Yes, I am a spoilsport. I freely admit it. Yesterday I’d gone out in the late afternoon to do a bit of errantry, and it was after dark when I barefooted out to the mailbox by the curb/kerb to bring in the mail. I’d turned on the porch light which almost immediately attracted a frenzy of moths. In their frantic orbital momentum, at least two of them managed to slingshot themselves into inner space when I opened the glass door to slip back inside.
As you may well imagine, the shambles potential of 2 moths + 3 cats rises steeply when the local landscape includes low tables, lamps and breakable objects. The black cat is particularly hot in his pursuit, and when 18 lbs of cat traveling at a dead run goes ballistic off the back of the couch, the stage is set for some pretty spectacular demonstrations of Newton’s Laws of Motion. The grey cat probably only weighs 6 or 7 lbs, but she’s agile, lightening fast and climbs like a mountain goat.
The wild hunt careened and caromed through the living room/lounge and into the kitchen. However, with the advantage of my human ability to pick out static objects from a background, or in this case, 1 dazed moth from a very busy kitchen carpet and a second battered victim from a kitchen cabinet door, I was 2 for 2 in the contest for apex predator. Both moths were pretty much hors de combat by the time I was able to perform the coup de grâce with a small caliber paper napkin/serviette. Thus was the sport spoiled and there was no joy in Mudville. Needless to say, there was more than a little grumbling in the ranks.
At some point when I was aged between 3 and 4 years old, I decided that those frantically fluttering things with the fatal attraction to porch lights were called “blumblumlies,” a coinage which quickly crept into the family dialect, and the usage persists to this day. All I have to do is mention that a blumblumly got in, and my mom immediately understands that pandemonium has ensued and we have met or exceeded our minimum daily requirement for excitement.
As I mentioned, I had gone questing earlier that afternoon, but before I set out, I let my fingers do the driving, and tracked down some Anchor Hocking canisters (two 1-gallon and one 2-gallon), which I purchased on line for in-store pickup at my neighborhood Wal-Mart. I then went foraging for unbleached flour and acquired same, as well as whole wheat flour, and “breadmaker” yeast, which comes in a little glass jar.
The bread-making machine that is my early birthday present arrived Saturday. I have a “galley” style kitchen with a good deal of floor space, but counter space is at a premium. I have four 32-inch long stretches of counter. Period. Two on either side of the sink, and two on either side of the stove. The patch to the right of the stove is completely occupied by the microwave. The patch to the left of the sink contained toaster, blender, can opener, paper towel dispenser and a large glass cutting board. It is bounded on the left by the pantry and it is the designated food preparation area. The one to the left of the stove, between the stove and the refrigerator, is my beverage preparation area. It has my coffee pot (which I never use), a small sugar canister, and tins of tea.
The patch to the right of the sink has radio, cordless phone handset in its charger, a pencil and paper holder in the event jotting down is called for, and a tissue dispenser. Just past the refrigerator, the flooring changes from sheet vinyl to carpet and becomes the dining area. I have a little console table just to the right of the counter by the sink where I have my copper kettle collection. Well, you know how it is. You get one new appliance, and you have to practically rearrange the whole kitchen to accommodate it. The coffee maker was removed to the designated garage sale staging area, and the blender and radio were relocated to the beverage preparation area. The tissue dispenser was relocated to the place formerly occupied by the blender. The clock that was on the stove was relocated to the window ledge above the sink as the radio has a clock. And the bread maker’s new home is to the right of the sink beside the phone. I shall relocate my tea kettle collection to the top of the fridge and the top of the little console is now devoted to bread preparation.
I like the clear glass canisters a lot. Anchor Hocking makes good quality glassware, and these are just perfect for holding bread ingredients.
Wal-Mart had them for a third of what Amazon.com wanted for them and I picked them up in-store less than an hour after I ordered them on line. The drawer of the console holds the measuring cup and measuring spoon that came with the bread maker, as well as the jar of yeast. However, I am told both by the lady who recommended this particular make and model of bread machine and by the manufacturer of same that exact measurement is key to making good bread, and Amazon has a nifty little scale for measurement by weight. I also don’t have a cooling rack — I had to put it on the oven rack to cool. However, I get paid Wednesday evening. . . .
I assayed my first loaf of bread today. It was rosemary bread without the rosemary (didn’t have any). My maiden effort was a little dense grained and chewy but nonetheless tasty and redolent throughout the house was the baking there. I made a 1-1/2 lb loaf, which tells me I should test recipes using the 1-lb size, and graduate to a larger size if I like how it turns out. I chose this recipe as the rest of the white and whole wheat recipes call for unsalted butter, which I don’t have either — as yet. I also need to add honey to my shopping list.
I don’t know where my mom gets “messing up the whole kitchen” to make bread in a bread machine. In my first foray, I dirtied a set of measuring spoons and the bread pan. I measured out and dumped in the ingredients in the order specified — very important! –, put the lid down, punched some buttons and went on about my business. It beeps (loudly and about 15 times) at the point in the bread-making cycle where you can tip out the dough and remove the little paddle if you choose, and beeps again (loudly and about 15 times) when it’s done cooking.
In other news, the early indications are that we will be digging in and hunkering down for another long hot summer. When I booted up the computer to source and price the canisters, I glanced at my weather widget. Then I picked up my jaw off the floor! It’s supposed to get up to 101F/38C tomorrow and 98F/37F Thursday — and it’s not even May yet! I’m assuming we reached, if not exceeded, our predicted high of 92F/33F as it’s 7:30 pm now, and it’s 90F/32C outside, with 12% humidity and a 17 mph/27 kph movement of air — which out here in the flatlands doesn’t even qualify as a light breeze. It is supposed to get back down to 82F/28C Saturday, however. Thank goodness the DVD I ordered has gotten here already. I have a metal mailbox. . . .