Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a great food blog

The Laughing Gastronome

I got tuned in to this blog through my friend Kevin's Blog. The particular post regarding pain a l’ancienne has me excited to try something new with my bread. I have not had the time to really sink my teeth into truly good bread building, but it is something that has always intrigued me. As always, it will be with our own fresh milled flour so I trust that I will have to adjust for the healthful benefits of a true "entire grain" flour. The extra germ and bran will be dealt with accordingly, possibly through sifting. I can then use the sifted germ/bran in my oatmeal or a nice batch of raisin bran muffins perhaps.

Anyways, I thought I would share a new blog discovery with you and thank Kevin for inspiring me to bake some bread again!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

hand powered flour mill - Nov. 29 2011

The most popular post on our blog is this one from March 16, 2009. It is a simple little post about hand powered flour mills. I am not sure why I never followed up on this, but it is certainly about time. @cinnymom (twitter friend) pointed out to me that the Bosch Kitchen Centre, which I guess is actually Barb's Kitchen Centre, has hand powered mills here in Edmonton. They are on 9766-51 avenue and their number is 780-437-3134.

I am not sure what brand they carry or the quality of the mill so check it out and comment if you can. I am almost never in that end of town and can't make a special trip at this point in time so I'll rely on somebody to post a comment if they can here on the blog.

If you know of other hand powered mills like the ones sold here in Armstrong, BC please share your comments with everyone. Apparently its a popular topic...since 2009!

Monday, November 28, 2011

playing with tractors

Cold start of the 3788 2+2 tractor on Sunday.

By the way, the old Pontiac is for sale if anyone is interested. I was told by the owner that it is a 1970 model with the GTO engine. So that would be the 400? I am not sure. Other cool old vehicles to follow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

gluten free crazy

Here is the definitive article on the subject of the consumption of wheat and the "gluten free" fab dieters who have it all wrong.

Read the whole article through. Anyone who has ever talked to me at my table will have heard the same speech and long before I ever came across this article (5 mins ago).

McLeans Article on Wheat

Modern wheat varieties are bad. They are indeed killing us. Modern flour production practices are bad and again, are slowly killing us.

"It could turn out that if we wind back the clock 100 or 1,000 years, and resurrect einkorn or some of the heritage forms of wheat, maybe that would be a solution."
Dr. William Davis

Eat whole, raw, unprocessed "entire grain" flour. Buy it from local producers who are growing heritage varieties of wheat and your gluten concerns go away. There is a lot of research that shows eating all of the raw bran and germ from a wheat kernal will in fact lower the glycemic index and HELP with weight control.

Don't be a sheep. Look for good quality food and follow your common sense. People have not de-evolved from eating wheat over the past 20 years when we've been eating it for 10 of thousands of years. What's changed then? The wheat.

what comes around...

We just got an amazing phone call today from some friends from our old neighborhood. They are bringing us a load of firewood this morning! We didn't ask for the wood and we were certainly not expecting it, but nonetheless here it comes. What a wonderful surprise.

It just got me to thinking about things a bit. Lately I have been on a bit of a good deed splurge. Not for the sake of getting something in return, just because I haven't done enough of that sort of thing lately. I certainly had no intentions of telling anyone about these deeds...I didn't even tell my wife. I just wanted to do something nice for people, have a good feeling about myself, and know that I've helped out just a little bit in this world.

Then comes today's little surprise and it gets me thinking about cosmic banking. How many credits do we put in the bank before an automatic withdrawal is made? Go ahead and drop a 20 in the Salvation Army bubble and don't take a tax receipt. Stop along the side of the road to help somebody change a tire. Even something as simple as shoveling the extra sidewalk length for a neighbour.

I remain of the opinion that we should do nice things for strangers for the sheer joy of doing so, but it doesn't go unnoticed that when we do nice things, we achieve nice things. I guess it really doesn't get much more simple than that does it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beef Update

I spoke with my butcher Tony yesterday. He is feeling a little better and is at least mobile with a cane. He is scheduled to process the beef on Dec. 4th. It will hang for more than a week and then be cut and wrapped. All of our beef should be ready to go around the middle of December! Yaay! We are eating the only beef we have left...burger. Getting anxious for a steak!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

straw bale house performance

Thought I would post again about our little strawbale house on the prairie. It got down to minus 26 last night and sits right around minus 20 today. But, the sun is shining here in Sunny Alberta! What that means is that our passive solar design is busily heating our home...for free...without petroleum...without any cost or extra energy whatsoever.

We have not had the propane fueled in-floor heating run since at least two days ago. When it runs so seldom it is hard sometimes to remember when it last worked. Usually though, we turn that heat on only when we decide that we would like the comfort of hot floors on a cloudy, cold winter day. Luckily that seldom happens here in Alberta. Our winters are noted for their cold, but cloudless days. The sun blasts through our south facing windows, its radiant warmth soaking into our concrete floors, granite counters and various furniture. Once the sun sets, that stored heat is slowly released into the home. Actually, even on the coldest of days it sometimes gets too warm in our house and we are forced to crack open the window in the kitchen to let in some cold.

Besides the passive solar heating, our main source of heat is the little wood stove in the living room. It is one of the smallest stoves on the market, but once it is hot we have to turn all the settings as low as they will go to avoid sauna-like temps in the main living space. A heat-powered fan sitting on the stove pushes some warm air down the hallway to the back bedrooms...everyone is comfy cozy.

As I type, watching football on a Sunday afternoon, we have not had any fuel-based heat source in our house since before bedtime last night. The stove has been cold since sometime in the middle of the night and it has been a t-shirt temperature ever since. At some point later this afternoon, probably around suppertime, I will start the woodstove again. I really love this house.

p.s. The power went out earlier this morning and I started thinking about our neighbour's houses. How long can the power stay out before an ordinary house starts getting uncomfortably cool...or cold...or water lines start to freeze? Especially when it is minus 30 or 40 degrees in the middle of January.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

xplornet fail

Because so many people that read our blog are rural residents I feel a need to warn people about xplornet. This is a rural internet provider based out of the maritimes. Please check out references prior to subscribing with this company! We didn't and now are regretting that decision.

The performance of this internet provider is abysmal. We have finally given up phoning in our complaints. In fairness to the company they have made considerable efforts to fix our problems...all to no avail. Our internet service is spotty, slow, or non-existent so often that it is a serious source of stress for our family.

We also use them for our phone service and the phone will cut off part way through 98% of our phone conversations...short or long. So much so that we start off each conversation with strangers by saying "if I cut out, I'll call you right back". Our friends and family are so familiar with this that it is a joke amongst us.

Watching family movies via netflix is usually unbearable with pauses sometimes as often as every 16 seconds.

Please, check out other xplornet customers in your area prior to subscribing! The thing that is most alarming about this is that our signal is extremely strong we are told. Our local tower is within viewing distance. For whatever reason though (I suspect it is over-subscription) the performance is awful. We signed a three year contract...sigh. As long as I can warn others.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Beef Processing

I jsut got off the phone with our processor Tony over at Cardiff Meat and Sausage. He has just gotten back from the hospital after being throw out of the back of a cattle trailer while loading cattle over the weekend! Ouch. I guess Tony has injured his knee quite badly. So, this means that I will need to source another guy we've used in the past. I will call him to see what his availability is and then call Tony in another week to see if he is any more mobile by then...doubtful.

That is too bad for Tony to get injured at such an important time of year. Please be patient with me while I make other arrangements for beef processing.


OK...phoned a guy we have used in the past before we moved. He gets busy at this time of year with wild game...he hunts too! So I have asked him to book the day, but he won't be available until later this month. That means beef will be ready (after hang time) sometime in early to mid December. I'll keep posted.