I went to sleep last night with a mockingbird singing outside. It’s luxurious, really, to hear birdsong at night when you go to bed, like falling asleep in chair on a summer afternoon, a glass of lemonade sweating beside you.
I had to get up several times for Baby Harbat, to replace her pacifier or otherwise reassure her. Each time I woke up (12, 2, 4, 5:45) I was in the middle of an incredibly busy dream, a picture-in-picture jumble of images and actions. Who says sleep is the mind’s time to rest? I once had a neuroscientist tell me that in his field, nobody knew why we slept—there was no identifiable reason for sleeping. Furthermore, there’s no reason why the brain should feel tired after exertion, like a long test, yet it’s demonstrably true. And personally true—after a night of interrupted REM and frenzied dreams, I feel tired.
But! It was a fantastic and rewarding weekend, helped by the 80-degree weather and bright sun. What’s that? Snowing back East? On Sunday I was in shorts and a t-shirt planting newly-bought flowering vines. I think the hobbits are right: there’s nothing like working in freshly-tilled earth to restore the spirit. I’m beginning to learn that gardening is the ultimate good deed. You add oxygen-restoring and air-cooling plants, provide more flowers for bees and hummingbirds, restore soil, and beautify the environment. Not a bad tally as hobbies go.
Bread count this weekend: 3. Two loaves were a modified version of hiivaleipa, a Finnish wheat bread. I used less whole wheat flour and more white wheat flour, which resulted in a less wheaty and tasty bread. But it looked good, and the addition of oats on top gave a smidge of authenticity.
The second bread was my own recipe, my first exploration into the game of variable ratios. Bread is simple enough on paper: water, flour, yeast, and salt. But the ratio is the whole game. I’ve read that more water in the mix will result in a tastier, chewier, and more hole-filled bread. I made my loaf with a ridiculous 75% water content (by weight). It was beyond sticky, a web that I could barely transfer from bowl to bowl, and threatened to flatten out to an LP size when I put it on the peel. Yet it came out beautiful and with just the texture and taste I wanted. Maybe it was imagination, but it smelled better too. Of course I nitpick and the next one will have a tiny bit of honey for a more golden crust. And maybe I’ll try baking it in a preheated skillet to keep it from flattening out as much. With a little rosemary and parmigiano this might be the ideal dinner bread.
The only drama this weekend came when Baby Harbat fell on her face in the hall. Tears, as usual, but this time there was blood. We opened her mouth and blood surrounded her teeth and gums and dripped everywhere. Turns out it was a cut upper lip and within five minutes she was laughing a sucking on a frozen penguin teething ring. But it’s a hell of a thing to hold your wailing child to your chest and look down to see your shirt spotted with blood. Well, it’s certainly not the last time. Maybe she was just inoculating my wife and I because at a nursery later that morning she fell face-first into a prickly bush, then shut her finger in a drawer in the afternoon. But it still ranked as one of the best weekends ever.