I used to dislike baking. Too much science. You have to get the proportions right or things go really wrong. Not like ‘not my favorite dish’ wrong, like ‘that wasn’t supposed to be a pancake’ wrong. But sometime in the last couple of years I decided that if my sister could bake, so could I. We both have about the same genetic material. I should be able to do it. So my cakes have been getting progressively more elaborate.
I’ve planned my husband’s birthday cake this year doing a couple of things I haven’t done before and I’m afraid I may have overdone it. Since he does most of the shopping I decided it would be easier to tell him what I was doing instead of trying to surprise him. I’m making chocolate coffee cake with chocolate ganache and mochoa creme frosting. The best part is that he seems to like the idea of a chocolate-coffee flavored cake. But I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve never made ganache before and I’ve heard it can be tricky. I also never tried to modify the flavor of a cake before. I’m planning on using Starbucks Via and I can’t find much on using it baking. From what I’ve found, you use it more like a spice, mixing it with your dry ingredients, but there’s no info on how much of it to use. Oh boy! Improvisational baking. ‘Cause that’s worked out so well in the past. I’ll err on the low side and add more to the batter if necessary. I’ll bake the cake tonight and frost it tomorrow. And find someplace to hide it from my cat in the meantime. One time I made a cake, set it on the table and started to walk away. Before I had gone two steps she had jumped up on the table and taken a bite. Finding someplace cat-proof is a necessity.
Spent a while watching butterflies on Saturday. A big monarch seems to have claimed the yard for her own. At least I think it was a she. She would patrol from one end of the garden to the other and back again, looping around the butterfly milkweed plants to make sure there were no interlopers.
There was also a cabbage butterfly and a couple of what I think were hairstreaks, but I didn’t get close enough to see them clearly.
The monarch left the smaller butterflies alone, but when a gulf fritillary wandered into the yard it promptly got chased back out again. I think it’s larger size and orange and black colors make it too monarch-like. It was an immediate target.
I was glad to see a good number of bees. When everyone stopped watering everything the bee population seemed to take a real dive. There were days in the beginning of the year where there’d be only one or two in the front yard and none at all inside the gates. Now there’s a good mix of pollinators, bees, butterflies and hoverflies. It was a good day for bugwatching.
This is our little gray rescue cat. Can you call it a rescue if you acquire it by luring it into your garage with food and then trapping it? A couple of times someone has dropped kittens off in the neighborhood. I’m sure they thought that one of these little old ladies would adopt them, and in this case they were right, but it still makes me mad.
She’s pretty good cat, as far as cats go. Very affectionate, loves to be with her people. Person really, she loves him, but she’ll take me if he’s not around. She’s almost obedient. I can get her to come to a spot or jump up or down three or four times before she gets bored and stops. She’s the only cat I’ve ever met that will do things for attention.
The mammalian members, anyway. Spud’s big enough now that he makes rather an uncomfortable lap sitter. Not to mention he’ll bite anything that he likes the look or smell of, and his beak is sharp!
My Mom still lives in the house she and my Dad moved into when they got married. They moved into it right after they were finished building it. The neighborhood was still under construction.
Now, just over sixty years later, she is one of three original residents. I’m surprised there are that many.
Last week on my Sunday visit to Mom, she told me that one of the other originals had been found wandering about a mile from home. He’d gotten lost. I could totally understand why. It doesn’t look much like it used to. Neighborhoods have a life span. In the last five or ten years a lot of the shops and buildings have been torn down and replaced.
I feel for the guy. There’s more going on there than just unfamiliar buildings, but it would be so easy to sort of recognize a place and sort of not recognize it and get confused. The same thing has happened a couple of times when I’ve been driving Mom through areas she hasn’t been to in a while. Part of it was just because she was anxious to get home and part of it is just that she will never see me as an adult. I just had to bite my tongue and hang on tight to my patience.
It was nice out yesterday, so I actually went outside in the evening. The Rufous Hummingbird was doing his dive-bombing mating dance someplace. The most I saw of him was when he stopped for a drink on one of the feeders and a feather streak flashing by. He’s the smallest of the the local hummingbirds, but also the orneriest and most territorial. The Anna’s Hummingbirds sneak in for a sip at the feeders and get chased off regularly.