Sourdough & Broa & Roasted Tomato Soup


It’s been a big week – lots of cooking.  Lots of new recipes. I am in the process of making a sourdough starter, in day two of four. I made a loaf of Broa (Portuguese corn bread) tonight, for tomorrow's dinner of homemade roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese.  I’ve never tried a grilled pepper jack cornbread-ish sandwich before and I’m hoping that when coupled with roasted tomato soup . . . well I’m hoping it will be amazing.  The Broa really turned out great - Fred Myers was having a sale on Bob’s Red Mill products and their corn meal (polenta) is the best I’ve ever found.  A really coarse grind with lots of grit to it – baked up really nice.  

Garlic, Pepper flakes, Olive Oil, & Tomatoes about to go into a 500 degree oven


It’s been cold out here in Yakima these past few days.  So I’ve checked out a book from the library on soup making and getting really excited.  My bread making skills have been improving, and I’m starting to turn out nicer loaves with better crust and crumb.

I’ve drank my way thru a few tea’s this fall and need to plan trips to Moscow and Bremerton to fill fast failing supplies.

Tea that I’ve had for ages is starting to be enjoyed.


I've started designing a small A-Frame.  I don’t know if I’ll ever build it but I’d like to.  In the neighborhood of 700 (or less) square feet – there is a loft, and a spiral staircase, a fireplace and large floor to ceiling windows looking towards the sunset – a large sprawling deck with room to entertain.  I’m trying to design a place that would hold all I’ll need and no more.  So it’s turned out to be quite the process, planning out every little detail.  When you’ve trying to be small as you can while still feeling spacious, you’ve got to think about every thing.  The kitchen will be full of natural light, the living room cozy.  Still trying to figure out where to put a dining room table.  Bikes may have to hang from the ceiling, discreetly mounted on the wall opposite the fire place.  The bathroom has proved a challenge – fitting a toilet, sink, shower and washer/dryer all in a very small footprint is harder than I thought.  But I’ve got time yet.  Time to save, time to plan and tweak.  Time to see what I need –time to rid myself of things I don’t use while learning how to be more efficient with the things I do use.  Time to go thru several design iterations. 

I’d like to build it myself.


Wall space for pictures, heavy thick curtains to draw in the winter – a large east facing window in the loft upstairs which would let the sun wake me in the summer months. A window I could leave open, so that I can hear the sounds of rain, and crickets, and the birds in the morning.  Remote enough that I could hear wind, and see the stars.  Remote enough that I could learn a stringed instrument without causing harm to my fellow man.


And the plans grow and grow sprawling from page to page. Wood shops and car garages, gardens and trellises, gravel paths and bee hives – and.


And I stop and take a deep breath.  Trying to gain perspective.  Pull myself back into today and it’s challenges, take out the trash, finish the dishes, fold your laundry.

Fix your car, pay off your student loans, turn off the lights when you leave.  Listen to the high schoolers, get to know their hearts, prep for work, punch down your dough. 


And part of me is afraid that all the planning will be for naught.  Learning to plan with a joyfully open hand.  Not sure what that means –  a joyfully open hand.  What that looks like lived out.  But I do know that any plan that forsakes the present will never start, and having never started will never see completion.  Plans must account for the dirty dishes, lost socks and car repairs.  It is this planning, this awareness and honest appraisal of the present which turns dreamers into doers.  Doers have long term visions which they hold with a joyfully open hand, plans that they act on in the present.



So I find myself working on much more than floor plans – much much more than floor plans indeed.


Peter and Liz


Weddings . . . They are starting to feel like reunions.


Seeing old faces, walking with and listening to old friends.  Hearing their heart’s.  Having them ask the tough questions only close friends ask.  Remembering so much about old weddings, wondering about future ones.



Watching Peter as Liz walked down the isle.  Nate told me I was looking the wrong way – I don’t think so.  You want to see how beautiful the bride is?  Look at the groom, he’ll tell you.  At this moment, when he’s got eyes for no one else, when all the other faces blur out, and all he sees is her.  When the woman he loves looking more beautiful than he has ever seen her look before. Remember, he’s made a study of this woman – you won’t notice all the details that he will. He knows her, he knows her smile, her walk, he’s looked deeper into those eyes than anyone else, he knows her moods, her joys, he knows her – more than that he loves her.  And today’s their big day.  Their start.  So I looked at Peter – and saw a man looking at the woman he loves – the one he’ll grow old with, the one he’ll fight with and struggle with and smile and cry with.




Do you ever look at their hands?

I mean during the ceremony – here they are – up in front of everybody – they have to stand their holding each other’s hands for quite a while. Just stand and look at each others.  Watch his thumbs – any wedding – does not matter – watch the groom’s hands, watch the bride’s hands.




Just watch them – I’ve never felt I’ve captured the hands during the ceremony just right.  It’s the only expression they allow themselves during the majority of the ceremony – and such a subtle one that I am not sure they are even aware of it.  But it speaks volumes.  You want to see tenderness, excitement, love, nervousness, and a whole host of emotions?


Look at the hands.


Life is full of these small clues – look around, hear all that is unsaid, see all that is unspoken.  These seem to be truer, and deeper stories.




Yeah . . .


I'm growing a beard


It's been about two months now


and it's really starting to fill in


The mustach may need to be trimmed


it's starting to join in when I have a cup of tea


and sometime it get's . . . scruffy



Bringing the beard back – one day at a time. 


Thursday Night



I'm still working on that book



A secret blend of spices, oils, and salts



I may toast a few of them in a skillet next time round



It’s Thursday night.  I come home to my apartment, empty and cold.  I’ve worked late at the office – we needed to get out some construction site observation notes before end of the day.  I’ve got lots to do tonight – make dinner, pack for a trip to the west side, plan out a wedding shoot, study, process all that’s happened during the day, fix my bike for winter riding.  I sit and listen to the messages on my phone again.  What a difference 15 minutes can make.


I sigh and putter about, looking in my cupboards – exploring the deep recesses of my refrigerator trying to find inspiration.  Half a head of red cabbage, an onion, a can of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Some chicken breast I had sliced, seasoned, and frozen last month. 

“What had I seasoned that with any way . . . False saffron, salt, fire oil and something else . . . “

“Why do I buy red cabbage . . . it never looks good in leftovers”

On the floor next to my bookshelf lies a stack of Louis L`Amour audiobooks, tonight it’ll be “The High Lonesome” and as I chop vegetables, and thaw out the chicken I listen.

And as so often happens I stop listening, I start thinking – thinking about work, about my student loans, about bills, and Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, and weddings and funerals, and births and life.  And I fade back in – suddenly the story breaks in upon my mind, and I realize not been listening.

I put 5 cloves of garlic thru the press, I put dried chilies, oils and salts into the pestle.  I grind and grind and grind.  I sit at my desk and smell and think. 

My apartment is cold – I find a sweater.  The chickens thawed by now.  I’m waiting for my 4 cups of rice to finish cooking before I start the stir fry.  For some reason I though 4 cups would not be an insane amount of rice for a single guy to make.  4 cups of rice, 2 of them long brown rice, 1 cup a very very glutinous rice (I learned really quick never to let this stuff dry on anything) and 1 cup of sticky rice.  4 cups of rice, 7 of water. By the time the rice is cooked the bad guys have ridden into town, robbed the bank and managed to evade the posse.


And again I’m lost in thought – it is odd to see how alone, how solitary life can be even with people nearby.  Quietly routine slips in and provides a framework that keeps loneliness at bay.  There are dishes to do.  Leftovers to weight out and divide.  Laundry, and photo projects, weekends which are a blur of activity.

And . . . and now the ring leader is giving up an chance to escape into Mexico with the loot, to instead save a beautiful young lady and her father from the Indians. 


I love this stuff.



It’s all so . . . so – perfectly predictable, and wonderfully chivalrous.  I’m guessing it was an early Spanish ancestor’s of Louis L`Amour  whose tales of chivalry drove Don Quixote to his mad adventures.

The Virginian – now there’s a chivalric tale – and I see I’m straying from whatever point I started on. 



In the end I made dinner, I did my dishes, I left the packing and the planning for the morning.  I finished the story.  I sat and pondered, asking myself what are the sources of contentment – but that conversation is too long to post here.


All in all, a good – albeit quiet Thursday night.


To tired to even try to be eloquent

























Went to the cider party last weekend. 

It was good.  Pizza burgers.  Sticky hands.  Apple pulp in my hair.  Wood smoke, straw bales and roasted marshmallows.  Friends long unmet.  Hymns and hay rides.  Gloves, caps, mittens and scarves.