After the last bake, Sunday, Dec. 20, I’ll be off until the week of Feb. 7! My chance to rest and recharge.
Time for long sleeps, reading, writing, testing new recipes, and thinking about new ways to make the business run better. But mostly the long rests! It’s winter, after all. Most animals hibernate!
It would be nice to travel, but that will have to wait until it’s safer.
It’s been a strange year. Despite a COVID pandemic, we Penderites have done well. We miss physical proximity, socializing, hugging, yes. But our lives have not been devastated the way they have in other parts.
You gotta love Mildrith!
Mildrith, the wood-fired oven, seemed oblivious to what was going on. A few cracks, a few repairs, but she still takes in the heat and loves baking loaves of bread despite everything. By the time we’re finished with the last bake this week, she’ll have made over 2,600 loaves in the past year and over 4,000 loaves since Happy Monk began in March 2019. Do you see why she’s almost the best thing in my life?
There were few adjustments apart from the face masks, sanitizing, and social distancing, despite the pandemic.
Bread pick-ups were the big social event of the week for Jennifer and me and many Happy Monk customers. It has been a blessing in my life to connect with so many great people! Great conversations, information exchanges, ideas.
Bread brings us all together!
It takes a community
It takes a community of souls to keep a small business like the Happy Monk Baking Company thriving. Through hands-on assistance, inspiration, and advice, an essential group of enthusiasts and supporters provided the fuel for Mildrith’s fires and the bread flowing over the past year.
Here are a few:
Jacques Marmen – Mildrith’s chief architect, natural builder, problem solver, oven surgeon, and caregiver.
Greenangel Choppers, Dave Hargreaves, George Leroux, Dave Howe, and all the choppers who keep us supplied with forest-friendly firewood.
Carrie McCarthy and her son Leighton, who’ve taken on much of the deliveries, supplying the drop-off/pick-up locations.
Nootka Rose Mill of Metchosin for the grain and flour, top-notch service from ther sales and milling crew and co-owners Byron Fry and Erika Heyrman, my Victoria baking heroes (See Fry’s Bakery and Wild Fire Bakery).
Twin Island Cider, Matthew Vasilev and Katie Selbee, an inspiring pair, makers of delicious and innovative ciders from apples that spring from our own Pender earth (and neighbouring islands).
Barry Denluck of Barry’s Bees, maker of the finest honey this side of paradise.
Black Rabbit Farms on North Pender, Andy Nowak and Mary Rehrer, for their apples and inspiring organic farm operation.
My amazing daughter and son, Ella and John, who’ve provided spot-on advice, know-how, and artwork (Ella’s drawing has graced 4,000 bags of Happy Monk bread).
The bread makers of Instagram and many inspiring cookbook authors who’ve produced great works over the years.
Most importantly, my partner, friend, wife, and sweet patootie, Jennifer Conkie, my sounding board, my blog editor, business adviser, and zen presence. This whole operation might have crashed and burned without her!
The bread brings us together
And last but not least, the 150 plus people who’ve supported the Happy Monk Baking Company over the past year. With bread purchases, comments, conversations, questions, kind words, advice, encouragements, thanks, and love, you’ve reflected back to me the collective depth of our wonderful community.
You’ve reflected back to me, the depths of my own being. And I am so grateful!
Best of the holiday season to all! I’ll see you again in February, if not out and about at the Driftwood or some such place.
Cinnamon-Raisin bread, an enduring Happy Monk favourite. And here’s proof of Mildrith’s (the wood-fired oven) recent health check, as she just baked 41 loaves of this (and another 40 of Seed Feast) with lots of heat left to spare. Long live Mildrith and long live Cinnamon-Raisin bread!
Happy Monk Tidings - November 2, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; BLOG: A Vancouver Neighbourhood; BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan [ See LinkTree in Profile ]...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 28, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: This Island of Apples; South Pender Growers and Makers Market [ See LinkTree in Profile ]
#apples #applebread #applelove #approachable #approachableloaf #breadlabcollective #breadlab...
Introducing this bread, Raven Ring Bread (a take on Hapanleipä, a Finnish bread) a recipe borrowed from @ravenbreads. The stand is made by my neighbour, Ken, a gifted woodworker. See you at the South Pender Growers and Makers Market, if it don’t rain too hard!...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 2, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice : Volkornbrot (German Rye); Blog: The Golden Loaf of Gorsefield Rye; NOTE: We're closing two weeks for Mildrith Maintenance [ See LinkTree in Profile ]...
It was a dirty day, Wednesday. The sky hadn't been washed, the ocean was soiled, and the air was muggy and smelled oily. Then, moments before the rain started, the sun shone through and a glorious slash of colour opened up. And a rainbow! No unicorns, sadly....
Dog days. The beginning of summer mellowness. Baked in languor. But sometimes it's hard to let go. Shouldn't I be baking something? [See LinkTree in Profile ]
#penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery
#happymonkbakingcompany #dogdays #dogdaysofsummer #southerngulfislands
#southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #southerngulfislandsbc...
This is James Morton, my father, who would have been 100 years old today if we hadn't lost him 36 years ago. I've surpassed him in living age and spent more years without him than with him, yet he still whispers in my ear and is a great listener when I talk to him. Taken at 14th Ave. and Burgess St., Burnaby, 'round about 1955. Handsome devil, ain't he?...