The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Floydm's blog

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Floydm's picture
Floydm

The server upgrade this week went very well.  There have been a few little hiccups, but overall it went well, and the site is blisteringly fast now.


There are still a few missing features.  Most noticable, the gallery is gone.  The gallery solution I was using isn't mature enough to run in this version of Drupal.  I'll either reenable that gallery software when it gets stable or find a new gallery.


There also were a few other things I was hoping to add that I did not.  One thing has has been mentioned is a private messaging system, so that site users could send each other their email addresses and discussing things privately.  Again, the PM module isn't mature enough right now, but I will try to add that in soon.  Now that we are on Drupal 6, we have a lot more new modules available to us.


One module that is mature is the book module, so I think we'll try to kick off a "Baker's Handbook" project very soon, like by the start of December.  It has been... a year since we first talked about doing that?  Maybe more?  Anyway, it is definitely time.  Worst case, it doesn't work out.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I did it. I just went and ordered a better server for TFL. It'll be a major step up in every way: twice the RAM, 5 or 6 times the CPU, faster hard drives. It should considerably reduce the double posts and number of times when TFL feels slow.

As well as the move to the new machine, it'll also be an upgrade of OS, database, web server, and content management system. I hope all of these changes will result in improvements for the user experience here, but inevitably there will be some hiccups, new tricks to learn, and new bugs to fix. And so a new adventure begins...

If the new server comes online today I'm hoping to be ready to cut the site over to the new machine Tuesday or Wednesday.

Stay tuned.

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Floydm

I had leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge this weekend. I made a couple of different breads with them. One was the yeasted, eggy, buttery sweet bread from Bernard Clayton's book. The name of the recipe is escaping me now, but it makes great toast.

The other I made was a sourdough.

The best sourdough I've made in months. Amazing how a half a cup of potatoes softens everything up. It was great with a roasted red pepper topping I made I made and a pot of soup.

BTW, the cheapest place to get Roasted Red Peppers in my neighborhood? Dollar Tree. They have good olives too, both imported from Turkey.

* * *

In site news, I'm hoping to upgrade TFL to the latest version of Drupal and upgrade the server to a faster box over Thanksgiving weekend. I've started working on it already. I still have quite a few kinks to work out. Stay tuned.

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Floydm

I too have baked a batch of Norm's Onion Rolls. They are wonderful.

I added 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds to the dough as well as an extra quarter cup or so of rehydrated dried onions. Otherwise, I followed his recipe.

I may have gotten a little too carried away with the poppy seeds and onions, but they were awfully tasty.

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Floydm

I hadn't used my sourdough starter in... months. Maybe once this summer I refreshed it and baked with it. I was sure it was a goner, but for the heck of it I took it out of the fridge last night, poured off the hooch, scooped off the gray slime on the top, and took a spoonful. I refreshed it and left it on the counter overnight. Sure enough, this morning it was bubbly and lively, so I went ahead and tried baking with it. It was a little bit sluggish, kinda like I feel after waking up from a too long nap, but it still did its job. We had a lovely loaf of sourdough with our lasagna tonight.

Powerful stuff.

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Floydm

It is the third week of school and preschool and we are coping with the third cold to sweep through the house in that short time. Here's to hoping they get better about handwashing (or we build up immunities quickly!).

So I'm at home today, drinking lots of clear fluids and watching my preschooler paint the deck with a bucket of water. I just read an article in The Atlantic on the break up of the Sullivan Street Bakery that I suspect many folks here would be interested in. I'm sure that uncredited recipes taken nearly verbatim have been posted on TFL, but the article is a good reminder that we should give credit where credit is due.

Off to get more juice.

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Floydm

Nothing fancy, but at least I'm getting back into the habit of baking again.

french bread

french bread

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Floydm

The kids are in bed, reading some stories before going to sleep so that they are ready for school tomorrow. For us summer is over.

We had a great summer. The kids are old enough now that I can do a lot with them, so I did. We went camping when the lupin were in bloom...

...rafting down the river while our Chinese exchange student was with us...

...hiking to hidden waterfallls...

...and just returned from the coast.

As you may have noticed, all of this activity greatly reduced my baking. Gone are the long quiet afternoons around the house while the babies nap, the perfect time for baking. Instead the time was filled with bike rides, hikes, trips to the playground, and dips in the lake. I'm not complaining, but obviously I've not been doing a great job contributing to the site.

Thank goodness other folks have. David and Eric, the two bakers I just featured on the front page, have been two of the most prodigious posters around here. Many others have extremely helpful as well. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who've continued to make this site a pleasure to read and participate in.

I hope now that the cool weather is returning and the kids are back in school I'll be able to get back on a better baking and posting schedule. I also hope to get back on top of the technical updates to the site. Thank you again for your patience and understanding when I fall behind here.

Time to go turn the kids' lights out and tuck them in.

Good night.

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Floydm

Hmmm... I think it is ready.

Pita time.

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Floydm

Hey there. I am still here.

It has been a very busy spring. Among other things and as dstroy mentioned, we went to San Francisco for a week. I attended the Web 2.0 Conference while D and the kids checked out the city. It was interesting to hear talks about social networking and community building and think about what we've done right here and what I should work to improve. Overall, we are doing more right than wrong.

Work has been extremely busy as well. As has been much discussed here, grain prices are up worldwide, which makes life tough for humanitarian aid workers on tight budgets, so we are working very hard on the fundraising side to try to prevent us from having to cut back any of our programs. The economic downturn in the US doesn't help our fundraising any either.

We've also added a blog where we are tracking the impact of rising grain prices worldwide. Some folks might find it interesting. Yes, it is annoying for us at TFL that our raw material costs are up, but that is nothing compared to the economic disruption many people in the world are dealing with.

Baking? I've done some. Mostly the standards: blueberry muffins, honey whole wheat bread, sourdough miches like this one from last night:

a sourdough miche

My kids are big enough now that they don't take naps reliably. That used to make scheduling baking really simple: whatever we might have scheduled for the day, we could count on being around the house in the mid-afternoon while they dozed. Now it is up in the air. And, as much as I enjoy baking, given the option between having the flexibility to spend the afternoon hiking to a waterfall or out for a bike ride with the kids or needing to be home by 2 so I can shape my loaves, the flexible option is winning out (with positive results: we are having a wonderful time together, and I know there are not going to be many years that they are going to want to spend their weekends with their parents). I need to figure out some other baking routines that both allow me to try new breads and still spend my afternoons out playing with the kids.

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