Random thoughts

Rest in piece, sourdough starter.   Sigh.  I had to flush it down the sink today because it got colonized.  With the oven on the fritz lately, I hadn’t been using it very much, just leaving it in the fridge for extended periods and occasionally taking it out, pouring off the accumulated fluid on top and feeding it again to keep it lively.  It seemed to tolerate it well.  The only thing I did different this last time was that the bottled water I had on hand wasn’t distilled, just plain old “spring” water.

Night before last, about two feedings into the rejuvenation process, I noticed a slightly off smell.  Yesterday it was quite noticeable, and this morning the “San Francisco” smell was barely apparent.  Though the starter was still bubbling, it had a much more sour, unpleasant odor and I didn’t take any chances.  Oh well.  Will have to begin all over again.

It’s not that all sourdough starters require distilled water, of course.  Perhaps it’s what they get used to.  That’s all I had used up until now, and perhaps it led to more fragile organisms.  It sure made good bread, though.

A Beautiful Picture and Link With the Past

Iceberg grotto picture, January 5, 1911.

Iceberg grotto picture, January 5, 1911. (Source: National Library, NZ/The Commons, Flickr)

Isn’t that a lovely and modernistic image? It’s 101 years old. Found it while surfing through The Commons on Flickr the other night and felt it was worth sharing because of its beauty and because it shows that people a century ago, and probably earlier, weren’t much different from us.

Of course, there is a Civil War perspective on it, too, although this is from the British Antarctica Expedition in 1911. Up in the USA, men who had fought in and survived the war were now in their mid-50s or older. Reunions were being held and many people were struggling toward reconciliation.

Some seven months after this image was taken down in Antarctica, USA and CSA Civil War veterans held a Peace Jubilee. As the Smithsonian Magazine reports:

Reunification was a dominant theme in the 50th anniversary observances of 1911-1915. George Carr Round, a Union veteran who after the war became a lawyer and settled in Manassas, Virginia, helped organize the Manassas National Jubilee of Peace, in July 1911, in observance of the 50th anniversary of the war’s first battle (also known as Bull Run).

According to historian Joan Zenzen, author of the 1998 book Battling for Manassas—about the preservation of the battlefield—a host of luminaries were on hand for the Peace Jubilee, including President William Howard Taft, who gave the keynote address to an estimated crowd of 10,000 people. As part of the Jubilee, 300 aged Confederates and 125 Federals “marched” up to each other, shook hands, and then joined in “laughter and smiles and backslapping.” For Round, the warm feelings of the Peace Jubilee proved that “hatred, resentments, misunderstandings and injustices” between North and South were “buried, forgotten and forever settled.”

A hundred years later, reenactors took part in a celebration of the anniversary of that Peace Jubilee.

I wonder if our nation today could have a Peace Jubilee after the Sixties. Wouldn’t it be wonderful!

The Novel

I’m ready to start. It’s a strange thing about outlines and notes and such stuff – they seem to serve as a way to get ideas out of my head, so there’s room for some creative stuff. It will be interesting to see how the finished product compares to the initial outline.

Categories: American Civil War, Cooking, Random thoughts, Writing

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