Saturday, January 26, 2013

through the roof

The chimney went through the roof today, and tomorrow we should be on our own with the new woodstove.  It is a little disconcerting to have someone saw a hole through the house. It has been cold and dirty, and the guy finally made the call on the mantel today. It can stay. We hired the oddest cat to do the work, and it has been a strange month communicating with him. I think he is some sort of chimney savant. I think he may be one of the most interesting people I've ever met, and I liked talking to him about woodstoves. He has a Danish one that is chest high with an oven in it. I told him I wanted to wood fired bread oven in the backyard, and he told me about baking cornbread and sweet potatoes in his stove.

We had another snow on friday, two inches of powder, and it seemed warm today when it got up to thirty five degrees.

I can't wait to sit in front of a warm fire.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Waking up to no electricity took a lot of the excitement out of this beautiful snow. We didn't have power for two nights, but I think the kitchen on made it down to 48 degrees. We should be a significantly more prepared by the weekend as the chimney man was here today working on putting in our new chimney and installing the woodstove. He can't work tomorrow as the high is going to be in the teens, but says he'll be here thursday. The chimney is on the north side of the house and doesn't ever get any sun.

Ella fluffed up the chicken's house tonight for some added warmth, and John replaced the avian netting that goes over the top of their run. The wet snow tore that down, and earlier today one of the girls was roosting on one of the corner poles about six feet off the ground.

No one likes the bitter cold, but we need some nights and days like this to kill the ticks that seemed to run rampant last summer.

In  the dancing picture we had gone for a walk on the second snow day because it was feeling warmer outside than inside our house.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


My mother was here for a week and I wanted to take my ability to make bread to the next level. Well, I don't know if I made it there or not, but the results were delicious. I'm going to have to try it again by myself. The levain process is simple but sort of mind boggling in that you throw away most of the flour mixture each day. It takes an extra five pound bag of flour to get the levain started. Honestly, it is well worth the results, and then you have your starter that can be used from then on out. The two darker loaves in the bowl contain a pound of bacon. We won't be doing that ll the time, but it is probably the epitome of rich bread. It will be the perfect bread for a tomato sandwich with homemade mayo, or even a fried green tomato sandwich. It might be the best bread I've ever eaten.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

gingerbread houses

at home

and now, a look at the holidays

The children are sad that the Christmas tree is coming down tomorrow. Grandmarie left this morning, and school starts again on Monday. We have loved being at home in this house for the holiday season, but we have had our share of shouting and sibling rivalry around here.  In their own naive way my children are very spoiled. They are also the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, and, heck, I like to spoil them too. Maybe we all need to rethink Christmas in the age of tiny screens. We have had many very good moments though, and I'm already looking forward to next year. As always I need to start earlier with my desire to give handmade gifts. I still have a few things to finish, but hopefully it will be worth the wait for the recipients. The children want more decorations next year, so perhaps we'll have a day for bringing in more greenery, more candles, and if the littles have anything to do with it---more lights. One thing we certainly will have next year is more warmth. The woodstove comes this Wednesday. We had twenty four hours without electricity, and the kitchen went down to 49 degrees. I wouldn't let the kids go out to play in the snow because I no way to really warm them up when they came in. Our twenty five advent candles 'warmed" the house during that dark day.

We had many delicious meals and treats. My mother and I made the Pain Au Bacon from Ken Forkish's new book Flour Water Salt Yeast with perfect results. It takes a week to grow the levain. It was definitely the holiday of bacon, and it came from farms across Virginia. Granny and Grandmarie both brought delicious bacon, and we had our own share from our friends at Leaping Waters Farm. Last night I braved the high winds and fired up the grill to cook some of their Ancient White Park steaks for my mother's birthday. It was  delicious beside Julia Child's braised leeks and the Pain Au Bacon.  On Christmas we had oyster stew and fried oysters from Rappahannock via the Fredricksburg Farmer's Market. I think we need to have iced water and kale salad for the rest of the month.