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Sunday 2017.10.22

How Quiet is the Night

Blessed silence. Or, at least, something close to it. Two weeks of nighttime road work outside my home ceased on Thursday morning. The powerful lights. The beeping of trucks moving in reverse. The pounding and grinding of asphalt thingies. It was all gone on Thursday evening. I slept normally. I didn't need to run a fan to help drown out the noise. It was blissful. And I woke up in a good mood.

There is still some daytime work going on. That will continue for several more weeks. But at least the nighttime noise has stopped.

How Hot is the Day

We are in the midst of another heat wave here in Southern California. I read a news article in The Washington Post this week that said the USA is on track to experience its third warmer-than-normal winter this coming year — three years in a row. There will be cold days. There will be ice and snow. But on average, the National Weather Service is predicting this winter to be mild. They attribute it to climate change.

Here, the past few days have been in the upper 80s or low 90s. Tomorrow was expected to be 96°F (36°C) and Tuesday was projected to peak at 97°F (36°C); however, the forecasts are often wrong — this morning the National Weather Service is saying 93°F (34°C) both days. I've been interested because I haven't yet tested my air conditions when it is 100°F outside. I'll be watching nonetheless because the temperature here is usually at least five degrees warmer than forecast.

On a Quest

I'm fussy about some things. Maybe I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Can you qualify that? Can someone be somewhat a perfectionist? It seems like it would be all or nothing — sort of like being a little pregnant. You either are or you're not. Anyway…

If you've seen my vlog, you've seen me drink coffee. I love coffee.

I've had that cup for many years. It fits perfectly in my drip coffee maker. If a cup is too short, it lets a little coffee splash out of the cup and onto my counter; if too tall, it doesn't fit. My cup fell into the sink one day, where there was already a very sturdy plate. The cup didn't break (nor did the plate), but the handle cracked loose at the bottom. It still holds where it attaches to the cup at the top, but I suspect it's only a matter of time until it breaks off entirely. Nonetheless, I still use the cup.

I went looking for a new cup on Friday. Ideally, it needs to be 4¼ inches (108mm) tall. I brought a little six-inch ruler with me when I went shopping. Fortunately, I found what I needed at the local Pier One Imports store. And, better yet, the cup was on their clearance shelf. Marked originally at $9.95 (what's that in Euros?), it had been reduced to $7.48, then $4.98, and then finally $3.98. At 60% off, I bought two. They're a little on the ugly side — white with gold spots — but they have a letter on them, "D", the initial of my first name. So, why not?

Ants

Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but when I start to see ants indoors during the autumn months, I wonder if they might know something I don't. I've seen it happen before. Ants try to move indoors and there are record-breaking rains during the winter. It's too early to know for sure, obviously, but yesterday there were ants in my kitchen. It wasn't garbage luring them indoors. Friday is trash pickup day. It went outdoors into the bins and was hauled away. So something was causing the ants to come indoors. I'm hoping it's the prospect of future rain.

There is no prediction of rain in the current forecast and according to the National Weather Service 2018 is developing into a weather neutral year. There won't be an El Niño event (more rain than normal) nor a La Niña event (drier than normal). We might see average rain, whatever average is in these days of climate change.

California's rainy season is November through April. November will be here in a little more than a week. It won't start raining on November 1, naturally. I really don't expect to see any storms until around the Thanksgiving holiday. But I'll be paying attention.

I Sold the Bike

Those of you who follow my blog will remember I bought my neighbor's Cervélo road racing bike for $600. It's a beauty, but I wasn't using it. At my age, 66, it was too uncomfortable to be so hunched over the bike. So when the same neighbor offered me $800, I accepted his offer. He'd been trying to buy it back for several months, but I wanted to wait until the price came up by at least $200 because I spent that much on shoes (which I still have — can I convert them to street shoes? No.).

I moved my old Raleigh bike out of the shed and into my home again. I'm glad I kept it. The plan is to use the $800 to convert the bicycle into an electric bike. Kits are available through Amazon. I'll be blogging about it.

And, Finally, Football

Yesterday wouldn't be Saturday without college football. Again, I watched games for nearly 12 hours. The only one I was really interested in was Penn State because this was their first contest of the season against a ranked team. They played Michigan (ranked at 18), and won, 42 to 13. I won't bore you with details of the game, but it was fun to watch. Penn State is ranked second and they are currently undefeated.

Wednesday 2017.10.18

Almost the First Rain of the Season?

I was feeling some anticipation for a few days. The National Weather Service forecast rain for tomorrow and Friday. However, that didn't last. Now they're saying mostly sunny. It's a little early for our first rain of the season. I usually expect it around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Next week might be more like summer. If the forecast holds true, Monday will be up in the mid to high 90s. I seem to recall only one day this past summer when the temperature outside peaked around 100°F (38°C). If the forecast proves true, it will probably be the last of summer.

Yesterday was an odd day for weather. The Weather Service predicted 87°F (31°C). They reported 93°F (34°C). It peaked at 96°F (36°C) where I live. And they forecast a 20% chance of thunder showers. I could have used thunder showers. I stepped outside to go get my mail and it was like walking into the heat from a furnace. There was a hot wind blowing off the mountains — Santa Ana winds — and the humidity outside was only 11%. I did more laundry.

They're predicing 87°F (31°C) for today. It's typically five to ten degrees warmer. I'll start the air conditioners when the outsite temperature reaches 90°F (32°C).

Oral Exams

I had a dentist appointment yesterday. I've been trying to floss daily. Some days I forget. But I did better than usual this time. I rarely missed a day. The hygienist said, "I see you've been doing your homework."

Buildup on my teeth is unavoidable, but minimizing it reduces the pain of the hygenist scraping at my teeth with a metal knife. To make matters worse, my hygenist had a stroke and lost most of the use of her right hand. She was right-handed. Now she uses her left hand, the movements of which are less accurate. My gums are still a little sore.

Windows 10 Version 1709 Feature Update

This blog isn't as long as others I've written. A lot of time was lost yesterday evening as I updated this computer. This one is kept off line, nearly permanently. The best way to protect a computer from viruses and other malware is to keep it away from the Internet. This is the computer I use for my web site files and videos. So I keep this one extra safe. The only time I connect it to the Internet is when I update the operating system.

There was news yesterday about a potential risk with Wi-Fi. They recommended getting the latest updates. I wasn't concerned, as this computer is kept off the Internet anyway; however, it seemed like a good excuse to update. It took hours. Maybe a lot of people were doing the same thing I was doing. Oh well. It's updated now. I probably won't look for updates again for two or three months.

Meanwhile, I'm now struggling with the laptop computer. I tried many times to update it and each update failed. Finally I searched for answers on the Internet. Erasing all the files in the C:/Windows/SoftwareDistribution/Download directory cleaned up the update attempts and I was able to start the process all over again. As I write this blog, that computer is chugging merrily away, getting its updates.

That leaves one more computer to update. It's the computer I use for the Internet and it has lots of protection on it — Norton Anti-virus, a couple of firewalls, and Malware Bytes. Maybe I'll save that project until Saturday, while I'm watching football games. As I said above, the update takes hours.

Okay, I need to go floss.

Sunday 2017.10.15

A Free and Fair Press

I do believe in the importance of a free and fair press; however, the key word here is fair. I do not share Donald Trump's opinion that new outlets are guilty of "fake news." But there is a dark side to the competition for readers in the media.

It is no secret that the New York Times and the Washington Post have been engaged in a heated battle for increased readership. More readers equates to more dollars. The more readers, the more exposures to advertisements, and ad revenue is critical for these outlets to remain operational.

What engages readers? Hot stories. People like gossip or outlandish hearsay. Sensationalism attracts readers. Many argue that Trump won the election because he was so successful a ratings machine that the press was giving him more media attention than Hillary Clinton with her bland presentations and pant suits. Quoting the book One Nation After Trump by Dionne, Ornstein, and Mann:

The tracking firm mediaQuant calculated that as of mid-March 2016, Trump had received $1.898 billion worth of free media—six times the coverage of Ted Cruz, who ranked number two in free media among Republican presidential candidates. In that same period, the value of the airtime of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was calculated at $746 million, less than half the attention given to Trump.

There's an example. I quote my source. I can't tell you which page that quotation is taken from because I have an ebook and it doesn't have pages like a printed book. I can tell you the quote comes from chapter two.

When I see or hear a report that says someone close to the White House or close to the President spoke "on condition of anonymity," I can't assume the speaker is credible. What does "close" mean? Is it someone who works in the office adjacent to the Oval Office? Or is it someone who works at the security gate and happened to hear that someone heard something someone said?

I think the President should sign an executive order that assures the press their full freedoms under the First Amendment of the Constitution, but mandating that they always include their source when they publish a story. "Speaking under condition of anonymity" doesn't assure the reader the source has been properly vetted.

I'm sure there is at least one law, if not several, that guarantees the protection of sources. I'm okay with that. The news media can protect as many sources as they want, but any story they publish should include the name(s) of whomever is revealing (or leaking) the information. And if no one is willing to be identified as the source for a story, the story should be held until a source comes forward. It would certainly reduce leaks.

The press likes the idea of "free," but "fair" is of less concern to them. Fair might not pull in as many readers as free, but I believe it would raise people's confidence in the news media, which is fairly low now.

Squirreling Away for Winter

I might have gone a little too far in my use of the freezer this fall. It's full, or nearly so. Without taking inventory, I know I have single-serving packages of: Real Texas Chili, pasta sauce, Pasta Fagioli, Chorizo, raw ling cod fish, raw steelhead trout, raw scallops, raw lamb, roasted lamb, roasted chicken, lamb chops, rack of lamb, Chicken Stock, chicken trim for making stock (I'll try to do that this week), along with the usual assortment of frozen vegetables. And if I keep any food I prepare in a cooking video, that will add to my winter supply.

I really need to eat down the freezer. I could probably avoid buying food, except for vegetables, for at least two months.

Wednesday 2017.10.11

Road Work

That sign down the street wasn't kidding when it said there would be night work on the road outside my home. It started late Sunday evening, and was it ever loud! I don't know what they were using, maybe some sort of vibrating hammer thing to tamp down the asphalt while paving. It caused the walls in my home to vibrate, adding to the noise. Falling asleep was next to impossible. The noise finally stopped around 3:00 in the morning and I was able to sleep. The construction is supposed to continue through the next two weeks, until October 20. I expect to be tired and moody for a while.

Buddha's Hand

I finally harvested one of the Buddha's Hand fruits to make candied citrus. I wasn't sure when would be the optimum time to pick the fruit. One web site said it is best to pick them when still slightly green, lest the pulp inside becomes mushy from over-ripening.

I did the process of candying it. Unfortunately, I had lunch plans; so letting the cooked citrus cool in the syrup too long wasn't the best idea. The syrup was too thick by the time I returned and, therefore, even though I was able to lay the pieces out to dry, I didn't have any usable syrup left over. I was hoping to have syrup to try in tea. More fruit, however, is ripening on the tree.

I videoed the project and uploaded the it to YouTube. It's scheduled to go public on November 12; however, you can see the video early by clicking the green button on the Candied Buddha's Hand recipe page or by going to my patreon.com page (it's working again).

Speaking of which, Patreon finally fixed my creator page. Patrons can see the videos again. I lost a few patrons, but that's okay. With YouTube working for me again, I am earning the same revenue I earned formerly. Then again, maybe it was because I hadn't set up a payout procedure yet (which I did Saturday, October 7). Pledges weren't processed, and therefore views were denied? Patreon doesn't spell out their procedures clearly.

Laundry Weather

Okay, I'm weird sometimes, but not without good reason. I used to use the laundry room in the park. One day my clothes came home dirtier than when I put them in the machines. I ended up washing them all by hand.

So now I always wash my clothes by hand. It isn't difficult. I soak them, a few pieces at a time, in a five-gallon bucket, agitating them for a few minutes at a time several times. They soak 12 to 24 hours. Then they are rinsed well and hung on a line over my bathtub. I wish I could hang my clothes outside, but the park has rules against that. So why and I getting excited?

The National Weather Service is predicting hazardous fire conditions tomorrow and Friday. The daytime temperatures won't be high, but the humidity will be down in the teens. That's excellent laundry drying weather.

News

I hadn't been following the news as closely as I did in previous weeks. I heard something in the news this week that interested me. It was the result of Trump's latest tweet tirade (as of Monday, October 9 — each day brings a different story) between him and Senator Bob Corker. One analyst said the Republicans are trying to run the country without a president. Because Trump is so unreliable, so uninformed, so unpredictable, many in his own party or now ignoring him. He's a caricature only. The voters and party loyalists were willing to take a chance with him. "What do you have to lose?" Now they know what they lost. They lost the opportunity to have a competent president.

There are still many among those who voted for him who will stand solid and faithful behind him. For some, it's the hope that maybe he will eventually learn how to be a president. Others know their vote was a mistake, but they remain loyal because they can't admit they were wrong.

I also heard an interesting analysis yesterday. Trump cannot, and will not, admit that the Russians influenced the outcome of the elections; because, if he did, that would be an admission that he did not legitimately win the election — he is not the legitimate president of the United States. And that is unacceptable to Trump.

Where Do I Stand?

Where do I stand on the issue of football players (or any athletes) taking a knee during the National Anthem? I'm open minded. There are some in America who want the team owners to deny the players their rights under the First Amendment. However, if those owners advocated denying the complainers their Second Amendment rights, they would have a war on their hands.

Oh, I know. "That's different." It's always different when it doesn't tell someone what they want to hear. There is no amendment to the Constitution that says any one group of Americans should always have everything the way they want it. Diversity is what it is.

Sunday 2017.10.8

Some Minds Are Slower

I'm fussy about some things. I've been reading the book One Nation After Trump and I'm not satisfied with the formatting. The ebook is an EPUB file, which is very similar to HTML in web pages. Many of the codes are the same. Both use CSS (Cascading Style Steets). I have the Sigil software (it's free) on my computer; so I fix ebooks. The reason why is because some instructions that work well in HTML don't work the same in EPUB.

In the first paragraph of chapter 4 the president of Turkey is named. His last name is formatted with a character that doesn't exist in the extended character set on my computer. You can see it for yourself if you Google "President of Turkey."

I can get an "o" with two dots over it — ö — by holding down the ALT key and typing the numbers 0246 on the number keypad to the right. Erdogan's name has a crescent moon-like thing over the g. The mark is a diacritic and they're common in many languages. Wikipedia defines it as a glyph added to a character.

The little moon thing is a "breve". Although it's not in my computer, it appears in the ebook I'm reading. But it doesn't align over the g where it belongs. Instead, the breve is treated like any other character, separate from the g. How do I get the breve over the g? I know quite a bit about formatting in HTML and EPUB. My free cookbook was assembled entirely by me in Sigil. So I tried lots of text alignment codes, both in HTML and CSS. Nothing worked. I probably spent an hour working on this little project and came up bupkus.

And then it dawned on me. The g-breve character shows up in Google. Why not copy and paste the character into my ebook? DUH! How many seconds did it take? One? Two? And it looks fine.

And this goes back to the EPUB ebook in the first place. In the code there was a CSS class that was supposed to align the breve over the g. It didn't work. As I said, some HTML codes don't work the same in EPUB. The creator of the ebook could have done the same thing I did, simply copy and paste the character into Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's name. Hopefully that name looks right on your computer — it's a unicode character rather than ANSI. (Yeah, that doesn't mean a thing to me either.)

Some Bad News

Patreon is not working my the patrons — and I am feeling frustrated. They aren't seeing the links to my YouTube videos. Part of the problem was caused by me, although innocently enough. Patreon regularly sends me email* telling me how I can add enhancements to my page. One suggestion was to add "Rewards" for patrons. I decided to add a reward, telling all patrons that they get to watch my videos, free of ads, well in advance of their going public on YouTube. The reward stopped everyone from seeing the video links. So far, I've sent four requests to their help desk, but Patreon hasn't responded to any of them.

* Oddly, Patreon stopped sending me email. The only email I receive now are automatic responses, such as when someone cancels their pledge.

Short of blasting out an anti-Patreon video on YouTube, I don't know what else to do.

I'm not suspicious by nature, but the recent activity, or lack of it, at Patreon has me curious. Suddenly they go silent. I was receiving supportive emails almost daily. Now, nothing. I did read Patreon received a recent infusion of capital, something like $2.1 million. Did someone take the money and run? And recently YouTube put the kibosh on content creators linking to Patreon on their videos. Something is going on.

Some Good News

On the Home Page of this web site I added a new section to the bottom: Advance Video Views For You. The recipe names link to the recipe page where visitors can click the green "View the Video" button to see the videos before they go public on YouTube.

More good news: On Thursday the construction crew outside my home started removing the concrete barriers from the road. Although it hasn't started yet, I am assuming the next step is to pave those lanes. There is still a lot to be done, but the project appears to be nearing completion.

However, a sign down the street says they'll be doing night work until October 20th. Sleep might be a challenge for a while. If I appear tired and grumpy in my videos, you'll know the reason why.

Loving Chorizo

If you should decide to make your own Chorizo like I do, try this: Cook up some chorizo in a skillet. Meanwhile, start boiling some pasta, like spaghetti. When the chorizo is cooked, add pasta sauce, any you like, to the skillet and heat it. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the skillet. Turn to coat well, then plate. Garnish with your favorite cheese.

This sauce reminds me of the meat sauce they put on spaghetti when I was in grade school. It's a ragù (chunky sauce), but rather than a typical beef ragù, this one is spicier, maybe more typical of Southern Italy or Sicily. I love it.

So here's a thought: I love my mom's American Chop Suey — a macaroni and ragù dish. She made it with ground beef, but the trick to a really good flavor was to caramelize the chopped onion first. What would this dish taste like if I made it with chorizo? There is only one way to find out…

So, how did it taste? Well, it won't go into my book of favorite recipes, but it was okay. The original recipe, made with beef, is better. The beef has just the right flavor. I guess that's why Italian cooks don't make meatballs with chorizo.

Wednesday 2017.10.4

For the Fans

This morning I added the recipe page for Basic Sweet Bread. You can also view the unlisted (hidden) YouTube video from the recipe page by clicking the green "View the Video" button. It hasn't been monetized yet; so you can watch the video free of advertising.

The video is scheduled to go Public on YouTube on November 5, at which time it will be available to everyone. Meanwhile, only the fans of my web site and my Patreon patrons can see it.

Trumpism

The first (maybe not the first) of the books about Trump presidency was released two weeks ago — One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported, by E.J. Dionne, Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, & Tomas E. Mann.

A few years ago I read Mann and Ornstein's book, It's Even Worse Than It Looks, in which they described how the bitterness in politics, especially across the aisle in both houses of Congress, was leading to an even more dysfunctional U.S. government.

I was expecting the books about Trump to start appearing soon. He hasn't even finished the first year of his presidency and authors are writing about him already. I read nearly a dozen books about the Bush/Cheney regime during their eight years in the White House. I wouldn't be surprised if I read as many books during Trump's first four years, assuming he makes it through the first four.

I've only read the first three (of 11) chapters, but I appreciate a couple conclusions so far.

  1. Trump rode into office on a perfect storm of anger and hatred, into which he tapped and fueled — disenfranchised white collar workers (jobs moving overseas, failed international trade promises, and a congress that abandoned them to pursue the wealthy), xenophobia, and a rabid dislike of Hillary Clinton.
  2. Trump rode a wave of media sensationalism. He was a ratings gold mine during the campaign (and still is) as his outlandish boasting, goading, and lying drove Americans to tune into the evening news to see his latest antics. All that media attention kept him in the headlines as Clinton fought to be noticed (and avoid negative publicity — Benghazi, her email, James Comey, Wall Street speaking fees, the Clinton Foundation, etc.).

Toward the end of chapter two the authors reinforce my reasons for reading books. The decline in local newspapers and the fleeing of advertisers from print to the Internet meant loss of revenue for print media. They cannot afford to employ the investigative journalists we saw in the days of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (authors of All the President's Men) at the Washington Post. To fill their pages, whether in print or on the web, news outlets turned to opinion journalism. Sometimes it's difficult to sort the opinions from the actual news.

Chapter three provides a pessimistic view of the current state of affairs in the Republican party. Even if you're a staunch conservative, you have to admit the Republicans have done little in recent decades to support minorities, the poor, and middle class Americans. Yes, some legislation was passed — DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals), now rescinded by the Republicans — but the bulk of the Republican bills continue to pander to the wealthy who donate large sums of money to Republican political campaigns. The DREAM Act, which has some bipartisan support, never passed, although versions of it continue to be proposed to Congress.

Looking ahead, I don't see that the book will delve into the subject of how the Russians manipulated the election in favor of Trump. That will be covered in later books.

It's ironic that Trump has been so vocal in his criticism of "fake news." It was the biased media that bolstered his popularity as a presidential candidate; not because they urged voters to elect him — quite to the contrary, they were exposing his many faults and weaknesses — but because he was such a hot topic for cable news outlets seeking to boost their ratings. They gave him the lion's share of free media coverage, for which they have since apologized.

As I've said before, I'm looking forward to the mid-term elections of 2018. Next fall will be a fascinating period. I'll try to avoid predictions, as those were embarrassingly wrong last fall. I'll also be looking forward to 2020. What would happen if the Democrats won a majority of seats in one or both houses of Congress? Is it conceivable that Trump would lash out so vociferously during the second half of his first (and maybe only) term that the Republicans wouldn't even nominate him to run for a second term? I'll be watching.

Heading Deeper Into Autumn?

When I woke up this morning the heat was on. That is usually my first indication that we are on our way toward winter. Then I noticed I had left one of the windows open last night.

Quite to the contrary, the weather forecast is for temperatures in the mid to high 80s on Friday and Saturday. I haven't unplugged the air conditioners yet.

Sunday 2017.10.1

It's Beginning to Feel Like Autumn

I probably haven't closed some windows in my home since May. Now I am closing all the windows before I go to bed because otherwise the inside of my home gets too cold during the night. The heat hasn't come on yet, but it's only a matter of time.

I checked the National Weather Service web site to see what the El Niño / La Niña projections are. El Niño is a warm ocean surface condition in the Pacific and it often, but not always, means above-normal rain in California. La Niña is the opposite. The current projection is for neither condition. It should be a normal winter. The rainy season begins around the Thanksgiving holiday in late November. Normal rain during winter would be fine with me.

YouTube Videos

I am enjoying my new method of uploading YouTube videos. Rather than uploading on Sunday mornings, I upload whenever a video is ready. However, each video goes up as "unlisted" because if YouTube flags it as inappropriate for advertisers, I can appeal — thanks to my 14,600 subscribers.

The pleasant part is that I can post a link to the video on my Patreon page. Patrons get early access to the video, and if I haven't monetized it yet they can watch the video without ads. It's my gift to them for being patrons.

As for the YouTube subscribers, they will see my regular uploads the same as they always have. They won't notice any difference. I currently have five advance-viewing videos posted on Patreon. My Pesto video went public today. I monetized that video last week and YouTube never flagged it.

Relaxing, Finally

I am finally beginning to calm down now that YouTube started being transparent about their policing algorithm thing. I'm smiling again. I'm joking again. I feel like a great weight was lifted from my shoulders. I had fun vlogging about it in this week's Kitchen Vlog. Here is the link:

Or CLICK HERE.

I wish I could explain how good normalcy feels. This week I worked through my web site, returning it back to its normal format, the way it looked before all the YouTube trauma. My home page looks normal again. The embedded video looks normal again. It's okay. It's fine.

However, there is one little difference. If you look at my recipe for Pasta Fagioli, you'll see a green "View the Video" button. Click that and you can watch the video, even though it is not public on YouTube yet. It's hidden, uploaded as "Unlisted." That video is scheduled to go public on October 29th, four weeks from now. But you can watch it now, free of advertising.

Other videos you can watch in advance of their publish date include:

Torta Pasqualina
Smoked Salmon Meatballs
Lamb with Pasta and Pesto (Lamb & Pappardelle)

Those are older videos that I never uploaded to YouTube. They will go public in the next few weeks.

Other projects in the pipeline include a new video for making Baklava. I'm thinking about the Christmas holiday. A fun recipe I found in my cupboard is for a Basic Sweet Bread (see below). I got that recipe back when I was in college. It took me a while to figure it out because it didn't make sense. Then is realized it was copied from a book that came with a blender. Part of the processing is done in a blender. You could probably use a food processor. And someone asked if I could find and video a recipe for pound cake made without eggs. Her husband won't eat anything with eggs in it. That's another project.

So Near!

Patience, Dennis. Patience. Check out the following progression of photographs. The first picture was taken in April; the last was shot this week.

These Buddha's Hand citrus start out purple, stay green as they grow, and then turn yellow as they ripen. One of them is so near to being fully ripe I want to harvest it now and start the candying process, which takes two to three days, but I'm making myself wait until every little bit of green is gone.

Buddha's Hand citrus are considered inedible when raw. They are grown mostly for their ornamental value, although slices are sometimes used to flavor alcohol like vodka or to add fragrance to a room. Some web sites say there is no juice inside, only a mild white flesh. They are supposedly the oldest form of citrus fruit, originating in Asia where they have been cultivated for thousands of years.

The common way of eating them is to slice and boil them for about 30 minutes, let cool, drain, then place the pieces in a sugar-water syrup and heat to 270°F (132°C). Drain (reserving the syrup for other uses), arrange on a wire rack and let dry until tacky, at least 24 hours. Then toss in granulated sugar to coat and let dry at least two hours longer on a wire rack. I'll try it when I'm satisfied the fruit is fully ripe.

Meanwhile, More About That Sweet Bread Recipe

One of the challenges of working with an old recipe is that you don't how the measurements were made. 5½ cups flour. Sifted flour? Scooped flour? It makes a big difference. That's why the best baking recipes — see them on the King Arthur Flour web site — give amounts in weight as well as volume.

I made the bread yesterday. The recipe called for 1¼ cups (296ml) water. To get the dough to the right consistence I know for bread, I ended up working in another ½ cup (118ml) of water. That's a lot. And it points out another challenge with recipes. Did anyone ever test them? I think some people write up a recipe, thinking it's a good idea, without ever checking the formula for accuracy.

The bread, by the way, came out great. I made two loaves. I am invited to a little wine and cheese social tomorrow; so I'll bring one loaf to share. Here's the photo of the loaf I cut.

It was very slightly sweet, with a delicate citrus favor. I enjoy it toasted and buttered.