And just when I think this is a problem we hear gnawing inside the plaster wall up toward son's old bedroom ceiling before 6 a.m. this morning. I went to the cellar for d-con and went to the attic to place it. I doubt it even gets in the attic, but just incase. I think it's a chipmunk, but it sounded like a groundhog at that hour! I have too many undomesticated critters here!
Been awhile since I've written in the blog so I thought I'd let you all in on my latest. My eldest son's birthday just past, but instead of baking him a boxed cake I decided to use a scratch recipe using actaul cake flour. I bought the stuff so I might as well use it, right? First of all, I had no luck on the company's website finding recipes or even the product itself which I thought was odd. Google was no help so I went on old, reliable ask.com. and got hit after hit for recipes. While I was looking those over saying -nope, no, nope, I realized that my grandmother's recipe for Happy Day Cake and Seven Minute Icing were probably in her recipe card box. (And it wasn't even Saturday! My usual day to think!) There they were. I mixed up the cake batter and got that going in the oven. They turned out quite well. As I cooled them on my enclosed, unheated back porch I gathered all the ingredients and utensils to make the icing. That included a Revereware double boiler that probably hasn't gotten used for that purpose in 15 years. So the icing is supposed to have everything mixed except the vanilla before it gets put over the boiling water. No problem. I mixed it about a minute and then put it over the boiler and set the timer to 7 minutes. I kept the water boiling steadily and the mixer, too. I'd turn off the mixer and taste it periodically and it was so gritty from the sugar. I kept mixing it thinking it hadn't reached the melting point yet. No such luck. I took it off the heat and let it set and iced the cake.
I wasn't happy. It was my son's cake and every time I tasted the icing it was horribly textured. So what do I do? I scrape all the icing back off the cake and put it back in the double boiler. I don't know if you know it or not, but that stuff shrinks! I don't know why, but it does. By the time I gave up on it it was about 1/4 the size I started with. So I cooled it off slightly and into the garbage it went. I got everything back out again and washed everything up so I could try it again. First I caught myself seperating the 2 eggs into the wrong bowl. I needed the whites, not the yolks. Those went into meatballs the next day with the other 2 from the first batch. I washed out the bowl and dumped the whites in there and added everythig else. As soon as I dumped the 1/3 cup of water in the mix that little light bulb over "Allry, my brain cell" lit up. I must have left it out the first time somehow! So I continued with the mixing and cooling and it was wonderful. I wasn't going to let a little icing get the better of me!
So when we had the cake later on I told my son that was the same recipe that his great grandma used to make. He said it was "peculiar." I looked up and said, "Ya hear that, grandma? He said your cake is peculiar." That's okay, he still ate it and his brother finally came over and he liked it. I had enough icing left over that I just blurped about a dozen plops on waxed paper like divinity and I've been munching those one in awhile. I remember years and years ago having about the same thing happen with the icing, but I don't remember details other than it was gritty, too, so I'm so proud of myself that I conquered the icing finally.
Next stop will be grandma's made from scratch German Chocolate Cake. She put the Seven Minute Icing on that, too. :)
Yup, first I saw one little one and then two little ones and then a reallllllly big one! And they all ran rfom different directions to the same place under my barn. Here we go again. I see a big one way out back and I'm wondering if that's pop since it doesn't come up to the barn, but stays back in the wooded area. The cat likes to watch them from inside. They are cute as long as they stay out from under my porches!!! I've been putting some hot pepper mix around the porches because it says they don't like the smell. It smells pretty cool when I hit the thyme and smell the pepper. Makes me hungry though.
I finished reading "Night Gardening" by EW Swann this drizzly morning and stood looking out my bedroom window for a time looking at my lilies out back and thinking how I could rearrange. Then I thought about putting a veggie garden between the house and barn. I'd thought about that before. I looked up at the maples that are about 80 feet tall on the north and south sides of the barn and realized that they'd probably shade it too much eventually. The line "jester among giants" popped into my head. Guess who's the jester and who's the giants? lol And yeah, I refer to Yertle the Turtle if anyone questions that part. :)
"The Jester Among Giants"
Deepset anguish inwardly embraced
Unparched eyes revel victoriously
Contemplation of self-condemnation
Wondering where it all went wrong
Leeched thoughts abstractly shaped
Not aware what form they'll take
Longing to see things in black and white
But their aversion to me is evident
Explosions of solitary colors
Yet uniqueness is in each frame
Maybe I should add myself to their greenery
And explode my leaves with them
Top turtle in my field and ruler of all I look down upon
Eyeing the kingdom and planning it's future
When my own is so mismanaged
High above and broad as can be
Shadowing plans of new pursuits
They force me into a pigeon-hole
Without a word
One on each side
And I see what I am as their arms stretch passively
I'm really pleasantly befuddled. My columbine and peonies are still blooming although not as much as at the beginning of their seasons. I don't remember them ever blooming this long. It must be the lack of rain beating them all down. My bee balm looks incredibly better than last year, too. The buds are just starting to form. I've got lots of baby hostas which I'm thrilled to see since I had nothing to do with their growth. Great little surprises.
The poison ivy killer did it's job up the tree out back and didn't kill any blackberries around it. (sigh of relief) I have to check the wild strawberries today and try to beat the bunny at getting them!
And so far I haven't seen any baby groundhogs this year. Maybe the neighbors' garden will get a break.
Okay, this is a few days later, but I have to add this. I was on GG last night way too late, but it was such fun. About an hour after I got up this morning I remembered a dream I had. I think the combination of a young pin oak tree in my yard I've been contemplating about and Paul James' and RK's talk about bonsai made me, FORCED ME to dream about bonsai-ing a lemon tree at least 7 feet tall. I don't know why a lemon tree, but I know that's what it was because there were lemons growing on it. By the time I was done it was about 2 feet tall and had wire wrapped around certain branches to train them. (I saw that on Paul James'. Sunday morning )
I've got a nicely grown hosta plant I got from a cutting from a place I worked. Next to it this year for the first time there's about 7 or 8 leaves popped up as new plants. The leaves are all solid green, but what I liked about the flowers is their darker lavender color. Thanks Mother Nature.
Beside those is some pachysandra. When I was showing my hubby the hostas I commented I'd like to do cuttings of the pachys for around another tree. He floored me when he told me how to do it. He said when he worked in a nursery when he was growing up they did pachy cuttings. And you think you know someone after 30 years.........
My eldest son likes that phrase for some reason. But my purple irises are starting to bud and my purple columbine are blooming here and there, too. The perenniel geranium I planted at mom's a year or so ago is getting flowers on it so there's some lavender coloring happening. And the chives are flowering.
It seems I go through a wave of yellow and then purple. Then it'a all this and that.
Pruning wild roses and blackberries was loads of fun yesterday. There's a big thornless rose that wasn't bad and I decided to save some of the branches to weave something out of them. I don't know what yet, but I've got 'em! (I do that a lot.) I also think I figured out how to tell the blackberries from the roses. The roses are round stemmed and the blackberries are squarish. They also have a lot longer thorns that are a lot closer together. I should have taken my welding gloves to do those, but I just used regular ones. I got an owie or 2.
I've got a couple leaves up on either a misplaced weed or a Jacob's Ladder in one of my winter sow jugs. I'm psyched now. They're staying outdoors now as the temp is in the 50's and 60's now, but I cover them at night.
Barn paint test came up negative for lead. That was good.
My painted fern I bought last year in pretty sorry condition is starting to unfurl. I've never had one before, but SIL has some and they were pretty.
I got a caramel leaved coral bell today. I love the leaf color. I'm torn as to where to put it. Maybe I should have gotten 2! lol Wish I'd thought of that.
I thought it was amusing when I looked out my bedroom window and saw the groundhog rom the barn sniffing my son's truck tailpipe intently for about 5 minutes. I thought it odd when it went over to my streetlight in the yard and stood up against it like it was going to start climbing it. I don't know what the heck it was doing there. But when I glanced out my kitchen window while doing dishes and saw it munching through my astilbe and primrose I dried my hands, pulled on my tall rubber boots, and grabbed the animal repellent. It ran for the barn when i scolded it as I went out the door. I sprinkled all through the flowerbed and a few scattered small ones til it was gone. I'll see if it works. It didn't look like it ate any of my flowering plants, but just some of the grasses around there, but it'll learn what's my territory and where it can eat. It's still cute, but we'll see how cute!
I found some mystery plants that I think might be asiatic lilies, but I guess I'll find out when they get bigger. They weren't there 2 days ago. My hostas are popping up all over the place and 2 pink trillium are up although only one has a bud so far. The other usual odds and ends are popped up.
Blooming now- Double and single daffodils and pheasant eye narcisuss that are both older than I am, grape hyacinths, primrose (yellows and reds), johnny-jump-ups, quince -just starting, forsythia ( I think the flowers got frost damaged as they have brown on them ), white violets.
My mother's yellow primrose are thick and taller than mine and they're from MY PLANTS! Oh well, they're pretty and I can see them from my house, too.
I found a clean milk jug when I was cleaning my back porch so I just had to start some more seeds in there. Jacob's Ladder this time. I had one several years ago and somehow I killed it so I'm in hopes I get a couple at least.
I was strolling past my big flowerbed and was pointing something out to my son when I looked by my feet and found a bright patch of red primrose screaming for me to not step on them. I almost did that's why I think I looked down. Pretty little faces there for sure. I think I should put a couple out front by my yellow johnny-jump-ups. They'll make a nice combo and be where hubby won't mow them down, too.
Another outdoor project we may undertake this year is to paint the barn. My dad and grandpa covered 3 sides with fiberglass panels years ago, but they never did the front. I'm not sure if it was because of illnesses or something else because there's still panels left, but since the barn is almost 100 years old I'm doing the test on the paint for lead. I've tested other parts of the house and have been very lucky that I haven't found any so far. I hope I'm lucky with the barn, too. The test will be complete tomorrow.
Apr 20, 2007 | 11:06 AM PST
Yesterday I stuck some red oak leaf lettuce seeds in a cut milk jug ala wintersow method even though it's spring now. I'm just experimenting to see if I can do it right. At least blogging should make it easy to find what I'm doing! Maybe I should blog everything. Don't worry. I won't.