Monday, March 26, 2018

Carving and Playing

 After working for what seemed like days to get the maple back plate hollowed out and graduated, starting on the spruce is always surprising.  Very easy to cut by comparison.  Within about 15 minutes, down to the point where the big thumb plane can be used, very gratifying to run out long shavings.  Makes life good.

And speaking of good, we've had the chance to play at some spectacular spots in this past week.  Tim's place (Purple Sage Farms) for rehearsal on Thursday night. New lambs and a surprise new calf.  Sunset still visible at rehearsal time due to the changing day length and the recent switch to (or is it from?) Day Light Saving Time. 
We attended an English Country Dance ball in La Grande on Saturday, and a musicians' workshop Sunday morning, as students.  The workshop was held at one of the local member's home, and has a million-dollar view.
One does not live by music, dance, and views alone.  We also ate lunch, twice, at a new Brew Pub in La Grande.  Side A.  Good spot.  Tasty flatbread pizza, and a good array of beer choices.  Their Swedish Compass Winter Warmer, with a touch of anise, was certainly worth a repeat.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

End of Skiing, for us, this season

Always nice to get out into the mountains.  We work with harvested wood, at the bench, inside, so really worth seeing the trees outside, in the wild.
We've been going to Ponderosa State Park, near McCall, Idaho, for many years now, both in the snow and not.  Beautiful wildflowers to be seen in the Spring.  But we really like it in the snow.

This little aspen grove is one of my favorite places.
We've been cross-country skiing here a few times this season.  Late start to the snow this year, and it looks like it's fading fast.  Snowed the night before, but the trees were shedding it in big plops during the late morning and early afternoon.
Freezing at night, above freezing during the day.
The lake is still frozen over, but barely.  Not too many folks willing to risk being out there now.  It's off in the distance, middle right, in this photo.
We skied up the penninsula a ways, climbing at the end, and stopped for a lunch on the skis.  Hot tea, rye bread, and brunost.
Given our schedule for the next few weeks, we won't get out again until next Winter.  Sad and something to look forward to at the same time.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hardanger plate hollowing

Flipped the Hardanger plates over, started hollowing.  Mostly done now.  Details to finish up. Edgework I do after the plates are glued to the ribs.  Gives me a chance to not have clamp damage.  Seems that no matter how careful I am, I always bang one or two of the clamps against the edge, then have to spend time restoring it.  So now I leave a little more meat around the edges.
One does not live by fiddles alone, certainly.  There is also bread.  Here's a double batch of sourdough after fermenting some 12 hours or so.
Standard Fiesta-ware coffee cup for scale. 

Dump out the fermented dough, break it up into two parts, form loaves.  I have one rising basket, so one goes in there, the other on a floured towel.

Up on top the refrigerator for a second rise.
And after baking --
A friend of mine, Jan B, is decluttering, gave me a copy of a bread book, "World Sourdoughs from Antiquity".  I recall the book coming out in the 1980s, was tempted, but didn't have the money or need at the time, I suppose.  Anyway, I used my Sahti starter to make a couple "Malt Beer Bread" loaves, the recipe from this work.  I mostly followed it.  Seemed to work fine.
Interesting to note that the book was printed in Cascade, Idaho, which is a town between here and McCall, where we went skiing, as reported in the last post.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Nordic skiing at Ponderosa

Finally some decent snowfall this year in the mountains, with cold temperatures.  We again got out for a day of cross-country skiing at Ponderosa State Park near McCall, Idaho.  Pretty day, with heavy snow flurries in between blue sky & sunshine.  And vise versa.

My lovely bride double-poling on a downward slope.

 Yours truly, taking photos with my fancy phone-machine.

After a few hours of a good workout in the woods, back to McCall for a couple beers and food at Salmon River Brewing.  Payette Lake is frozen over -- it wasn't in January -- and here you can see the frozen-over Lake, with blue skies and a snow flurry in the distance.

With McCall enjoying the snow cover.  Good day.  Back to the bench.