Data Vampire, revisited

Last day of the month, so I checked out the data usage on my desktop.

To recap for new readers, the only internet service we can get out here is satellite, because the alternative was to install a tower at least 60 feet high to be able to get any sort of signal from the nearest signal tower.  We just can’t afford that.  The highest non-business data plan available is for 100 gigs of data, which we promptly screamed through.  Going beyond that 100 gigs, without useage.detailsaffecting our speed, came at a price of $2 a gig (otherwise, we’d still have internet access, but it would be very limited in speed).  It ended up being cheaper for us to have a second satellite account for another 100 gigs.

We were still going through the data really fast, which lead to some investigating as to what activity was using so much data.

It turned out to be my desktop’s system.  I had a Data Vampire.  This image was captured back in January, when I first discovered the issue.  No wonder we were going through our data plan so fast!  Almost all of it was being used up by my own computer, without my knowing it!

My daughters checked out their desktops, too, but they are on wi-fi, so they can meter their data usage.  They still shut off anything they could find that might be using the internet without permission, and are also monitoring their usage statistics.

useage.details.end.FebMy desktop is hard wired, so metering wasn’t an option.  I went through everything I could find and shut off anything that looked like it could be sucking up our data.

Within less than a week, I could see there was a drop in data usage.  The stats are for the last 30 days, regardless of when you look at them, so best way to monitor it and compare with our internet accounts, was by resetting the stats at the end of the month, then checking it again at the end of the next month.

This second image is from the end of February.  What a major difference!

Our total usage for the February, between the two accounts, went from almost the full 200 gigs we had available, to about 150 gigs.  The second account was added in the middle of the month, so that’s when the data plan flips, while the original account flips at the end of the month.  What we did was wait until the original account reached between 80-90%, shortly after mid-month, then switched the cables on the router to the second satellite.

At the beginning of March, my husband switched the cables again, so the first half of the month would be once again using the original account.  The plan was to repeat what we’d done in February, and switch to the new account at the 80% plus level.

We were into the last third of March, and barely more than 75%.

Which means we went from screaming through our data plan like no tomorrow, to under-utilizing our data!

Now, we were being frugal with our data usage; especially my daughters.  We were all putting off updates for various things – even our phone apps – to conserve data.

useage.details.end.MarchOnce we realized that was no longer necessary, we switched cables and my daughter did all the updates she had been letting slide.  With our satellite speeds, she had one that told her it would take 3 days to download!

It didn’t take that long.

Meanwhile, I’ve started doing more things like uploading videos to YouTube and photos to Instagram.  I was going to add that I have been watching more videos now, too, but I really haven’t.  Not because I don’t want to, but because it takes forever for them to load.  At you can see, my browser usage has gone up, but the system usage is only a bit higher than last month.  I expect it will go up more next month, if only because Lent is over and I will be back on Facebook. 😀

Even with all that deliberate internet usage, the second account has only just reached a little over 26% as of today.  So we still ended up using more than 100 gigs a month, between the two accounts.  Just not much more.

Before we moved, we averaged about 350 gigs a month on our unlimited, high speed internet.  Now I wonder how much of that was our actual usage, and how much of that was my Data Vampire.  I would never have known it was there had we not moved to the sticks, simply because I had no reason to look.  We all use the internet so much, it just didn’t seem odd.

For myself, this means I’ll be uploading more videos onto the new YouTube channel.  I’ve already started to upload videos I’d posted directly to the blog by using the share function on my phone, then replacing the shared videos with embedded YouTube videos.  Once the posts get updated, I can deleted the version stored in my WordPress media, freeing up data.

Just two videos brought my media status bar from being in the red at over 80%, to an amber low 70’s.  A few more of these, and I should be able to bring it down by quite a bit.


The Re-Farmer

Today’s deer visitors

I was rather late getting the deer feed out today.  We ran out yesterday, so the plan was to pick up some more after getting our Easter basket blessed in town.  That was scheduled for noon.

My younger daughter came along, so we took advantage of being out together and played Pokemon Go while we were out.  There was a major update, and all kinds of new things in the game, so we had a lot of fun – and saw a lot of other vehicles driving around and parking in certain areas, just like we were!  😀

Which meant we didn’t actually get home until past 2pm or so.

Rather than get the same feed at the local store we usually do, I decided to try one of the places in town that carried feed.  It’s quite a bit more expensive, though we caught a good sale, so it wasn’t too bad.  We still got only one bag.  The reason for the extra cost became clear, when we saw the list of what was in it.  Our usual feed is mostly sunflower seeds with some grain.  This stuff is mostly grain, plus corn and a couple of other things.

We’ll see how it goes over.  It wouldn’t be worth paying extra, if it turns out the deer don’t like it.

As the feed was being rung up, I noticed the display had it under “pet food.”  I chuckled and commented on it.  The cashier told me, they may was well be pets, considering how much money people are spending to buy feed for them.


On the way out, we saw quite a few deer in that first mile on the made road from our place, and more on the way back.  Deer did come to our place while we were gone, even without fresh feed, and my older daughter got a few photos.  Once my younger daughter and I got home and unloaded the van, I put the new deer feed out.  Some came by when I wasn’t around to take photos, but the mama with no tail and her boy came by again later on, so I was able to get more photos.

I have had a name suggested for the deer with no tail.



Yeah.  I’m going to run with it.

So here is Detail and her boy!

Check out those antler nubs!


They are noticeably bigger than the last time I saw him.  I’m thinking we should be seeing antler tips very soon.


Detail has such a long face, and a distinctive dark spot above her right eye.  For a while, I wasn’t sure if it was her fur, or something caught in her fur, but it’s definitely a dark patch of fur.

She also obliged me with a tongue shot.


As did her boy. 🙂



The Re-Farmer

Blessing of the Baskets

My younger daughter and I took our basket into town for blessing.  After a bit of shifting things around, this is what our basket looked like.


The prosciutto roses were added at the very end, because they dry out so quickly – though they did double duty in holding some of the eggs in place!  I ended up fitting 8 of each type of egg into the basket, so there were some of the tea dyed and onion skin dyed eggs left over.

The embroidered table cloth is one of a couple of antique embroidered linens I’ve managed to acquire many, many years ago.  It has 8 little matching napkins.

Normally, I would have ironed it first, but neither of our two irons made it with the movers.

Which reminds me.  I have come to realize something.

We are now completely finished unpacking!

I had unpacked a box of books in the office some time ago.  I still have a number of bins, but aside from one that’s still got stuff in it because I have to find the right spot of them, they don’t need to be unpacked.  The stuff in them belongs in the bins.

On the one hand, Yay!  We’re unpacked!

On the other… there is now no possibility of finding the missing stuff jammed into an unpacked box somewhere.  That stuff is lost.

Including my two irons.


But I digress!

I snagged a quick photo in the church…


Another half dozen or so baskets were added after this photo was taken.

I’m taken aback by the lit candles inside people’s baskets.  I’m reading “fire hazard” all over the place!  😀  My daughter remembers the last time we brought our baskets here for blessing, several Easters ago.  We had come out for a visit and stayed with my father, in the very house we live in now.  We had included a candle in our basket.  Someone lit it for us!

A couple of the baskets that came after this photo was taken were just huge!  You can kind of tell whose baskets are for larger families. 😀 There was one that had the most interesting wire holder for the eggs, that kept them well above the rest of the food.  I love all the different styles of baskets and how they are decorated, too.

If you look towards the back of the photo, on the riser above the baskets at the foot of the alter, is a small basket that doesn’t have any food in it.  That’s a donation basket for the priest, for doing the blessing.  I remember helping my mother bring baskets for blessing, and she would set up the little donation basket, and a second one, where she added some food items from our own baskets.  Other people followed her lead and added more, so that by the end of it, the priest also had a basket full of food!

For the blessing ceremony, a prayer and blessing was said, then the priest sprinkled all the baskets with holy water.  Then he went down the aisle and sprinkled us, too.  We finished with a rousing hymn of blessing, with the priest grinning from ear to ear as he sang, his arms waving to the rhythm.  Clearly, this is a ceremony much enjoyed by the priest, as well!

Then, after we retrieved our basket, I saw him standing there with his iPhone out, taking video of us all, getting our baskets, still with that huge, joyful smile on his face.

It was awesome.

The Re-Farmer

Our Daily Deer

I’m told I missed a whole lot of deer visiting when I went into town.  My daughter and I still saw about a dozen or so, in three different groups, just in the first mile along the road from our place.  We saw more, again, on the way back, as well as a couple of other between our little hamlet and the next town.  They were really active today!

Tomorrow, when we come back from blessing the baskets, we’re going to have to get more deer feed.  I put out the last of it today.

No one was able to get photos while we were out, but thankfully, we got more visits later, and I was able to take photos.

First up was Hungry Girl and Barbecue.


They didn’t stay for long.  Something kept startling them.

After that came the deer with no tail, and her little one!

We’re going to have to come up with a name for her.  “Deer with no tail” is a bit cumbersome.


I kept trying to get a good shot of the little one’s antler nubs, but they are still so small, that they don’t really show well in the photos.

If you saw the video I posted earlier, you saw Mama and the twins come in, too.

Mama and the twins drove these two off for a while, but they came back soon after.

They definitely enforce their hierarchy at the feeding station!

I just love this photo of one of the twins.


Such beautiful eyes!!!

There was a daring squirrel that would come in while the deer were feeding, and both Mama and the twins, and the other pair, were very curious about it today.  The mama with no tail did a bunch of foot stomping at it – which the squirrel ignored – and her boy, as well as one of the twins, got brave enough to approach and try and sniff it.  Which the squirrel also ignored! 😀

I’m so glad we are getting more regular visitors.

The Re-Farmer

Eggs, three ways!

Today, we did the final preparations for our Easter basket.  Which required an extra trip into town to get more eggs!

We eat a lot of eggs.

I see chickens in our future.

We tend to do eggs at least 2 ways.  This year, with the pickled pink eggs, we have 3 varieties.

First up, here is how the pickled pink eggs turned out.

Pickled pink eggs

Pickled Pink eggs, after 3 days in the pickling liquid.

Of the 12 eggs we pickled, I went over them and picked the 8 best, leaving 4 for us to taste test.

They are quite delicious.  The pickling gives the eggs a very solid, dense feel, and the tang after 3 days in the pickling liquid is just right.

We then got two pots of 18 eggs each going.  One included the onion skins I’d been setting aside for the past few months, along with a splash of vinegar and a dash of turmeric, for extra colour, in the water.  Onion skin dyed eggs for the Easter basket are called kraszanki (kra-SHAN-kee) in Polish.  The turmeric is my own addition.  The eggs are hard boiled until they reach the desired colour; these were boiled for probably 45 minutes.

Onion skin dyed eggs

Always cook extra, in case of breakage!

Of the 18 eggs, 6 broke, leaving an even dozen for the basket.  It’s unlikely we’ll be able to fit all of them in.

The other batch of eggs were boiled for 10 minutes.  The hot water was replaced with cold until they reached a temperature where they could be handled.  Using the back of a spoon, the shells were cracked all over.  After that, they were returned to the stove to boil again, this time with 3 Tbsp black tea leaves, 1 tsp sugar, a tsp of five spice mix (or, as we did today, the equivalent spices I had on hand) and 1/2 cup soy sauce.  They were then cooked for another 45 minutes or so – again, it’s until the desired colour is reached.  The original recipe I’d found for these said to cook them for 3 hours!  We’ve never cooked them that long.

Here is what they looked like, after being drained and rinsed.

Tea dyed eggs

Once they were cooled down, it was time to peel them.

Out of the 18, 7 got damaged while being peeled.

And that is why we cook so many extra eggs! 😀

Peeled, tea dyed eggs

In all the years we have done these eggs, including years when we’d cooked them for much longer, the coloured parts have never looked this intense!

I wonder if our well water has something to do with it?

Meanwhile, I dug out some of my collection of little bowls (I adore little bowls, so I’ve got quite a few) and other pretty dishes to hold the other basket ingredients.  Some of the vinegar and olive oil were transferred to small pitchers with liquid tight stoppers.  For the butter, we whipped some with parsley and fresh garlic.  The salt we’re using this year is Himalayan sea salt.  We are including a mustard this year, too.

Each item in the basket has symbolic meaning.

The bread symbolizes Jesus, who is the “bread of life.” Eggs symbolize the resurrection and new life.  Kielbasa (sausage) represents God’s favour and generosity.  Ham is a symbol of joy and abundance.  Bacon (which we don’t usually include, though sometimes we include prosciutto, instead) represents God’s mercy, as well as generosity.  Butter is a reminder of the good will we should have to all.  The butter is traditionally shaped into a lamb, but we usually have plain or herbed butter decorated with a cross made of cloves.  Some years, we’ve had a lamb made out of marzipan.  The lamb, of course, symbolizes Jesus.

Horseradish, with its strong, bitter flavour, reminds us of the Passion of Christ.  When made into a spread sweetened with beet juice, it represents both the pain of Christ’s crucifixion and the sweet joy of resurrection.  Salt is a reminder for us to be the “salt of the earth” and symbolizes prosperity and justice.  Cheese symbolizes moderation.

We’ve included olives and olive oil in our baskets, symbolizing peace, wisdom and hope.  Vinegar is there to remind us of the crucifixion, when Jesus was given vinegar (also translated as sour wine) on a sponge to drink.  We sometimes include mustard – preferably a type in which the seeds are still visible – to represent faith.

A candle can also be included, to symbolize Christ as the Light of the World.  The baskets can be decorated with spring flowers, greenery and ribbons to represent new life and the resurrection.  A bottle of red wine is also appropriate to include, to symbolize the blood of Christ.  Then the whole thing is covered with a fine embroidered or lace cloth.

The blessing of the baskets, called Święconka (shvye-CHONE-ka is a rough approximation of how it’s pronounced) in Polish, happens on Holy Saturday.  The blessing of the baskets is one of my fondest childhood memories.  Some years, I would have my own tiny little basket to carry (okay; tiny is a relative statement in our family…) for the blessing.  They would all be laid out at the front of the church, on the steps leading up to the altar.  I loved looking at all the different ways people did their baskets, and the different things they would include.  There is plenty of room for variety in this tradition!  I saw all kinds of breads, fruit, and eggs decorated in all sorts of ways.  With so many baskets, the church was soon smelling so good!  There was such a sense of anticipation – so very appropriate, as we anticipated celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Whatever traditions you have for Easter, I hope that it brings you much joy and peace.

The Re-Farmer

The Story Continues (plus critters)

I had hoped that, after spending so much time needing to prove who I am and that I actually do live where I live, it would be done.

And in a way, it is.  A major hurdle is now behind us.

Now it’s all about the van.

The parts I needed came in this morning, so I went back to the garage to get the work done to pass safety inspection.

This time, I brought my project bag so I could do some crochet while waiting.  The garage isn’t in town, but along a major highway, so it’s not like I walk over to a coffee shop or something while I waited. 😉

One of the things that needed to be done was replace the LED brake light above the rear windshield.  That went well, and it looks great.  The previous one had a bit crack in it.

Then there was the ABS issue.

Yesterday, they replaced the connector for the harness and hooked it up, and were getting erratic readings.

The brakes themselves are working fine.  The next thing was to replace the bearings.  Which they did.

That didn’t solve the problem.  The indicator lights are still turning on, and their readings still come back as erratic.

They ended up basically doing the entire safety inspection, all over again, trying to trace the problem (at no extra charge).  Mechanically, they can find no reason for my ABS light to be on.

Which means it could be a wiring problem, or the instrument cluster in the dash.

If it were the instrument cluster, there would probably be other things going off, too.  So it’s likely the harness.  So they went ahead and ordered a new one for me.  It’ll cost about the same as that LED light bar for the rear brake light.

Now, of the bearings they changed, one set was really bad.  The second was borderline.  So because that one might not have needed to be changed, and changing it didn’t solve the problem, they are not going to charge me labour to put in the new harness; just the cost of the part.  I’ll get a call in a couple of weeks, when it’s expected to come in.  I probably won’t actually come in to get it replaced until the end of the month, when next pay comes in.

After talking about passing the safety inspection so I could transfer the vehicle registration and insurance to this province, and confirming that I was going to keep the vehicle, and wasn’t trying to sell it, they signed off on the inspection.  At this point, there is no actual safety issue.  Just a light that’s turning on, and they don’t know why.

I did mention that it took a week after getting a new gas cap that the “check gas cap” notification to stop turning on.  Who knows.  Maybe the same thing will happen with the ABS indicator.

Once I paid for the work and got my inspection sheets, I went into town to transfer our vehicle, while the office was still open.  Yay!

I get there and give the woman at the desk the inspection form and the insurance and registration cards.

She starts going over them, so I wait.

And wait.

She kept looking back and forth.

Then back and forth again.

A perplexed expression began to form on her face.

Oh, dear.  Now what?

After a while she tells me, the VIN numbers don’t match.


The VIN on the insurance and registration cards had different numbers than on the inspection form.  The letters at the beginning matched, but the numbers were completely different.


I didn’t even think to double check.  Why would I?  Sure enough, the numbers were completely different.

Well, that meant going back to the garage.  However, before I left, they asked me about my husband.  His name is on the insurance and registration.  He is the primary owner of the van, which allowed us to get a veteran’s plate.

Which meant he needed to be there.

Also, did he have his new license?

No.  I explained that he doesn’t really drive anymore because of pain, and pain was why he hadn’t made it in to transfer his driver’s license.

After talking about options, including having his name taken off (would he have to fill out a gifting form?), but the easiest thing would be for him to come in, get his driver’s license transferred – they confirmed with me that he had all the necessary documentation! – then transfer the vehicle over at the same time.

Tomorrow being Good Friday, the office will be closed; that would mean coming in on Saturday, at the earliest.  Otherwise, it would have to wait until after Easter.

I then asked about the time frame.  Normally, there is 90 days to get all this done when moving to a new province.  I’m over the 90 days.

After confirming that my insurance company was okay with it, they let me know that the provincial insurance would also be okay with it, since we are clearly at least TRYING to get it done!  If we had simply not bothered for 6 months or something, that would be different.  My file has notations for all of this, so there is documentation showing that it is actually being worked on.

So yes, I am indeed still driving legally!

When I went back to the vehicle, safety inspection form in hand, I went to look at the VIN on the dash, confirming that the one on the form did not match, while my insurance and registration cards did.  Once in the vehicle, I phoned the garage and told them the numbers didn’t match.  I was looking at the form as I called and realized that the year didn’t match, either.  Instead of a 2005, it had 2007.

The guy at the garage was flabbergasted.  How could that be?  He went and checked on the computer, looking up the number that was on their copy of the form.  Sure enough, it was coming back as a 2007 model.  What the heck?

Then he remembered.

Didn’t I say something about getting a new door?

I had mentioned this to him only in passing, so I’m really impressed that he remembered.  I didn’t even think of it.  The mechanic must have taken the VIN from the door, instead of the dash, and that door frame is from another vehicle.

So I headed over to the garage to get a new form.  When I parked, the guy (the owner, I think) came right out with one of the mechanics, and a new form.  He’d filled everything else out already, and just had to take down the right VIN and confirm the year.

As the paperwork was being prepped, the mechanic looked at me and asked, “you’re (my younger brother)’s sister?”  Yes, I am.  “We went to school together!”

Turns out he’s from my home town and we’d both gone to the tiny little, two classroom school that was here (when the school closed, there were only 8 students from Kindergarten to grade 3!).

I admitted I didn’t remember him at all.  After all these years, I barely remember anybody!

Still, it was cool to find that connection!

I now have the new safety inspection form, but that was it for the day.  There was no way I could go home, pick up my husband, then come back before the office closed.

Ah, well.

Meanwhile, the family was visited by a whole bunch of deer while I was gone, and my daughter got some photos.


Hungry Girl and Barbecue had come by.  Mama and the twins, as usual, chased away Hungry Girl and Barbecue, though both came back to continue feeding near them later.

None of them, however were willing to allow two others to join them.


It’s the deer with no tail again!  My daughter got this picture through the dining room window.  They kept looking into the bush, and towards the pile of stuff nearby.  Likely there was a cat somewhere in the area.

After the other 5 left, these two did get to go over the the feeding station and get some nibbles.

Then, not long after I got home, another deer showed up, all by itself.  Number 8!


I chose this picture because of the interesting colour changes along its jaw and neck.  It doesn’t show in any other photos.  We’re thinking there might be something from the house reflecting onto her.  No idea what it might be. Especially at that angle.

Tomorrow, the main goal of the day is to prepare the Easter basket for blessing on Saturday.  I still need to find out what time that’s happening!

I’m really looking forward to it!

The Re-Farmer







Basic Sourdough Rye Bread

The following is the Rogers Basic Rye Bread recipe, modified into a sourdough version.

We have never used lemon juice in bread baking before, but the packaging for our rye flour recommends it as a conditioner for no-additive flour.  In fact, the packaging is very enthusiastic about the use of lemon juice in bread baking! 😀

We did not use the optional caraway seeds.

This time around, I decided to use our pizza stone.  It’s been ages since I used it, and I wanted to see how it worked for bread baking.  The stone cannot be oiled, so the surface is dusted with only corn meal to prevent sticking.

Basic Sourdough Rye Breadsourdough.rye.prep

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp molasses
1 Tbsp Yeast

  1. Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.

2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup rye sourdough starter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups rye flour
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Optional: 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
Optional: egg wash (1 egg beaten in about 1 Tbsp water)

Note: honey can be used in place of molasses

  1. In a large bowl, mix molasses, oil, salt, optional seeds, warm water, lemon juice and starter.  Add the yeast mixture and mix well.
  2. Add the rye flour and beat with an electric mixer on low for 2 minutes, or by hand for about 200 strokes.
  3. Add all purpose flour by the half cup full until a stiff dough is formed.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly, adding more flour as needed.  Knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl, turning the dough to coat all sides with oil.  Cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled; about 1 – 2 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide into two pieces for regular sized loves, or four pieces for mini loaves.
  7. Lightly knead and shape the pieces into loaves and place onto prepared baking pans.  Cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.  Score the loaves with a sharp knife.  Add optional egg wash.
  8. Place in centre rack of oven preheated to 350F.  Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes for regular sized loaves or about 25-30 minutes for mini-loaves.
  9. Allow finished loaves to cool on rack.


Braided Egg Bread

Today, we made our bread for our traditional Polish Easter basket.  Though paska is usually associated with Easter, this lovely bread is also traditional.

One of the things that’s important for this bread is for the eggs to be at room temperature.

dried blood orange zest

Zest of 2 blood oranges.

This year, we added a new ingredient; dried orange zest.  I like to dry my own zest, and this time I had some from blood oranges.  I deliberately chose the reddest ones to get a much darker coloured zest.

If you have a zester, it makes it really easy to quickly zest your fruit over a paper towel.  Spread the zest thinly and leave to dry.  When dry, store in an air tight container.

Easter Bread

Easter bread ingredients

Not pictured: flour

2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp yeast
saffron; a few threads
optional: orange zest
2 eggs
5-6 cups all purpose flour


  1. Proof the yeast in warm water (about 1/2 – 2/3 cups) in a large bowl for about 10 minutes.
  2. Soften the saffron threads in a small amount of very warm water.
  3. Scald the milk, then add in the butter, sugar and salt.  Stir until butter is melted.
  4. Allow the milk mixture to cool before adding it to the yeast mixture.  While it’s cooling, stir in the saffron and optional orange zest, then add the milk mixture to the proofed yeast.
  5. Stir thoroughly, then mix in the eggs (if the mixture seems too warm still, the eggs can be added after the first cup or two of flour).
  6. Add 3 cups of flour and beat thoroughly with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or by hand for about 200 strokes.
  7. Add more flour by the half cup-full until a stiff dough begins to form.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly, adding more flour as needed.  If kneading by hand, knead for at least 5 minutes.
  8. Clean and oil the large bowl.  Add the kneaded dough to the bowl, turning it to coat all sides with oil.
  9. Cover loosely and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.
  10. Once the dough is doubled in size, turn it onto onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times.  Divide the dough in half, and return one half to the bowl.
    Braided egg bread

    Braided loaves, ready for the oven!

    Braided loaves, after rising and ready for the oven!

  11. To form a braid, divide the remaining half into 3 equal pieces.  Knead each piece a few times, then form into a rope about 12-18 inches.  Join the three lengths together at one end, then braid the dough.  Tuck under the ends to hide them, then transfer the braided loaf onto a well oiled baking sheet.
  12. Repeat with the second half of the dough, or use it to create other shapes.
  13. Cover and allow to rise again for about half an hour.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  14. Optional: glaze the loaves with an egg wash (2 egg beaten with about a tablespoon of water) to get a nicely browned surface.
  15. After the loaves have risen, place into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
  16. When done, allow the bread to cool slightly before carefully removing from the pan to a cooling rack.



More new deer?

Today was a chilly day, with very high winds.  There had been freezing rain the night before, so it was pretty slippery driving out to get the van’s safety inspection, with winds buffeting all the way.  Even when parked!  After they were done with the van, I sat in it for a while, updating my husband with Skype (we used to text each other all the time, but Skype uses internet, so it’ll actually get through).  The wind was rocking the van hard enough that, as I was focusing on tapping out my message, I was actually feeling some vertigo!

With the unpleasant conditions, it was no surprise that no deer came over, and for a while I thought we wouldn’t see any at all.

Then a whole bunch showed up, all at once!

At first, three came running in, with a little one in the lead.  A slightly larger one followed, while and even larger third deer hung back at the tree line.

The slightly larger one kept trying to drive away the little one, who kept coming back.  Then the bigger one by the trees went at the middle sized one.

While watching their antics, I suddenly realized I was seeing two more deer coming through the spruces, and one of them drove off the two bigger ones.

I didn’t recognize the two that got driven off.  It looks like we got some more new ones, but they didn’t have any distinguishing marks that would allow me be sure. The little one turned out to be one of the twins, and the two coming out of the spruces was Mama and the other twin.  The twins have distinctive black on their ears.


Mama and the twins.  She’s the one with the heart shape on her forehead.

Not long after, we spotted the other two through the dining room window!  These two had cut through the spruce grove to come around a pile of pallets and whatnot that’s sitting at the edge of the trees.  Deer rarely come from that direction.  They tried to come back to the feeding station, but Mama and the twins weren’t about to let them!


One of the twins.

Deer.  They’re so dramatic! 😀

While all that was going on, my husband and I decided we needed to get the van work done to pass safety.  We’re going to have to go into the money for the broken power pole, but what choice do we have?  Getting the new pole will just have to be pushed back.  The vehicle is the priority right now.

That decided, I called the garage to tell them to go ahead and order the parts.  Turns out that I’d called early enough that the order would go out today, and the parts should come in tomorrow.  They were able to book me for the afternoon, though I was asked to phone at noon, first, to check if the parts were in.  No point in getting any of the work done, if there is a delay in any of the parts.

It had been my intention to bake the Easter bread tomorrow.  Since I’m most likely going to be spending quite a bit of time at the garage, I decided to do it today.  This bread has such a completely different texture than our usual bread.  It’s all that eggs, butter and milk!  Then, I tried a new rye bread recipe, modified to use our rye sourdough starter.

Both came out looking awesome!

I’ll be posting the recipes separately.

We’ve also dug out our Easter baskets, and will have to use the biggest one this year.  The braided loaf I made is too long for the round one we usually use!  Even with the bigger basket, we’ll have to find some way to support it from underneath, so it doesn’t break apart.

Now that’s the kind of problem I would much rather have, instead of vehicle problems! 😀

The Re-Farmer