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Bread and Pender Island: The Happy Monk Blog

A Happy Monk customer once told me that the next best thing to eating Happy Monk bread is reading the Happy Monk blog.

Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. But I was surprised to look back, a while ago, and find that there were now over 70 blog posts! “My god!” I thought, “that’s turning into a small body of work!”

I’m happy with the responses I’ve had, which make all the toil and thought I put into the blog worthwhile. Some I’m proud of, one or two I’m a bit embarrassed by.

Old-time newspaper columnists

I used to marvel at the old newspaper columnists of the 1960s or 70s who would churn out four or five x 500-word columns a week. I think of old Vancouver Sun writers like Alan Fotheringham, Jim Taylor, Pat Carney, Jack Wasserman, Bob Hunter, or Denny Boyd.

What must they have thought about their output? I’m sure cigar-chomping editors were leaning over them, yelling, “Where’s your copy, Foth?” The imperative was to get the column done, fill the hole in the page … and who cared what they wrote? Indeed, they must have been embarrassed, too, about some of their columns.

And pleased with themselves when they wrote a humdinger!

Ah! The pros there were then! Seasoned newspaper people, who could string together coherent sentences with ease, summon authority and wit at the blink of an eye and hammer out masterpieces on their noisy Underwood or Remington manuals! Copy!

Just a bread blogger

I’m just a “bread blogger,” but I still have to do all the work: come up with topics, research background information, make phone calls, source photographs (or take them myself), seek permissions to use poems or pictures, and proofread as carefully as I can, often into the wee, small hours.

Jennifer, of course, is my second set of eyes. She makes sure the posts are grammatically sound, properly spell-checked, and clearly written before they’re made live on the Happy Monk website.

There are no hot metal printing presses waiting for typeset proofs. No giant rolls of newsprint, no buckets of ink. No delivery trucks and paperboys and girls waiting across the city to get their bundles of newspapers tied with twine.

It’s just me and my blog and the Happy Monk website somewhere in the cloud.

It’s a different era, but the same challenge is there, even for a bread blogger: what to write about?

The Happy Monk experience

The bread and the baking world is the main topic here. But I’m also drawn to life on Pender Island: the community, the baker’s life, rural life, the nature around us, and my own experience of it all.

The blog has allowed me to explore these topics in ways I might not have done otherwise. It has been a way to share my experience and enthusiasm with the communities that have been so generous to Jennifer and me. And maybe the blog posts add a new dimension to the bread that emerges each week from Mildrith, the wood-fired oven. It’s just bread, after all, but it’s bread made on Pender Island!

Here’s a list of all blog post titles since day one of the Happy Monk Baking Company with links to each of them.

Click away! Revisit some of these blogs. Let me know which ones you like best. Send me some constructive criticism of ones that could be better.

I’ll try to update the list from time to time, adding more current ones.

The Happy Monk Blog Posts: Complete

A Bowl of Bread Soup
A Coronavirus in the Sky
A Primal Connection: Wood-Fired Sourdough
A Small Scoundrel
A Summer’s Morning
A Thousand Loaves of Bread
A Water World
Alas, the Humble French Baguette!
An Approachable Recipe
An Inspiration in the Early Morning
An Ode to Autumn!
Art Off the Fence: A Pender Institution
Aunty Betty’s “Brown Bread”
Baker
Benediction on Mount Norman
Bottleneck at the refrigerator!
Bread and “Les Canotiers de la Meurthe”
Brother Geoffrey
Can I Make Bread?
Cold Water In Boundary Pass
Confessions of a Salt Lover
Confessions of a Would-Be Baker
Dog Days and Diving Swallows
Friday is a good day
Good night, 2019!
Greenangel Choppers Circle Their Wagons
High Drama: The Early Morning Shift
How I built my wood-fired cob oven
Humility
In Gratitude – First Happy Monk Delivery
Let’s Raise a Glass to Mildrith the Oven!
Make Your Own Yeast
Mildrith Springs to Life!
Mildrith’s Bread
Mildrith’s Heat Takes it’s Toll
Morning on the Back Forty
No longer a ‘bread bro’!
Ode to Mildrith the Wood-Fired Oven
Our Daily Bread
Pender Island Through a Baker’s Eyes
Revisiting Rachel Carson and Silent Spring
Sad Monk, Happy Monk
ShopMildrith Emerged Radiant
Sourdough Love
Subversive Swimming
Summer Magic at Art Off the Fence
Summer pours forth its bounty and beauty
Take Me to Poilâne!
That Rye Flavour: Reaching for Something from the Past
The Allure of the Tassajara Bread Book
The Approachable Loaf
The Beatles and Hot Cross Buns
The End of Days?
The French Factor
The Gingham Tablecloth at Nick’s
The Happy Monk and the Art Walk
The Island Within
The Joys of Firewood
The New Bread Basket
The Pandemic is Beginning to Leave its Mark — As It Always Does
The Paysan Boulangers — Peasant Bakers
The Reclining Woman of Vancouver
The State of Nature Writing
The Stillness of Summer
The Sweet Showers of April
The Terroir of Wine and Wheat
The Wheat Field … “Raising Its Radiance to the Moon”
This Living Rock Island
Tinkering with the oven
What the Moon Says in the Time of Coronavirus
Wintertime Blues
Happy Monk Tidings - October 27, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Mountain Rye; Blog: Colossal Roughhousing on Boundary Pass [ See link in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - October 27, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Mountain Rye; Blog: Colossal Roughhousing on Boundary Pass [ See link in profile ] ...

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The good earth! We survive the big storm! Been inside all day so I’m going swimming and the hot tub awaits. .
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#coldwaterswimming #coldwaterswim #coldwatertherapy #penderisland #southpenderisland

The good earth! We survive the big storm! Been inside all day so I’m going swimming and the hot tub awaits. .
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#coldwaterswimming #coldwaterswim #coldwatertherapy #penderisland #southpenderisland
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Happy Monk Tidings - October 20, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Purple Barley Sourdough; Blog: To All the Bakers: Past, Present, Future and Imaginary! [ See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - October 20, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Purple Barley Sourdough; Blog: To All the Bakers: Past, Present, Future and Imaginary! [ See Link in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - October 15, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Pender Island Apple Bread; Blog: Happy Monk Bread Teachers: Francis Olive [ See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - October 15, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Pender Island Apple Bread; Blog: Happy Monk Bread Teachers: Francis Olive [ See Link in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - October 6, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sesame-Wheat Sourdough; Blog: Making Your Own Bread - You've Got This; Video: Bake Day with the Happy Monk [See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - October 6, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sesame-Wheat Sourdough; Blog: Making Your Own Bread - You've Got This; Video: Bake Day with the Happy Monk [See Link in Profile ] ...

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Bake Day with the Happy Monk. The amazing @jomosenpai (my son) came over to Pender last summer on a bake day. Was in my face all the time, taking pictures, shooting video. It was so great having him around, and I’m amazed the bread (Polenta Rosemary Sourdough) turned out so well. This video he made turned out very well, too!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #polenta #polentabread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland

Bake Day with the Happy Monk. The amazing @jomosenpai (my son) came over to Pender last summer on a bake day. Was in my face all the time, taking pictures, shooting video. It was so great having him around, and I’m amazed the bread (Polenta Rosemary Sourdough) turned out so well. This video he made turned out very well, too!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #polenta #polentabread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland
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Happy Monk Tidings - September 22, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Harvest Bread; Blog: Sourdough September and the Real Bread Campaign [ See link in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - September 22, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Harvest Bread; Blog: Sourdough September and the Real Bread Campaign [ See link in profile ] ...

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A horizontal world, an endless beach with long rollers, sandwiched beneath a low sky ceiling … and hundreds of surfers. Chesterman’s Beach, Tofino.

A horizontal world, an endless beach with long rollers, sandwiched beneath a low sky ceiling … and hundreds of surfers. Chesterman’s Beach, Tofino. ...

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Post to The Happy Monk Baking Company
Happy Monk Tidings - September 1, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Rye and Seed Bread; Blog: We're all rich when you think about it; South Pender Growers and Makers and Heritage Market; The Happy Monk Holidays - [ Link in profile ]

Post to The Happy Monk Baking Company
Happy Monk Tidings - September 1, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Rye and Seed Bread; Blog: We're all rich when you think about it; South Pender Growers and Makers and Heritage Market; The Happy Monk Holidays - [ Link in profile ]
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Happy Monk Tidings - August 25, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; Blog: Marriage, Laurie Anderson and the Weddings of Pender; and more! [ See links in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 25, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; Blog: Marriage, Laurie Anderson and the Weddings of Pender; and more! [ See links in profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - August 18, 2021 🍞 - This week's Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: A Benediction on Mount Norman. [ See links in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 18, 2021 🍞 - This week's Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: A Benediction on Mount Norman. [ See links in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - August 11, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Polenta and Rosemary Sourdough; Blog: Here's to the Homely Loaves! [ See Linktree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 11, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Polenta and Rosemary Sourdough; Blog: Here's to the Homely Loaves! [ See Linktree in Profile ] ...

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Lo! The mighty Seed Feast! Favoured by Happy Monk customers the Pender Islands over! These loaves, just rolled out of Mildrith, are hot and fragrant with seeds, nuttiness and bready wholesome-ness. O for a steamy slice and a schmear of butter! That I may eat “and leave the world unseen, and with thee fade away into the forest dim.” (Apologies to the ghost of John Keats).
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#seedfeastbread #seedbread #seedybread #sourdough #sourdoughbread #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #woodfiredbread #coboven #earth.oven #bread #breadlove #baker #bbga #happymonkbaker #happymonkbaking #naturallyleavened #artisanbread #realbread #breadpoetry #rusticbread #penderisland #southpenderisland

Lo! The mighty Seed Feast! Favoured by Happy Monk customers the Pender Islands over! These loaves, just rolled out of Mildrith, are hot and fragrant with seeds, nuttiness and bready wholesome-ness. O for a steamy slice and a schmear of butter! That I may eat “and leave the world unseen, and with thee fade away into the forest dim.” (Apologies to the ghost of John Keats).
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#seedfeastbread #seedbread #seedybread #sourdough #sourdoughbread #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #woodfiredbread #coboven #earth.oven #bread #breadlove #baker #bbga #happymonkbaker #happymonkbaking #naturallyleavened #artisanbread #realbread #breadpoetry #rusticbread #penderisland #southpenderisland
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Happy Monk Tidings - August 4, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Volkornbrot (German Rye) with Sunflower Seeds; also Seed Feast; Blog: Why Eat Ancient and Heritage Grains?; Goin' Fishin' Soon! [ See Linktree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 4, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Volkornbrot (German Rye) with Sunflower Seeds; also Seed Feast; Blog: Why Eat Ancient and Heritage Grains?; Goin' Fishin' Soon! [ See Linktree in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - July 28, 2021 🍞- Baker's Choice: Sprouted Kamut; Blog: Mildrith's Body of Miracles; Goin' Fishin' - [ See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 28, 2021 🍞- Baker's Choice: Sprouted Kamut; Blog: Mildrith's Body of Miracles; Goin' Fishin' - [ See Link in Profile ] ...

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Moonset and high tide, South Pender Island at 3:50 a.m. 
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 #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #clayoven #clayovenbaking #coboven #cobovenbaking #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery

Moonset and high tide, South Pender Island at 3:50 a.m.
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #clayoven #clayovenbaking #coboven #cobovenbaking #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery
...

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Happy Monk Tidings - July 21, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Bird Seed Bread; Blog: Rye Bread: The Agony and the Ecstasy [ See link in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 21, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Bird Seed Bread; Blog: Rye Bread: The Agony and the Ecstasy [ See link in profile ] ...

27 1
In the early light of dawn, Mildrith oven-springs sourdough, caramelizes crusts gold and brown and leaves heavenly smells as evidence. Inside her hot clay dome, 12 boules of Salish Sourdough are on the final stage of their journey. Behold the steam rising out of the chimney!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #clayoven #clayovenbakery #clayovenbread #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery

In the early light of dawn, Mildrith oven-springs sourdough, caramelizes crusts gold and brown and leaves heavenly smells as evidence. Inside her hot clay dome, 12 boules of Salish Sourdough are on the final stage of their journey. Behold the steam rising out of the chimney!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #clayoven #clayovenbakery #clayovenbread #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery
...

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1 thought on “Bread and Pender Island: The Happy Monk Blog

  1. Have good mosh-pitting, baker! Friday and Sunday morning won’t be the same without you.

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