For so many years, I was a fall/winter person, until I moved and got the pool, and now I am a diehard spring/summer person. People start chatting up their pumpkin latte cravings in September, and my anxiety about the end of summer starts. Maybe it’s age? I love being outdoors, I love the sun on my face, I love all the growing things, and I start fretting that winter may kill some of them. Plus the leaves. I live in heavily treed area. My backyard is like a little meadow surrounded by trees. BIG trees – maples, oaks, some of them probably 60 years old. BIG.
And they all have a lot of leaves. The first autumn I was here, I hired a guy to get rid of my leaves, asked him for a quote, and he said the most expensive place he ever did was like $350, and it was 3 or 4 acres. Huh. He had no idea how much terracing and LEAVES I have. Then I became the most expensive place he leaf eradicated.
So fall is work, lots and lots of work, getting leaves to move on down the road, put them in trash cans, blow them off, grinding up some to use as mulch around my plants.
I HATE fall, and don’t even talk to me about pumpkin marshmallow toasted lattes.
What I do like though – and this is where March and Musette start snickering – I have a new hobby I’ve started. Now, I am not knitting alpaca quilts decorated with peacock feathers or anything. I’m baking bread. Lots of bread. I have my little sourdough starter I’ve made like three batches of bread with — I’ve named her Audrey — and I’ve got a couple of books on how to do bread more easily. One is Brilliant Bread by James Morton and the other is The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
So I started with sourdough. I don’t know why, and after one pretty dense VERY crusty loaf, which my sister loved because that is her kind of bread, I did get a lighter loaf with the right amount of crust, and then I got two very nice loaves that are much closer to what I was wanting.
I grew up baking bread with my mom every week, mostly watching, sometimes helping, and then I did my own bread baking when my boys were little. But they do bread different now if you want to sometimes or all the time spend way less time on it than the all day process of baking.
The Five minute a day bread you make ahead 4-8 loaves, make the dough very wet, cook one or two loaves as you need them, every day or every other day, so you are only mixing up dough once every couple of weeks. THAT I can do. And it is colder, and making bread during the winter will make me happy and miss summer less.
I do have to admit this verrrrry shameful thing – I do know you are supposed to let your loaves rest for an hour before you cut them. Well, growing up in a family of seven that loves hot bread, bread was always burning little hands and big hands as soon as it came out of the oven, and we fought to cut the heel off, slathered it with butter as we juggled it long enough to cool it just a bit so we could start eating. Yeah, I did that. It was as hot as I remember, my fingers are still a wee bit singed, but damn…. that was the best thing I’ve had in a long time, hot buttered bread.
So bread baking is on the menu for winter! Perfume, I am playing around in the Louis Vuitton line. I used to think of them as ridiculous overpriced and just ignored them after their first few releases. I just paid over $300 for a bottle of Guerlain SDV – I hope they did not completely screw that up – so LV’s sub $300 price point is almost looking like a bargain. I’ve found a lot that I love there in the LV line. More on that next week. Cactus Garden and Afternoon Swim surprised me with how much I loved them. Some sure bets did turn out to be love too, the darker ones. LV seemed like a dumb thing to keep ignoring.
Winners of the Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle sample – Merry and Kitty. Click on Drop Us a Note up at the top, send me your name, address, remind me what you won. I’ll send you a quick “got it” return email so you know it didn’t get lost in a spam filter!
So for those of you on the Winter is Coming side of the globe, what are you most looking forward to this fall?