The weather this past week has been less than desirable. It has been very gray and soggy or extremely windy.  

    I know that yesterday we had wind that was blowing at 25-35 miles per hour with wind gusts up to 40-45 miles per hour. I can't say that this is unusual for the Columbia River Gorge, but even after living in this area my whole life, the power and duration of the wind can still take my breath away. Today is still very much the same. 

    I don't know how Travis can tolerate working out in it for hours! It sure makes getting outside a lot less appealing, at least to me.  However, instead of wallowing around and doing nothing, both Travis and I have decided to get busy!  

    We love working on our little homestead.  The kids are busy doing their own thing but are sometimes needed to join us and help out. These times create both valuable learning for them and good time spent away from screens and with family members instead. 

    I wonder what kind of memories they will carry with them into adulthood.

    Yesterday, right after arriving home from work, Travis wasted no time and took Trevor out to the garden to spread manure and compost while he cut wood and worked on tilling the compost and manure piles.  He is also getting the garden beds that are near the house ready for planting.

    This morning I woke up and got some laundry and dishes done, then jumped head first into baking bread. We have some locals here who order bread and eggs every weekend.  Every weekend that I can keep up with that is because baking breads and working full-time as a teacher's assistant, tending animals, and shuffling and feeding teenagers...Sometimes it's a lot and I need a break.

Wheat Bread

    Today though, I am excited to bake in the cozy kitchen and just let the wind swirl around outside the windows.  Travis is currently cutting more wood for the wood stove and I have two cinnamon loaves in the oven.  

    It was Blake (15) who helped me knead the bread for the wheat loaves this time and he helped with the cinnamon breads too.  

    These days, we wear masks and gloves while baking just to be safe due to Covid precautions, so the kids are less enthused about helping. Usually Megan (12) helps because she is a master at kneading bread dough (who knew) and she knows just the consistency and feel that we should have from the dough because she has helped often enough. 

    Today her friend is here and they were allowed to stay up late last night and sleep in this morning, so I got to work with Blake instead.

    I never need much help but if I can wrangle some helpers, then I can bake much more for customers. The kids' part is over and done with in 10 minutes.  I am sure they would prefer helping me in the kitchen over helping Travis with the wood, in the wind.

    Wait a minute...I spoke too soon because first of all, it is still as windy as it was yesterday and second of all, Travis has both of the boys out moving wood up here to the wood pile by the house, so I guess they get a taste of all kinds of chores with us. Haha!

Cutting Wood

    Well, the rest of the weekend will be just as jam packed but at the end of the days, we will feel accomplished and able to rest easier after a full day of moving our bodies and getting stuff done. 

    This way of living just does my heart and soul so good!  I hope that you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy sharing it with you and before I go, I would like to add the recipe I use for my wheat bread.  It is the most popular and the best seller of all the breads. 

Wheat Bread;

Need: 1 and 1/2 cups warmed water. (Temperature for water works best between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit). 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 oz. active dry yeast (1 packet), 1/4 cup (natural) honey, 3 Tablespoons (unsalted) butter, softened. 3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (may need as much as 4 1/2 cups.) 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil.

Step 1: Place the 1 1/2 cups warmed water in a large bowl. (I like to add the 1 teaspoon of sugar here to help the yeast in its fermenting process, but for a truly healthy wheat bread, this is optional). 

Sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes and it should fluff.

Step 2: Add the honey and softened butter.

Step 3: Blend in 2 cups wheat flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt until moistened.  Beat on medium for 3 minutes. 

Step 4: Stir in additional 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups wheat flour until dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. 

Step 5: Knead on floured surface, adding 1/2 to 3/4 cups additional wheat flour as you go, until the dough gets smooth and elastic. (About 8 minutes.) 

To knead, turn the bread to the right like steering a steering wheel, then fold it from the top toward your belly, and push down in the middle.  Repeat. With practice, this will become easy.

Step 6: Place dough in a large greased bowl. (I like to use 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and spread it around in the bowl, then roll the dough in it until covered in oil.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 7: Generously spray a loaf pan with baking, non stick spray. Punch dough. Shape into loaf.  Place in the prepared pan with loose plastic wrap covering. Rise in a warm place to double the size, 30 to 45 minutes. It's ready when it rises just above the bread pan.

Step 8: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.  Cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove to the cooling rack.

And that's it!  I hope you enjoy this recipe if you give it a try, and may you all stay happy, safe, and well.

Feel free to follow along with us on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Many blessings to you all!

Amy Darr

3 Corners Farm

Mosier Or. U.S.A.