Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bakin' a cake and travelin'

Early this morning I baked a cake. The top photo is fresh out of the oven.and after it cooled with frosting on it.
I needed a dessert for our Goat Meeting at 1:oo p.m. today. I'd made this cake before and thought it would be a good one for the meeting. I'm not sure why it's called an Italian Cream Cake. The only La Crema I remember from my Italian heritage was a layered cake that was put together with pound cake and chocolate, citron and lemon custard, so this is not what I remember being called a Cream Cake. But sometimes I think folks like to make up new names for recipes because they have changed some of the ingredients.

So, because I don't think it's a Cream Cake and because I added an ingredient..., I will rename this cake ~Orange Pecan & Coconut Cake-mix Cake~. I like this cake, it's very easy to fix and it always turns out well.

I follow the recipe exactly for the cake itself, only I add the zest of one orange to the batter. ( saving about 1/2 teasp. for the frosting.)

I'm not big on frosting so I don't usually cover a cake with a thick layer of it. I didn't use the frosting that is here (above) for this cake. I'm sure it's good, especially if you like a lot of coconut, but I prefer the following:
I melted a little butter (probably two teaspoons), added about two tablespoons of orange juice, the 1/2 teasp. of orange zest, and maybe two teaspoons of dry Marsala wine or any kind of sweet after dinner wine that you like. You don't need to use any sweet wine at all but I think it gives the frosting a great flavor. Mixed it with some powdered sugar until it is runny enough to drip all over the top of the cooled cake. That's it. This cake is so good that I have just served it sprinkled with powdered sugar. It's a very moist cake.

We had a great time at the meeting. We drove down to a town in the valley, about an hour away from here, to the home of a lady named Jane. She and her husband raise Alpine goats and a few other critters. We enjoyed a potluck lunch and had a productive meeting. The Prospector and I are kind of new to this group and most of the other members raise, show or have milk producing goats and they are very knowledgeable about anything that has to do with goats. We will learn a lot. I have volunteered to train as a ring steward for the next Cal-AM Goat Show in May. I'm not even sure what this means yet, but I know I will learn a lot about goat breeds and get to watch the judging. Should be very interesting.
Tomorrow's post will have some very interesting photos that I took out behind Jane's house. One will be a "Guess what this is" photo.
See you tomorrow.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

I Keep Telling Myself

My brain is feeling a little like the egg I ate this morning..., not completely cooked but a little bit runny and not accompanied with something wonderful like bacon or sausage .
So, after I ate this incomplete breakfast, I went outside and realized that Spring was trying very hard to break through the leaf covered soil of Winter and even though the garden seemed stark, at a glance, something was happening.... something magical where nothing had been before.
There is a green carpet under the dead grass. There are tiny buds on the tree limbs. The New Year is slowly showing itself. Little by little, fragile bud by fragile bud, it shows us that life continues ...,so we pick up the pieces and move ahead into the future where life will be what it will be...., and, like " My little dog,.. a heartbeat at my feet.", on our walk last night ,I will try to look for the great adventure, seeing and listening for something wonderful that is going to happen...., knowing that whatever comes, it will be OK.
I see the Narcissus and the grape hyacinth coming back, even through the tough soil of Winter. I tell myself that this is what I need to understand...,
and I keep hearing a voice say, "Live your life. Live your life...., do you understand?"
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sky Song


I use to dream that
I could fly.
The sky would lift
myself so high.
The blue air, white cloud sky
would ask if
I were bird.., or cloud,
or leaf,
and I would laugh.

blinding sight from seeing;
I would lift my winged arm
and catch some passing cloud.
The sun would play her scattered light
Upon the edges
of my eyes..,
and I would laugh.

prismed, passing
air to air,
would move reflecting fragments
through the air.

Sun, God, star cloud, blue white sky;
Why did I dream that I could fly?

C.C. 1984

(An old poem I wrote many years ago. A friend's post, today, reminded me of it. Thanks Julie.)
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Truck Art: Creativity of a Four Year Old

What do you do with chicken feathers when you're 4 years old? They become paint brushes and you become a famous artist.

You find some water. You decide on a medium, you test it's viscosity and you begin. A shiny dark blue background seems to be an excellent canvas for the beginning of this artistic endeavor. You must stand with purpose and see the vision of your imagination. You must always use your other hand to create an air of concentration. This is similar to conducting an orchestra except that the instruments are inside of you and the music is heard only by the conductor.

"I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them." ~Pablo Picasso~

How does a four year old create his own world? How does he become the man that he wants or has to be? What will this grandchild of mine become? Will he be famous? Will he find the thing in life that he loves?
Oh Bean, I wish you a life of love, creativity and happiness. I wish you all the possibilities that wait for you in the years to come. Hold on to this little person who thinks he can do anything..., whose imagination has no limits.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
~Pablo Picasso~

( I wrote "The Bean" on the side of our truck with a feather he gave me and then the Bean did the artwork to the right of the words. Does his art remind you of some of Picasso's line drawings?...,? I rest my case.)
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Geocaching With the Guys

I have been so busy that I don't know where to begin writing about what...

This photo, above, is an old baking pan filled with broken pieces (shards) of old crocks, ceramic statues and melted glass that I found while I was GEOCACHING with the Prospector, my boys and the Bean (my grandson) this week. What is GEOCACHING? Will, let me tell you. It's the most fun that you can have without doing something illegal. Let me start by giving you a definition, compliments of the online site called geocaching.com....
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.
My oldest son gave me a Geocache GPS for my birthday. He must think that I'm still spry enough to go out there and be physical, because that's just exactly what this is all about..., and you don't have to go very far in any direction to find these geocaches. THEY ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE. There are 20 to 25 of them within a two mile radius of our house. and hundreds in our county.
My husband started reading the box that the GPS came in and he got all excited about the whole thing. When the Prospector gets excited about something, he becomes a man on a mission. We went online and found the official site for Geocaching and learned all about it. There is so much to learn and do it's a bit overwhelming but the bottom line is that we have a new hobby and we're having a tremendous amount of fun doing it.
The Bean and his Daddy came up on Monday for a few days and we took them out to do some TREASURE HUNTING. The Bean had a great time except that he wanted to keep the containers and all the little trinkets that we found. There was an a lot of explaining to do to convince this 4 year old that he had to leave the treasure where it was after we found it and signed the list inside and that if we took something( only one thing ) we had to replace it with something else..., and that we could leave something without taking anything. He finally got the idea and after Noni promised to make him a treasure box of his own, he really enjoyed the hunt.

The reason that you see NO pictures of our adventure is because I, the camera queen, forgot to pack my camera, when we left the house. I couldn't believe I did it. No one could. I felt like I left part of my brain at home on the buffet. But I recovered quickly and decided to find other things..., like the shards of old pottery and the beautiful blue jay feathers. The Bean and I found all kinds of special "treasures" that we could take home with us.
We went to 4 sites and found 2 caches. They were all fairly easy to reach and only one, on the Mokelumne River, required a short hike to find the spot where the cache was.
My oldest son came up New Years Day and Saturday we went out to treasure hunt some more. This could get addictive. We drove to 3 sites and found 2 caches. Not bad. It's very inexpensive entertainment.

When the Bean arrived last Monday, he decided that his room needed to be "Decorated". So he cut, "drawed", taped his artwork on the windows and walls. He taped ribbon up to make it look "real pretty" and when he got through..., it did.
Then, even though I had given him his own desk to work at, he decided that my computer desk would be his too. I think it was the chair, which he loved spinning around on. He loves to spin and when he got done he was cross-eyed with excitement. He said the room was very "handsome" and that he was going to stay for 4, no.., 6 days.

It rained a lot while they were here. So we just kind of played in between the downpours. The Bean and Carl, the pupster, got along really good. I think Carl enjoyed having someone his size to play with. Carl was Bean's constant companion. Carl kind of herded the Bean everywhere outside. The goat boys, on the other hand, didn't know what to think of this short, fast moving little person and you can see it in their faces. Click on the pictures for a close up.
The pictures on the bottom left are near the chicken house. The Bean is finding chicken feathers. Tomorrow I will tell you why...
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