Picture Sundays: What Commuting by Bike Looked Like in 1942


From the Library of Congress photo archive a 1942 picture from Burbank, CA:

The bicycle brigade at Lockheed Vega Aircraft Corporation. Employees living within four miles of Lockheed’s plant may purchase bicycles through the company and resell them to the company when need for them no longer exists. This mode of transportation is becoming increasingly popular, and has resulted in the sale of 2,400 bicycles in record time. This is part of the swing shift on the way home at 12:30 am.

Saturday Linkages: Incas, Big Rocks and Cool Cucumbers


Engineering professor Michael Peshkin and his clear whiteboard.

Growin’ things
Wildflower project takes root in Echo Park http://feedly.com/e/pugEWv4Z 

Lost Crops of the Incas http://feedly.com/e/9GygG_Yc 

Reading: Urban Oasis on a Balcony: From Concrete Furnace to Edible Habitat… http://bit.ly/HSeQ6B 

Look at My Big Rock by Evelyn Hadden http://feedly.com/e/0gB_TOO6 

The coolest cucumber you’ve never met: http://modernfarmer.com/2013/11/coolest-cucumber-never-met/ …

Food issues
Americans – why do you keep refrigerating your eggs? http://io9.com/americans-why-do-you-keep-refrigerating-your-eggs-1465309529 …

35 sickened; how did E. coli O121 get into Farm Rich Brand Frozen pizza? Flour http://barfblog.com/2013/11/35-sickened-how-did-e-coli-o121-get-into-farm-rich-brand-frozen-pizza-flour/ …

Cool Designs
Building a Crystal Clear Whiteboard http://feedly.com/e/54gF3j19 

Lock Pick Earrings by GiantEye http://etsy.me/1aASFNh 

Micro-community of tiny homes flourishes on rehabilitated vacant lot http://feedly.com/e/V62jTC8v 

Simple And Delightful Tiny Homes On The Back Of Small Pick-Up Trucks… http://feedly.com/e/EIHJkA8Y

Odd ideas
Betrayers’ Banquet: gourmet dining vs the Prisoner’s Dilemma – Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2013/11/21/betrayers-banquet-gourmet-d.html …

Complete meal cooking with a hotel coffee-maker: http://boingboing.net/2013/11/18/complete-meal-cooking-with-a-h.html …

For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:

Craig Ponsford Bakes Whole Wheat Ciabatta

Via Community Grains a mini-class by whole wheat baker Craig Ponsford. In this video you’ll see him make a whole wheat ciabatta. Some tips to point out:

  • Ponsford doesn’t knead. Even though you’ll see him use a spiral mixer in this video, he’s incorporating the ingredients with water not kneading them. Developing the flour takes place not through kneading, but instead due to a long fermentation, a wet dough and the folding you’ll see him demonstrate. And you don’t need a spiral mixer. You can incorporate ingredients by hand or with a stand mixer. Just don’t knead!
  • Baking requires a scale. Ponsford is very insistent about this and with good reason. As he puts it, when he hears about someone’s bread disaster, 99% of the time it’s because they did not use a scale.
  • Rather than dust flour on work surfaces in order to handle dough you’ll see Ponsford use water instead. He also wets containers that he puts dough into. It’s a lot neater and less flour gets incorporated in the dough. Whole wheat doughs need to be wet. When he does use flour, as in the end of the video he’s using it strategically–in order to keep the loaf from getting to dark in the oven.

Baking bread is actually fairly simple as long as you realize that the devil is in the details. Use a scale and study how Ponsford handles the dough and you’ll get good results. And please marvel at the open crumb structure that Ponsford achieves with 100% whole wheat.

The recipe for this dough can be found here – a whole wheat pizza dough recipe is here.

Can Whole Wheat Solve the Wheat Allergy Problem?

I’m still recovering from the factoid barrage that is a baking class with Craig Ponsford. It felt like my brain had been tossed into the spiral mixer along with the hazelnut bread, danishes, English muffins, chocolate croissants, challah and pretzels doughs he showed us how to make in one action packed day. In between mixing and shaping Ponsford told us his theories about the wheat allergies that everyone seems to have.

Continue reading…

New Phoebe Update/Question


UPDATE:  We called the vet and it seems her lethargy and odd behavior might be due to nausea, as well as just being freaked out. We’re treating the nausea and hopefully she’ll start eating and drinking and come back to herself. So we’re a little more relaxed around here. Thanks to all the people who commented!

Phoebe responded well to treatment at the vet–oxygen levels at normal, breathing eased–so she was released last night. This is the good news. The not-so-good news is that she’s been acting strangely since she got home. The moment we let her out of her crate we saw that she was not at 100%, which was disappointing, but not surprising after an overnight stay in a scary, brightly lit, vet office with a barking Yorkie as a roommate.

We’ve been keeping her in our room, so that the other two cats can’t harass her. I figure she feels threatened when her strength is down. I thought that maybe a long sleep would put her to rights, but she’s acting just the same this morning.   She’s moving slow, staring into space, doing odd things like hunkering down with her head over her water dish and just staying in that position, not drinking, not doing anything.  She doesn’t want to interact with us at all. Still, as far as I can tell, she’s not struggling to get enough air, like she was before.

My question is this: Do cats behave oddly after hospital stays? I’ve never had a cat do an overnight before, or undergo so much treatment. Do any of you have experience with this? I’m not sure if she’s ill, tired, just freaked out, (all three?) or maybe even angry with us. She’s given me a few baleful looks with those yellow eyes.

This behavior is worrisome to us because while we’re willing to do whatever we can to give her time,  we want her time to be good. And so far, it’s been really good time. But we don’t want to be instrumental in keeping her alive in a frail, zombie-like state. That’s no life for a cat.