Friday, October 27, 2006

Like Sands Through The Hourglass...

Howdy kiddies! Glad you could all make it here today. I'm hoping that I just might have something entertaining for you this time. Going by how many comments there are, I'd say I'm *perhaps* entertaining one or two of you each post.

Ok, that's cool. I can handle that. Remember, in 2032 I invent a really cool item that transmits your thoughts to your blog (but only the thoughts you want). This revolutionizes blogging and I am hailed by the entire known universe. This is one of the reasons I'm putting my thoughts into the keyboard now for the use of future historians trying to dissect my life.

Blarf! Ok, that bit of crapola is out of the way. Should I bother writing about the worst drought in history here in the driest state in the driest continent in the world? No! Of course not! You'd much rather read stories of my youth in which I actively tried to kill myself...

Which brings us to your second favorite segment: story time with unkie dave.

We are going waaaaay waaaaaay back into the mists of time... back to dave's oldest memory! Not surprisingly, it involves dave hurting himself. This was even before I left my face on the pavement (it grew back, thanks for asking).

My first broken leg.

Do any of you remember having a swing set in your yard when you were a wee little tyke (brat)? Well, we had one back in the trailer court. Yeah, yeah, I can hear the jokes about "trailer trash" now. But this was a different trailer court. The wilds of Alaska were right next door, moose routinely visited, black bear sign abounded (don't step in it), and the wolves of the Chugach Pack could be heard howling.

This story is not about any of the wild critters though, this about me trying to amputate my leg in my own back yard (do trailers have a "back yard"?).

Back to the swing set... I can hear you now, "but dave, how the hell do you break a leg on a swing set without falling?" Ah yes, this was one of those really cool swing sets back before the days of lawyers and personal injury lawsuits and corporate negligence. This was back in the days when kids were allowed to be kids and if they hurt themselves then they learned from it. Ummm, as an aside; I learnt a LOT when I was growing up (and I'm still learning!!!).

Are any of you old enough to remember the swing set apparatus in which kids sat on either side and swung back and forth? No? Imagine a metal pole coming straight down from the top of the swing set (actually two of them parallel lined up longitudinally to the set, but that's beside the point) and a couple of bars perpendicular to that pole with a seat on either end for the little brats to sit on. Oh, there were some frills, like foot posts, and some bars to grab onto and a hard plastic seat on each side.

Now, as the little kids would swing back and forth, the two support poles would move through around 120 degrees... back and forth... rather rapidly... You may be able to imagine what would happen if some dumb little 4 year old (me) had his foot slip as he was leaning forward with all his might. No? You can't? I can... the little kids foot slips forward and wedges the leg it is attached to firmly between the two poles just as they are going from an obtuse angle to an acute one. Can you imagine what then happens to the leg of the kid as centrifugal (centripetal actually) force swings the swing along it's pre-destined arc? I'll tell you what happens...

The leg goes SNAP... and quite quickly too...

That's all I remember except being in a cast for a while and not being able to play on the swings till the damn cast is off, bummer.

My first emergency room visit and I don't even remember the hospital! Oh well, I guess a century or two of hard living will do that to a bloke.

Ok, this was perhaps a pretty lame story cus my memory is hazy, but I thought it had to be told.

Food Time:

I guess before I start with sourdough recipes, I'd better tell y'all a little about sourdough starter. Here we go:

Sourdough starter is a wonderful thing to have and to use. You may notice that the term "sourdough" is used in conjunction with gold miners and crabby old Alaskans. If you wanted bread out in the middle of nowhere, it was (and still is) easier (and tastier) to keep a jug of sourdough starter with you than yeast or baking powder. Also, there's no rising time with sourdough. It does take a bit longer to bake, but with a good bed of coals (or a modern oven) that's no worries.

The best way to get sourdough starter is to borrow some from the cabin down the road. If you aren't fortunate to live in a cabin dwellin' type place, then here's what you do to make your own sourdough starter.

What you need:

1 or 2 small spuds (potatoes), peeled
1 to 2 cups (237 mls) of H2O (water)
1 to 2 cups (237 to 474 mls) of plain flour
2 tbsp (30 mls) raw sugar
a pinch of dry yeast

What you do:

Boil the spuds till they are really really soft. Drain, then mash. Add some water till it's a good slurry. Add the sugar and the yeast and stir. Then add the flour while stirring until you have a thick, soupy type mix.

Put it in a covered glass bowl or jug. Stir it a few times a day for 3 or 4 days, then it'll be ready to use. It'll be good and bubbly and smell damned good.

Coming up next: what to do with the starter... Biscuits!

Oh, yes. I almost forgot: it'll get a wee bit, ahhhh, aromatic... I keep mine in the garage.

You can continue to use the starter pretty much forever. I've been working off the same bowl for over a year now (had to restart when we moved). The trick is to leave at least a cup of the liquid starter in the bowl and then 'top it up'. You top it up with equal parts water and flour, a bit of sugar, and some yeast if you think it needs it.

I really can cook... haven't you noticed yet????


Karen said...


One would think that that would have taught you to be more careful.

Yeah, I know...bad thought! LOL

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Fortunately, little kids bounce right back. Also I was young enough not to remember too much.

Careful? What's that?