Modern Homesteading In The Mountains On A Blustery Day

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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While most of the country is experiencing nice warm days we are still getting snow here at 9,750′ elevation  in the mountains.  We are only a couple of feet short of our average snow fall of 264″ per year.  When those  days happen  and it is  blustery  outside we occupy ourselves with inside activities.   Carol likes to bake so she seized the opportunity to bake a loaf of very tasty bread.  There is nothing that tastes as good as fresh baked bread while it is still warm from the oven.  Her favorite  recipe is included at the end of this blog.

While I could smell that bread baking in the oven I decided it would be a good day for me to lay a new vinyl floor in the bathroom.  I was surprised at how fast the job went and how nice it looked after it was completed.  We had the vinyl already on hand so all that was additionally needed was a pencil, utility knife, straight edge and tape measure.  What I thought was going to be a difficult job actually went very quickly and was much easier  than I expected.  If I can lay a new floor that looks good, anyone can do it. Cutting tight corners or narrow strips can be difficult but I discovered that using my band saw to cut those tight corners  made it much easier than using  a utility knife.  Probably not very good for the band saw blade but it worked very well for me.  When you live an hour from the nearest hospital it pays to be more cautious.   The cost of a band saw blade is far less than visiting the emergency room to have a slice in your hand repaired.  I just followed the directions that came on the vinyl tile box.   The only difficult part for me was being on my knees so much as they are pretty worn out  and don’t bend like they used to.

Therefore on a blustery day when pretty much confined inside we ended up with a very tasty loaf of bread and  nice new bathroom floor. 

Carol got this recipe from:    The recipe was to be made in a bread machine but since Carol likes to make things by hand, she modified it a bit.  We have nothing against bread machines but as you can tell from reading our past blogs we tend to lean towards doing things the old fashioned way. 

In a large bowl mix together in the order given:
1 2/3’s cups warm water
1 ½ tsp. yeast
4 ½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tblsp. Canola oil
4+ cups flour
¾  cup grape nuts

Mix together; place on floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or so, adding flour as needed.  Place back in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth.   Let rise 30-45 minutes in a warm place.   Remove from bowl and knead;  roll out and shape into a loaf.  Placed in a greased bread pan and let rise (but not to much or it will be hard to slice)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool.  Brush soft butter/margarine on the top; cover with damp cloth for 10 minutes (this makes the crust a bit softer),  Remove cloth and cool. 

And finally, slice a piece of bread  while still slightly warm and savor that wonderful taste.

For more on Bruce and Carol’s mountain homesteading go to: