I haven’t posted in a week because nothing ever felt big enough to mention…and so I guess I have little bits of lots of things (instead of lots of one! Thanks, Dairy Council).

Hm…After I made the eyeball cake, I still had the cake-making bug.  I periodically decide that it is imperative that I be able to turn out a good-looking, 1950s era, delicious cake.   I used a 1939 cookbook for the eyeball cake and it really was very yummy, so I went back to that well.  It was a dark and cold day, so I decided to make “Daffodil Cake,” so named b/c it is yellow and white.  The recipes are very short.  Today, a cake recipe would give you step-by-step instructions and tell you what the mixture should look like at each point, maybe even give the science behind what you’re doing.  These recipes felt more like a reality show challenge.  “You have 2 eggs, 1/2 lb of sugar, 2 c of flour, a tsp. of baking soda, a pinch of salt and some vanilla.  Make a cake from them.

Here’s the book:

It belonged to Steve’s grandma, acquired when they lived in WI and Grandpa was in the dairy business.  It was in pristine condition and I was assured that Grandma was not a cake-baker. It’s a shame because she really had a terrific wardrobe for dancing about the kitchen with a really fluffy cake on a tray.  A waste, really.

I’d never made a cooked icing, ever (my own granny just gasped in her grave–41 and never cooked a frosting?  madness), so I decided to give that a whirl too.  And look!

It’s like 12 inches tall.  Huge.  And the icing was fantatic, somewhere between meringue and divinity fudge, which is about the best place to be, in my book.  The cake is tall b/c it’s really two cakes, with alternating layers.  Were I inclined to make it again, I’d just make a half recipe of each (one cake is lemon, one is vanilla) and slice them in half.  But look:

It was delicious as well.  I had to call the Donalds up to help us eat it, though.  I cannot be trusted with that much cake.  Well, really, I’d have just licked all the frosting off….The yellow layer would have been yellower if I still had a chicken giving me those nice dark yolks.  These modern chickens, I swear.  Even the super-right-on-groovy chickens that give eggs to the co-op don’t produce the nice dark yolks of a backyard hen.  Sigh.

Which brings us to: Do I get more chickens this year?  I want them.  The barriers: I need a coop/chicken tractor/hen house that they can get into and be safe at night.  I’m just not going to go close them in every night.  Which is how Mildred met her end.  I’m not a good farm woman, I’m afraid.  When it’s 95 degrees at 9 o’clock at night I just don’t feel like slogging down to the garden to shut in the chickens.  It’s the hill you see.  It’s daunting.  And the lazy is strong within me.  Also, we’re planning to go camping on Lake Superior this summer and that will be close to two weeks away.  That’s a long time to ask a neighbor. I suppose I could pay a kid, but again, it would be best if the hens could get themselves safe in case the kid turns out to be as lazy as I.  So, there’s that.  But I do want chickens.  bok!

The Lake Superior thing–A friend of mine is attending the Traditional Ways Gathering with her family and has urged us to come along.  I was hesitant at first–white people with dredlocks tend to make me cranky–but on balance it just sounds really nice.  A week on the lake, taking workshops, learning to weave reed baskets or make clay pots, canoeing on the lake.  Just chilling.  The notion of a week with no responsibility beyond feeding my family  is quite appealing.  Apparently lots of kids come, and my friends’ kids will be there, so the squids will be entertained.  Not to mention woods to explore, rocks to gather.  I think it will be restorative.  It’s a haul, we’ll likely drive it in two days, stopping in Ohio on the way in and out–Ohio relations, you are on alert! We’ll be coming in on the 15th and out on the 22nd of August.

And in other camping news, I’ve stupidly agreed to head up planning the 3rd grade camp-out. In previous years, the teachers planned it and went with the kids, but this year they decided not to do it.  Ben has been looking forward to this since he entered 1st grade.  No WAY was I going to tell him it was off.  So I agreed to arrange it.  The teachers are unlikely to come, but at least the kids will get that rite-of-passage thing (our school has 1st-3rd grades together, so leaving 3rd is kind of a big deal, it means a New Teacher after 3 years in one classroom).  I made the reservations today which nearly gave me an ulcer.  I do NOT like to be The Decider.  But if I’d dithered another day we’d have had to camp in someone’s driveway.

Because I just can’t get enough time with kids, I took my 4-H volunteer training last week.  I’ve been doing projects with them since November of 06, but I wasn’t official yet.  Apparently the training had been 2 three hour sessions in Power Point hell.  The new guy, bless him, crams it into one 2.5 hour session.  Having seen it, I shudder to think how it was dragged out.  The high point was the sexual harrassment video made for middle schoolers in about 1991.  Big hair.  Big eyeglasses.  Lots of flannel and super chunky shoes.  And the Cool Young People who walked us through it all always said “Harrisment” instead of “ha-rass-ment” like civilized folk do.  Their advice was to shout “This school has rules!” at harrisers.  It seemed to shut them right down.  Also, the Power Point presentation told us, on about every other slide, that being a 4-H volunteer does not make us employees of the University of Maryland.  Really.  It said it at LEAST 6 times.  When the guy, who was pretty funny, asked if there were any questions, I had to say, “yeah.  Does this make me an employee of the University of Maryland?”  “As an employee of Maryland, do I get benefits?” Ah, so long since I got to be the classroom wise-ass.    And hey, did you know that 4-H is part of the executive branch of the gov’t?  It is.  And if you want to use the logo, you should know that it is the property of the USDA.  So much I learned.

Okay.  That’s enough for now.  That will tide you over until I have an entree to serve…

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