Mr Chiots and I were talking about our three favorite things to do the other evening. Along with hiking and gardening, reading and learning new things was also on my list. I’m an avid reader, always have been. As a little girl I read through all the books in the house and then discovered the local library. When we lived in South America there was no library, so I read through the Childcraft: The How and Why Library (15 Volume Set) (Childcraft, 1 – 15) many times and through a lot of those Reader’s Digest condensed books. I also read the bindings off my copies of the Little House on the Prairie Series and the Chronicles of Narnia Series.
I’m still an avid reader. You’ll always find stacks and stacks of books on my coffee table. Often you’ll find 4-5 books about one topic, whatever I’m researching and trying to learn more about at the moment. I’ve heard that reading and learning new things keeps our brain young and functioning well into old age. It helps prevent cognitive decline and memory problems. I’m not old or nearing old age, but keeping myself learning now will help me continue this well into old age. The more open and willing we are to learn new things when we’re younger, the more open we will be when we’re older. Keeping us from uttering the words “Oh, I’m too old to learn new things…..”
Of course, I don’t just continue reading & learning to keep my mind active. I do it because I’m curious and love to learn how to do new things and helps improve the skills that I’m already proficient at. I find that studying a topic in depth provides months of learning and gives me something valuable to do with any spare time that I have. It also gives me a lot of knowledge in different areas that comes in handy in social situations. Sometimes learning new skills or honing our current skills in certain areas can turn into a career change or a possible back-up career should the need arise.
My current area of fascination is sourdough bread, traditional long fermented wood fired hearth loaves. I’ve been making sourdough bread for a long time and I’m pretty proficient at it. That doesn’t mean I know all there is to know. I certainly want to learn more about how it was done back in the old days with especially with freshly ground flour and long fermentation times. I have a lot to learn when it comes to making bread with freshly milled flour, especially rye. Now that I have a source for a variety of local wheat and rye, I want to learn how to consistently make beautiful sourdough loaves with it. I also want to learn about baking in a wood fired oven. As a result of my current fascination my coffee table contains: The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens and Classic Sourdoughs: A Home Baker’s Handbook. If you want an in depth look on classic sourdough read the first book, if you’re more of a quick skim the topic person the second will be perfect for you. I’m hoping that next spring I’ll even be able to build my own wood fired oven in my back yard (of course you’ll hear all about it if I do).
What new things are you learning now? Any great ideas for future learning?
I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Ethel Gloves, Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.