One loaf of Molasses Bread

Mixed, molded and baked on Monday afternoon.

Gave to: Well, tried to give to Sparky’s mama, but it ended up at the corner house.

We’ve lived on this street in Santa Barbara for many years now. We love this neighborhood for many reasons, and one of them has been Sparky, a beautiful and docile white shepherd who was built to gallop and lope with those lovely long legs of his. Sparky adored lounging in our neighbor’s front room, which has a floor to ceiling window that faces the street. He would peek his head out of the closed curtain and secretly watch all that passed by in his regal way.

Well, Sparky was put down not too long ago. His owner, C, loved that dog–we loved him–and it was hard to say goodbye.

My daughter said the other day, “We need to bring C some bread!” And I thought that was a fine idea. So, I baked up two loaves of molasses bread and Madeleine and I shuffled across the street to offer the bread and our condolences.¬†We talked on the front porch for a long while, but the bread stayed in our hands–turns out, like so many others these days, C’s trying a diet that’s free of wheat.

So, I promised her some kumquat marmalade (which I just made yesterday) and we scooted next door to our dear friends on the corner, who are also bread lovers and eaters.

I’m so grateful for my daughter’s heart–that she thought of this giving and not me. Shows that this idea of sharing isn’t mine alone, and that as a community we can make our little street an eensy scooch more connected, sharing our sorrows, our loaves of bread, and our kumquat marmalade– together.


Kumquat Adventures

Two loaves of kumquat bread

Mixed and baked: 4 pm

Gave second loaf to Kh. Jan

We have a kumquat tree

I love kumquats. They are a unique little citrus–you eat them whole, right off the tree, peel and all. The inner layer of the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit, with the juice being extremely sour. If you like super sour candy, then here is a natural version for you to try…

Our tree is exploding with fruit so I spend hours de-seeding, then blending the fruit so I can use it in many different ways. I add the blend to my chocolate chip cookies (so good!), I make a kumquat nut bread (here\’s the recipe), and sometimes we mix it with other fruit to make smoothies. It’s powerful stuff, and so delicious!

Here’s what it looks like once it’s blended

Anyway, today I was de-seeding another batch of fruit and decided to pop one in my mouth. I tripped, and inhaled quite a lot of juice into my windpipe, and for the first time in my life I couldn’t breathe. I doubled over in the hall, and couldn’t breathe in; I couldn’t breathe out, nor could I cough. I knew holding my breath wasn’t an option for too long, so I forced myself to inhale. No air, just a constricting and burning feeling, and a strange curiosity at how the juice was forming some sort of bubble or cover or cap in my trachea… I forced myself to cough, but the reflex didn’t respond. So odd! I was stuck.

Again, I forced myself to inhale and a horrible, desperate sound came from my throat. I tried again, and it hurt, but I could tell that a tiny bit of oxygen was getting through because my vision, which was turning fuzzy, cleared. My husband bent near to help, and the little one kept asking if I was okay, but what could they do?

I inhaled again. Oh, it was awful.

Finally, the whole mess in my lungs started to ease. I’ll spare you the details. I have a new appreciation for those who have asthma attacks. Not breathing is very disturbing…

A half hour after I’d recovered, and could manage a few basic sentences, I left the rest of the gang home and went to vespers alone. I lit a candle for everyone, even one for me, grateful for the lovely, easy air we breathe night and day. And then I gave the second loaf of kumquat bread to my daughter’s godmama, who is always ready with a hug and bursting with good cheer…

And now I’m home, seeing everything around me with an intensified sense of awe and thanks.

Amazing what the juice of one little kumquat can do…