Sunday, March 1, 2009


Trail & Error backed up by chores has been my main homesteading gig since I last posted.

Pictured is my version of Rye Bread baked in a humongous cast iron skillet that was a part of my Husband's dowry. Yeah I am a bit of a homesteader ho. Flash a few time honored multifunctional 'steader tools under my nose & I melt. It weighs about 10 lbs. and is a foot & half across. Makes great corn bread when feeding a crowd and a sweet untraceable security protection device, a.k.a. The Backitup.
I have been on a real bread baking kick lately partially fueled by our Urban Pantry Challenge and also in hopes of generating a source of income later on. In my never ending quest to prove that I'm right er I mean to prove that it is still possible to live on a $100 a month grocery budget I am trimming the fat so to speak when it comes to bread baking. No more store bought white flour used in our daily bread. Strictly 100% whole grain ground in our kitchen (Lord knows we gotta put that 2 bills mill to work) . Hence the Rye Bread made with organic Rye berries & local Winter Wheat berries that were bartered for.
Second reason is to perfect my skills as a bread baker with an eye toward generating an economic opportunity next Winter. Just as easy to bake up a few extra loaves of freshly baked homemade bread to sell or barter with. Extra bread might be enough to offset the cost of all my baking. Long range goal is to eventually bake on the wood stove that is being installed this Spring using an antique stove top oven.
Rye Bread didn't raise like I had hoped. On the dense side but still very moist. Wasn't half bad when coupled with liverwurst, onion, & mustard for a hearty lunch.
Latest library lend is a nice cookbook, The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book A Guide to Whole - Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson.
So far a good read with quite a few recipes I plan on making.

Hmm, wonder if a wooden dough trough made by my wonderfully creative husband would improve my bread making abilities?

Besides showing you that our vintage 1940's Westinghouse fridge needs a new paint job & that my lone crisper drawer needs a wipe out here is what's left of a barter deal a few weeks back. Organic grapefruit, tangerines, and oranges bartered for a few pounds of freshly ground organic rye flour. 3 heads or garlic were also had. February's UPC went over budget to the tune of almost $50. Of that fifty $16 of it was spent @ our local restaurant supply store were we bought a gallon each of Black Strap Molasses (bread making) & Vegetable oil. Case of butter was also purchased for $27. Rest of that fifty was spent on fresh salad fixings and a few odds & ends. Less than January's challenge but still not the $100 grocery limit that my husband mocks.

Down to a 1/3 of the canned/jarred food & slightly more than half of our cache of home canned produce has been used so far. Down to the last few pounds of gleaned potatoes. Need to work up a bartering deal on taters if possible. Defrost the upright freezer and inventory the contents.

Need to work up a new battle plan. Heat cold frames, grow salad greens, eat like a tree hugger. But how to heat a cold frame without spending $ on man made fuels or use a ton of horse manure ?

107 year old red oak factory made medallion previously covered in a numerous layers of paint. Left upper corner of the bedroom door. An electric heat gun & a paint scrapper followed by a pricey chemical paint stripper and me wielding an old toothbrush.

Clockwise. Counter clockwise. Wax on. Wax off. Mumble curses under my breath.

Blurry pic due to standing on a ladder while holding a paintbrush lathered up with paint stripper in my mouth. Yeah I know. Oh should write that it's a metal ladder to boot. After the door jam, two bottom floor mouldings & the window jams are stripped, sanded, & stained then it's just repaint the ceiling and hang drapes.

Perhaps a stint in rehab from huffing stripper.

~~ pelenaka ~~