Whistle While You Work?

     Some folks whistle while they work.  Me?  I’m more of a thinker.  Working and thinking.  Thinking and praying.  Working and praying.  Is this your life, too?  I find that some of the best times for prayer are when I’m doing manual labor of some sort.  Folding laundry.   Ironing.  Pulling weeds (something I’ve not done enough of yet this spring).  Peeling potatoes.  Kneading bread dough.  These are times when the body is active, but the mind is free to take on other tasks.  I’d like to say that I always use those times of work to pray.  I do use them for prayer, and often, but usually I just spend that time thinking about things.   
     Aaron had all four of his wisdom teeth removed Thursday morning.  My husband was able to take a day of family leave in order to take him in.  I was surprised he’d done this, but I know Aaron was thrilled to have his dad available to take him in.  There’s just something about having Dad there.  We kept the ice pack moving, from one side to the other, every ten minutes all Thursday afternoon.  Just as predicted, Aaron came home from the surgeon’s, popped on his jammies and settled onto one of the living room couches.

     He’s doing fine today, with only minimal pain.  He’s enjoyed several movies today from his place on the couch.  He’s enjoying plenty of soft foods and taking it easy.  As I’ve worked around the house and in the kitchen, I’ve enjoyed hearing him laughing while watching movies.  “A joyful heart is good medicine”! (Prov. 17:22)

     Dani spent all of Thursday morning and evening baking eight dozen (!!) of her famous chocolate chip cookies.  She made these for an adoption fund raiser a few families from our church are hosting this evening.  Our pastor and his family have been waiting for several years hoping to adopt a little girl from China and another child from Africa.  In His providence, God has pulled both adoptions together to happen in the next few months!!  You can read the story of their amazing journey right here.  Tonight’s fund raiser, a movie night with snacks to purchase, is just one of many ways our church family has worked to help defray some of the adoption and travel expenses the Walker family will incur.  I hope Dani’s cookies sell well!

      The Tassajara Yeasted Bread was begun shortly after lunch yesterday.  There was something about the recipe – it’s simplicity and old-fashioned, completely hand made technique – that moved me to wash up my grandmother’s big, yellow ware bowl to make the bread.  This bowl is ancient, but I love it.  We used to enjoy it as our popcorn bowl, but somewhere along the line I was worried that it might get broken and it became a part of a display on my mantle and then moved to the top of the hutch in the dining room.  This old bowl was, and is, made for work!

       I really don’t have many memories of my grandmother.  She lived in far away Missouri and she died when I was twelve.  While she lived, my family made a trip back to visit her most every summer, but she had dementia from the time I was quite young, so the memories I do have are not all good ones.  I have many of her things in my home, though; and I like to think about her using them.  She was the hard-working wife of a share cropper, and I know for a fact that she spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking.

     I thought a lot about my own mom as I made the bread, too.  My parents bought their home in 1944, brand new, and lived there until 1993, the year they both died.  That house, as most older homes do, had a built in bread board.  My last house had one, too, though the house was not so old.  My current home does not have a bread board. 

       That term “bread board” never really meant anything to me as a kid.  The “bread board” was what we pulled out to make sandwiches, or to slice cheese, or onions or fruit.  It never dawned on me that a “bread board” might have come to be called that for a reason!  I was rather at a loss when it came time to knead my bread.  My counters are far too high for my 5’4″ self to comfortably, and adequately knead bread dough for ten minutes.  The book suggested taking a “bread board” to a table, so I improvised.

      My mother-in-love’s table, now my dining table, is just the right height; but I had to substitute a cutting board for the bread board.  My cutting board sits upon on little legs and has a groove all around it for juices to flow into when it’s used for its intended purpose of carving meat.  That groove was a bit problematic as I began to knead my bread, but as the flour continued to work into the dough and as the dough became less sticky, the groove was no longer an issue.  Still, a large, flat, smooth, wooden bread board would be lovely to have.  

     Baking this bread is a lengthy process.  The recipe uses a sponge method and there are several risings.  I love that the baker has choices all along the way of which sweetener to use (I used brown sugar) and which oil to add (I used real butter).  I chose to sprinkle the tops of my egg-washed loaves liberally with sesame seeds before baking, and then realized that my son needed to avoid seeds after his oral surgery.  Rats!   

      The two loaves came out of the oven just as my chicken came off the grill, and I considered the timing a sweet Providence.  I cut thick slices of the hot bread, and we slathered butter over our slices at the dinner table.  Aaron peeled the crust off of his bread, to avoid the seeds.  The bread was very good, and well worth the effort.

     Now might be a good time to admit that my shoulders and upper arms are a wee bit sore today from the hand beating of the batter, the folding in of the flour, and the kneading of the bread yesterday.  Good exercise, I say!  

     Today was the day for our Fortnightly Marketing Peregrination, but I thought it prudent to stay home with Aaron.  Just in case.  Dani and Will set out just before noon on their mission.  I missed going, but I know the two of them will have a good time and get the job done efficiently.

      I made a batch of Blueberry Scones early this afternoon.  I used this recipe, and they were quite good.  I substituted 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour for part of the all purpose flour.  There was no great motive for this.  The reality is that I used all of the all-purpose flour in my baking center and there wasn’t quite enough.  Rather than refilling my baking center container with more flour from our bulk storage area, I just pulled out the whole wheat pastry flour from my freezer and used that.  If I make these again, I’ll sprinkle sugar over the tops of the scones before baking.

     Debra, a long time reader, messaged me a link to another Blueberry Scone recipe, one that included a wonderful butter sauce, and I’ll give that one a try next time around.  Remember, if you use frozen blueberries in a recipe for baked goods, do not thaw the blueberries first.  Stir them in still frozen to prevent them from getting too mushy and making your baked goods soggy. 

     Today, as most days, was spent working in my home.  With only one other family member at home, the day was quiet, giving me plenty of time for pondering.  I’ve been known to sing while I work, but only when no one is around to hear; and I cannot whistle.  Instead, my work times today were filled with the working and thinking, thinking and praying, praying and working routine that is just a normal, but grand, part of each day.  I’m thankful for that!  Who needs to be able to whistle?

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27


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5 comments to Whistle While You Work?

  • EXCELLENT reading!!!

  • I can’t whistle either :).  Wonderfu post.  I love how you combine your prayer and thinking when working around your home.  I pray Aaron continues to do well after surgery.  I am so happy that you’re back posting…I missed your posts.  I am re-reading your older posts for ides on “looking well to the ways of my household”.  Blessings for a wonderful weekend and Lord’s Day.

  • I am so glad you enjoyed your bread. It is very labor intensive but also delicious!

  • I am a whistler!  

    As a child, I thought that I whistled because my Daddy whistled.  However, I have since learned that my maternal grandmother was quite a whistler too, so maybe it’s a hereditary, as well as learned, trait.
    I love when I “catch” myself whistling while doing a task.  I know it’s a good sign that my mind is peaceful and my soul contented – a good place to find oneself.  
    As always, I loved hearing about your day.  So glad to hear that Aaron is healing well.  I had my wisdom teeth removed while in college.  I actually had FIVE of them!    Hmmm…I wonder if my parents had to pay extra for that fifth tooth.  
    I pray ya’ll have a wonderful Sunday!AleshaObtaining Mercy

  • I have always wondered if kneading bread is good for toning the “flabby upper arm area”; or if any benefits are offset by eating the homemade bread and slathered butter…  Love this post and all your baking ideas.  Yum!  Now I’m hungry…