Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I did fun things on Saturday

Friends of ours have a 16-year-old son who is involved in the "Kids in Aviation" program which is a way of getting them to learn math and science without noticing it, while they get to build an actual honest to God airplane. It is just SO cool! I wish I could do it! The hangar is just across the street from a filbert orchard, and I thought I would show you what January looks like here in the warm, wet Willamette Valley.

So they held an open house to show folks what they were up to. I am SO impressed! These teens are actually building a plane. A real plane. In this photo, they have built the frame of the wing, and they are rivetting the skin to the frame. The copper-looking things sticking up all over? Those are like pins that you use to hold pieces of fabric together when you sew a dress. Then the riveting goes between them, patiently, repetitively, one rivet at a time like seams holding the skin onto the frame. They no longer use the old hot rivet and hammer process. They are now using a quiet little hand-hel power tool that pops the rivets into place. Course, these are tiny little rivets, too. Not like the big suckers they use to build battleships.

You will notice a lot of grey-haired fellows in the crowd. These are the guys who volunteer every Saturday to teach and coach the kids through the construction process.

I caught this shot during a speech. See the fellow in the green hat that looks like he's asleep? He's one of the instructors. He's built seven kit planes already. I want to sit down with him and get him to tell me stories. He's a retired Airlines pilot who started with United in 1953 and when he retired, was doing the Pacific run to Australia and New Zealand. That's when you really flew the plane. Now, the pilots are only there in case of emergencies. Most of the flying is done by the on-board computers.

So after getting to meet these really sharp kids and these really, really cool old dudes, and seeing age coaching youth in practical, useful skills and esoteric math and science, D?H and I stopped at a new branch of a classic old local restaurant and had a superb lunch. If you are ever looking for a superb deli meal, go to Rose's Deli. They are famous for their dinner-plate sized donuts, and their foot high cakes, but OMG their sandwiches and salads! I had romaine lettuce with grilled chicken breast, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, and raspberry vinagarette dressing. It was a symphony in my mouth. Textures and flavors blended so harmoniously! DH had a reubin sandwich that made his eyes sparkle. We both took half of our meals home for dinner.

And then, my dear friend LG had organized a bread-baking class for a bunch of her friends. We went over to the house of the baker, who has built a wood-fired cobb oven in his backyard. He builds a big fire inside the oven, rakes it out when the bricks are up to temperature, and puts the dough right on the hot bricks. This is baking the old way and it just blew me away. Especially since there is no temperature gauge. Donny, the baker, uses an infrared thermometer, but still got the oven too hot and our first batch was slightly burned. It brought home to me what a profound art cooking used to be. A woman had to be able to tell how hot the oven was just by waving her hand inside it. No gauges, no thermometers, very little control. Years of practice and a real knack would make the difference between barely edible, and truely yummy.

We made rye bread, cheese and onion bread, and super-toast bread. Donny had made up six loaves of each bread beforehand, and we were supposed to help with the baking of that in between learning how to mix up the doughs for each. Then we would bring our three kinds of dough, and three hot loaves of bread home. I was fading fast before we got to the end, so I just brought four wads of dough home (the cheese-onion bread dough, without the addition of cheese and onions, can be used for cinnamon rolls. Heh-heh-heh!) And now there is bread baking even as I type.

So I went from high tech, to low tech. From flight, to the staff of life. From dreams to sustenance. I feel very full and well-rounded. And the cinnamon rolls smell just about done. Wanna come over and share?


  • At 10:52 AM , Anonymous Lisa Nowak said...

    Wow, what a lot of fun. Where is that Rose's Deli? I looked online and it said SW Portland. Is that right?

  • At 1:18 PM , Blogger Willow said...

    I'll be right over for the cinnamon buns!

    My grandmother still used a wood stove in her home when I was a kid. She told me that bread baked best with a three corn cob fire. When I lived in Indo. I baked in a wood stove oven AND a kerosene stove top oven. The stove top oven had two temperatures: nuclear haulocast and tepid.

  • At 3:40 PM , Blogger Heide said...

    Mmmm, nothing like warm, sticky buns to make a Sunday afternoon truly unforgetable. I've often wondered about baking and cooking with fire. The airplane building looks like lots of fun. Cheers!

  • At 5:24 PM , Blogger Rose Lefebvre said...

    Nothing beats the aroma of freshly baked bread. Mmmmmmm!

  • At 7:30 PM , Blogger Galad said...

    Could you just waft the smell of cinnamon rolls my way? Sounds heavenly

  • At 9:33 PM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    Wow-- you and DH are such wonderful community members--it's wonderful that you went to see all that good karma and constructive energy at work!

  • At 10:00 AM , Anonymous jingle said...


  • At 4:21 AM , Blogger KnitTech said...

    BBQer's use their hands to measure the heat also. Course that doesn't stop Grilltech from using two different thermometers.

  • At 8:56 PM , Anonymous Barb said...

    What a cool day. I think I'm most fulfilled when I'm learning something. Thanks for sharing.


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