Here I am in Tucson,
experiencing season shock. Two days ago I was in wintery Kansas. The
temperature was 24º when I boarded a plane at MCI. Here it’s an ideal 72º with a clear
blue sky above.
The sun warms my back. Birds are singing. Shrubs
and aloes are blooming. Although I don’t know their names, their color gives me
This is the beginning of an
experiment in intergenerational living, involving grandparents, grandson and
his bride-to-be. Dennis and I plan to spend
our winters here, living in the two casitas behind our grandson’s house. This
year my Arizona sojourn, which Dennis was unable to join, will last about five
weeks. We enter this new phase of life with loving hearts, high hopes, and a sense of adventure.
I’ll be documenting this experience in a new blog, Tucson Times. Chicken Creek Journal will
be in abeyance for the duration of my stay. I’ll be back in time for spring
garden planting in Kansas.
That’s the question Rodney King asked after he was brutally
beaten by four Los Angeles police officers in 1991. We don't seem to have made much progress in that regard since Mr. King posed the question.
What does “get along” mean anyway? It certainly doesn’t mean
fighting with guns, bombs, beatings, beheadings, and other forms of physical violence.
Nor does it mean getting lovey-dovey with everyone. Remember the “love in” of
the late Twentieth Century hippie culture that mostly consisted of sexual
Really, getting along comes down to having mutual respect
and playing by a commonly agreed on set of rules, but I’m not seeing much of
that in the news or on the street.
In the United States political arena, mutual respect is
clearly lacking. The Republican Congress shows great disrespect to our
president through its condemnation of his every act and thought. No one seems willing to seek common ground or work for our common good.
One commonly agreed on rule is “Do not kill another person,” yet people
are doing horrible violence to one another in many parts of the world, often in
the name of their religion. There’s no declared war in the U.S., but citizens
are arming themselves as if civil war were imminent. Many of these people also
consider themselves to be Christians, whose Bible strictly forbids murder.
The phenomenon known as “road rage” is a prime example of a
lack of respect usually coupled with shooting to kill. Countless other examples
could be cited but I do not want to focus my mind on this heartbreaking subject
When arthritis cripples and
weakens hands or when age diminishes hand strength, one has to rethink how to
conduct the business of daily life. Getting into the packaging of products is a
A good example is those
little plastic grippers that show up on bread products. They're intended to be twisted off and clipped back on. I used to routinely do that, but no more.
Put the remaining bread
into a clean plastic bag (I use them over and over, washing them between uses)
Recycle the original bag
and the problem is solved.
Dealing with disability is all about thinking
outside the box.
Creation of a new recipe
requires experimentation. This bread, first created by accident out of
necessity, has been through several permutations involving different
combinations of flour, unbleached, whole wheat, and whole spelt. I’ve also used
canola oil or flax oil in varying amounts. The flax oil worked fine and had the
advantage of its high omega-3 content. When canola served as the oil, I’ve
added some ground flax seed for its fiber and omega-3. Mainly I’ve focused on
using a significant amount of whole spelt flour for its superior protein and
Not one of these
experiments has been a failure. Each one has raised well, tasted good, and made
As promised, here is the
recipe for accidental bread. Don’t hesitate to vary the flour combinations
according to your personal taste.
For the sponge:
2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons granular yeast
1 cup unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat bread
2 teaspoons salt
To finish the dough:
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ cup oil, scant
2 tablespoons honey
4 to 5 cups whole spelt
Making the sponge:
Pour the lukewarm water
into a mixer bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Don’t stir. Let this sit until the
yeast expands and rises to the top in what I think of as the bloom. This will
take several minutes, time enough to wash the breakfast dishes.
Now add the salt and beat
in the flour one cup at a time. Continue beating until the mixture forms
ribbons as it is stirred. Cover the bowl with plastic and/or a towel. Go away
and do something else for about an hour. Check the sponge for activity; it
should be bubbling and doubled in size.
Making the dough:
Stir down the sponge and
mix in the water, oil, and honey. Now add the spelt flour a cup at a time,
reserving one cup for kneading.
When the flour is
incorporated, turn the dough out onto a kneading cloth sprinkled with flour.
Knead, adding more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Bread made
with spelt flour requires less kneading than whole wheat. The dough will be soft,
but knead only until it is no longer sticky on the outside.
Place the dough in an oiled
bowl and turn it over so there is a coat of oil on the top. Cover and let rise
Divide the dough in two
parts. Shape into a loaves and place them in buttered 9” bread pans. Cover with
a cloth and let rise until the dough mounds up above the pans. Bake at 350º for
Turn the loaves out of the
pans and let them cool on a rack.
If you want to use ground
flax seed, add three tablespoons in place of three tablespoons of flour in the