Neighborly Advice: Vol. 1–How to Begin

With beginner articles on pizza dough, making jam, using a pressure cooker, learning to knit, rescuing lost stitches, adding goats to your backyard, we heartily welcome you. Are you ready to learn a new skill?

Climb over the fence and join your neighbors for a new adventure!

Climb over the fence and join your neighbors for a new adventure!

I grabbed a few smarty pants neighbors. Each one has expertise in a specific skill that they want to teach you. Every Friday we will try to take you further on your adventure. Whether you are afraid of death by pressure cooker or that you will poke your eye out, trying to learn to knit, we have a smart neighbor to whisper their secrets to you.

Grab a cup of coffee and a warm muffin from the basket and come meet my friends. There’s a load of reading to get you on your way.

Let’s begin our adventure.

Not interested in the following adventure? Skip down the page to choose from many others.

Tons of folks have been visiting me with questions about baking their first loaf of bread. Others have offered their condolences for the untimely death of my Oregon Trail Sour Dough Starter. Thanks for the support, by the way.

In my neck of the woods, many families enjoy pizza on Friday nights. What if you could make better pizza yourself for less. Kaela, who mostly writes about using local food has joined us with two wonderful tutorials.

Quicker Whole Grain Pizza Dough for the beginner

12 Grain Pizza Dough for the more advanced baker

Here’s what she asked me to pass on:

The 12-grain is likely not for beginners; it can be a difficult dough to work with, as the sharp grains can cut the gluten, making it difficult to achieve a good rise, and it is therefore not as elastic and easy to shape as a regular pizza dough. So maybe the quicker pizza dough is for people who have never made pizza dough, and the 12-grain is ‘advanced.’

She refers to local flour she uses and offers us some additional advice about the flour found in our neck of the wood.

Working with the Wild Hive flours has taken some experimentation, as it seems to be more hyrdrated (and less capable of taking in water) than most supermarket brands. So, the basic idea if you are following my recipes, but not using Wild Hive flour, is to know that you may need more water in your recipe, and to pay attention to the pictures and descriptions of how the dough should look and feel. This is true of any baker using any flour really; flour changes day to day, with the weather, temp & humidity in your kitchen, age of the flour, etc., so you always have to adjust; but in general, when trying out new recipes with Wild Hive flour, I start out with about 25% less water than called for in the recipe, and proceed from there.

So, you would like to make your own jam from the baskets of goodies you’ve picked? Visit Joel for a very comprehensive jamming lesson that will ease your where-do-I-begin worries. Dana, a designer by trade, has beautifully photographed the process.

How to Make Your Own Jam — Step-by-Step Case Study (Step 0)

Why haven’t they written a book? Dunno. Maybe they will if we offer them some encouragement.

On we move to visit two silly goats, Doris and Jilly, who are masters of the art of pressure cooking. The will help take away your deathly fear of pressure cooker explosions as they offer their advice on how to get started.

Pressure Cooking Explained

I don’t know about you, but I need to get out of the kitchen for a while. Melissa is sitting in the back porch swing with her knitting. If we take her a warm Philadelphia Sticky Bun, she will certainly chat with us about teaching yourself to knit.

One Project at a Time — or How I Learned to Knit in 8 Easy Years.

Another neighbor offers a pictorial lesson in rescuing dropped stitches in your knitting.

Search and Rescue at Selects Wool and Flax

Let’s head off the back porch to visit the backyard livestock. Fias Co Farm has all the the information you need if you are thinking about adding goats to your backyard.

Getting Your Goat

Well, that’s it for the first edition. In a lousy economy, you need to develop your skill. What will you try?

Next Friday will be our next edition. I hope you drop by.

Join us at the back fence next week for more learning-a-new-skill challenges

Join us at the back fence next week for more learning-a-new-skill challenges

If you are a blogger who writes informative articles about something you think everyone should know how to do, please let me know. Leave a comment, e-mail me.

Or even use the IM at the right if it says that I’m “available.”

(Neighbor Nancy reties her apron and flies out the back door to stir her compost pile, allowing the screen door to bang loudly.)

Note: here are some following editions:

Neighborly Advice Vol 2 — kool-aid dye, spinning wool, kids’ activities, natural egg dyes, keeping chickens, line drying clothes, making applesauce, finding your sanity, pickling eggs, frugal groceries, growing peas, tomatoes and even worms

Neighborly Advice Vol 3 — grocery budgets, foraging free food, starting a garden, seed tape, hemming pants, chickens, turkeys, fruit trees, goat cheese, fermentation, kid’s activities and my favorite book sale

Neighborly Advice Vol 4 — making marshmallows, starting a garden, planting potatoes, herbs and onions, charming row markers, slow-roasted tomatoes, foraging free food, kids’ activity to-do list, 100 ways to cook eggs, tabletop gardening, and even starting an aquarium

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love it – thanks for putting this all together and enjoying checking out some of the other links. Neat stuff and fun to read. Good work all and thanks for the link! Joel

  2. […] Neighbor Nancy has started a Friday blog carnival over at Recession Depression Therapy called Neighborly Advice.  Featured are two pizza dough recipes from yours truly, but don’t hold that against it – […]

  3. […] you didn’t, please go check it out! The lovely Neighbor Nancy has put together a nice little weekend magazine of good beginner […]

  4. Oh, I thought you just might.
    Would you prefer a muffin or, perhaps a piece of laundry from the line?

  5. Two goat-themed links! I love it!


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