Lincoln the Delinquent

 

Linc! Lincoln! Where are you? … Folks, have you seen my baby?

 

Shh! Don’t move!

Lincoln, you little rascal. Is that you?

Uh-oh…. Busted!

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Heh-heh, I think I can outrun the old lady.

 

Searchin’ for my baby squirrel,

Lookin’ o’er de whole wide worl’.

Lincoln! Lincoln! Where are you?

See the trials you put me through.

Askin’ every dame and gent,

“Do y’all know where delinquent?”

Easy Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake

 

1 c. cake flour (sifted 3 times?) – all purpose will do too.

4 eggs, separated

1 c. sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice + water to make 1/4 cup            

lemon rind

* You can substitute 1/4 c. of coffee and flavouring or other liquid (for the lemon juice and rind) to change the flavour.

 

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt      

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 *
  • Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colour.
  • Add sugar a bit at a time while continuing to beat.
  • Add lemon water (with rind) alternately with flour, ending with flour.
  • Mix well.

 

  • Beat egg whites until almost stiff
  • Have baking powder and salt ready to add to egg whites.
  • Add them and continue to beat until very stiff.

       

  • Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  • Pour into ungreased tube pan.

       

  • Bake at 350* for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Check after 40 minutes and possibly turn off oven for last 5 minutes.
  • Invert cake pan to cool.

       

       *****

I usually get the flour sifted and ready to use, the lemons (or limes or oranges) pressed so I have my 1/4 cup of liquid ready, and I have the 4 eggs separated (yolks into the mixing bowl and whites into a measuring cup – any cup or bowl will do).

I also set aside the baking powder and salt in a small bowl, ready to add to the egg whites later on.

So first I mix the egg yolks and add the cup of sugar very gradually while the mixer is whipping up the yolks and making them paler and creamy.

Into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, add the lemon juice and the flour, alternating and mixing between additions. Then pour the mixture into a fairly large bowl.

Wash out the mixing bowl and the beater and make sure the bowl is cold so the egg whites get stiff easier. When the egg whites are nearly stiff, add the baking powder and salt and finish beating to make sure the whites are stiff.

Put the egg white mixture onto the batter you made earlier and carefully fold the whites into the batter. Do not stir or you’ll ruin the air bubbles and the cake will not stay high and fluffy.Using a spatula, cut down the side (or the middle) of the batter and fold it over itself repeatedly until the batter is foamy and there are no clumps of egg white showing anymore.

Spoon or pour it into the tube pan (don’t grease the pan) and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.

When the cake is done, turn it upside down on something that the top of the tube will rest on (I use a tin from my canister set) so the cake can cool quickly and to stop it from collapsing onto itself.

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When the cake is cool, run a knife along the outside edge of the cake and around the center tube to loosen the cake. Holding the pan upside down give it a sharp rap on a cutting board and it should come out of the pan.

Now you can cut it into slices to eat with berries and ice cream or whipped cream, or you can cut it horizontally to fill it with your favourite filling and add some of the filling on top. I like a pineapple/lemon filling sprinkled with coconut.

After you’ve made a few of these, you’ll be able to get a cake into the oven in 15 minutes. Easy and guaranteed to be good!

Orchid Goes to Town

Another orchid is waking up. The first bud is squinting with one eye to have a look around. She’s not sure she wants to come out completely. It looks a bit gray out there. Where is summer?

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She waits a day or two and soon reinforcements come along. In the company of her sisters, she feels brave enough to face the world. But what faces they have!

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One of the things I love about orchids (besides their long blooming time) is that each type has such unique characteristics. It seems that the colours and designs are infinite. DSCN8532

 

What beetle with its bleeding feet

Has marked my orchid, once so neat?

Or maybe she’s not feeling well

And has the measles, I can’t tell.

I know! She’s going into town

To sport her polka-dotted gown.

Wild and Crazy

 

Spring didn’t really happen this year. It was winter right up until nearly summer. I’m way behind in my weeding, but the poppies are telling me, “Don’t worry. We’ll put on a show to distract any critical eyes.”

“Order, Order!” shouts the judge.

“Bring this yard to order, please.”

But the gardener’s brain is sludge,

Toes and fingers start to freeze.

 

Weeds are shouting everywhere,

“We’re part of winter’s doom and gloom.

Come and pull us if you dare.

But wait, what’s this? The poppies bloom?”

 

Poppies growing where they like,

Squeezing into any place.

What a pretty pose they strike,

Wild and crazy wins the race.

 

Complete Trust and Friendship

This Protection Island tabby came out to greet us as we explored the neighbourhood.

The display of friendship was obvious when Kitty approached us even though I, at least, was a stranger.

“Can you come in and have a saucer of milk with me? Perhaps a snack of tenderized mouse tidbits?”

“Thanks for the kind offer,” I told her, “but we’re going to have lunch after our walk. Perhaps you’d like to join us instead. It’s tender slices of another of your favourites – a bird.” I thought of the chicken that would dress up our salad.

“Neeow thanks,” Kitty said. “I think I’m too fat to walk that far.”

“It’s easier just to have my belly rubbed.”

Kitty must have had a good home for many years to be so trusting. She does not expect anyone to hurt her or she would never lie down (making a fast getaway more difficult) and expose her ample belly, leaving her most tender parts unprotected. That takes complete trust.

“My life is in your hands,” she purrs. “Just rub my tummy gently and I’ll be your friend forever.”

To see such trust got me thinking. People could learn a lot from animals (and I don’t mean “how to get your belly rubbed”).

 

Community Garden

On Protection Island, near Nanaimo, BC, my visit continued with my friend acting as tour guide. Here is a community garden where residents can maintain a raised bed or contribute in other ways to the island’s garden project.

Can you see the glimpse of ocean through the trees? Now imagine that fresh sea air warmed by the sun. The garden is surrounded by trees that keep the humidity  hovering over the fruit and vegetables grown here.

Two special things got my attention:

  1. The potato plants in the two boxes at the front of the picture. In the ample loose soil in those boxes, the roots of the plants are able to produce more potatoes.
  2. The huge cage to the left is like a bird cage in reverse. It it meant to keep the birds out and the raspberries and strawberries in. What a great idea! So much better than netting that can tangle the birds’ feet.
    The garden is well looked after and is producing abundantly already. Outside the garden is a “Help Yourself” table where gardeners can share produce. Sometimes a person can only eat so many tomatoes or whatever vegetable has suddenly become prolific. It’s great to share.

Tree Art

Yesterday I visited a friend who lives on Protection Island, a tiny island across from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. She gave me a tour of the place and my camera was smoking with so many photo-worthy things to record.

One of the more fascinating things she showed me was a gateway made by a local resident. If she hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have noticed that unlike the tree on the left, the one on the right is not made of wood, but of metal. I thought it was very clever of the artist to anchor the metal tree so naturally on the rocks where it pretends to send roots into the ground. On closer inspection you might notice that the metal tree has leaves that tell me it might be representing an oak.

Ironically, I think the wooden tree has a metallic name. I believe it might be a copper beech.

P.S. (A few days later…) I’ve just had word from the owner that the tree on the left is in fact a Japanese plum, so the poem doesn’t quite fit, but I’ll leave it as it is. Call it poetic license. 

 The oak tree brags, “I guard the gate.”

He shocks the copper beech,

Who leans back, but defends himself,

“A lesson I must teach.”

“I’m  tough and strong, of iron made,”

The great oak lets him know.

His metal clinks, he smirks and sneers,

“My strength withstands a blow.”

“But I will grow,” the beech tree smiles,

“And birds in me do trust,

While you will chill their little feet

before you turn to rust.”