Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

What to do while distancing from home?

Well, here we are in week, whatever it is, of the Covid-19 mess.  Spending a lot more time at home has provided us with an opportunity to spend a little more time on our backyard deck and actually enjoy our backyard!  One of the first things that I started to notice was that we had a lot more different types of birds around the house than I had really realized.  Having the time to just set and watch with a pair of binoculars, there are Robins, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red Bellied Wood Peckers,  Cedar Waxwings, and a little family of Blackburnian Warblers flying around.  So far the star of the local back yard group has been a family of Robin’s who build a nest on top of the back yard house light.

The Robin family was a determined little two birds at the start.  Twice I removed the beginning of a collection of dead grass that was appearing on top of the house light.  Then a few days later, I stepped out to find a completed next with four blue eggs inside.  As the nest was now already completed and in use, I had to leave it be.  But as it turns out, these Robins have been a treasure trove of entertainment.

Did you know that it is against Federal Law to remove an occupied active nest of a Robin?  In fact you cannot try to capture, raise, or Check out the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, if you doubt me.  All Migratory birds are protected under this treaty from being hunted, killed, captured or sold, or even messing with nests and eggs unless you have a specific license for such action.  This has helped to insure that birds are not over hunted, but also has includes a whole list of birds you do not think of when thinking about hunting of birds.

So, here are a photo of our new family of Robin’s:

Robin Family

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Birds, Photography, Things at Home | | Leave a comment

Sour Dough Bread – the new past-time

Is it just me, or does it seem that everyone is doing a lot more baking during the stay-at-home times in place across the country right now?  Well not to be left out of the picture, I too have been learning the art of making that perfect loaf of bread.

One of the main ingredients needed is yeast, without which, making a fluffy loaf of bread is pretty hard to bake.  Then I read about Sour Dough Bread.  No store bought yeast required.  All you need is a container, (I use a leftover plastic ice-cream container) into which you place a 1 1/2 cups of flour and 3/4 cup of water.  Then mix and cover with a vented lid and wait.  The vented lid is just the container cover with a couple holes in it.  This lets any build-up of air out, so the lid doesn’t pop off.  Just store on the kitchen counter.  This is day one.

What you are going to do, is to cultivate (grow) some natural yeast which is found naturally in very small quantities in the air.  This trick here is to get the yeast to start growing in a much larger concentrated quantity in the flour mixture you have just made.

A very handy part of this process is that as the natural yeast starts to grow, it is eating some of the flour and producing a little bit of alcohol in the process.  This alcohol helps to keep mold from gowning, so your Sour Dough bread starter does not spoil.

On day two, first remove 1/2 cup of the starter, which can be thrown away.  Then add in another 3/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water and mix.  On day three do the same thing.  You will notice that you are starting to see some good bubbling action in the mix and you are starting to get a little sour smell being generated.

By day 4 or 5, your container is starting to fill up as you keep adding more than you take out.  And, you are starting to see some really fast bubbling action after you add in the new fresh flour and water.  This is referred to as feeding your starter mix.

Now you have a culture of starter dough that has a nice supply of yeast, which is ready to make some bread.  Now it’s just mix in 1 1/2 cup of starter to 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt to start making your first loft of bread.   Don’t forget to feed your starter, and now you can place the starter into the refrigerator, and instead of feeding it every day, just feed it once a week.  Take the starter out of the refrigerator at least one day before using it, and don’t forget to feed it.

Four really good sour dough bread, you need to fold it a number of times and even store the dough after it has risen, in the refrigerator overnight, to help enhance the flavors even more.  I have not included a step by step instruction, as there a number of really good free recipes available just by searching for “free sour dough bread recipe”.

What I really wanted to share, that in this time of things disappearing off the grocery store shelves, the lack of yeast does not have to stop one from making some home made bread.  Now if only there was a good simple way to make home made flour?

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This was my first attempt at sour dough bread.  The wine is really a good thing to go with fresh bread!

April 26, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Masks and Covid-19

There has been a lot of information flying around about if the general public needs to wear masks, and if so what type of mask is needed.  Do I need an N-95 type mask, surgical mask, or is a Home Made mask adequate for me?

First, the Corona Covid-19 virus is amazingly small.  An N-95 Mask is able to filter the air to block the virus in the surface layers of the mask, providing that the mask is properly fit and does not have air leakage around the sides of the mask.  If you are a man with a beard, an N-95 mask will not work, as air will flow in around the sides of the mask.  If the mask is not properly fitting your face, air will seep in around the sides, so again the mask will not work.

So, if you do not know how to properly wear an n-95 mask, it will not be 100% effective.  If you do use the mask and have a good fit, you must know how to take off the mask without cross contamination, where you transfer possible viruses from the face of the mask onto your hands or other parts of your body during the removal of the mask, and thus exposing you to virus contamination, even though the mask was properly fit and working.

Well what about those surgical masks?  A surgical mask is not an N-95 mask.  It is a little over 95% effective, but will not filter out 100% of something as small as a virus.  But, why are these used in hospital surgery rooms and not N-95 masks?  The main reason to wear the surgical mask is not for the protection of the staff and doctors in the surgery room.  It is for the protection of the patient who is being operated on.  These masks are very effective at helping to contain the contaminates in the staffs breath, so they do not accidentally spread germs to the patient while the talk, cough, sneeze, and just breath around the patient.

Home make masks are about 60-75% effective in filtering the air that we are breathing in.  Obviously, this does not protect the wearer as much from external sources (other people) who may have a virus.  But, a home made mask if much more effective in containing anything we have, from being spread into the air while we talk, cough, sneeze and yes breath around other people.

So if during an outbreak such as we are experiencing now, all of us wear a Home made, or other tight knit cotton fabric mask of some type, we can all help protect everyone else, as many times, we can spread a virus, we do not know we have.  So when you see someone wearing a mask, you know that you are safer being around that person.  Still keep a safe distance as much as possible.  Then once the last person who has contacted the disease has recovered, there will be no more live virus’s to be spread.  As there is yet no vaccine, this is the only way we can get rid of this disease.  So, by everyone working together and all of us taking actions to help protect each other, we can do what modern medicine is not yet able to do.

I’m doing my part.  I’m wearing a double layer cotton home made mask when in any public space, such as the grocery store, just in case I have been exposed and do not know it, to make sure I do not spread the virus.  I would really appreciate if you would do the same.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Social Distancing

Yes, the new term we have all been learning is Social Distancing.  But, with the Covid-19 Virus, it is not only a good idea, it is really needed today.  Who would have though that  just a couple months ago, that the impact of a microscopic virus, could bring the world to it’s knee’s so quickly.  But understanding the impact has forced everyone’s hand on this one.  The one practice not yet adopted in the western hemisphere is the practice of wearing a filter mask when a person knows they are sick with a cold or flu bug.  I think this is a practice that will be soon imported into North America, as a practical way for individuals to help not spread their illness.

In a hospital surgery room, it has been the standard practice to wear surgical masks (not N-95) as a safety precaution.  But, the real safety has been for the patient who is having an invasive surgery of some type.  The surgical mask, helps to isolate the surgical employee from the patient, so that they do not contaminate the patient surgical site by accident.  It’s been stated that these masks, cannot filter a particle as small as a Corona Virus, but then, most if not all virus’s are carried within small droplets of moisture which have been expelled by an individual when they are talking, coughing, or sneezing.  The surgical or even a double/triple layered cloth mask can capture something as large as a small water/moisture droplet, which is light enough to hang in the air for little bit.

So, I think we can expect that our new social norm is going to become, that the person who is wearing a mask in public, is doing so to help protect everyone around them, and not for the purpose of protecting themselves.  But, in times of a pandemic, think about what good could happen if everyone started to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of a virus which has not yet resulted in any symptoms, such as what is commonly happening for a day or two, before people start to feel any symptoms from an exposure they did not know they had received.

In the future, perhaps we all will say, Thank You, to a person we see wearing a mask in public, as they are not thinking of themselves, but rather each of us.

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April 1, 2020 Posted by | cough, Illness, sick | Leave a comment

I’m still here!

Yup, I have been lax in adding any new entries in some time.   Like everyone, life can tend to intervene and take focus in other directions.  But, I am happy to stay that I am still here and willing to share my thoughts from time to time.   After all, what is time but something we perhaps spend too much time worrying about it.

 

June 4, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black Hills of South Dakota

I’m a little slow in getting my entries, as you may notice.  So, I thought I would share some photo’s from last years vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  We stayed with the family in the Custer area, which makes a great central location for much of the Black Hills area.

And it’s only a short drive to the Badlands area as well.

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February 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment