Hazy Lazy Saturday

Apollo the Wonder-Rott
Apollo the Wonder-Rott

I motivated myself with the help of Apollo, my wonder-Rott, to take a longer walk this morning.  I found my sunglasses (left them in the car two days ago), found the dog leash near my walking shoes, and asked Terry to hang on to Roxy.  The minute I latched onto Apollo’s collar with the leash, Roxy set to whining, howling and other piteous moaning sounds made by pathetic spoiled canines.

The sun had barely risen when Apollo and I started swimming, er, I mean walking.  Even though the temperature was mild (in the 60s), the humidity was a hefty 87 percent!  My sunglasses kept fogging up while walking.  Usually, Apollo and I walk north for a couple of blocks to Mary Street and then head west crossing US-73/K-7 and walking within sight of Desoto Road.  Instead, we turned back south after crossing the highway and walked through the ‘Town Centre’ area.  Along the way I spied some flowering trees:

Of course, being the uninformed arborist, I have no idea what types of trees or shrubs these are, so please educate me!

Once Apollo and I returned home, I checked the forecast for today (well, actually for tonight), hoping for a chance to view Saturn again.  If nothing else, the Moon will be spectacular as it reaches it’s quarter crescent stage of waxing-ness.

In the meantime, while the sun is still shining, time to do some housework, clean off the DVR (Formula One weekend eats up so much space so quickly!) and catch up on some reading.

Have a great weekend everyone!

First Friday Fringe

This weekend and next are the final rounds of the 2010 Formula One season.  Terry will be watching one of the practices live at home today since Brazil is nearly in our time zone (only two hours ahead of us).  Next weekend will wrap up what has been another competitive driver and constructor championship with the last round in Abu Dhabi.   I’ll be content to watch them on the reply when I burn the GPs to DVD from the DVR sometime in the next few weeks.

Lunch time view South Plaza early Nov 2010

Since I no longer have any science fiction television to look forward to on Friday nights, I’ll continue reading Blackout by Connie Willis. I’m about half done with it and I have All Clear, the sequel, waiting to pick up as soon as I finish Blackout.  Only about twelve hundred pages total between the two and not as heavy as the tome I read in September by Brandon Sanderson:  The Way of Kings.

I’ve accumulated over two hundred points over the past couple of years by giving away books via BookMooch, yet because I read fantasy and occasionally science fiction, I’m not finding many books to mooch from others.  Yet I still need to divest myself of some more books (hardcovers mostly).   So I think I’ll branch out to another swap site, a division of one of my favorite reading and reviewing web sites, the GoodReads swap.   That’s my first project for Saturday morning, to prep and post about a half dozen hardcovers via GoodReads swap.

The second task for Saturday morning involves wrestling the Rotts into the car and heading to the vet for some pre-boarding shots.  In a couple of weeks, Terry and I will travel south to visit our kids in north Texas for Thanksgiving.  Roxy and Apollo will remain behind and make new friends at Deb’s Riverview Kennel.  On the way back, weather permitting, we might let them roam free at the Waggin’ Tails Dog Park for a half hour or so.

Once back home, I should probably make a few loaves of bread, for Terry and for my dad. Most likely I’ll make a Rustic Sourdough (dough in the bread machine, but shaped and baked in conventional oven) as well as Honey Wheat and White Sandwich loaves.  He’s traveling next week to Virginia for a mini-family reunion at his brother’s home.  My aunt from Ohio will also attend.  My dad and his brother were born on November 17 and 18 almost exactly four years apart and my aunt was born on November 29 so they’ll be having mutual birthday celebrations.  I hope to send a loaf or two with dad for them to enjoy.

In addition to their birthdays, I’ll swing by WalMart and pick up a gift card and birthday card for my daughter-in-law’s birthday, which is the 12th.  Terry’s birthday is on the 14th, but at least he’s not leaving town on me.  For a birthday present to him, we may go see Mannheim Steamroller in Topeka that weekend.

It’s a new moon tonight so I’ll probably get the telescope out tonight and tomorrow night for some viewing.  I might even venture out into the county looking for a nice dark spot away from all the light pollution of Lansing (and the prison that’s only two blocks north of my house with all it’s blazing orange halogen lights) and Kansas City.  I should probably dig out some light gloves though since the evening and night temperatures have been dropping down into the 30s most of this week.

Sunday morning I’ll be substituting for the accompanist at Southern Heights UMC during worship, which is also communion Sunday (being the first Sunday of the month) so I’ll be playing a bit more than a normal service.  But the choir took the weekend off and the special music doesn’t require an accompanist.  All in all, should be a fun hour well spent.

Sunday afternoon will be for relaxing, reading or watching movies.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Sourdough Saturday Ends With Jumping Jupiter and Magnificent Moon

I woke up five minutes before my five o’clock alarm this morning.  Not unusual, except for it being a Saturday.  But I needed to hit the ground running if I was going to get all the bread baked today.

First thing, I pulled the sourdough crock out of the refrigerator to get it warmed up to room temperature.  Second, I quickly mixed up my favorite Honey Wheat bread recipe.   While waiting for the bread machine to mix, knead and rise that recipe (elapsed time ninety minutes), I started recording to DVD from the DVR the Belgian Grand Prix (since I’m five GPs behind and only three left for the 2010 season) .  I managed to read a few chapters of Cryoburn concurrently.

I shaped the Honey Wheat dough into a loaf and set it to rise for anther forty-five minutes. I took a short break to visit with friends for brunch at Santa Fe Depot.  Probably a good choice since the new IHOP in Lansing was overflowing at ten o’clock.  After a great visit, I rushed to the Leavenworth Post Office to mail off eight mooched books to various states in the lower forty-eight.   I also stopped at the Book Exchange in an attempt to trade some hardcover science fiction novels, but she declined my offerings stating they were currently overstocked with hardcovers.

I returned home, completed my BookMooch and BookCrossing data updates and posted three of the hardcovers to my BookMooch inventory, one of which has already been mooched.

Now the sourdough starter was ready, all bubbly and soury.  I modified my Rustic Sourdough bread recipe to work in a bread machine on the dough cycle.  My modifications included the following:

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

This reduces the original recipe to a single loaf variation and rather than shaping a traditional round or oval loaf, I used a regular bread pan and scored it like you would a split top loaf.

After I got the Rustic Sourdough into the bread machine, I immediately started the Rosemary Sourdough recipe in the Kitchenaid stand mixer.  This recipe should not be over mixed nor kneaded, so it’s a very sticky mess when you scrape it into a glass bowl (generously coated with cooking spray) and covered with clear plastic wrap.  Let rise for ninety minutes or more until doubled in size.

The Sourdoughs kept me busy all afternoon.  I was able to start another, final loaf before three o’clock, which was one of my family’s favorites: Honey Wheat Black Bread.  I shaped it into a braid and waited for it to rise.

With the last loaf still cooling on the rack, I rushed down to Bonner Springs to slip into the KC Ren Fest just before it closed.  I have a collection of mugs, steins and goblets going back to 1988.  The person at the Will Call window was kind enough to let me into the festival for a few minutes to buy a mug and a goblet.  Pickings were slim (this being the last weekend of the festival), but I found a goblet and a stein I liked and quickly returned home.

I was surprised to see my dad’s car parked in the driveway as I thought I had told him to call me if he was going to stop by to partake in some star gazing this evening.  Apparently, he arrived at the house just minutes after I left for Bonner Springs.

We waited for the sun to set and started setting up the the telescope in the great room in a polar mount orientation.  We moved the equipment out front to the driveway, since Jupiter is not visible from my backyard until around ten o’clock.  We determined the sidereal tracking in polar mount worked well and kept Jupiter and it’s three visible moons centered for an hour or so.  Feeling confident, we attached the Pentax K100D to attempt a better photo shoot of Jupiter, but quickly realized the weight of the camera was too much for the motors of the telescope.  We removed the camera and went back to viewing Jupiter with various eye pieces and barlowes of varying magnifications.

Just before dad was leaving and as we were contemplating putting the equipment back in the great room, the moon (more than half full now) peaked out from behind the pin oak in my side yard (which also shields the driveway from the annoying streetlight planted next to the stop sign in my side yard at the corner of Bambi Court and Fawn Valley.  We reoriented the telescope to the moon and began viewing it with various eye pieces.  We also tried the moon filter, which helped tone down the incredible brightness funneled through the telescope into our eyes.

After a few minutes of moon gazing, we packed up the equipment and returned it to the great room.  We said our good nights and I’m grateful to be off my feet finally.  My knees have had enough today.

Sunday will be easier since I only need to make one more loaf (possibly two) and then figure out how to transport six loaves to work via the vanpool without smushing any of them.