazine which made me give up and come back here!

      Delete
  8. Love the fresh new look. Now I don't have to fight to read, but can revel in your words and the pictures you paint. Did you eat the cockerel, or bury him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We buried him. If you are going to eat them you have to get them very young indeed!

      Delete
  9. What an idyllic night scene you've described! I wish I could live it some day, even if it means just a chunk of it.

    Love the new look, very spring-y.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We know we are very lucky to be here Suman. You or anyone can have a share by staying in the holiday cottage I suppose! It would be lovely to meet you.

      Delete
  10. I have come to your blog from Pondside's and I was wondering whether this was Blogger's new straitjacket. It makes commenting hard though perhaps you have a series of mini-blogs, and colour coded at that. Sorry to hear about your laptop. Should I tempt fate by mentioning that my 1998 laptop is still going strong, driving the printed, while my 2001 laptop is kept for the business software. Writing, emails and internet I do on this 2008 Mac. Which one will die first. Sorry also to hear of your cockerel's demise. You'd have thought with a touch of moral courage chickens might have become self-fertile, like pears or greengages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My laptop has been rescued by the amazing Alison of Allyway computers and should be coming home this morning! Self fertile hens? Well it's a thought...

      Delete
  11. Well, that was refreshing! Can I have a napkin, I have some breadcrumbs on my chin...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you sure you won't have another slice?

      Delete
  12. I like this format, I might pinch it for an occasional post too.

    I suppose it helps on a day when inspiration fails and life runs in smooth but uneventful tracks.

    I like your day of daydreaming and baking and gazing, what could be more suitable for these grey and foggy days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the combination of inside and out and interior and exterior life which appealed to me in the format. Would be good to see yours!

      Delete
  13. Love the new format. Loads so much quicker.
    When I was young we had a bantam cock that used to chase me. But I think that was because it knew I had budgie food. It is one of the few animals I have ever been frightened of!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is oll how intimidating an aggressive coclerel can be as they are not large. I suspect it is something to do with knowing about cock fighting. Cockerels will fight to the death. They never back down!

      Delete
  14. Glad the book has proved useful.

    Sorry to hear about the cockerel, their hormones go a bit bonkers this time of year and they get very aggressive. My friend Annette who breeds chucks is bearing a horrendous wound from her forehead to her chin down the right side of her face where an over diligent cockerel ripped her face with his spurs.

    I ordered myself some banneton bread baskets for sour dough at the weekend inspired for by reading "How to Make Bread" by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. It is a gorgeous book, which I suspect you would enjoy too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The book is more than useful Zoe, it is one I would hate to do without! Hmmm, I think you have confirmed me in my thoughts about the cockerel. Pity, he was a beauty!

      Delete
  15. The last time I had an experience with sourdough was in the shape of a German friendship cake - the making of it was more fun than the eating thereof which had a very turbulent effect on my tum. I like the new look of the blog Elizabeth - so much easier to comment. Now wondering why I have not read Beth Chattos' 'A Woodland Garden'. Must look out for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never tried a friendhship cake although they must similarly use a natural leaven. Oddly I think I find sourdough easier on the tum than normal bread but it is a very distinctive thing!

      Delete
    2. or a friendship cake even!

      Delete
  16. As well as enjoying the post, I like the return to a page that doesn't take so long to load. That sounds as if I couldn't be bothered to wait, which isn't true, but always being pressed for time, I sometimes had to move on to the next thing on my to do list! We've been making and enjoying sourdough bread for about 5 months now - it's amazing, just keeps going!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sourdough seems to have lots of fans! I also take the point totally about loading time. Might have a longer term rethink!

    ReplyDelete

I really love to know what you think and to have the chance to start a conversation. I always try to respond (although sometimes it might take me a day or two to get to you) either here or by visiting you.