Poppyseed Rye Bread

In the 1980s, I started using Saco Buttermilk Powder to make bread and sent away for a collection of recipe cards.  It was a wonderful set of cards and this was one of my early favorites.  I first made the bread in 1986 and rated it “excellent”; in 1987, it won blue ribbons at the Hamilton County and Harvest Home Fairs in Cincinnati and won a 5th place ribbon at the Ohio State Fair.

It’s wonderful toasted and also a great base for a Reuben sandwich.


  • Servings: Two nine-inch or three 7-½ inch loaves
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  • 2 Tblsp. fast acting yeast*
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk powder
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 Tblsp. poppy seeds
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tblsp. oil
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-½ cups to 3 cups all-purpose flour

*I use Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast. I buy it in bulk (454 g) and the package says that it is made in Canada. I understand it is packaged under the name “Instant Dry” for distribution through stores like Sam’s, “Rapid Rise” in the U.S. and “Quick Rise” in Canada. The “Instant Dry”, “Rapid Rise” or “Quick Rise” yeast is especially formulated to be used mixed with the dry ingredients and can withstand the hot water.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place yeast, sugar, salt, buttermilk powder, cocoa, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, rye flour and whole wheat flour. Insert paddle beater and beat to blend dry ingredients.

In a four-cup measure, place oil, molasses and water.  Heat in the microwave to 130 degrees F.


Pour hot mixture into bowl and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Remove paddle beater and insert dough hook.  Continue to beat for 6-1/2 minutes, adding flour a little at a time.   You may not have to use all of the flour – the dough should be smooth and elastic after 6-1/2 minutes.  The dough may feel slightly sticky because of the molasses.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn dough over once and cover with a napkin or tea towel.  Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place that is free of drafts (I put mine on top of my microwave which sets under a cabinet).

After 45 minutes, punch down dough (press your knuckles into the dough to deflate it) and lay it on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the dough and form into two nine-inch or three 7-½ inch loaves. Turn over and pinch the edges to seal.  Place loaves in greased loaf pans.  Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes for nine-inch loaves, 45 minutes for 7-½ inch loaves or until bread is golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped (210 degrees on a bread thermometer).  Cover with a piece of foil if top is browning too fast.  Remove bread from pans immediately, brush with butter, cover with a napkin or a tea towel and let cool on a wire rack.

Yield:  Two nine-inch or three 7-½ inch loaves


Garden Flag Made from Canvas Duck Fabric

I have a small garden flag stand beside my front walk and have a lot of nice seasonal flags for it, but I was never able to find a flag with a harness horse on it.  This past week, I bought some canvas duck fabric at JoAnn’s to make a floor cloth and thought I would try making a small banner out of this material, using the same general procedure I have used for floor cloths.

The duck canvas gets several coats of Gesso to provide a good surface for painting.  The design is painted with acrylic paint and inked with a Sharpie fine or ultra-fine pen on the canvas and then several coats of clear satin acrylic varnish are applied.

I cut a piece of fabric for the back from an old county fair panel I’ve had for years.  This was also coated with the varnish.

This piece is something of an experiment for me since I know the process works well for indoor floor mats and the acrylic works well for outdoor wood items, but I’ve never combined the two processes before.

I like the banner very much.  The barn is from a photograph of the horse barn my father had for his harness horses for many years.

It was a gathering place for the family in the 1950s and 60s, especially during county fair time when everyone congregated.

I’ll see how this banner works out in all kinds of weather and I may be making a few more throughout the year.

County Fair Table Topper

In a previous post, I wrote about resurrecting some old decorative art sketches to make pen and ink panels for a tri-stand quilt rack.  That post is here:


I thought I’d give another favorite sketch a try and made a panel for my larger mini-quilt rack using a design from 1996.  I thought it would be nice to do a crazy-quilt border using actual fair award ribbons.  Although I have a box full of county and state fair ribbons I‘ve won through the years, I didn’t want to cut those up.  Luckily, my daughter found a box of Montgomery County award ribbons (Dayton, Ohio) in an antique mall and I used some of those.

It’s rather ironic that I’m using ribbons from this fair because it was a major event that we attended all the time I was growing up in the 1930s-40s.  I even posted about their big Labor Day Fair here:


I added strip borders and quilted in gold thread to match the lettering on the ribbons…

…and a sleeve, label and binding.

Back in 1996, I had made several wood projects with this design to sell in our craft mall booth.  It was like meeting an old friend again after all these years.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

It’s County Fair Time in my July Kitchen.

County fairs were the major source of summer entertainment throughout my childhood in the 1930-40s era and we went to as many fairs as we could manage on my father’s salary and his gas ration points during World War II.  My favorite part of the fair was sitting around the barn before and after the afternoon’s races, listening to all of the “horse talk” going on around me and just sniffing – a horse barn is still my favorite scent in the world.  Of course, a barn is always full of flies.  My mother used to say that my little sister, who was so anxious to get to the midway and rides, would sit on a folding chair in the barn area and constantly wriggle, scratch, complain, and whine, while every fly in the county landed on her.  Meanwhile, I sat very quietly, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells with not one fly near me.

In my childhood, the horses made up 90% of my interest in the fair, so all through my life, I’ve collected anything with a harness horse on it.  I have quite a few items in my kitchen:

Although I always loved the horses the most, I was also anxious to see the baking and canning displays, the animals, and the quilts.

My kitchen shelf has a large silver tray on top that was won by my father for a race in 1969, and there are two silver bowls plus a brass tray that I won in pie contests in the 1980s.

All of the family competed and won awards in our county fairs and the Ohio State Fair.

It’s fair time again and although we don’t compete any more, I have a small county fair to enjoy right here in my own kitchen.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Pause and Remember – 6/15/2012

On Friday, I pause and remember a single moment from the past week – inspired by The Warden’s Log.

My daughters visited the Roycroft Museum and gift shop in East Aurora, NY, on vacation and this is what they brought back to me.  They definitely know what I like.

Artists:  Laura Wilder and Rix Jennings

Click on pictures to enlarge.

A Tribute to my Father

This is a tribute to my father who was born 100 years ago today.  Some of the notes in this post are from a tape my mother made when she was 72 years old in 1989.

John Alonzo Applegate was born on May 19, 1912, in Lerado, Jackson Twp., Brown County, Ohio.  His mother was Lillian Frances Illie Applegate and his father was John Black Applegate.  The place of birth on his certificate is Lerado, but there’s a little discrepancy here because family legend is that he was born on the kitchen table in his Uncle Jim Applegate’s home – the old Applegate homestead – and that house is not located in Lerado, but nearby.   According to my mother’s account, possibly John B. and Lillian were visiting Uncle Jim at the time:

On her tape, Mother said, “If it wouldn’t be for Uncle Jim, none of you children, great-grandchildren or any of you would be here today.  He saved Johnny’s life when Grandma was about to have him.  Two of the Applegate brothers got into a fight and she got in the middle of them and she got pushed out a window backwards and she came near losing the baby.  They called Dr. Forman in and he said, ‘Oh, the baby’s breech – he’s going to be a breech birth’, he said, ‘I’m going to have to cut the baby in two to save the mother’ and Uncle Jim said, ‘No baby gets cut in two in my house’ and with that she went ahead and had him and that’s the only reason any of you are here today.  Johnny always had a very bad temper and his brother, Frank, told him the reason he had a bad temper was because he came in back side first and from that time on he always had his backside up in the air over something.”  

Uncle Jim – a very pleasant man unless he was riled.

John Alonzo was always small, serious, intelligent, with a fiery temper.  He used to tell stories of moving around so much and changing schools so often as a boy and how he would have to fight his way into each of the schools,  He also had the job of fighting the boys his younger brother, Frank, would antagonize with threats of “I’ll tell my big brother!“

Frank and Johnny, ca. 1917.  Johnny always had a firm grip on Frank.

Mother said, One day Johnny was playing in the sand and he didn’t have too many toys back in those days and he was playing in the sand and he had a big chain and he was pulling it around through the sand in the road like a big train – playing like it was a train – and two boys from the city, Cincinnati, came up and they said, ‘Oh, look at the little boy playing choo-choo in the sand’ and he just kept on playing, never paid any attention, and they just kept that up – ‘Aw, look at the little boy’ and finally he got up and he took that chain and he beat them over the head and like to killed them.”

When I was transcribing Mother’s tape and listening to her telling about the boys continuing to aggravate my father, I actually felt a chill going up the back of my neck, knowing too well what he would do in such a circumstance.

The family never had an easy life – John B. was a blacksmith and traveled around the fair circuit to make a living.

John B. and Johnny at their shop in Marathon, Ohio, ca. 1914

The family traveled along with him and we can get a good picture of life on the fairground from this picture of Lillian at the washboard and little son, Frank, in the foreground, ca. 1916.

My father’s major passion all his life was harness horses. Mother said, “Johnny started driving horses when he was real young.  He and Frank (his younger brother) both took care of horses from the time they could remember.  They’d each have to stand on a chair to harness them – they were that little – but one day up at Owensville (Ohio) they were making a big deal out of a boy that was 16 years old that was driving and they were just carrying on how big he was and how great he was and Doc Parsons was sitting on the fence alongside of Johnny and he turned to him and said, “How old were you when you started driving horses?”  And Johnny said, “Twelve” and Doc said, “Yeah, I thought so.”

In 1931, while the Applegates were at the fairgrounds in Lebanon, Ohio, brother Frank visited a small diner owned by my Grandma Helen and my mother who was 15 years old at the time.  Frank was a great talker and would go on and on about his big brother, Johnny – how good he was with horses, how good looking he was, how smart he was – and finally one day he brought along his big brother to the restaurant.  Mother used to laugh when she told the story, thinking she was going to see this big, rough guy from the fairgrounds and in walked this young dark haired boy who was about 5’7” tall – not nearly as big as Frank described, but just as handsome.

Photo booth picture of Johnny and his mother, 1932.  When Grandma saw this picture, she said, “Oh, he looks just like a movie actress!”

Mother fell for him immediately  and they were married in 1932.

I always thought my parents were the most handsome couple and so young compared to the parents of my friends.  I considered my father particularly good-looking, probably accentuated by his brooding, quiet manner.  He spoke little but his words were absolute law not only in our house but with anybody he came in contact with.  He started out as a laborer on the WPA but quickly was made a timekeeper and then moved on to other jobs where he always wound up in a position of authority.   After World War II and the advent of television, he did television repair for several shops and for a time had his own shop in the front room of our little red brick house.  He built our first television set and we were one of the first families in Cincinnati to own one.

Snapshot of Johnny, Martha, Lillian and Shirley, 1941

My father had dark, wavy hair and deep brown eyes.  I loved it when people said I looked just like him.  He was a very small man but had tremendous strength in the shoulders and arms from handling horses.  On one arm was a small tattoo of a horse head which fascinated me.  He was a chain smoker and seemed to always have a cigarette in his hand.  He also loved baseball and was a very good softball pitcher and manager.

When I was very young, people would ask me what I was going to do when I grew up.  I always said I was going to get a job and help Daddy buy a horse.  Within months after graduation and getting my first job @ $30.00/week, my father told me he had a horse in mind and was ready for my contribution.  This is one of our early horses winning a race in 1955.  I made the jacket and cap my father is wearing.

I owned shares of my father’s horses off and on for many years until he was better established and my own expenses with four children didn’t leave enough to support a horse.  My father continued to be a top driver/trainer in the southwestern Ohio area for over 25 years.  In 1978, at age 66, he was driving a horse called Peter Horn at a track in northern Kentucky.  Just after finishing second in a photo finish, he died on the track of a heart attack.  Our family said they knew if he died on a track, he died happy except that he would have wanted to be the winner.  This is a winning photo of my father and Peter Horn in 1975.

The following notes are from my journal dated August 20, 1957, when I was 25 years old.  We had just gotten word that my father had been in a serious accident in a race and were waiting on word from the hospital.

“I’m thinking of Daddy when we were both 20 years younger and he was the very ultimate in my life – always right, always strong and unemotional, very intelligent and very strict.  He was the supreme authority in all things and the one I strove hardest to please.  I liked pancakes and chili because Daddy did; I love peanuts and chocolate drops because he did; I was thrilled at harness races and baseball games because they were thrilling to him.  I tried to emulate him, too.  He was quiet and sober so I thought it giddy to talk or laugh too much.  He was always tops in school so I tried to make perfect grades because less was unacceptable.”

Today – 100 years after he was born – I remember my father, the most influential person in my life.

Johnny and Lillian, 1933

79th Birthday Countdown – Day 6

My oldest daughter, who lives with me, loves to celebrate birthdays.  This is what I found on my kitchen table on Friday morning.

One of her many talents is making jewelry.  And, of course, she knows I love horses.  There are tiny horse head and horse shoe charms on the bracelet.

Today is my 79th birthday and this is the last of the countdown gifts.  It’s been so much fun coming out to the kitchen at 6 AM and finding a new treasure.

Countdown Day #1

Countdown Day #2

Countdown Day #3

Countdown Day #4

Countdown Day #5

79th Birthday Countdown – Day 4

My oldest daughter, who lives with me, loves to celebrate birthdays.  This is what I found on my kitchen table on Wednesday morning.

Another passion of mine – harness horses.  My father was a trainer/driver and I was co-owner of several horses back in the 1960s.  This is a lapel pin with a medallion from the Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, NY.

Countdown Day #1

Countdown Day #2

Countdown Day #3

Labor Day in the 1930s-40s

All the years when I was growing up, Labor Day meant a two-hour trip in the back seat of a rumbling old car (or what we called a “machine”) to the outskirts of Dayton, Ohio.  When we passed a little road sign that said “VANDALIA” and saw a big billboard, we knew the next right hand turn on a country road led back to Grandma’s house.  There were just a few other houses on the road and lovely country scenery on both sides – something foreign to us, coming from Cincinnati’s inner city.  Finally, we got back to the little cottage with the screened-in porch, the big flagpole with the stars and stripes patriotically flying, and the dirt area that served as a driveway.

Sleeping arrangements were creative – people slept on couches or big chairs or sometimes on an ironing board between two kitchen chairs.  We always seemed to sleep well, listening to the crickets chirping and feeling a breeze blowing in the open windows.

We would be awakened in the morning by Grandma starting a fire in the kitchen stove so breakfast could be prepared.  There would be a trip down to the outhouse – along a path and far from the house.  The chickens were chased out and we used the smelly hole-in-the-board toilet before walking up through the chickens and wild flowers to have our breakfast.  We all took turns pouring very small amounts of cold water into an enamelware basin and washing up the best we could.

Breakfasts were hearty – bacon, ham, eggs, toast and real creamery butter, plus Grandma’s delicious blackberry preserves.  There was a glass bottle of milk – not the evaporated variety in a can which we usually had at home – rich milk with a layer of cream at the top.  In those days, the bottle was shaken vigorously before using to distribute the cream, but since I was undeniably the favorite granddaughter (mainly because I was named after Grandma), she would pour me a little glass of pure cream right out of the top, leaving milk for the rest of the group that was more like 1%.

Grandma Lillian

After breakfast it was time to get spruced up for the big Labor Day Montgomery County Fair.  The fair was an important event back then – we wore our best dresses and had our hair curled to perfection before starting out, crowded into the car with Grandma and any assorted relatives who were there at the time.

My parents – ready for the fair

We drove to the fairgrounds and each time it was a thrill to see the ferris wheel loom in front of us as we approached the gate and drove into the huge centerfield in front of the grandstand.  In that 1930s-40s era, Dayton, Ohio, was very prosperous and the fair was considered one of the best in the area.  Everything seemed large and modern and clean.

One year it poured down rain not long after we arrived and we had to huddle in the car for what seemed like hours.  My father had gone to the horse barns to wait out the storm, but Mother, Grandma, my little sister, my cousin and I were stuck in the car, dressed in our finery, waiting to go out and see the sights.  We were told to sit quietly and not get dirty which my cousin and I did, but my sister, Shirley, got down on the floor and got herself all tousled and grimy (at least in Mother’s eyes) so that when the rain finally stopped she wasn’t allowed to go on the grounds and had to stay in the car with Mother.

Grandma set out with my cousin, Dixie, and me and we looked around the exhibits and walked gingerly through the water-soaked midway.  Grandma had bought all three of us identical yellow silk dresses with brown bows and accordion pleated skirts.  She stopped at a a dime photo booth to have pictures made of Dixie and me and later Mother got Shirley straightened up, went out on the grounds and had her picture taken, too.




I liked walking around the fairgrounds and  looking at the canned goods, baked items and various needlework exhibits.   I didn’t care for the rides at all.  My sister lived for the rides and I can remember her sitting in one of the little cars going around in circles and calling out to Mother, “Look, Mommy – I can let go and scratch!”.

What I loved was going to the grandstands and sitting by my father watching the harness races.  Just the sight of the horses and sulkies with the drivers in bright-colored caps and coats was exciting.

We started back home late in the evening,  riding along in the dark, looking forward  to passing through Lebanon because I knew that was the halfway point.  I just prayed I wouldn’t get carsick on the way home because my father was in a hurry and in no mood to stop.  He had to go to work the next day and it was our first day of school.

The fair on Labor Day was a glorious ending to summer and a new beginning to the school year.