"Don't wish me happiness I don't expect to be happy all the time....It's gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Friday, 26 December 2014

Wheat Germ Bread Recipe

If your looking for a bread recipe that has a bit more to it than just white bread - this may be it. I make this bread quite a bit for that very reason. Like my other bread recipe's that I've shared with you this past year it comes from the out of print cookbook called All The Way Vegetarian by Dorothy Simms. Their were two wheat germ recipe's in this cookbook and I've chosen this one as the taste is more subtle because their is less wheat germ in it. Here is the recipe with a few of my own minor revisions. 6-61/2 cups white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup powdered milk, 1/4 cup wheat germ, 23/4 cups water, 1/4 cup sugar, 21/2 tsp.(s) instant yeast, 3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening, 1 teaspoon sea salt.     Combine in large bowl 21/2 cups of the white flour, whole wheat flour, milk powder, wheat germ, and yeast. In saucepan, heat together water, sugar, shortening and salt until warm (110-115 degrees), stirring constantly to melt shortening. (Personally I always get this to hot and then I have to wait for it to cool. If you don't do this and it's to hot you will kill your yeast. I did that the first time. If this happens just wait for the mixture to cool then add more yeast. That's what I did and it turned out fine.) Add to dry mixture and beat thoroughly. Gradually add the remaining flour to make a soft dough, just until the stickiness is gone. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise ( I let it rise 1 hr) near wood stove.  Punch down, divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a loaf and place in two greased loaf pans. Place back by woodstove, cover and allow to rise until almost double. Bake 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool. Makes two loaves.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Almost christmas and traditions

The cabin smells yummy. Christmas is a wonderful reason to bake but I really must stop after all it's just the two of us. My mom made orange sugar cookies every Christmas when we were kids. Except she wouldn't put on icing or sprinkles. I like sweet things and it seems my daughter does to so today when we made them on they went. My mom made fruitcake but I don't like that so I never made it. She never made carrot pie for christmas but I have. This is the first christmas my daughter will remember and I will make it special. Isn't that the point of tradition?
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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Is it spring? And learning her a,b,c's.

Today I found this lone primrose in the garden but everywhere I look there are buds. Despite the wet, spring weather we are still inside a lot. I took up counted cross stitch recently not because I needed something else to do but I thought it would be nice to do with my two year old. It would have been easier had I decided for our first, small project to follow a pattern. I redid the first letter a B three times before I got it right and now my daughter is pointing out all the b's in her books. The first letter of the second word went even worse and she learned what a n looks like. I learned I can't count. The upside is I didn't prick my finger with the needle but I couldn't as cross stitch uses a tapestry needle and they are blunt. On this darkest day of winter I'm thankful for this peaceful, quiet life where I can be the mommy I am and for His strength.
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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Isn't love His favourite gift?

After spending every evening knitting (and sometimes very late) the Christmas sweater is nearly done. I just have to block it. Yes, you read that correctly. I realize I am doing things incorrectly if one follows traditional knitting protocol procedures which states that blocking is done before sewing the pieces together. If your a non-knitter blocking is wetting the pieces and then pinning them onto something flat to dry. I have a piece of styrofoam that I use for this purpose. As I near forty I am becoming less likely to bother with established ways of doing knitterly things. After all I have been knitting for almost twenty years and experience counts for something. Especially when it comes to shortcuts. If my pieces are the right size then I don't bother anymore with blocking until it is sewed together. Christmas eve will find me relaxed and knitting something else. I have given my best to my daughter and it doesn't matter whether or not she knows, because parenthood is all about giving. My gift reminds me of the continuous depth of the love of God. Christmas is about that love.

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Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Sweater and matters of the heart

I finished knitting the back of my toddler's sweater and felt a little smug. I was two days ahead of schedule. I'd also met my goal of carefully following the pattern word for word. I cast on for the left front and then it occurred to me. The pattern front is a lovely cable design but it doesn't do justice to the equally lovely smocking on the sleeves and the back. Why not add more smocking and pockets? Pockets after-all are for miniature toys, finger puppets and whatever else a two year old can hide in them. With the cables there is no room for pockets. So I parted ways with the pattern and this makes me a little nervous. I'm getting low on time for re-knits if this gift is going to be ready for Christmas morning. It's not like this is her only gift from me. It's just the one that I've poured all of my heart and soul into and that's why it matters. Yes, she is only two but I know she gets it. P.S. I did find the perfect buttons. They were in my button jar. All I had to do was look.
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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Storm crossing

After six weeks we went to town and this time we got toilet paper. Lots of it. It was our first shopping day without me carrying my two year old in the deuter 2 backpack. I had boughten the pack used off ebay and it has served us well. Instead, I put my daughter in the wheelbarrow with the empty totes that were all tied together. I didn't pick the best day weather wise. It was raining, the southeasterly wind was screaming, and although it could't be helped it was still dark so I had my head lamp on. I hadn't gone very far before I felt something attached to me. A fir bough had gotten caught in the hem of my calf-length skirt. By the time we got down to the beach it was light out and I put the head lamp away. The beauty of the storm was breathtaking. It was even more so once we were out on the stormy sea and headed to the mainland. Our water taxi driver was a natural and handled the boat so well that if you didn't look out the window you might think it was a lazy, summer morning. Well, not quite. After all, we were the only passengers and I was to busy hanging on to attempt a picture. After we got to town the rain abated, the wind calmed, the sun came out and it turned into an unexpected, unpredicted lovely day.

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Sunday, 7 December 2014


I have a love - hate relationship with my splitting maul. I hate it because I think it's to heavy. I tolerate it because its paid for and given that I have huge blocks to break open I'm dubious that going lighter is the answer. So I've stayed faithful, chopping all of my wood with it for the past three years and staying hopeful that one day it will get easier. And It has. It happened today by accident. I broke a block open and because it was nearby I put a quarter section from the broken block on a very short block. My wood is all cut at 15" unless it happens to be the stump or the end of a log hence a short block. I was standing on uneven ground so I repositioned myself to the high side and aimed a blow. It was like slicing butter with a hot knife. Delighted like a child at Christmas I tried again this time with the remaining block. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. With a single blow each piece flew off the block. Sweet! I have been reminded about something. It's not just about persistence and determination. When something doesn't work it may need a different approach.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The beauty of winter

There were a few falling snowflakes and it was enough to lure us outside for a walk and to fill the wood box. I like the silence of winter. It is a breath of fresh air for the soul. I am drawn to the beauty of the leafless limbs on the plum tree. The wind blew most of them off yesterday and the ones that remain look artistically placed. The ground is frozen and there is ice instead of puddles on the tarps/plastic covering the firewood. The half frozen wood splits easily so I split an extra block. With each block I typically get about two wheel barrow loads. I am splitting firewood nearly every day. I don't want to burn my nice pile of chopped wood- not all of it not yet. I hold the little mittened hand as we walk through the second growth rainforest. We stop to watch a pileated woodpecker drilling in an alder and pause to listen to a flock of kinglets. Sparrows run ahead of us and disappear into the tangle of sword ferns. Back at home we put another cake of suet in the empty feeder. The new song sparrow spends most of its time feeding on the ground while the new towhee who spends alot of time hanging precariously off the feeder is considerably more agile. We offer some sunflower seeds to the pair of watching nuthatches but they are not particularly interested so we go back inside where cookies are waiting.