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Linda A | all galleries >> Galleries >> Finding adventure in an ordinary world (2011) > 4th January 2011 - the staff of life
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04-JAN-2011

4th January 2011 - the staff of life

Throughout last year, I spent most of the year chasing my tail. I was working hard in my two part-time jobs, studying hard at Uni and making a pretty fair stab at trying to provide food throughout the year for us.

I reckon I succeeded pretty well in all three departments Ė the freezer is stuffed with food from the garden thatís now being gradually used. Iíve still got a lot of stuff waiting to be eaten and Iím as sure as I can be that weíll be able to be eating stuff from the garden right through until weíre ready to start cropping the next lot. Not only that but Iím learning things at Uni that I should be able to put to good use to improve our harvest next year. For example, I have always known the basics about the nitrogen fixing properties of legumes but I didnít know how to test for ďgoodĒ nodules compared to ďbadĒ nodules, nor did I know that itís possible to improve the chances of getting ďgoodĒ nodules. Itís a shame really because itís more than 20 years since I was in Australia watching wine growers planting between the vines with peas Ė I didnít make the connection until now.
I also didnít know anything like enough about the role of mycorrhizae in food production.

Both of the jobs I was doing last year have finally fizzled out completely and Iím waiting on starting my first job of 2011, which will begin in a few weeks time so I have a short window of opportunity for getting personal stuff done before entering the fray of the workplace once again.

And Uni? Well, I came out of my first year with grades more than good enough to get myself a first class degree as long as I can keep up the pace. The lowest mark I got in any subject was 79% so Iím pretty pleased with efforts there too.

So, over the Christmas holidays have I taken a hard-earned rest? Nope. Iíve spent more than half of my break working on Uni stuff so that I go into the next term completely up-to-date with all of my studying. . Iíve applied for, done three levels of interviews for and got a paid temporary job that Iíll be starting in a couple of weeks. Finally Iíve been ďdoing stuffĒ around the house thatís needed doing Ė some of it very mundane Ė thereís not much to be said for cleaning out the chickens other than itís not a nice job but it has to be done. Iíve done some more finishing off jobs in the kitchen, which to my shame isnít finished eighteen months after it was ďfinishedĒ if you see what I mean.

One of the things Iíve been doing around the house is baking. Iíve been making bread, cakes and other things and having a great time doing them. This bread is courtesy of David, which is, in itself, surprising. He announced one day that he was going to make a loaf of bread. It transpired that heíd found a simple and apparently fail-safe recipe in an online forum for something completely unrelated to cooking. He made the bread, which was simple, fail-safe and absolutely delicious.

I took his simple, fail-safe recipe and adapted it by changing ingredients to be less simple and probably less fail-safe too if truth be told. But the thing is I have a thing for bread made from oatmeal, which I learned to love while living in Oxford many years ago and our local independent baker used to make the most sensational oatmeal bread. I have never seen it commercially available since then and Iíve been unable to find a recipe that Iíve been happy with. My recent studies have confirmed to me that oatmeal bread is a ďgood thingĒ because my nutrition lecturer tells me (and the rest of my student cohort) that oats are better nutrition than wheat. So, I was determined to work out a recipe that was made with oatmeal and was good.

This dough is it. Iím doing the final knead and about to put it for its final prove before going into the oven for our lunch today. Iíve done it a few times before and itís definitely classified as ďyumĒ. So, I have learned something in Uni that Iíve been able to put to good use over the holidays when Iíve learned something else that has enriched our lives. Bread is said to be the stuff of life and I wholeheartedly support that view but knowledge too must be considered the stuff of life........

Oh and yes - there are many shots from this session that don't have motion blur in them but I liked the action shot.

Canon EOS 5D
0.60s f/32.0 at 100.0mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
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northstar3708-Jan-2011 15:39
We all have to work because.... we knead the dough! (I'll get me coat!)
virginiacoastline06-Jan-2011 02:55
I love the perfume that fills the air in a house when bread is baking . . . . mmmmmmmmmmm . . YUM!
Michael Todd Thorpe04-Jan-2011 16:41
I was making bread a good portion of the year last year... I found a simple, no-knead recipe that worked nicely. I should start it up again. I agree, the motion is nice here.