Plaid Nails and why is it 50 degrees

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?

  • ElizaC says:

    Just out of the oven bread! We used to go to a bakery that made Eastern European breads. They had this amazing sesame flatbread and they had a schedule up showing when it would be just out of the oven! Half of the loaf would be gone by the time we left the parking lot! On a completely different note, as anyone ever tried doing goldwork embroidery?

  • Dina C. says:

    I love fall and winter. My allergies get a break. I love the clothing of fall and winter. Love the coziness of drinking TEA, not pumpkin spiced lattes. 😀 And love the richer, complex fragrances of fall and winter. Wearing Sycomore, a favorite, to celebrate the first day of fall today.

  • Musette says:

    LOL!! March is correct, we do have both envy and awe, as we cackle at your latest (and extremely successful) attempt at The Next Thing. You do tend to go from zero to 75 in a nanosecond! Jealous Here 😉

    Fall. Hm. Well. I’ve done the Reverse Pandemic, losing 2 dress sizes and wanting to get my Pre-El O health & body back (on track, luckily) so not a lot of carbs for me (my glucose levels really appreciate that). Happily, bread (even Hot Bread with Butter) isn’t necessary to my happiness, so I can do without. If you bake it while I’m there, though, I will take a quick bite (end piece, please) and then run out of the house so I don’t eat more!!!


  • rosarita says:

    I love cooler weather and wearing sweatshirts and sweaters. We’ve had a swampy summer and hot sweaty temps are not good for big people who are even bigger from pandemic stress eating. Not a fan of all the pumpkin everything.

    • rosarita says:

      Oh, and bread! I used to bake a lot and it’s so much work, plus after all the kneading and rising you can still screw up bread during baking. We have a new bakery in town and they’re getting my bread business these days.

  • cinnamon says:

    I can do bagels and soft pretzels, but bread has never really been my baking thing. Either fresh out of the oven with butter on the former is just so wonderful. Def doesn’t matter if you burn the fingers or the mouth a bit. And I never learned to either crochet or knit. My mother was appalled. No, this is not my time of year. I am hoping Mother Nature will produce a cold, dry, bright autumn into winter as we had a mostly crap summer this year. Oh, and a white Xmas would be a huge bonus. I’m even thinking of getting more wood in.

    • Dina C. says:

      The only time I ever tried baking was back in my 20s. Spent four hours making homemade bagels. They came out like hockey pucks! The yeast I used from the back of my mother’s spice cabinet was dead. I had no idea yeast was a living thing, since my mom never baked! 🙂 So much for my baking resume’! I admire anyone who can accomplish bagels.

      • cinnamon says:

        Actually, bagels become fairly easy after the first couple of goes. You made me laugh about yeast being a living thing. It certainly is. I love how it puffs up in warm water with sugar after 5 minutes.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Patty,
    Bread, and other baking, has become THE Pandemic Thing here in Oz. So has Crochet. Watching my FB and Insta feeds oil up with these has been brilliant.
    Neither of them have caught on here but Jin has been learning and producing new and interesting foods for us. LOADS of it.
    We are definitely heavier.
    100ml of Vuitton Nuit de Feu is AUD$615 here. It feels like a lot. Even to split some off (to lessen the blow) would be prohibitive once decants and postage costs are included.
    Portia xx

    • Patty says:

      That is crazy, that’s like 445 US! I agree, that is just insane and prohibitive. I wonder why so much more.

      Crochet and not knitting? I took up knitting through this blog so many years ago, and I still knit, it’s one of my big hobby throw-ins that took!

      • Portia says:

        Yeah, they charge enormous taxes to bring it in because it’s a dangerous good.
        Yeah, crochet. Some of the people I would class as really cool (and wealthy) are doing blankets, kids toys, scarves and cushion covers in it. They seem to start out fairly simply as a stress relief for the current crisis but within a few months are doing these incredibly intricate, beautiful, colourful, detailed, artworks. It’s been mind blowing.
        I know my time could be spent making some new costumes but the will to create has left the building.

  • March says:

    Hey, behind that snickering is some deep, DEEP envy at your skills — you know we jokingly call it “Patty’s knitting a car,” right? Because if you DID decide to knit a car, you’d just … go at it, and the car would be amazing, and we’d be losing our minds over it and you’d modestly say something like well, the next one I think I’ll do a V8 instead of a V6 and use a different yarn for the tires … while our jaws were still on the floor. Your ability to produce something amazing right out of the gate is astonishing. <3

    • Patty says:

      LOL. I could NEVER knit a car. Well, I don’t think. It’s all that growing up on a farm where we had to keep everything together with baling wire and spit, I never really knew how to look at something as being impossible. 🙂

      • March says:

        You know … I never thought about it that way, and that makes perfect sense. For me it’s always been more, well, who can I hire to do X. Some of your knitting (crocheting?) creations look like they were spun by fairies. Really, really talented fairies.

  • Kathleen says:

    I am most looking forward to cooler weather. It has been sweltering hot for far too long, which doesn’t allow for dog walking/running/hiking. It’s been a struggle. I love fall; the weather (as long as it doesn’t go from 90 to snow), the fall air smells, and the colors. I could live in fall year round (don’t love snow). I’m also looking forward to wearing heavier perfumes and the ambers and vanillas.

    • Patty says:

      Well, yeah. I’ll get over it and enjoy fall and winter until about January 10th, then I’ll be counting down the days until May 1 and pool opening!

  • Maria S. says:

    I am almost too embarrassed to admit that I really look forward to those pumpkin lattes. I also recentlytried a sample of Angel Muse which I think will go great for this Fall/Winter.

    • Patty says:

      I know. I secretly do too, but I’m still in my summer is really over denial phase, despite the overnight low dropping below 50. 🙁 The tropical plants had to all come inside yesterday and go under the grow lights. I hope they make it through the winter.

  • Tara C says:

    I’m a bread baker too, but I let the bread machine do all the hard work of mixing and kneading. Then when the dough is ready, I flop it out, punch it down, form it in the pan, let it rise then bake in the oven. Hot fresh bread with about 10 minutes of actual work. 🙂

    As for perfume, I’m wearing my syrupy fruity florals for the end of summer, soon to switch to my ambery resins and incense. I love summer but fall is my best perfume season. And fortunately I don’t have a massive leaf problem. :-0

    • Patty says:

      I have a bread machine, but the few times I’ve used it, I just feel…. something is missing. If I haven’t sweated over it a little, is it really bread? I mean, it is! I’m still happy with the sourdough needing no kneading. I don’t mind babying the breadmaking, but I always hated the kneading unless I was super mad about something

      • Ann says:

        I’m craving homemade bread now! And I agree , tired of people saying the most banal things about fall, it’s like saying “I’m a visual person” ?