BY MARY JACKSON
Valley Voice Contributor
Get Your Garden On!
'Tis the season to dig, compost, plant, and anticipate that beautiful summer garden. Your library has a plethora of books and DVDs on just about everything to do with plants and gardening. If you dread the work involved with the burden of abundance generated by a productive vegetable garden, read about how to create a butterfly or container garden. Learn how to use native plants to invite birds and pollinators into your yard.
Need a helper or co-conspirator in your gardening endeavors? We have plenty of gardening books for kids and novices to spark their interest and motivation. Come on down and browse our gardening window. If you don’t see something of interest, we will be happy to order in whatever you seek.
The Alsea Library is open for curbside pick-up of holds Tuesday and Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm and Thursday 2:00pm to 6:00pm. You may also get library materials delivered to your home by signing up for delivery service here: https://cbcpubliclibrary.net/delivery/.
Our library system continues to offer amazing virtual content. April’s Random Review takes place on April 14th 12:00pm to 1:00pm and features Joey Spatafora reviewing The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, by David Quammen.
You can register here: https://bit.ly/randomreviewregistration.
Pull up an armchair and enjoy!
A new program which will run through May 17th is the Own Voices Challenge. The idea is to find commonality with someone by walking a while in their shoes. By seeking out authentic stories from authentic voices, we encourage and support diversity in the world of media and we gain better understanding of marginalized groups. Read, listen, or watch titles in 5 of 12 categories to earn activity badges. Those that earn 5 badges or more qualify for a free book.
Sign up for the challenge here: cbcpubliclibrary.beanstack.org.
We wish you a glorious spring and hope to see you soon.
BY KATE RIVERA
Leaping lamb Farm Manager
Valley Voice Contributor
Here at Leaping Lamb Farm, we have two bread recipes that we love to bake for guests, but when the pandemic hit Oregon and guests weren’t able to visit the farm, we decided to share these recipes for everyone to bake at home.
The first is a simple no-knead recipe for one boule — you’ve probably seen versions of this shared all over the internet. The second is a more traditional recipe for white sandwich bread. Ready?
SIMPLE NO-KNEAD BREAD
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon oil
Start this recipe a day ahead to allow for rising time. Or, if you have an Instant Pot with a yogurt setting, read on to learn how to proof your dough in less time!
Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, then add the warm water and stir together until combined. Don’t over knead! Your dough will be shaggy and sticky.
Cover your bowl with a clean flour sack or tea towel and leave on the counter overnight 18-24 hours. It should double in size.
NOTE: If you have an Instant Pot with a Yogurt button, you can proof the dough in about 4 hours. Place your dough on a piece of parchment in the Instant Pot’s liner, press the Yogurt button, adjust it to LESS and set the time for 4 hours. Cover with a glass lid or a plate. (You can also use a bit of olive oil to coat the dough instead of using parchment. Just put about a teaspoon of oil in the bottom of the pot, place the dough and roll it around to coat it.)
The next day (or after 4 hours), you’re ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a Dutch oven inside. Make sure to leave the lid off the Dutch oven.
On a lightly floured surface, gently shape your dough into a ball and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
Quickly and lightly score the top of the dough with a very sharp knife in the shape of an X.
Take your heated Dutch oven out, pour in 1 Tablespoon of oil (we use olive) and carefully drop the ball of dough into the center. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven lid and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing. (But honestly, who can resist bread hot from the oven? You can tear off pieces before it cools.)
NOTE: You can use all-purpose flour in this recipe, we just like bread flour. If you want to use wheat flour, only use 1 cup out of the three, or your bread will be too dense!
When we’ve got a little more time available and feel like getting a dough-kneading workout, this next one is a wonderful recipe that yields three loaves! You can freeze the extras, if they last that long.
BASIC WHITE SANDWICH BREAD
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons instant yeast
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
4 cups warm milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
6 cups (approx.) bread flour or all-purpose flour
Whisk together the 4 cups of all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Make a small well in the center and pour in the melted butter and warm milk.
Mix well and continue to stir while slowly adding 1 cup of the bread flour at a time until you’ve added 4 cups. This will take several minutes and your dough will become shaggy and sticky.
Cover the bowl with a clean, damp flour sack or tea towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add the salt and 1 more cup of bread flour and stir. If the dough is still too sticky to knead at this point, you can add up to another cup of bread flour.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes. It’s best to keep your hands floured and you can sprinkle a little flour onto the dough as you work to keep it from sticking. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky.
Sprinkle a little flour into the dough bowl and drop the dough into it. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough, re-cover the bowl with the damp towel and let it rise until it has doubled in size. This should take about an hour or more at 70 to 75 degrees. If your space is cooler, the rise will take longer (and some say makes for even better tasting bread).
Time for the second rise. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it gently. Divide the dough into three pieces. Shape the pieces into loaves and place seam-side down in greased loaf pans. Cover with a damp flour sack or tea towel and let them rise for another 60 minutes. You should be able to gently poke the dough with a floured finger and have it spring back.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once heated, bake the loaves for 35 minutes or until they are a golden brown. Removed the baked loaves from their pans immediately and let them cool on a wire rack. Wait until the loaves are cooled before cutting, as they finish baking while cooling.
You can freeze the extra loaves in freezer bags. Be sure they are completely cooled before sealing them into bags.
Of course, one way to cozy up in the winter is to enjoy a warm bowl of soup along with that delicious loaf of bread! Here is the recipe for one of my favorite soups to make in the winter; Golden Coconut Lentil Soup, adapted from Budget Bytes with an Instant Pot variation!
GOLDEN COCONUT LENTIL SOUP
Adapted from Budget Bytes
1 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/2 Tbsp ground turmeric
Pinch red pepper flakes
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 lb red or yellow lentils (about 1 cup)
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water, or a mix
13.5 oz can coconut milk
Salt, to taste
1/3 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 bunch cilantro
2 cups cooked rice (jasmine or sushi)
Add the olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger in the olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are soft and transparent.
Add the turmeric and red pepper to the pot and sauté for a minute more. Add the carrots to the pot, sauté for a minute more, then add the lentils and broth or water. Place a lid on the pot, bring it up to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Toast the coconut flakes while the soup simmers. Add the coconut flakes to a dry skillet and place it over medium-low heat. Stir continuously as the flakes heat until they are about 50% golden brown (1-3 minutes). Remove the flakes from the hot skillet immediately to stop the toasting process.
After 20 minutes the lentils should be soft and broken down. Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Use an immersion blender or carefully blend the warm soup in small batches until about half of the soup is puréed (or all of it if you want it completely smooth). Once blended, begin adding salt, 1/2 tsp at a time, until the soup is properly seasoned. I used ½ tsp.. Also adjust the red pepper flakes, if desired.
Instant Pot variation:
Follow steps 1 & 2 above using the sauté function on the IP. After adding broth and lentils, close the pot and cook on Manual pressure, High, 15 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes.
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
Starker Forests: Growing Forests, Not Just Trees
Starker Forests is a fifth-generation forest management business headquartered between Corvallis and Philomath. Founder T.J. Starker began his forestry career when he graduated from the Department of Forestry at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) in 1910. His first purchase of timberland was in 1936, when he bought two tracts south of Blodgett. His first purchases in the Alsea Valley were from Benton County, Mr. Baird, and the Lattourette Estate in the summer of 1943. The core holdings of Starker Forests are in Benton and Lincoln counties, but some parcels are located in Polk, Linn and Lane counties.
The timber on most of the land Starker has acquired was typically harvested by previous owners with very little merchantable timber remaining at the time they were purchased. With careful management and a commitment to sustainability, Starker has been able to grow forests that not only are beautiful, they are valuable. The company’s general forest management plan calls for active management throughout the life of the forest. Forests are planted with seedling shortly after harvest after site preparation is completed. The site “prep” consists of burning the slash to reduce the future risk of wildfire and improve planting spaces, and vegetation management. Forests are thinned and salvaged as necessary to maintain a healthy forest so at final harvest time, trees are mostly defect-free and can be sold as premium products. When ice storms knock out power and take down power lines, Starker trees that have been manufactured into utility poles can come to the rescue as lines are repaired.
Most of the Starker trees are sold as sawlogs to western Oregon markets. Logs are sold to over 25 manufacturing facilities. In the 1970s, there was a depression in the forest industry and the local markets were not able to pay enough for logs to cover the logging and hauling costs. Starker was fortunate to be able to sell some logs to the export market and has continued to offer timber sales to the highest bidder ever since. This situation repeated itself in the 2008-2011 economic recession. The export volume is a small percentage of the over-all timber sales program, but Starker still views it as important to operations when the time is right. It allowed the business to continue timber sale contracts with all its contracted loggers so that everyone could keep working and there were no employee layoffs, despite the troublesome economic conditions.
Starker Forests always tries to be a good neighbor, but due to the nature of the business, logging creates noise (sometimes very early in the morning), dust, changes in views, and temporarily increases traffic on public and private roads. It is Starker’s intent to communicate with neighbors prior to any operations that may influence their ownership. On many occasions, the business has entered into cooperative agreements with its forestland neighbors that have been beneficial to both Starker’s and the neighbors.
At one time, T.J. Starker worked for Rex Clemens, who owned property that eventually was purchased by Willamette Industries and Weyerhaeuser. Rex wanted to develop a truck road from the vicinity of Klickitat Lake out to Highway 34 (a distance of about 13 miles) so he could get his logs to his sawmill and veneer plant in Philomath without going through Harlan. T.J. actually flagged out the route and a construction crew, including Carl Bennett, Alva Hinton, Cedric Williamson and others, built the road. During part of the construction, the crew stayed at Mrs. Grant’s hotel at Klickitat Lake. She provided room and board. Apparently, Mrs. Grant had some goats and T.J. said he counted the goats every morning to make sure Mrs. Grant wasn’t feeding them goat meat. T.J. remained friends with the Klickitat Road crew throughout his life.
Starker Forests is a member of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Membership in ATFS validates and recognizes that Starker is committed to doing the best for the land by following sustainable forest management practices. Starker’s privately owned forests offer clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and produce jobs, wood and paper products that are needed.
In the summer of 2020, Starker replaced a bridge and several culverts for fish passage in the Bummer and Swamp Creek watersheds, subbasins to the Alsea River. The project additionally included log placement in the streams to increase stream complexity and habitat for native species of salmon and cutthroat trout. These types of restoration projects have been ongoing since the early 1990s.
Most of Starker Forests’ property has gated access, usually painted a distinctive red, white, and blue. The purpose of the gates is to protect the property behind the gate from vandalism and theft. Signage at the gate offers information about gate name and tree farm. This can be important in the event of an emergency.
Many Starker properties are available to the public for a variety of uses; however, permits are required so use can be managed. The permits are a way for our employees to interact with the public, direct visitors away from hazards and limit certain uses to avoid conflicts. Most of the permits, including hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and photography, are free. Other permits, firewood and Christmas tree removal, require a nominal fee. In 2020, more than 3,000 permits were issued. Due to COVID, Starker Forests’ office is currently closed to the public. However, permits can be issues via email by calling the office at (541) 929-2477. You are welcome to come and enjoy our forests. Give us a call.
ALSEA COMMUNITY NEWS
THE VALUE OF OUR LITTLE PRESS
Benjamin Franklin said it best at the time of the American Revolution, and since our nation's 244th birthday has arrived, now is the time to underscore this true patriot's words:
"Any nation of stature; one that is true to itself has one common assurance. And that is the voice of its people. And it is those citizens who make and keep the record of their commonality. Those voices, in tandem with the printing press, their decency, and their honorable hand, will keep this new nation accountable to itself."
While Mr. Franklin didn't exactly have The Alsea Valley Voice in his thoughts as he made his bold statement, the sentiment is the same.
You can make a difference. You can hear your Voice in the Voice when you write and record the events and happenings in Our Town and its surrounding environs.
You keep our news relevant to each of us when you share your writing talents with your friends and neighbors here in Alsea, Oregon.
What are you waiting for? Send your story ideas and finished writing pieces to Alsea Valley Voice Editor Eva Riedlecker-Wolfe.
You may contact her by email at email@example.com and she is looking forward to hearing from you. Sharpen your pencil and get to writing! Ben Franklin is counting on you.