Thursday, January 4, 2018

The House Is Warm!

I wonder if perhaps I succumbed to a fit of self-pity in yesterday's post. 
In my defense becoming over-tired and chilled doesn't bring out the best of me.

Jim has continued to search out and remedy spots where cold air was seeping into the house.  Most of them have been in the lower level--the walk-out basement that houses the laundry, the cold storage larder and a large workroom that can be closed off. 
This has been one of the longer spells of cold weather experienced since we moved into the farmhouse during the winter of 2015.
Today's high temperature was a mere 20 F with sunshine for most of the day.
I didn't challenge myself with anything strenuous.
There are the daily chores needed to keep a house reasonably clean; Jim and I often collaborate on meal prep if he isn't busy in the workshop.

A recipe posted on Face Book for 'Hermits' caught my eye.
My mother often made cookies of that name when I was a child.
I mixed the ingredients per the recipe which created a dough too dry and crumbly to spread in a baking pan as suggested.
A quick perusal of Hermit recipes online revealed that there is considerable variation in ingredients and method.
My mother's cookies were dropped by the spoonful on a baking sheet.

I made 1/3 cup of instant coffee using some of the granulated form that Jim keeps on hand for a quick hot drink. Stirred into the 'crumbles' this created a dough that could be deposited on a baking sheet using my usual dough scoop.
The resulting cookies--rich with molasses, spices and dried  cranberries--are moist and chewy, lovely with a mug of tea.

This was also the day to replenish our bread.
We drove up the hill to the Beachy Amish store to purchase a 50 pound sack of the unbleached flour that I use in all my baking.
Mr. Beachy was keeping the store, the only one of the family in evidence.  Usually one or more of the teenage children waits on customers.
Mr. Beachy remarked wryly that he was the only one of the family still on his feet as the rest of the household were down with a respiratory flu. 
We came home with 50 pounds of flour, a few grapefruit, a bag of Winesap apples and another flat of Noosa Lemon Yogurt.

I mixed the bread a bit differently--adding a cup of oatmeal flakes, a cup of rye flour.
It is good bread!

Tomorrow we will attend the memorial service for a man who was a member of our church. Our church community is saddened.  Joe had just passed his 42nd birthday--he was diagnosed with ALS [Lou Gehrigs's disease] over a year ago--lived as gracefully and courageously as possible. 
The funeral of a young person or one in the prime of life is always more difficult.

I have to make a dessert for the meal that will be served to family and guests, and  will likely stay to help tidy the kitchen.

For a few days I'm not planning to push myself, to set goals.
I'm about to find my place in the book I set aside, and will encourage Teasel-cat to sit with me in the rocking chair near the warmth of the fire.


  1. Having just read your last post, I'm glad you are more cheerful today. Wretched cold weather, though you are lucky to have a husband who has sealed up those cold corners in the house. We are to have cold weather from the weekend though not as cold as in America. Weather systems are buffeting against each other at the moment.

    1. Thelma; I often marvel at how susceptible to the changes of weather we can be.
      I"m still trying to learn that I can't tackle everything that my creative imagination suggests as projects.
      Yes, its been cold--we are promised a bit of a warm-up next week.

  2. The bread looks good. I just do a couple of loaves a week, in my Panesonic breadmaker, which I like as I can bung the ingredients in and walk away and do other things for 3 hours, though I do still enjoy hand-making a loaf when I have time.

    Your cookies sounded nice - Keith especially loves cranberries and I made some cranberry and chocolate cookies at Christmas and he ATE them, without the usual "too sweet" comment . . .

    Stay warm. I hope the dreadful snowfalls don't reach you - even Florida has snow this year.

    1. Jennie; The whole southeast seems to have been jolted by the current weather. We have family and friends from here [Kentucky] to Florida--we're all ready for a warming trend.
      Four medium-sized bread pans fit nicely in my oven, so that's what I make. You may have noted from the photo that i shape each loaf as a half--that way not much goes stale with only two of us in the house.
      Your chocolate/cranberry cookies sounded appealing. I"m with Keith on the sugar--I always cut back from the amount given in a recipe.

  3. Glad your house is warmer and you're feeling a bit more chipper. It's still cold here and the snow hasn't melted, but they're promising us warmer weather for next week

    1. Janet; I think of the winters spent in New England or Wyoming--much colder for much longer! I've had my grumble and determined to cultivate cheerfulness--its not as though we are freezing up--just changing our ways a bit to deal with the cold.

  4. It was -17 here on Tubs Road this morning at half seven and the weather folks aren't all that encouraging about the remainder of the day. This cold spell has lasted longer than any that I recall; it has been bone chilling, settling heavily into the valleys and causing frozen pipes galore. In the game of Thorns and Roses, Roses is full sun and no wind! The first of the week will bring a bit of a welcome warm up. Meanwhile, I've made great progress on a pair of socks and a shawl for the Shawls for Native American Elders Project.

    1. Mundi; The weather reports from friends and family in New England are really focused on enduring cold/snow/ice and longing for the 'January thaw.' Our coldest temperature was a minus 2 F on Friday night. I'm reminding myself that we have survived much colder--both in VT and WY.
      Having indoor projects that can be carried on while huddling near a heat source is always encouraging--happy knitting!

  5. Those bread rolls look amazing. How do you get them so uniform? Could you post the recipe if it's not too much trouble. I'm seriously bread making here as we miss our English bread!
    So sorry about the young man from your church, that is no age at all, very sad.
    I hope you enjoy your rest.x

    1. Kimberly; I'll try to do the bread recipe tomorrow--its more a 'method' than a strict recipe at this point, as I've been making bread for many years. I would have to post in US measurements.
      Yes, so hard to watch Joe's decline and no hope of remission or cure. His faith and courage were an inspiration. The memorial gathering was large.
      I needed a rest after the pantry renovation--hopefully I'm getting my second wind!

  6. I was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) 15 months ago. At that time riluzole was prescribed. I found I could not tolerate it. did very little to help me. The medical team did even less. My decline was rapid and devastating. The psychological support from the medical centre was non-existent and if it were not for the sensitive care and attention of my primary physician, I would have died. There has been little if any progress in finding a cure or reliable treatment. My ALS got significantly worse and unbearable because of my difficulty catching breath. Last year, i started on a natural ALS Herbal therapy from Mbeki Herbal Clinic, i read a lot of positive reviews from patients who used the treatment and i immediately started on it. I had great relief with this herbal treatment. I am doing very much better now, no case of shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing,, my ALS condition is totally reversed. Visit Mbeki Herbal Clinic website ww w. mbekiherbalclinic. com. This treatment is a miracle!!

  7. Anne; I lost a dear friend nearly two years ago to ALS--the young man from our church knew he was ill--with something--prior to his diagnosis of ALS--he lived about 14 months after that.
    I am glad that you found a treatment that has been helpful--I wonder if ALS, like some cancers--behaves differently in different individuals.
    I can only imagine how precious each day must seem to you.