Postcards from the Ledge – 10b

Follow up –

The Follansbees have provided the following and previously promised article…

“Washing Household Linens and Linen Clothing in 1627 Plymouth” by Maureen Richard

I can’t figure out how to get it here on the blog but the link below will provide you with a pdf file which you can open any way you like.

Maureen-laundry

I’m looking forward to reading it over my lunch hour. It’s hot dog day.

Secondly,

Someone requested the recipe for that fabulous looking loaf of bread featured in part A of this blog post.

I don’t remember where I got it but I tweaked the original so I get to rename it…

Quarantine Potato Bread

1 med Starchy Potato
1/2 cup potato water (twice…twice… I have dumped the water out while draining the cooked spuds so I’m giving this helpful hint…save that water)

3/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 1/4 tsp. Yeast
3 1/2 cup Bread Flour (best of luck finding that)

Cut that potato into small chunks and cook for 15 minutes or so then mash fine…

Drizzle the honey into the bottom of your grandmother’s pyrex measuring cup, then add the warm water up to the red 3/4 cup line and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.

Combine all ingredients and knead for 10 minutes. That’s my favorite part.

Proof in a lightly greased bowl covered with a damp tea towel and set up on some high warm surface like on the top of your old mustard colored double oven…1-2 hours. This is a good time to weed one bed or do two crossword puzzles or play 12 Maj-Jong games on your ipad.

Return to that bowl and marvel at the rise you got from all that kneading. Knock it down and roll it up into a buttered loaf pan. Cover with that damp towel and proof for 45 minutes.

Bake (with the towel off obviously) 30-35 minutes @ 375 degrees.

Another helpful note, I found that placing it on the bottom rack in my top oven gave a more even bake …and 30 minutes is the exact right time for same oven.

If you buttered that pan like my Mima would have then your own fabulous loaf will fall gently out…let it cool on a wire rack as long as you can stand before cutting it open and slathering it with butter.

In the original recipe it was said that the addition of the potato somehow helps the bread to last longer. I can attest only that the previous two loaves I made each lasted one week. On the last day save two of those older pieces per person in the household to make french toast. It’s quarantine bread after all…you need your strength and maple syrup is well known to stabilize one’s sanity.

You are welcome.

And as a bonus…here’s a look at that wonderful stove…

Hot Flash – 2007

If you need to ask… you won’t get it .

A list of thank yous is in order though.

To Julie, for the long term loan of her grandmother’s fan and for recognizing in the first place that I “needed” to have it in the prop room.

To Susan, for the gift of her magnificent old stove and for recognizing that I “needed” to have it in the new studio.

To Mima, for the hours spent in her Uniontown kitchen and recognizing that I would someday go out of my way replicate it in the hopes of channeling her love.

And, to my dearest Pat, for paving the way before me…and for smiling as she recognizes, with such affection and that ever so tender hint of knowing sarcasm, that the battle has only begun to rage inside my hormonally challenged almost fifty self.


Postcards from the Ledge – 10

Hello in there…

Bless you John Prine and Bette Midler for piercing my 20 year old heart with that song.
It pulled me by the teeth to the other side of a gripping depression and became a touchstone along the way for the next 40 years. I have always worn my fried egg on the outside…proudly because of you.

Me at 20 -1978

Etching from college portfolio  –  1978

So I just got off the phone with my pal Peter Follansbee. I’m throwing a link to his website here …click… so that you can spend some of that extra screen time that we all have these days to visit with him and his woodworking. He, like most of us creative types, is able to continue plying his craft and is producing some fabulous new work.

Both Peter and his wife Maureen are historians who worked at Plymoth Plantation so they have a unique perspective on the 17th century. Peter’s focus was primarily on all things wood while Maureen was the textile expert. So it was that today, when we were comparing quarantine notes in our social distancing phone chat, and I brought up my own next woodworking project… Peter said Maureen wrote an article about that. He’s gonna dig it up for me… and I’m all ears…because…

Laundry.

As I sat in the studio kitchen one morning last week…looking out at the same view I’ve been greeted with for over a decade…the Muses lit a match.

Spark…at the end of the walkway…the centerpiece of the Morag Gamble bed…were the washtubs that Susan gave me years ago for a planter. Deb’s begonias and a few annuals  bloom there every summer and brighten that corner. And the extra light that now shines there in the wake of the giant ash tree removal last year…was apparently just what the Muses needed.

Because…wait for it…they are WASH tubs.

This was the beginning of what turned out to be Olde Timey Sunday.

Well the true beginning was actually the two hours it took me to repair the hose faucet and run a line out to the tubs. But after that …well after I had to whittle a couple stoppers out of our stash of wine corks. But THEN we got it going.

The washing part was made so much easier with those tubs. But the next stage…wringing…eh not so much. My hands aren’t strong enough any more to do that. So I did some research. Of course there is a youtube video on that…and with that help I’ve figured out a way to build a wringer. Hopefully Maureen’s article about doing laundry in the 1600’s will give me a few other pointers. I’ll keep you posted on the making of the wringer…for now you can ponder on the parts list…a rolling pin and bungy cords were ordered from Amazon and the garage will need to be cleared out enough to get to the wood stack and the tools.

It always gives me an energy boost to have a new problem to solve and a project to build, and while the clothes were drying in the sunny breeze, Herself began clearing out the greenhouse…so we could get to the spinning wheel.

Because I scored two brand new fleece to spin !!!

Snowball…and Calico…

Beautiful fleece I found on Etsy from Aspendale Farm . 

A small farm in Idaho where Romney Sheep are raised and where they are kind enough to send an extra gift bag for safe storage…

One of the best days of our year is the trip in May to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and one of the first dominoes to fall in our corner of this pandemic was the early cancellation of that festival. Having had to miss the last two years I was doubly sad. But social media came to the rescue and, after putting a query out to our resourceful peeps, I had several leads on where I might procure some spinning fleece.

One of the best parts of that side trip was reconnecting with Tom Knisely. A wonderful weaver friend of old who lives just over the hill from the studio and we have only now discovered that he has a new weaving/spinning retreat and workshop with his daughter Sara Bixler…oh the excitement as I get to anticipate the day when the vaccine arrives and we can go back out into the world …the very first place I will go is…

So now I’m all set.

The old wheel got some new grease.
When the weather gets just a bit warmer I’ll be out there in my most peaceful place with soft silky fiber steadily spinning onto the bobbin.

The pioneering theme closed out the day with a simple quiet rise…

And there is no better way to illustrate the way that all this hand work soothes the soul …

The Long Draw  –  2018

Stay frosty out there.