Double Ds Farm

Good Bread

Debbie FrancisDown through the years I’ve learned how to make a pretty good tasting loaf of bread, with a lot of practice. I’ve even started making different types of bread using the same bread recipe. But I do use different recipes of bread. Just to see which one I like the best.

My sisters and I trade recipes back and forth all the time, they knew that I was searching for that one great tasting loaf that you could slice so easy and held up so nice that you could make a sandwich that didn’t fall apart .Well ,my sister In Oklahoma sent me one that she had gotten from a woman she trades with, and she called it Simple Bread.

Well, I decided to try it looked simple enough.

Simple Bread

4 cups warm water
Egg size chunk of lard
1 teaspoon salt
1 good tablespoon yeast
8 1/2 cups flour, divided

In large bowl, stir together warm water, lard, salt and yeast. Add 4 1/2 cups flour and work in

Slowly work in remaining flour, working in with each addition. Place in greased bowl and let rise, punch down, divide into 4 loafs, and let rise.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Once second rising is complete, place dough into four loaf pans. Back for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Now let me tell you, I made this bread, and oh is it good. And it makes a great sandwich bread. Now I still make different bread, I just use the same bread recipe, add whatever you want to this you can’t screw it up.

I think that down through the years the art of being a friendly neighbor or even being friends, has diminished a lot. Our busy lives see to that. Times have definitely changed, it’s hard to find someone to barter with these days, and most people want cash. But with the GRIT Family, the art of being friendly is always available. Don’t just read it, live it, LOVE IT!

Debbie Francis
Double Ds Farm

delicious homemade bread | Fotolia/fabiomax

Photo: Fotolia/fabiomax

When I Start My Greenhouse

Debbie FrancisThe closer spring gets the more excited I get. Come the first week of February, I get all happy inside, and that’s when I start l cleaning out and sprucing up my greenhouse. Now I know I could use the greenhouse all winter long, but my heat source is wood. Well, small farm and small woods, or buy wood. I’m on a fixed income so I use my greenhouse until late November and stop until the third week of February.

Now comes the good old cleaning and refreshing the dirt. Good old compost, mixed with fresh garden or potting soil, and turn it over a few times. That seems to work wonders for me. Then I spruce up the potting area, and the floors. I plant the seeds the third week of February, and they're pushing up the soil by March. Then I make sure I have something to pot in.

my greenhouse 

The greenhouse in the winter with smoke coming out the chimney.

raised bed 

The raised bed in the greenhouse where I've started to plant.

I have a raised bed inside the greenhouse that I plant in, but when I transfer the seedlings to the garden I always replant into containers because the plants have to harden off before they go to the garden in May. I have tables and plastic flats that I put the plants into to take outside to another table setup beside the greenhouse during the day before the plants are large enough to plant. At evening chores I then put the plants back inside the greenhouse for the night. I do this for a week or a little longer, depends how the plants are doing.


A raised bed of greens that are ready to pick.

Different plants go into the garden at different times, but by Mother’s Day, I get to enjoy the warm days of weeding and cultivating the garden. All the while anticipating the bounties that I will receive. I also secession plant until late November, then the whole thing gets to start all over again. Don’t you just love that?

Garden Catalogs

Debbie FrancisThis time of year, the seed catalogs start coming in the mailbox. I don’t know about you but I get a lot of them. Now I’m always thinking about planting something, veggies or flowers. I love to go through all these seed catalogs. I use to just order whatever tickled my fancy until I realized that not everything I ordered would grow in my planting zone. So I started only keeping and ordering from the books that best fit my planting zone. I’m a northern grower, Zone 4; this way I hope to have a better chance at success.

I save a lot of my own seeds, and I love heirloom seeds for this reason, but I do buy hybrid seeds too. Because sometimes they produce better. So I plant both. After separating books by zones, then I separate by price. You do have to be careful because you do want quality seeds. The best way to keep track is to keep a garden journal. Make notes on which catalogs you ordered from and how the seeds did.

When it's time to start my greenhouse up, all those seed catalogs that I so carefully marked and ordered from will be keepers. All are now my fire starters, and I shred them to put around my plants. Nothing goes to waste. Because I know that come February, more will come.

Debbie Francis