Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kneading and Knitting

That is how I spent my weekend. First the knitting, I finished a hat and scarf set, started another and worked on the baby bog jacket.
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It is purple with pink snowflakes emboirdered onto it.

The kneading, I decided I needed to start baking my own bread. I can never find what I want in the stores and they always have so much yukky stuff liked bleached flour (I don't want to think to hard on how that happens) or gluten. So I decided the best way is to start making my own. Now, I have to start small and simple because I have never done this before. In fact when I was a teenager I had a neighbor who baked bread for her family for the week on Sundays. It took her all day and I would come over to help watch her baby so she could get it all done. Her hubby would not eat store bought bread. Her house alwasy smelled so good.

So today I started with a simpe french bread recipe:
1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast (that a packet and a half if that is how you buy yours)
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sea salt
2 cups of hot water, (hot tap water is fine, you don't have to boil it)
6-7 cups of unbleached flour

Mix the yeast, honey and salt and mix. Add the hot water and stir. Add 2 cups of flour and mix. (I used a wooden spoon)
Put the spoon away and then add 2 more cups of flour at this point you are using her hands (I recommend putting some flour on your hands to keep the dough from sticking and also taking off your rings unless you want a baked surprise.)
Add the 5th cup of flour and keep working with your hands, pour the 6th cup of flour on your kneading board or counter top whatever you have to work with and dump the dough from the bowl to the kneading board you may need something to help you get the dough out of the bowl.
Then there is enough flour in the dough it will not stick to you or the board anymore, but knead for another 10 minutes anyway.
Once you have finished kneading and you have a big ball of dough put a few drops of oil back into the bowl (don't clean in the bowl first) and roll the dough ball around in the oil. (I used olive oil)
Place the bowl with the dough in a warm place for 1 hour for the first rise.
After an hour poke your finger in the side of the dough halfway to the first knuckle and see if the hole you makes holds its shape, if it does your in busines if it fills back in, let it rise some more.
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So now it is time for the fun part, punching down. The yeast has built up gas in the dough and you need to get it out of there so you punch it down and take it out of the bowl and start kneading it again. You will hear the gas escaping the dough and you will feel the little bubbles in it as well, work them all out.
Then you can start shaping your dough.
As this recipe is for french bread, you want to divide the dough into four pieces and starting from the center of each piece roll it into a long bagette about 1 1/2 inchs in diameter. Place then on a baking sheet that has been greased and coated with cornmeal.
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Keep them apart don't let them touch, and let them rise under the same coniditions as before. The second rise is only supposed to take 1/2 the time which would be 30 minutes, but mine didn't look like they had risen much so I let them rise for another 30 minutes (1 hour) total for the second rise.
After that hour all looked well, I cut three diagnol slices in the tops to allow the bread to rise upward instead of outward while baking, slathered with cold water and put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees after 10 minutes I slathered with water again and let it back for another 15 minutes and viola! It's done!

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And Yummy!


I also watched a horrible B western movie and helped the hubby change the oil in the truck all and all it was a productive weekend.

Which makes me not look forward to tomorrow at all.

I am thinking of taking a real estate class, it is the one that preps you for your license. It is online and you can start it anytime and the cost isn't very much and I am thinking it might be either a good career to fall back on or switch to full time if I need to.

I'll keep you posted.

I wish you were all here to have some French bread and a little wine with me this evening!

Friday, September 28, 2007

You Can Lead a Dog to Grass. . .

Lately Rosie has developed a new quirk. We take her out the back door with the other dogs to do their business or play or whatever. Normally, once outside all the dogs go to at least the edge of the grass and get business taken care of before running off to play. Not Rosie. Now she has never liked going into the grass because of her allergies and will avoid it at all costs, but lately there's a new twist. She won't do anything when we take her out, I mean we can sit out there for an hour waiting on her, nothing.
So my hubby had the idea to try something different. He took her back in the house and out into the same back yard but through the side door of the garage...BINGO! Instant business! Why? I have no idea, but that is what we have been having to do all week. Quirky.

Hey today is Friday and guess what!? I am off! Yep thats right I took the day off. I have the whole house to myself. I can play my music loud, watch chick flicks and knit! Sweet!
I mentioned once before work was getting a little crazy well in the interest of not allowing them to drive me crazy I told my boss I wanted a mental health day. He started to laugh until he realized I wasn't kidding. I told him Planning and Postal both started with "P" and it I needed a break. He signed the leave slip right away. Hey whatever works. So plans for the day? Yep your right, seaming up that sweater!
I also, have started a scarf and another baby bog jacket. So I will busy busy today.

Oh and guess what, you remember the very nice lady who gave me the fleece for me to get started with on my spinning wheel? Terri with the sheep and the dogs and the lovely little farm, well she has more fleece, but here's the exciting part, she has some from some sheep she has lost and it is a small herd and very dear to her, so she has asked if I would be willing to spin the wool into yarn and make her a keepsake blanket to remember the sheep she has lost! OH My Gosh! I would be so honored to do that for her! So part of the day will be more spinning practice because while the thought of doing something so special for someone is amazing, I certainly want it to be perfect so practice practice practice!
Also, earlier this week I finished a scarf and hat for a friend's little girl for Christmas pics to come this afternoon.

And thank you everyone for all your wonderful suggestions on my southwest scarf question. I also, stopped by Knitting Sisters and talked to Meg and she gave me a couple of good ideas as well so here's the plan.
I'm going to knit up a swatch, print off some knitting graph paper and make my own design (A first) and then knit in fair isle in the round. This could get interesting we are tackling a lot of firsts here. Naturally I will post pictures along the way.

Well, I'd better get started this morning lots to do, lots to do!

Happy Knitting ya'll!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Need Pattern Help or Idea....

I am looking for a design or pattern with a southwest flair to it. I want to use it for a scarf, but I have having trouble finding such a pattern.
Does anyone know of such a pattern where I might buy it etc?

Any thoughts, ideas, places you know of that you know of would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Aaaah, the Weekend. . .

Well, it was too short as they are always are, but it was nice. The weather was beautiful although today was warmer than it has been in a week, but very nice, just the same. I didn't do half the stuff I wanted to.
But, I did have a nice ride in the country over to Gloucester and through West Point back over into Williamsburg (James City County). It was a lovely drive and I went to Gloucester Courthouse area which is historical area and very much the main street of a small town community. I was driving and so no pictures (sorry :-( ).
We went to the bookstore, because what is a weekend without a trip to the bookstore? But I wanted to look for a couple of books on getting into real estate. I found a couple. More on that in the days ahead.
We had to get some food for the pups and ourselves so a trip to the dreaded grocery store was in order. I do not like grocery shopping. I will do just about anything to avoid it. But, I can't let the pups go hungry and so while I was out it only seemed logical.
So we had cornish hens for dinner, yum! Again, no pictures. I have really keep lax in that area.
But.... I did go to the library in town (City of Williamsburg) on my lunch break and took some pictures there. It is a lovely little library and they have two fountains out front, I got pictures of one, too many people were standing in front of the other and it uses recycled water. So it is pretty neat. They have chairs around both so that you can enjoy the area and read a book.

Inlay into the sidewalk of the Frenchman's map of the City of Williamsburg.
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View of fountain.
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Another view.
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View of the community center across the street.
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On the knitting front, I have started the hat to go with the scarf. I worked on it some this weekend hopefully will have that finished by Wednesday.
Pictures of the sweater are coming I promise!

Saturday was Rosie's 7th Birthday! She got some special food as a treat. And tonight she got some fresh read meat in her dinner. She is a happy puppy!

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And because I know she will read this soon I wanted to say hello to by dearest friend in PA. Hi Boots! Love you!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday

Well the content is kind of light today. I haven't had a lunch break where I could take some interesting pictures.
On the knitting front: I finished knitting the sweater. I need to block it and sew it up. I will probably do that this weekend. I was trying to do it in the evenings but too much going on this week to have time really.
I started a scarf for a Christmas gift to someone I don't know who yet.
The dogs are loving this fall like weather. They are being silly. I woke up this morning and had a bulldog sleeping with her chin on my hip and a basset hound stretched out on the other side of me. This is very unusual I must say. Lily never gets on the bed. I was almost afraid to move. It was kinda funny.
Work has been busy and I have been helping to train the new person. She is very sweet but it is very exhausting to train someone.
Sorry I don't have much exciting news to share today so I will leave you with some cuteness.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Could Fall Really Be Here?

Wow! It has been one crazy week. I can't even believe it is over and the weekend is nearly over again too! Where did the time go this week? On the bright side Wednesday the weather turned more fall like here, highs on 80 and lows at night in the 60s with a breeze, fabulous!
The morning here today is wonderful the sunrise offered a little color today.

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Makes me want to spend the day on the water for some reason.

Today just feels like a nice fall day the fall colors are starting to pop up everywhere.
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Yesterday we spent the day running errands and hanging out in Williamsburg. Today we are off to Richmond. Hubby needs a new bicycle and we looked at one yesterday he liked in Williamsburg, but there is another one he wants to check out and the closest store that has it is in Richmond. Which is cool. I like Richmond. It will be fun. But needless to say I am getting nothing done around here this weekend.

I mentioned work was crazy this week so I had to get out of the office and take a little walk. We are lucky that we are right along the "old country road" that stretches from Colonial Williamsburg to Carters Grove. I only had time to walk along a small portion of it, but it was relaxing. I will have to take the dogs there sometime.

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I also went back to the park along the creek this week and ran into the swans again. I also ran into a big mastiff/rotwieller named Opie. He was just the sweetie boy. I got lots of snooter kisses but I didn't get a picture. Maybe I'll see him again sometime. His owner was nice too and we talked for nearly an hour.

On the knitting front I am only a few rows away from finishing the back of the sweater then I have to make two gussets that are seamed into the sides and done.

Then I'm going to have to get moving on some Christmas presents and fast!

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. I'm sure next week will be better!
Lily says, its time to go play!
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Happy Knitting

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Good Morning TS Gabrielle

We aren't really expecting to get the tropical storm here as it looks like it will be heading back to sea but the time it gets this far north, but we might get some of the out bands and hopefully a little rain. Already this morning we are getting a lot of clouds coming in off the bay.

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And there is a little breeze this morning. I was really hoping for it to come a little closer as I am in the mood for a good storm and we really need the rain.

But I'll take what I can get. This weekend seems so short after the long weeekend last week. I'm having a great weekend but it is just too danged short I tell you!
If I didn't have anything else to do today I could probably finish the sweater. I am halfway down the back.

I mentioned before that Knitting Sisters was having a sale this week in honor of their anniversary. Well who can pass up a thing like that?
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Yummy yarn I have no project in mind for it. Yes, I have broken one of my own cardinal rules, never to buy yarn without a project in mind, but it is so soft and the colors just beg you to make them into something!

I also bought a couple of pattern books, perhaps something in there will need orange and red yarn?

Speaking of these that are soft and lovely. Look at this little only thing. The only one out there this morning.

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Hope everyone else is having a wonderful weekend!
Happy Knitting!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Is it Thursday Already?

Wow, this week is going by quickly. Of course being off Monday really helped. And I'm not particularly looking forward to my day at work today, but if I can get through today, then tomorrow is FRIDAY! Hooray! I have to take minutes at a public hearing tonight. Not exactly exciting stuff. But there is only one case and I am really hoping it goes quickly. The only thing is that the meeting doesn't start til 7pm so even if it goes quickly my chances of being home by 8pm are pretty slim. I'm going in late today to off set the time and hopefully not have such a long day at the office.
The office drama keeps getting worse and worse and I really wish there was a way to get away from it!

I do have little escapes though and I took my camera with me on my lunch break yesterday. There is a little park not far from the office that many people go to at lunch because despite it being in the city, it is very peaceful there. There is a creek that meanders down to the James River and there is always some kind of wild life there.
Yesteray we were treated with wild swans!

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I don't know where they came from. Normally there is a small flock of Canada Geese around but they went over to the opposite sure yesterday when the swans arrived.

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The tide was low at lunch time yesterday too so you could see the sandfiddlers, in this case mudfiddlers everywhere. The city built a nice little pier with benches you can sit and enjoy the view and some people fish from there. Lots of fish in that creek.
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I didn't do any knitting yesterday and hopefully I will get a little done today but since I have to drive myself without the benefit of hubby today that cuts out my usual commuting knitting.

And for Dogs on Thursday, check out these sad faces waiting for their food. Poor things!
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Mommy I'm so hungry!
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And also in other knitting news, Knitting Sisters is having a 4th year anniversary sale starting today until Saturday, so if you don't hear from me for a couple of days you know where I'll be.
Rolling around in the new fall Rowan yarn that is on sale!

Happy Knitting All!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Long Weekend

Woot! Three day weekend! And the weather so far has been perfect. A little warmer yesterday than predicted but the humidity is way down so thats okay. Today it makes you feel like fall. The temps are only in the 80s the humidity is in only 39% and there is a slight breeze with big puffy clouds. Because of the lack of rain this summer a lot of the trees already have dead leaves on them so I am feel very much ready to don a sweater and boots and put pumpkins on the front steps. But I think that is a little premature at this point, but I'm ready! I love fall, the colors, the apple cider, the crisp tempatures!
So it has been an interesting few days since my last post. Rosie did the cutest thing. I know all momma's think their babies are the cutest. But, the other night I was in the bedroom and it was starting to get late so I told the girls they needed to go outside one last time before bed. Well, Rosie hates going outside, she hates grass and temps that are too hot or too cold. So she started all sorts of things to avoid having to go out. At first she pretended not to hear me or notice the other two dogs running for the door, then she tried to get on the bed as if to say "I don't need to go out I'm ready for bed now" when that didn't work she jumped off the bed ran into the bathroom and jumped into the bathtub and sat down. "I'd much rather have a bath than to go outside" which is true the dogs loves to take a bath!
So Larry gave her a bath and then brought her outside with me and the other girls. We finally all got to bed. Silly dog.

On the work front, I have an interview set up for September 11th for a job within in my department. It would be a promotion. Now mind you it has been two months since I applied and they are just now getting around to interviewing people. It was advertised internationally so, my competition is pretty tough, despite the fact I have been doing part of this job for a year. But there is a guy from Sydney, another from Ohio with tons of experience, some recent college grads and a former intern in out office. Both of my supervisors and two of the current zoning officers are on the interview panel. I'm not sure of my chances really. One of my supervisors told me six months ago that if this job as a zoning officer open I should apply so when the person was leaving who had this job I told him I was going to take his advice and apply, I also told my other supervisor. I never heard another word about the job until this week. I wasn't sure if they were going to fill it or what was happening so I applied for other jobs in the mean time. One of which I didn't get the other I haven't been interviewed for and it is in a new division within our department, so things could get interesting. One of my bosses is completely excited that someone from Australia has applied and he would hire him on the basis that someone from Australia would be interesting to work with. And that basis alone. The former intern's mother is a local politician so I don't know what will happen. The other job in house that I applied for is a similar type of job but for the storm water division. Now, the director told me last week they may have to cut back some of their budget before they even start hiring and they may do away with the position I applied for, which is also the job I'd much rather have. (naturally) So I'll keep you posted on how all of this pans out.

On the fun weekend front.
Sears is having a sale on a everything as most stores are this weekend. And one of the things they had on sale was a camera that I had seen online. The lowest price I had found so far was $129 but Sears had it this weekend for $89. It is just a small little pocket camera, I wanted one that I could take more places with me rather than my big Pentex with changeable lens. It is some awkward at times and very hard to have handy for those impulse shots you know. So I wanted just a little thing so that I could have more interesing photos for my blog. Well I ordered it online and was scheduled to pick up at the store later. Which by the way is the way to shop on a holiday sale weekend, when you don't want to fight the crowds! I got a call 15 mintues after placing my order saying they were out of the camera I wanted which was listed as in stock online but they would give me another camera for the same price. I said okay. They said they would let me see it when I came to pick it up and if I didn't like it then we would work something out. Okay, no problem. So I go to pick it up and am directed to the electronics section and they have a camera same brand (GE) same size with similar features but it has 8 megapixels instead of 7 and a large view screen in the back, it is normally more money but I can have it at the same price as the camera I had ordered, sweet. Then because the tax for online is different than the tax they charge in the store (I was not aware of this) So I ended up getting $4 back in addition to an upgraded camera!

So this camera was $89 and 7mp my first choice, nice pocket camera
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This is the one I got as a replacement normally $129, so I got a good deal, I think.
has more megapixels and turns out it takes great photos!
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It said for on the go photography but to be honest I wasn't expecting alot from a pocket sized camera, well I took some photos on the way home. I thought I would take a series of photos of my town so the main drag is Mercury Boulevard you can't get anywhere of consquence without getting on Mercury and of course there is where the hotels, resteraunts, car dealers and everything is localed some good some bad. So here is the first in a series of pictures of my town.

This first photo is of the Waffle House in front of one of the hotels on a corner of Colisuem Drive and Mercury Blvd. There is in fact a colisuem at the end of the drive as well as a conference center in its' day big names played there, like ZZ Top, who by the way played so loud they cracked a tile in the ceiling and I was there! We also used to have a hockey team and a basektball team here, the Gulls and the Squires, both long gone. Now we get stuff like the American Idol losers tour and stuff like that. But it stays in business and so do the hotels.

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Next door to the Waffle house is Hooters, sorry the tree blocked the sign.
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I've never been in there and I'm not sure how many people can fit in there the parking lot is really small the building doesn't look too big either and it is always crowded. I hear they have good wings.

Lastly, is one of the major car dealers in town, it has been around as long as I can remember. What I like about this shot is one the flag against the back drop of the clouds I think is nice, but what is really facinating to me is that I took this picture while my hubby was driving 40mph! (Well within the legal limit) But I think it speaks volumes to the quality of this little camera, I'm so thrilled I can't wait to take pictures of more stuff to show you!

On the knitting front, I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on the sleeves of my sweater and then it is down the back and seaming up the sides! I can't wait to see how it turns out, my first real sweater.

Hope everyone else is having a great long weekend!
Happy Knitting
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