Thursday, May 25, 2017

Traveling and baking in circles

A week and a half ago I got home from a round-trip two-week visit to the John C. Campbell Folk School. Two weeks was not long enough and yet a little bit too long. I was not as prepared for being social, being in an intensive learning environment, and being on a different schedule as I'd hoped I would be back when I planned the trip. I still benefitted greatly; I returned home calmer (though the 10 hour drive home was exhausting, especially given that it ends with DC area traffic) and I learned both how to weave rag rugs and that willow baskets are ridiculously complicated to weave.  I wove 2 rugs and a bag, and I made 3 baskets. I also experienced some serious anxiety being out of my element and stretching myself so far.

While I was there I bought a great bread baking book, as much because I just wanted to read it as for the recipes. It's "Bread Making: Crafting the Perfect Loaf from Crust to Crumb," by Lauren Chattman (Storey, 2011), and I really learned a lot about what I can do with dough. I've baked 4 recipes from it now, including today's successful attempt at 100% whole wheat hazelnut bread, which rose high and developed a perfect crust. 
As for my mood, well that goes in circles too. Highs and lows (my highs are only barely nearing what's normal for most people, but for me it's new compared to the last few years. I truly wish I were a psychiatrically normal person. I'm hoping I can carry some of the calm of the trip to the folk school over for a few more weeks.

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