pita bread

June 12, 2011

A friend gave me a box of za’atar, a spice mixture with sumac and sesame seeds (and I am not sure what else..) and so I made some pita breads for it.

The yeasted dough is left to rise, and then divided into small balls,

flattened, and baked on a hot pizza stone (in my case, several cast iron pans) in a 500 degree oven.

The breads puff up quickly, and then flatten and soften as they cool. It is important to put the cooling pitas in a container to soften.

I didn’t last time and ended up with an awfully hard batch, which was remedied by storing the cooled breads in a plastic bag with a damp tea towel.

To top the pitas, I strained some radiance dairy yogurt and topped it with some of our new Tunisian olive oil, and za’atar. Simple and delicious!

I thinned my carrot patch this afternoon after work.

The bulging ones are paris markets, the purple is a dragon, and the long skinny ones are danvers. All from Seed Savers Exchange (via At Home Store).

My brother found this for me at a garage sale for $30.00. And it works! (Just about perfectly…) It is an old Franklin treadle sewing machine, made by Sears and a knock-off of an old Singer. No electricity is needed to power it, just the up and down of feet pressing on the treadle, which is attached to the machine by a leather cord. I love being able to create power for a machine!

My friend Pat and I took it apart, and cleaned, oiled and put back together all the parts. It came with the worlds cutest oil tin (which I have since filled with machine oil), and a box of supplies (things to make ruffles, bias tape, and other things that Pat knows how to use!) The machine was missing a bobbin shuttle (I have since found a broken one, and still need a new one..) and had a broken belt. Other than that it is fully operational!

We went to the sewing store in Ottumwa and bought a new belt, and need to find a new bobbin shuttle (pictured above, looks like a bit like a bullet) somewhere.

The manual is in a mostly usable condition…which is amazing considering it is about 100 years old. Too bad a mouse got to it…some of the directions are chewed off, but you can mostly figure out what is going on by looking at the pictures and text together.


The bobbin threader might be my favorite part. It pops out and connects with the belt, and carefully rotates back and forth to evenly fill the bobbin.

The oak box is in really good condition. It has four drawers to keep supplies, and the top folds down to put the machine away. My dad is going to find me a lace doily for the top.

And now I will be happily sewing away during the next power outage. (I will probably make a point of it.)


June 5, 2011

My dad and I have a tractor. Her name is Louise and she is yellow. These are the important things.

Louise is a 36 hp Ford 2110 (similar to a Ford 3000, but with shorter front tire spindles) produced in the early/mid eighties (’83-’86). My dad and I found her in Oskaloosa, where she dutifully spent her life wearing turf tires and pulling a mower for the local golf course. (This is also why she is the industrial yellow instead of the classic Ford blue.) When we found her, Louise had been sitting on the lot for about 2 years, and her tires had been changed to ag tires. She didn’t have any implements, and needed a little bit of tuning up.

Our friend Mike came along with us to meet Louise. Mike can listen to a tractor hum and know if it is a good one. He approved of Louise just about right away, and took her for a little spin around the lot. Mike knows just about everything about tractors. No Joke.

After we purchased Louse, Mike tied her up onto the back of a trailer pulled by Tonka Truck (his large rig), and took her home to Fairfield. Mike did a bit of work on Louise. He patched her rear left tire rim, which was a bit rusted through, and fixed the starter, which wasn’t working properly, and replaced the tachometer. Louise had about 7500 tractor hours when we purchased her, but she was in good shape. Working at the golf course has its benefits.

Louise runs on gasoline, and has a newly fixed up motor. She has power steering, and a pto, and a class one three point hitch that we can attach a mower, plow and disc to.

When we got Louise home, the implement hunt started. I have gotten really good about asking everyone I know if they know of anyone that might know of anyone that might know something about a disc…or plow…or mower…or front end loader…or snow plow…and on and on.

Tractors are handy, but without implements they just look pretty and are fun to drive.

We set out to find a disc and plow first. To get the field ready to plant pumpkins, squash, corn and beans. Mike had a friend who found a rusty old plow at an auction, and he picked that up for us.

My dad found a beautiful red disc, and took Louise to pick it up.

Louse, the plow, and the disc made it out to the farm, piece by piece.

Currently, Louise has plowed the pumpkin patch. We are waiting for the soil to dry to disc it up. It is awfully wet, and Louise doesn’t do so well with muddy soil.

Louise spends most of her time in the garage with Big Red.

Her skin is sensitive, and she has to stay away from all those UV rays.

Sometimes she takes a drive down the lane. Just for fun.

Louise has 8 speeds, and reverse. She can turn on an individually braked tire.

No such thing as a three point turn for Louise!