Tag Archive | Grow

Saturday Show and Tell – Sourdough

It’s been quite awhile since I last posted a show & tell, therefore that’s how I’ll start this new year!

One of my very favorite things to do in the kitchen is bread baking. Many years ago, I discovered crusty, tangy sourdough bread tickles my taste-buds. That’s right! In fact, just thinking about a warm loaf fresh from the oven has me salivating! Seriously, I do not exaggerate!

My sourdough starter is several years old, and I started it with no store bought yeast. Did you know there is natural occurring yeast in the air around us? I’m no scientist so I really don’t understand how it all works, but to grow a sourdough starter one only needs water, flour, air, and patience.

There seems to be a rising number of people swearing off gluten whether they have a sensitivity to gluten or not. That would never go over well with my husband/wheat farmer/lover of bread. However, I’ve read many reports that bread made with long fermentation is much easier to digest. Why? During a long fermentation, the proteins begin to break down making it much easier to digest. I cannot tell you from personal experience how much difference this really makes since I don’t have any sensitivity to gluten. I will also caution that most store bought sourdough bread has most likely not had a long fermentation.

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To begin my bread making, I retrieve my starter from the refrigerator, feed it, and let it sit on the counter several hours until it gets bubbly. When it has expanded to almost fill my jar, it’s time to make the dough.

When my dough is mixed, then I put in a large covered bowl or jar for the long fermentation. I like to let it sit and do it’s thing over night. These beauties greeted me in the morning!

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It’s time to dump out the dough and make the loaves. I made two different breads. The round loaves are oat and molasses, and the formed loaves are cinnamon spiral.

The loaves need scored to allow a weak area for steam to release during baking otherwise the loaf may crack. As you can see, I used two different scoring techniques.

After scoring, the loaves are covered and allowed to rise until almost double in size. Then it is time to bake.

Sourdough baking is not a fast task. Time and patience makes the best loaves. This is all too similar to one’s maturity. It is through practice and experience, trial and error, faith and devotion that enables one to grow.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 

 

Bearing Fruit

There is only one week left in October, and Southwest Kansas has not had a killing frost. I have never had this amount and variety of garden produce to harvest this late into Fall. Zucchini, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, peppers – banana, bell, cayenne, cherry, green beans, and a lonely red beet were awaiting me this morning. Plus, the cayenne and cherry pepper plants are loaded with peppers still ripening.

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Each year I marvel at the results of planting a tiny seed and giving it a bit of TLC. However my greatest enjoyment is the harvest. I love serving and eating FRESH produce. I also thoroughly enjoy “putting up”. I fill my big upright freezer first, and then can the rest. Freezer and shelves are both loaded for serving and eating home grown summer savory goodness all winter.

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It’s like that with our lives. Seeds are planted, but what we do with that seed determines the growth and quality of our fruit. In John 15, Jesus refers to himself as the “true vine”, and we are the “branches.” Jesus says, in John 15:4-5:

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” NLT

Much the same as Paul prayed for the Christians of Colosse, today I pray for you.

“…[I] ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. [I] also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy always thanking the Father…”        Col 1:9-12 NLT

Finished and Delivered

After three years, it is finished and hand delivered! That is two years ahead of schedule, or a year late depending what your view is. Oh goodness! I’m getting ahead of myself.

It all began as a dream when God blessed me with a daughter in the midst of three brothers. I wanted to piece and hand stitch a double wedding ring quilt for her wedding present. I purchased fabric 3 years ago, and let it sit untouched for several months. Finally, I found the courage to begin cutting all the beautiful fabrics. I was filled with doubt and reservation fearing I’d mess it up. I managed to get the pieces cut and sewn together forming the quilt top in time for my daughter’s last wedding shower. She was quite surprised as I was able to do most of the piecing while she was on the other side of the world, and I kept it out of site when she was home, (Read more here: Double Wedding Ring Quilt)

Last January, I began hand quilting the sandwiched top, batting, and back. Some women can sit and stitch day on end completing a quilt in a week or two. Not me! I stitch slow, and might get a day here or there that can be mostly spent quilting. However, most days I was only stitching a few minutes to an hour, and when summer rolled around, the quilt was all but forgotten. I basically took a four month vacation from quilting, while I gardened, farmed, mowed lawn, and remodeled the hall and bathroom. I simply threw a sheet over the quilt in quilt frames to keep it from getting dusty. It was there ready and waiting for stitching in the Fall.

While working on this quilt, I spent many hours reminiscing and praying for my daughter. I also recognized a few things about myself. I can have a great idea or plan, but I can delay beginning due to fear of messing it up or not being satisfied with the end product. I am so thankful for the coaching and encouragement I received along the way. I did have some mess ups, and a few connecting points don’t look the best. The quilt is far from stitching perfection, but I’d like to think those little mistakes give it character. (Sorry if that comment made some of you expert quilters gasp.) I also learned the benefit of breaking down a big goal into several benchmark achievements. The big picture can be so overwhelming, but when I set realistic goals for specific steps (cutting, stitching arcs, piecing to filler pieces, completing the top, quilting one row…) it was not as daunting. These were not new self-discoveries, but it had been awhile since I was this challenged to work through some of my weaknesses, doubts, and fears. The bottom line was that I wanted this quilt gift to be perfect for my only daughter, and I knew before I began that it would be far from perfect.

Quilts often tell a story. This one can be symbolic of relationships. God chose me to be the Perfect Imperfect mother of my dear daughter, and He chose her to be my Perfect Imperfect daughter. Those imperfections have been the tool to cause us to grow as individuals, and as mother and daughter. The double wedding ring pattern is symbolic of the love that binds a marriage. However, there is no marriage that does not encounter difficult times. In the Bible and first chapter of his book, James says, “when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”  James 1:2, 3 NLT  If my daughter notices the imperfections in her quilt, I hope she is reminded  to depend on God to help hold the stitches tight, rather than let her marriage unravel.

I put in the last binding stitches just a couple days before we celebrated Christmas with our family. It was such a delight to be able to hand deliver this quilt just a couple weeks after my daughter’s 1st wedding anniversary. Through determination and perseverance, this Double Wedding Ring quilt was finished and delivered!

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Tomatoes and a Dry Spell

Have you ever had a dry spell in your walk with God? A time when nothing horrible was going on. In fact, life was smooth sailing, yet you longed for growth that would result in maturity.

A few months ago, when it was finally warm enough, I planted a long double row of beautiful bushy tomato plants. I fertilized, mulched, watered and anticipated big juicy ripe tomatoes. However, they just stood there barely growing an inch and didn’t bloom. I knew they were putting down roots, though. After watering regularly for 3 months, it began to rain. Showers and downpours in the midst of what is typically the hottest driest days of summer in Southwest Kansas produced miraculous growth and blooming in the tomato row. Now the plants are loaded with green tomatoes slowly ripening to red.

Sometimes life is like that. We fertilize, mulch and water spiritually through Bible reading, study, church, prayer and such, yet feel like nothing is happening. No growth. No new insights. Don’t be disheartened, and don’t become lazy during this dry spell. Rather, being rooted and grounded in God’s word during the smooth time is what prepares us for the next growth spurt so we will be ready to stand strong, flourish and produce fruit.

Jesus said, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NLT