Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tornado Season in Kansas

It's tornado season in Kansas but despite the numbers being reported, I haven't seen one. I haven't seen one since 1972 when I first arrived in the Sunflower State. I did move around for about 14 months but I ended up back here on the premise that in those days it was easier to live here with little money coming in than somewhere where there would never be enough money coming in.
There were tornadoes less than 25 miles away today in KC, MO but if it weren't for TV and radio, I'd never have known. It looks like the rains are almost over and the threats of severe weather are diminished to almost nil. Hopefully, Sunday will bring about an anticipated change for the better with temps around 80F and everything green growing ferociously to make up for lost time.
I managed to find more room for more seeds in the garden. After finding some packets of beans, cucumbers, and lettuce that date back to 2008 and 2009, I figured I had nothing to lose. A new square bale of straw went into the garden as a mulch but it didn't go far enough for me. As soon as the summer heat arrives, maybe in two weeks or less, the straw will break down quickly. there is still some straw available but the expected poor wheat crop means that if I don't buy early enough, there won't be any for next year. The bales are already $5 due to corn for ethanol being more profitable in this area than wheat. I won't be surprised if straw goes up to $8 a bale for next year.
The peonies are almost all gone but for the late varieties that just started blooming. Roses aren't cooperative due to less than optimal conditions. We have one poppy plant that has finally produced lots of blooms. Besides being colorful, the plant isn't all that desirable to deer. Who knows what the deer won't eat when they're hungry? I could try cactus if I want to be extravagant with my money.
Today's pictures are of my last loaf, a learning loaf. I hadn't used my Golden Buffalo flour lately so I thought I'd use that in a 1/3 WW-2/3 BF loaf. I soaked the GB for about 45 minutes before mixing but I still ended up with some really firm dough for a 70% hydration loaf.There's a new starter cooling its jets in the fridge to slow down its ripening for use tomorrow. I plan on using the same basic formula to see if I can adjust details for success. First thing I'll change is to have a longer soak for the GB to see if a little more water will do the trick. I've also got a slightly larger starter for tomorrow and it's at 100% so that will raise the hydration by a fraction. If you look at the uncut loaf picture, you'll notice I did an incomplete job on shaping the dough before proofing. It didn't make a difference in flavor but I want the appearance aspect of my breads to improve. The County Fair comes up in August and I want two blue ribbons this year. Winning the bread class overall would be even nicer. Where was all this competitiveness when I was slacking off in school?
This loaf was good but I'm intrigued by the forensic search of how and why it didn't turn out as expected. There are worse and more self indulgent things to do than this little exercise in curiosity.
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