Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Do You Know About Gun Safes?

GUNSAFE

I am in the market for a gun safe. Up to 10 long guns with side shelves. That would give me room to grow :)  I have read reviews but would rather hear it from the folks I trust – meaning YOU.  Do you have a favorite?  And if so, why?  What do you think is the most important feature? 

I really like this rack.

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Also, I need a small bedside safe for a handgun. But it cannot attach to my nightstand so that may present a problem. Any ideas? 

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Now, I know you’re wondering how much money I want to invest in this.  All total I want to spend $1200 or less. I realize that is not a lot of money for what I want, but that is a lot of money for me.  I just want something to secure my firearms and keep them dry.

So, what do you think?

 

Blessings,

Red

Friday, December 28, 2012

Silence

The kids and grandkids have begun their journey back home and the silence in this house is deafening.  Wow. 

Christmas was quite enjoyable.  Tim is known to pack bricks in a large box to disguise a small gift, so I am always on the look out for suspicious packages.  Well, this year he got me.  The huge box I was sure was bricks turned out to be a bread machine that I had dreamed of owning.  It has a “Gluten Free” setting and my Doctor highly recommended it. However, the price tag was way over my comfort zone.  I never thought I’d be so excited about a bread machine, but when you live without bread, (my favorite food) things change in a hurry.

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Did I mention that it also makes jam, cake, and even meatloaf???????  Seriously.

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Then, again he got me.  There was a small box that was quite heavy which turned out to be ammo!  Gotta love that guy :)  Another, that I thought must be a 2013 calendar turned out to be a package of paper targets.  How thoughtful!  I can’t wait to use them.

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There was also some fabulous perfume and a cast iron pot I had been wanting for several years but had been too cheap to buy it.

We had 10 for dinner and it turned out wonderful.  There has been a great deal of turmoil in our lives the past several years and this Christmas was so filled with peace and love that I never wanted the day to end.  Much of the feelings still linger.  Maybe, if I put my mind to it, I can hang on to that peace for the rest of the year. Worth a try :)

I hope you all had a peace filled Christmas.

Blessings,

Red

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Predator #1

Tim looked out the window this morning and could see our dog Emma, circling around and around the live trap he’d set  last night.  I grabbed my camera and boots and headed out back in my bathrobe.

This is what we found locked in our trap….

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Not what we were hoping for.  And man was he unhappy! 

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But, you’ve got to admit, this little guy has the right markings.  He’s just the wrong species! Ha!

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We’ll try again tonight :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings,

Red

Saturday, December 22, 2012

FRANKENFISH

 

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The following is an email from The Center For Food Safety.

“On December 21, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon.  The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition.  Send your comment opposing the approval of GE fish today! (Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/NoGeSalmon)

The GE Atlantic salmon being considered was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, and genetically engineered to produce growth hormones year-round, creating a fish the company claims grows at twice the normal rate.  This could allow factory fish farms to crowd the salmon into pens and still get high production rates.

FDA says escape is unlikely and that the fish pose “no impact” to the environment.  But each year millions of farmed salmon escape, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems.  Any approval of GE salmon would represent a serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to salmon farms and other man-made impacts.  Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.  Wild salmon populations are already on the Endangered Species List; approving these GE salmon will be the final blow to these wild stocks.

The human health impacts of eating GE fish, which would be the first-ever GE food animal, are entirely unknown, but some scientific research raises cause for alarm: for example, some scientists have asserted that foreign growth hormones in transgenic fish may increase production of other compounds such as insulin in the fish.  Additionally, FDA has recognized that a transgene cannot be “turned off” once it is inserted in the organism, and will therefore have effects that are uncontrollable.

Tell the Food and Drug Administration not to approve GE salmon AND, if the Obama Administration insists on approving these genetically engineered fish, it should require the fish to be labeled when marketed to fish farmers, fish retailers and food companies, restaurants, and when marketed to consumers.

Please take action today! The public has only 60 days to comment on this misguided and dangerous action. Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/NoGeSalmon.”

I have already signed. Please consider adding your name too.

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Blessings,

Red

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Harriet

 

3/10/11 – 12/13/12

Harriet

Rest in peace pretty girl, I miss you.

Harriet was my first chicken and my favorite.  She made me laugh on a daily basis.  She was the leader of the pack and always the one to blaze a new trail. She was fast, she was fluffy, she was incredibly friendly.  I know she was just a chicken, but I was pretty darned fond of her.

A predator took her life. Now we’re going after the predator with a live trap.  Harriet was the second hen we’ve lost to this predator. I think it’s a raccoon, but we’ll see.  The loss of the first hen made me feel bad, but the loss of Harriet was different. For two days after she died, the other hens would not venture away from their pen unless we were with them.

Dang.  I miss that chicken.  Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it?

Blessings,

Red

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Trees



We live in the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” according to the local paper.  On my way to work there are miles and miles of trees in various stages of growth.  When we first moved out to the country I was fascinated with the tree harvesting that begins around Halloween.  It’s really a huge industry and it was interesting to see what it takes, and how long, to get a real Christmas tree ready for your house.
 
They begin as a tiny twig planted in a field.  Seven years later they are ready.  Okay, it is not quite that easy.  Once they reach a certain size, the trees must be trimmed regularly to maintain that perfect Christmas tree shape.   They also tie small sticks to the top of the tree to keep it straight and strong for your tree topper to fit on. 

 Harvesting must be done no matter the weather.  We always have rain, but this year was especially nasty during harvesting. Several of the larger fields hire a helicopter to move the trees closer to the road where they set up their staging area (for wrapping, loading, and shipping). We pulled over to watch this guy and I tried to get a video with my phone. Even though we had a break in the weather, it's not a very good video. But you can see him on the left hauling a load of trees over to the road on the right and then gently dropping them.  It's amazing to watch because the way he sets those trees down is almost like a ballet.  He goes back and forth all day moving trees.





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When you go out to a tree farm to cut your own, they will put it on a shaker for you, which gets all of the spiders and bugs off. Then, if needed, they will wrap it for you to transport.  All trees purchased by a commercial buyer are wrapped before being loaded into semi trucks.  When people cut their own they usually just tie it to the top of their car for the trip home.  But sometimes they need it wrapped.  Here is another poor video taken with my phone.  I hope you can see it well enough.


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Two of our closest friends make their living on Christmas trees. They give us a  terrible time because we have a fake tree, and have had it for fifteen years!
But it's still fun to go out to the tree farms to pick up a wreath and share a cup of hot cocoa with the good folks that make all those people smile.

Do you have a Christmas tree?  Is it real or artificial?

Blessings,

Red

Thursday, December 13, 2012

That Old Pile of Bricks

 

See the snow covered pile of bricks next to the barn?  I purchased those bricks from my former employer on April 1, 2004 for $240.

In July of this year, my sister came to visit and we went to Seattle for a few days.  What happened while we were gone is nothing short of a miracle.  Okay, maybe not a miracle, but definitely astonishing!

Below is a series of before and after pictures.

brick pile

 

This picture shows the gravel pathway along the left side of the barn.  It also shows the gate going out to the driveway on the right.

gravel walkway

 

This is the “before” picture of the left side.

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This is what it looks like now.

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This is the before picture of the right side.

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This is what it looks like now. (With three beautiful custom made boxes for shade veggies in the summer)

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This is the same place but looking from the opposite direction.  Before….

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And after!

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I need to leave town more often.  MUCH more often!

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

Blessings,

Red

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Clackamas Town Center

My sister-in-law and my 16 year old niece work at Clackamas Town Center.  By the grace of God, yesterday was their one day off for the week. They were safe at home. My heart aches for those that were not so fortunate and the families of those injured or killed.  Please keep them all in your prayers.

Blessings,

Red

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Picture Speaks Volumes

 

I was going through some pictures from our “big” snow storm of 2008 when I came across this one.

The picture shows one of our gas stations (we have two!) on 12/22/08.  This is shortly before Obama took office.  He had won the election but was not actually in office until January 2009.

 

12.22.08 gas prices

 

Now let’s blow that up and take a good look………. Since we live in a small town, the prices at our gas stations are ALWAYS exactly 10 cents higher than the closest city.  So, on December 22, 2008 the price of gas in Portland was $1.59 and the price of Diesel was $2.25.

12.22.08 gas prices cropped

Interesting , eh?

 

Blessings,

Red

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Six Months Later. . .

It's hard to believe I have been gone six months.  After my food intolerance diagnosis things kind of went down hill.  When Dr. #2 got my blood tests back we had a "go-round" about cholesterol levels and life style. There were a few visits to a cardiologist, etc, etc....  I refuse to ever take cholesterol medicine again but did agree to get back on the treadmill twice a day.  So far so good.

In the meantime. . . I have become a food snob!  Being forced to do research and read labels because of food allergies has really opened my eyes to the terrible things we eat.  I supported the GMO labeling law in California, but sadly it did not pass.  Thanks mostly to the $47 million that Monsanto poured into lies to defeat it.  Washington State is trying to get their label law passed now.  Hopefully they can do it. 

I have been busy crocheting gifts for Christmas.  My tree is still not up because I have been gone here and there.  The kids and grand kids are coming so I really need to get busy.  I have sent everyone links to Gluten Free cooking websites.  We are having a Gluten Free Christmas!  Last Sunday I was in Seattle and took communion at church with the family, and they used real bread for the communion.  I just ate it and then said "oops"!  No harm done though.  God is good.  Always.

I have been around to your blogs many times this past 6 months, but my comments have been few because I am always too hurried.  Some of you have been in my prayers for specific reasons, some "just because".   I will try to re-surface before Christmas, but you know how that goes :) 

Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings,
Red


 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ouch!

Sunday was Trap shooting practice again.  I had my new modified choke installed and wore less bulky clothing without collars, per the instructors suggestions.  I did lousy.  I still had fun but the gun really beat me up.  I didn’t think that would happen since the last time it didn’t bother me at all.  But last time I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, a fleece vest, and my raingear.  Hmmmm.  No padding this time.  I did okay for awhile and then it really started to hurt so I told them I had to stop.

When we got home I told my husband I was going to make some kind of pad for my shoulder for next time.  Then the next day at work my Boss told me they make gun shirts and shoulder pads.  Geeez! That would have been so helpful on Sunday.  So, I am not shooting again until my bruises are better and the bone stops hurting :)  Hopefully tomorrow I can get in to town to find a pad for my shoulder.  I found some online, but would rather see and feel one in person.

The instructor let me shoot his 12 gauge a couple of times and it didn’t hurt at all.  It was awfully heavy for me, but it had a wonderful spring-loaded pad on the end that took the brunt of the recoil.  It was great.  But, like I said it was really, really heavy.  I think it is time to start lifting weights to strengthen my arms if I can.  I love my little 20 gauge, but that big gun was sweeeeeeeet!!!

I have been a bit under the weather this week but I have tried to get around to all of your blogs. Even if I don’t leave a comment, I’m still stopping by.  It is frustrating sometimes because I really want to say something but can’t because I’m at work.  I often read blogs on my lunch hour but don’t feel comfortable signing in to Blogger on my work computer. 

My life is consumed right now by food – or the lack of.  Seriously, it is a mental thing mostly.  I can eat almost everything I usually eat.  The biggest problem so far is salad dressing.  I found a couple of gluten free, soy free recipes, but have been way too tired to try to make them.  Maybe this weekend I will have a bit of energy.  We are going to a potluck BBQ tomorrow evening and I am supposed to bring a salad.  I am taking watermelon instead.  Most people love it and it is something I can eat.  A burger patty and some melon and I’m good to go!   I am so NOT looking forward to it.  Guess I have to get used to it so I might as well get started. :)

Thanks for stopping by.  I hear my pj’s calling.

Blessings,

Red

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thank You

 

Thank you for your comments, suggestions and concern.  I am pretty shell shocked.  For awhile now I have been eating a whole foods diet so there are not a lot of “goodies” I need to do without.  There is a wealth of information on the internet, but it is going to take some time to learn it.  I saw Doctor #2 today and she drew blood for a number of tests.  I was amazed to learn the she is also gluten intolerant (just like Doctor #1 from yesterday) and so is her Mom.  She gave me great advice and pointed me to some helpful stores in the area.  One store even gives classes on living Gluten Free. She also told me she felt exactly the same way at first.  And she was afraid to eat anything for fear it might be the wrong thing.  Now she’s an expert – it does get easier as you learn.  Just like anything else. The soy part is going to be the hardest.  Thank God for the internet.  I have already found some recipes I will need to make mayo or salad dressing, etc. 

I am trying to keep a positive attitude.   I have felt so poorly for so long.  If this really makes me feel better – well, that’s exciting and is worth whatever it takes.  And of course losing weight is a big bonus :)  I’ll believe that when I see it!

And, on a brighter note, Trap Shooting is on Sunday afternoon!!!  Woohoo!  I can’t wait.  I ordered a modified choke for my shotgun but it hasn’t come in yet.  Darn.  But truly, full choke or modified, I don’t care.  I just want to shoot my shotgun at those flying targets! :)

 

Blessings,

Red

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Doctor Said it Was Great News

 

     “ You are allergic to Soy and  you’re Gluten intolerant. 

     On the Gluten sensitivity scale of 1 to 6 you scored a 23.” 

This is good news because???? 

     “Because it is going to change your life!  You are going to feel so much better!”

     “And you are going to lose weight too!”

Well, that IS good news.  But do you realize that everything has soy in it?

     “Yep”.  “Gotta read the labels – all the time, every time.”

I think I’m going to starve to death. 

At least I’ll be skinny.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What’s Blooming

 

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What’s still to come. . . .

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Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Willamette National Cemetery

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Today we went to visit Tim’s brothers gravesite at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.  The cemetery was beautiful and very busy.

 

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It took 1,000 Boy Scouts a full week to place over 140,000 flags on the graves for this day.

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The traffic into the cemetery was routed one way and we got a bit disoriented at first.

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We had to take the long way around, but it was worth it.

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There were people and cars everywhere.  Family gatherings around a gravesite were common.

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Veterans were in abundance. God Bless them all.

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140,000 is a big, big number.

Brad's headstone

This is Brads headstone. I blocked out the name and location out of respect for his widow and daughter.  Brad was Tim’s oldest brother.  He served in the Air Force from the day he graduated High School until he retired in 1994, with his whole life still ahead of him.  He served four Presidents and when Clinton was elected to his 2nd term, Brad said enough is enough.  He told us Hillary Clinton was a terrible bitch (his words) and treated the enlisted people like trash.  He couldn’t take another four years of her on Air Force One.  (His favorite First Lady was Barbara Bush. He said she had a genuine heart.)

Brad was killed in a small airplane crash in 1998.  A day we will never forget.  His wife and 2 year old daughter were in the plane with him.  He was the pilot.  He stayed alive long enough for the other two to be rescued. Although he was unconscious the whole time, when the paramedic told him his wife and child were safe, he squeezed the paramedics hand and then left for Heaven. 

We’ll see him there.

 

Blessings,

Red

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Motivation

 

For Christmas my husband installed canned lighting in our kitchen.  There were holes (10” square) that had to be patched and primed.  Today I finally got around to the priming. (Yes, I know, why rush into it?)  I have put it off for so long because I really didn’t want to do it.  So, I thought about how I got motivated to paint the bathroom and remembered it was the music.  I danced and sang my way through the entire process.  So today I pulled out the iPod and selected random oldies thinking it would magically transform my attitude.  Not so much…. Hmmm… It was just making me more agitated.  What was different?  How was I ever going to get this done when I kept telling myself “I can’t do this!” ?

Fortunately, after skipping through the songs to find one I really, really liked, the tempo caught me and pulled me onto the dance floor.  Up and down the ladder at least a million times and I didn’t even know it.  I spent the day in another world, another lifetime, in a place I rarely visit. I am emotionally exhausted now, but the priming and taping and cleaning is done.  Next comes the painting.  A necessary evil, but do I have it in me to travel that far back again so soon?  I don’t know, but I seriously doubt it.

Tonight when Tim gets home we are heading for the Trap Shooting Club.  I can hardly wait!  The wind is howling and it’s raining sideways.  No worries, we’re going anyway.

UPDATE:  What a BLAST!!!!  We went to the range and there were only three guys there.  One of them was just leaving.  Everyone had given up because of the rain. BUT it stopped raining when we got there so we each had a private instructor and the range to ourselves.  I hit the first one out of the gate and figured it would be the last one too.  But my instructor was so helpful, by the time I was done I had shot 26 shells and hit 13 targets!  Woo hoo!  I’m still grinning ear to ear.  And as far as painting tomorrow,  I’m relaxed and ready :)

Blessings,

Red

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hers and Hers

 

This weekend was the Rose City Gun Show at the Portland Expo Center.  We have been planning to go for quite some time.  I have been hemming and hawing about getting a pistol because the one I fired in my class was so big and scary.  I have been pretty discouraged actually.  Then my friend Marie, an NRA Instructor in Texas, suggested I start with a .22 instead of a bigger gun.  The more I thought about it the better it sounded. 

We were advised by friends to shop the gun stores before going to the gun show.  So that’s exactly what we did.  I thought a double action revolver would be the best type for me because the slide on a semi-automatic intimidates me (plus it is hard for me to operate).  The first few guns I tried made it pretty clear a revolver was not for me.  I literally could not pull the trigger through both stages.  And I really tried. 

Next we looked at a few small semi automatics.  Either the handles were too short or the slides were too hard to work.  The salesman was just filling in because of the gun show and he was so patient with me.  He was relaxed and knowledgeable and treated me with respect.  It was a really good experience, even though I pinched my hand in a slide and it bled.  I was so embarrassed!

I eventually found one I liked, that fit my hand and was not difficult to operate. A Walther P-22.  It was more money than I wanted to spend, but I really liked it.  We had asked to see the same size gun made by Ruger, but he said they just sold the last one.

He knew we were heading for the gun show and thought maybe they would have one there.  No pressure at all to buy from him. It was so nice.

We had one other store that had been recommended to us so we headed there before going out to the Expo.  At this second store I found the same type of treatment from the salesman.  He was so helpful, patient and kind.  And he had the Ruger  SR22 I wanted to see.  It is the gun I ended up buying. 

And I LOVE it! 

My husband found a Ruger SR9 that he really wanted.  He reasoned that when I move up from the SR22, and get ready to buy a gun to carry, this would be the perfect one.  So, we bought two guns for me – and I’m sure that SR9 will be nicely broken in when it finally becomes mine.

 

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  Isn’t she just perfect?  I think so.DSC_0094

 

This one is a bit flashy with the stainless steel.DSC_0095

Now we have a “date night” every week at the range :)  We also found a trap shooting club within 20 minutes of our house.  I’m taking my shotgun out on Tuesday to learn a new fun sport!

Maybe next time we’ll make it to the gun show. . .

Thanks for stopping by.

Blessings,

Red

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wheat Bread Experiment

Last month when I went to the Preparedness Expo, one of the speakers handed out a small paper explaining how to make a loaf of 100% wheat bread, and not have it turn out like a heavy brick, by just following a few simple rules.  So I tried it.

Here are the rules:

1.  Pick any white flour recipe and substitute whole wheat flour for all of the white flour.

2.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each cup of liquid in the recipe.

3.  Mix all ingredients together except leavening (yeast, baking soda….) and eggs, if using.

4.  Cover mixture with towel, let sit at room temperature (about 75F) for 12 to 24 hours.

5.  Mix in leavening and eggs (if using).

6.  Cook according to recipe.

Now, as most of you know, I am still learning all about this thing called “baking”.  I really enjoy it, but I am self taught so things don’t always go according to plan.   

 

The first thing I did was grind hard red wheat berries into flour.  This was a new experience.  When we bought the grain mill we tried grinding wheat just as a test, but I don’t think I have ever baked with 100% home ground flour.  I really didn’t know what I was doing so I ran it through the mill 3 times.  Each time at a finer setting. It was nice flour when I was done, but still coarser than store bought.

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Then I got everything in one place. I substituted raw honey for the sugar in the recipe.  So here I have  flour, butter and salt, honey, milk, water, and lemon juice.

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Everything went into the mixer.

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Then I oiled my dough riser.

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And added the dough.  It was very moist, even with 7 cups of flour.

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I needed a warm place to put it so I put it into the oven with the light on and left it there for about 24 hours.  When it came out it was funny looking.  There was a dark layer on the top and a lot of moisture in the riser.  I think I got it too warm, or maybe for too long.  At this point I’m not sure.

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I threw it in the mixer anyway and added the yeast.

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It was soft and workable when it was kneaded. Actually, it was too soft.

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I divided the dough in half and rolled out a rectangle for each loaf.

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At this point they needed to rise for another 30 minutes and I thought they looked quite nice. (And normal).

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After 30 minutes they had spread out in the pan but really didn’t rise much. 

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Here they are fresh out of the oven.  They look great and smell delicious!

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Onto the cooling racks.

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I would love to tell you they turned out great, but sadly, they were not quite right.  They were not done in the center so I re-baked them and they still were undercooked inside.  I would have tried again but that “dark” stuff sort of all ended up towards the center of the loaf and the taste was a bit “off”.  I was uneasy about poisoning myself and my husband so I had to call this one a “fail”.  I’m going to try again with a different recipe that doesn’t use as much liquid.  Maybe that will help – I don’t know – I’m still learning :)  Any suggestions?  Do you have a favorite bread recipe that you’re willing to share?

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Blessings,

Red