Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rustic Round Loaf, etc

I have, for the last twenty minutes, tried to come up with an amusing description of my day, a few charming stories of the goings on at the Unfarm today, and a clever segue into my bread recipe, but I've come up empty handed. I am, apparently, all out of good ideas for today. I blame my 9am two hour accounting final. Well, whatever the reason, the words aren't coming to me and I will have to content myself with a less than spectacular blog. Here goes nothing.

My day, except for the accounting final and my late afternoon ennui, was not very noteworthy. I have no idea how I did on my final, I can only hope that I passed it so that I never have to deal with accounting again. I also have no idea what triggered the case of ennui, but the result was that for a couple of hours I was completely unmotivated to do anything other than lie on the couch and stare at pictures of me as a five year old. I eventually forced myself off the couch and went out to put the chickens away, bring the ducks in, and (in a burst of motivation) take the dogs out for a walk. Somewhere in between the final and the ennui I decided to finally try out a bread recipe I've had for a few weeks. It's surprisingly simple to make, turned out well and looks like one of those fancy rustic style loaves of bread you see in gourmet bakeries. But you don't have to take my word for it... (notice the Reading Rainbow reference??)

Rustic Round Loaf
*you'll need a 6-8 quart cast iron pot with a lid

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 packet)
1 1/2 cups water (between 120 and 130 degrees F)
olive oil as needed

Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl, and then add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until it's blended. The dough will be "shaggy." Let it rest in the bowl in a warm room (70 degrees F) for 4 hours. Spray some olive oil onto a work surface (I just used a metal cookie sheet - I figured the bread board would be too sticky) and knead the dough a couple times. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 F, placing the pot in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, take the pot out, put the dough into it, put the lid on, and bake it for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove the bread and let it cool on a rack. Voila.

Things on the Unfarm have been quiet today, for the most part, with the exception of the rabbits, who are conspiring against me to get in as much trouble as possible. They are spending the evening launching a coordinated attack against the cardboard box that holds the fire escape ladder. I'll chase one of them away only to turn around and discover that the other one has taken advantage of the opportunity to sneak in behind me and start tearing at the cardboard again. Cardboard, it would seem, is one of the four food groups of rabbits. Occasionally the bunnies will leave the cardboard alone and move on to chewing the wood trim around the closet. This is why I do not generally let the rabbits have their free time when I can't be there to supervise. It always results in property damage. The only thing that could cause more damage would be to turn a beaver loose in here. Which, the way I tend to attract animals, is not an altogether impossible situation...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A thought or two on school

I have been in college for eons. The Grand Canyon was just a ditch in Arizona when I started school. Like I said, eons. After years of drifting somewhat aimlessly through the land of Academia I finally have a plan in place. I have an adviser and a checklist and everything. I also have - much to my dismay - over 100 credits still to go.

I am currently slogging my way through accounting and statistics - two classes I had hoped never to have to take, but for some reason they are needed, apparently, when you major in animal science. I will, of course, use them constantly in my career as a chicken wrangler (or whatever it is I decide to do.) That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.

There is one good thing that will come out of my three month foray into statistics: I have produced pages and pages of notes that I plan to roast vegan marshmallows over after finals. (If I wasn't going to try to recoup my losses on the cost of my ridiculously expensive statistics textbook by selling it back, I would probably roast that too - and enjoy it.)

My frustration with the current curriculum is exacerbated by the fact that I am not happy with anything less than a perfect score, and let me assure you that I am scoring well below perfect. It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself that it doesn't really matter what grade I get in statistics as long as I pass it, I have yet to convince myself that that is indeed the truth.

But while I continue to learn about standard deviations and bank reconciliations life continues as usual on the Unfarm. Minna's mobility has vastly improved and she even hobbles around the yard a bit now, with Maggie as her guard, keeping the chickens away. Kita's weight loss progress has stalled - partly because his arthritis is slowing him down, and partly because I caught him buried up to his shoulders in a bag of dog food the other day, munching away. The chickens have decided once again, for reasons they don't feel the need to share with us, that they will not go into their coop in the evening on their own. This means that if we cannot bribe them to come in with squirrel food, we will have to play yet another round of night time chicken wrangling, chasing the chickens all over the yard until we finally catch them. And finally, I woke up in the middle of the night last night to discover Buddy was throwing up on my bed. How pleasant. But then again, it was just another day on the Unfarm.