What does sourdough and ElectroNet have in common?

They are both kicking my butt!!

Wally and I have talked numerous times about what the best way of setting ElectroNet might be because I’d really like to get it down to a science.  My sheep population is going to explode here soon (we have lambed out 25 ewes, many of them lambing out twins).  Add that number to the 15 I already have over here and we are getting close to 100 sheep.  That is a good thing, but I’ll really need to be able to set and re-set my ElectroNet with as little frustration as possible.

It seems a simple matter: you string the net out, place the poles in the ground, set a T-post on each corner, connect the next net to the first and so on.  No problem, right?  If you use four sets of ElectroNet, one would think you could make a nice square and be all done, right?

Wrong.

Wally was supposed to help me this Sunday set it up so we could work on the method that we had talked about, but something came up that he had to deal with so I was out there by myself this afternoon.  I set the first line in what I thought was a straight line.  Set the T-post, ran the second line, set another T-post, ran the third and when I got done setting the third line, I realized there was no way I had anywhere near a square and that the fourth line wasn’t going to connect with the first.  Shoot!

I sat on the ATV and contemplated.  What went wrong?  I know:  the field I was setting the fence in was crooked!

Wally came back over to help and looked at my lines and said they were no where near straight.  Great.  I can’t draw a straight line any more than I can walk one or see one.  No wonder why I can’t see lines on a trial field (sheepdogs) and make panels.  Walking straight lines must be a man thing.

So, he walked the line while I stayed in place and set the T-posts.  We strung two lines and decided that we were going to use surveyor’s string to run the last two lines.  I ran up to the Christmas Tree Farm to get the fourth set of ElectroNet while he cut the surveyor’s string.  When I got back, he was doing it the man’s way: he had set the third line and said to me that he’d bet me a cold beer that the fourth line would match up.

Guess who won the beer?  Too bad it was too cold out there to enjoy a cold beer.

So we re-set the lines again.  It is finally set, the square isn’t perfect, but it’s close.  We will spend time next weekend with surveyor’s string to get it fixed.  The plan is to have linked three squares marked off in the back field so that we can move the net weekly (or sooner).  This afternoon wasn’t as frustrating as it could have been because the grass wasn’t tall enough to have to mow before setting the fence.  Normally, I’d have to mow paths, set the fence, mow more paths when I discovered the fence wouldn’t connect, etc.  No fun, but what else do I have to do on the weekend?

What else do I have to do on the weekend?  Certainly not make sourdough bread.  It’s a good thing I have animals who are more than happy to eat my mistakes.

This past week I contacted a man in Asheville who made a lot of bread (including sourdough) and baked it in a wood-fired oven.  We talked for almost an hour about how to make sourdough.  It seemed easy enough.

Wrong.

I’ve decided to give up on sourdough making until it’s warmer.  I don’t think my house is warn enough this time of year for sourdough to ferment properly.  Making a loaf of sourdough bread takes at least three days and this is with a starter already prepared.  First you take the starter out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.  Room temperature usually means at least 70 degrees and my house is no where near 70 degrees this time of year.  Keeping it in my oven with the light off is too warm for sourdough.  After the starter gets to room temperature, you feed it.  Then you let it rest back in the refrigerator, then you take it back out again and pour off the amount of starter that you need, and start your bread making.  The bread has to get to a certain state, then you put it back in the refrigerator, take it out the next day, let it rise, then you can finally bake it.  Or something along those lines, I cannot recall now the exact procedure.

It’s frustrating as all heck.  Bread making is truly a lost art, at least real bread making.  If nothing, it draws my attention to how industrialized the United States is.  It is too easy to walk into a store and buy a loaf of bread that has been made in a bread factory.  Working at Walmart makes me realize how truly industrialized (and over-stuffed) the United States is.  I check out so many loaves of white bread, as well as gallons of milk, dozens of white factory-farmed eggs and of course billions of bottles of soda.  Lots of people use food stamps.  I remember when food stamps were really stamps, now they are like credit (or debit) cards.  I see people go through checking out as many as ten bottles of soda using food stamps.  That along with Debbie Cakes, white bread, factory-farmed eggs, Velveeta cheese, etc.  You get the picture: all ultra-processed or factory-farmed food.  Yuck!

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against food stamps or the people who use them.  I do hate the two liter bottles of soda, white bread and factory-farmed eggs and I see a lot of that go through.  I am very happy to get home to my fresh eggs, goat milk and even though they are failed attempts so far: my sourdough bread.

So back to the drawing board on both the ElectroNet and bread making front.  I have a bread making book on reserve at the local library which I hope to get over to get tomorrow.  I am driving to Lenoir (about an hour away) to meet with the vet that I bought Luna and Penny from.  She’s going to neuter both Onyx and Mr. Red for the price of the anesthesia and a pound of cheese per cat.  Pretty good, huh?  I really like her so it will be nice to visit.

Everything is good here on the dog front.  I have been busy with other things over the past few days and haven’t worked them much other than to move stock around as needed.  I used Cian tonight to put the sheep up and his work seemed much more thoughtful and calm.  He seems much calmer lately.  He still enjoys running, but he isn’t running around the house in such a manic way as he once was.  Maybe the remedy is working?  Only time will tell.

Walmart loaded me up with hours over the next couple of weeks.  They have me working 36 hours the second week of February!  I don’t know what’s up with that.  I’m not going to complain about it, given I’m lucky to have the job.  I told them that if they needed to schedule me for more hours (I am only supposed to be working 16 hours a week), then it was fine.  The good thing is that they have me working on one end of the day or the other (i.e. early morning to early afternoon or late afternoon to late night [yuck!]) so I will have some time to train during that week.  Working 9 to 5 makes training difficult during this time of year due to lack of light, but the days are getting much longer!  Wally and I were out setting fence until about 6 PM and it was still light.  Cool!

Until later …

4 Replies to “What does sourdough and ElectroNet have in common?”

  1. I made bread in my breadmaker for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I really just “gave it a go” and didn’t really try to make it anything special. It wasn’t spectacular, but I was surprised by the difference that lack of preservatives in the bread made. I can’t explain what was different about it, but it was very good.

    I am sure that if I took time to try different recipes and ingredients, I would find breadmaking very enjoyable.

    The problem for me is storage. I don’t go through enough bread to make a loaf every two days. I hate to make a whole loaf, even a small one, and then throw most of it away. And without preservatives, I understand, you can’t keep it for more than two days. My loaf was not so good after two days.

  2. I don’t think there is a better smell than bread baking in the oven. What I’ve been doing with my bread machine is making the bread using the dough cycle, removing it from the machine, shaping it and letting it rise and then baking it in the oven.

    You could make smaller loaves and freeze part of the bread, or freeze it as dough and bake it as you need.

    I love bread though so it isn’t hard to go through a loaf!!

  3. That’s what we did when we made pizza dough – we used the dough cycle, took it out, punched it down, let it rise, and then made the pizza. That was really good.

    Do you use a bread pan or do you shape the loaf and put it on a baking stone or something?

  4. I shape the loaves and put them on parchment paper on a pizza stone. I’m going to get some 3″ PVC cut in half to put my bread in it to rise so they stay in that french loaf shape. They have the tendency to flatten out.

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