08 December 2009


36 mm yesterday. A nice soaking rain, too, and very welcome, seeing as it's the first semi-decent rain we've had in a month.

 Meanwhile the Spelt is ripening nicely, and we should be able to harvest it within a week or so. This year's harvest will all be kept for seed, but hopefully next year... we'll be brewing with Spelt ;-)

Actually, we could also use it for bread. On our last sojourn to Cape Town some weeks ago, we stopped off at a lovely museum cum antiquey-shoppe in that famous tourist trap, Hermanus.  (Actually, if you want to see lots of Southern Right Whales, Hermanus is the place to be. Whales come within mere metres of the seaside cliffs, generally from about May/June until October/November, as it's a safe haven for them to give birth. When we stay with family in Gansbaai they the whales can keep us awake half the night with their noise!)

There we found a grain mill in pretty good nick. After umming about it a bit we bought the thing. In retrospect we got a steal! We paid R270 for it, and the plates look like it has never been used for actual milling! We soon put that right, and have baked a couple of loaves with hand-milled flour. It's not as onerous as I had been led to believe. We've learned that no good comes of trying to mill the Wheat to flour in a single pass; it takes 2 or 3 passes through the mill, sifting out the fine flour in between, to get good flour. That said, it only takes about 3 or 5 minutes to mill sufficient grain (450g) for a loaf, so hardly justifies motorising it or anything. And the flavour of the resulting bread is not to be compared with bread made from factory flour.

Put it all together, it means that, in just a short time, our self-sufficiency efforts seem to have taken a quantum leap forward. All that remains now is to rebuild the Clay Oven!

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