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2 May: Saturday

Siena, Italy: Today marks eight weeks since we have seen our grandkids. World Record! We would give anything to see them again, except expose them to anything awful. Maybe two more weeks? Quite a statistic for our family. Even when Lisa went to college in DC, and we lived in Oregon, we once went seven weeks without seeing her. (She was in DC on 9-11... that was not good.) Obviously, only a crisis can keep our family apart.

I hope you are still all hunkering-down, and not going to Forever 21 at the local mall?

As usual, we did not leave the resort. DT rode his bike 20 miles (1.5 miles loops over and over and over again). Saturday is my rest day.

It was time to slice into the loaf of Buttermilk Whole Wheat bread I baked yesterday. Dang, if it didn’t turn-out so well. Happy, as if it had failed and had wasted precious flour, tears would be streaming down this website right now.

This is a very easy recipe (if you have a bread machine, see recipe below). I know some people scoff at bread machines, but the appliance is made to mix, knead, and rise dough at the perfect temperature. I have never baked bread in my bread machine - it is always finished as a boule, baguette, rolls, or shaped into a loaf pan.


This loaf is especially lovely toasted with loads of butter, and is wonderful for a tuna sandwich.


The five ducklings spent quite a bit of time along our dock this morning, munching on grass. We did not see mom, but she was with them yesterday, so she is still around. I can provide no info about the 6th duckling. Gone.

John, George, and Paul...

I snapped a few photos around our campsite this afternoon. Our hedge is in full bloom (and we have asked our gardener to “let it go” so we can enjoy the blossoms. The Palo Verde tree on our neighbor’s lot is blooming. Very beautiful, but very sneeze-producing.

Lots of yellow blossoms! (The red spot is our hummingbird feeder.)

Since I have not published photos of the construction sites next to us (on the driver-side) for months, here is what is happening:

This is the result of seven months construction. Now there is a delay due to the high temperatures. Too hot to pour cement.

Here is a panorama to the west of our campsite. Two casitas under construction. (Our bus side mirror is on the far left of the above photo.) Both lots include swimming pools, spas, outdoor kitchens, and casitas. I can’t wait to see the final result, but hope we don’t have to wait much longer. As of May 1st, construction can take place M-F, and with the high temperatures, assume the crews will be arriving earlier and earlier each morning. Let’s just say, we do not need to set an alarm.

No matter, it was Saturday night, and just because we are all alone, didn’t mean we couldn’t have a party. I made Michael Chiarello’s Salsa do Parmigiano - a dip/spread with Parmesan and Asiago cheeses, herbs and olive oil. The stuff is addictive. I made a very scaled-down portion of the recipe and we still have so much left. I keep saying I am going to toss this with pasta sometimes. Maybe the time is soon?

It is nice to have an olive tree in the garden. Olive sprigs are a great garnish - especially if the dish has olive oil and olives!

Cosmopolitans were on the menu for our party tonight.

I made a batch of Italian Short Ribs in January, and it made enough for three meals (for two). We finished it up tonight. Thank goodness for our vacuum-sealer! The only thing I had to do for dinner tonight was boil-up the very last remaining russet in the kitchen for a mashed potato side to the Italian short ribs... and make teeny salads:

Teeny tomatoes, a bit of green pepper, and a bit of red onion.
Colors of the Italian flag.

I am planning to leave the resort tomorrow. Maybe. I want to attend the Farmers Market. (Face mask + gloves.) Would rather give my money directly to a farmer than to a multi-state grocery chain... but may have to spread the budget between them. I need a few things down the “middle aisles” this week.

We are bracing for a few days of 107° temperatures the next few days. Until my next update, I remain, your Tuscan correspondent.


Reformulated to include even more stone-ground whole wheat flour, this bread is very pretty and moist. Perfect bread for a tuna salad sandwich or toasted.

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour
1 cup white bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or 2 Tablespoons honey)
1 Tablespoon yeast

Use dough cycle. After cycle is finished, put dough on floured board, let rest 10 minutes, then shape into a loaf and place in 1.5 pound oiled loaf pan. Let rise until doubled, 40-50 minutes. Bake at 375° until done, 28-30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

3 thoughts

  1. We are still hunkered down in Montana although our state is beginning to open. Restaurants and bars open Monday, retail, hair dressers (thank you God) and various other businesses opened last Monday. We had takeout from a local restaurant last Wednesday, eaten sitting in a park with friends on one of the nicest days we’ve had so far this spring in Montana. Other than that one trip we’ve only made grocery store runs every two weeks. I have to wait sixteen more days for a haircut :(–to say my hairdresser was backed up was an understatement!

  2. That’s my kind of bread…lots of tiny holes to hold the melted butter when you toast it. I have never used my bread maker as just a dough maker. Must try that soon.

    1. Phil: I’ve never baked bread in my machine. It is the perfect “dough” producer.

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