On this day, the third anniversary of writing Letters from a Hill Farm, I found I didn't really have much to say. Last year kind of said it all. Mostly, things are the same with a few little changes like consolidating my 'letter topics.' But it hasn't really changed much since I began. I'm not a 'book blogger' or a 'food blogger' or a 'garden blogger.' I just write my letters. I'm still spending my time writing book reports or posting recipes or poems or quotes or music. Occasionally Mrs Bale pops in when there is something interesting in the 'Irish Sea' - oops I mean northern New England. The thing I love the very most is connecting with all of you. I love your comments and your emails. I'm so pleased when you take time out of your busy day to say hi, or recommend a book, or tell me you love the music or the recipe. Blogging has brought me incredible joy and knowledge. I thank each of you.
Quite coincidentally, I got myself a present today.
After years and years of making my own bread, I am buying a bread machine. When I first started, not only did I knead by hand, but we had a grain grinder which we cranked ourselves. Imagine that! Then I got an electric grain grinder. Then I just started buying whole wheat flour. Then I started using my Kitchen Aid for bread. And now the time seems right to go on to the next 'new thing.' Even though bread machines have been around for a while, I've scoffed. I've thought 'this isn't real.' I've gone on in my old way. But you know what? For a while now I haven't been satisfied. The dough hook chipped. We got a new one, and that chipped. So then I just used the paddle attachment, but it isn't great. The dough gets all caught up in it and doesn't really mix well. As a consequence of this, and whatever other cosmic stuff goes into bread making, my bread hasn't been delicious. And then there is the storage problem. I've tried the refrigerator. I've tried a bread box with the bread in plastic bags and then not in plastic bags. I've tried plastic bags out on the counter. I've tried paper bags out on the counter. The bread just doesn't keep that well. And now that the kids are grown, the bread doesn't get eaten so quickly. I don't like to make just one loaf since a fair bit of my day is spent doing so. With the machine, one loaf is made at a time so it will be eaten more promptly. So all these things factor into my decision. I've read that I can put in the ingredients, and set some kind of magical button so there will be fresh, warm bread in the morning. Can that really be? Are there little bread-elves that will do this for me?
I'll write again with a progress report. I'm hopeful and excited. Any wisdom or advice is most welcome.
There will be a giveaway at a less busy time of the year. Nothing huge, but just a little thank you for being such wonderful readers.