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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thanksgiving Prep

Our stove has died, just in time for Thanksgiving. We have one on order, but delivery ran into a snag and we won't see it until December.

This is a holiday that means a lot to the kids, though.

Daughter can't be here next weekend (ask her about her nice new fella), so, this Monday, she and Last Son and Beloved and I will have a symbolic feast, featuring pumpkin pie, at the university's student union, where I'll be tabling for an event. More about that in a couple of days.

The Tribe will come down from the Big City sometime during the holiday weekend; we're not sure yet when.

Because some Tribe members can't do without turkey, Beloved plans to go to Last Son's apartment and bake the big bird there. Then she'll give him a ride here.

Meanwhile, I'll be running back and forth between the crock pot, the electric frying pan, and the zapper, as well as arranging fresh veggie slices on trays and the like.

Today is my bake day. I've just created a loaf of acorn/apple bread, and am now setting about to bake Jerusalem artichoke/garlic bread.

For these loaves, I chose to grind some of the ingredients in a hand grinder. Ours, a Universal that we inherited from somewhere back in the Seventies, is simplicity itself. Clamp to table, put bowl in front, grind, unclamp, take down into three parts, wash, reassemble, and dry on top of the wood stove.

The acorns I steamed a couple of weeks ago, then froze. A couple of handfuls of these, straight from the freezer, put through the grinder, make an acceptable flour, but they're a bit strong for our taste, so I use this with chopped apples and the usual bread ingredients, including some oats and a couple of cups each of white and whole wheat flour. By cutting the sugar with a little bit of molasses, you can get a dark loaf that rises well and doesn't overpower you.

The Jerusalem artichokes, I noticed, don't store well, so I tossed the bad one, and re-washed the good ones and put them through the grinder. Some I have frozen, some went into a soup, and the rest is going into the next loaf. I put a clove of garlic through with the artichokes, and after throwing the ingredients into the bread machine, added the same flour, oil, salt, yeast, sugar and molasses ingredients as went into the other loaf.

Oldest Son sent me this bread machine as a gift a decade ago, and it has been going strong ever since. One of the switches on the bread machine finally gave out this morning. I have to unplug it to change settings. Hmm. But I hate to give it up, because it's from him.

His tribe will be the one that dosn't make it here for Thanksgiving, not that I've asked. I think they're a bit nervous about me, still, and it's a long way -- over three thousand miles. Would be too much to attempt with the two young girls. But I'm thinking about them.

I had hoped to work in the gardens, but there's an icy fog out. Instead I'm running to the woodpile pretty much all day, between other chores, trying to keep the house warm. These fogs do more to chill the house than just about any other weather, including snow, which we rarely see any more. Even Julia, the irrepressible Banty hen, has given up scratching for bugs for the day and is hunkered on her roost by our front door, depressed.

It's hot cocoa weather. With lap robe.


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