Thursday, September 24, 2020

September Musings with Applesauce Spice Cake

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are looking forward to 
the beauty of autumn as we say goodbye to our summer of discontent. 

Here we are at the top of my mountain road, looking towards the neighboring 
ridge during a very smoke-filled day last week. 

Smoke filled skies

We had a fire break out along the steep grade leading up to our 
plateau, just a few miles away, which burned 4 houses and nearly 1000 acres,
 which kept us on edge for quite a few days until the weather changed
 and helped to bring it under control. 

Hundreds of homes had to be evacuated. 

We now have rain, thank goodness, but my thoughts and prayers remain 
with our neighbors to the south; Oregon and California, as 
they continue to battle the devastating fires 
that have ravaged their states. 

The surrounding forest is beginning to reveal its fall beauty. 
It is a bittersweet privilege to witness, when I think of all that has 
been lost to the fires. My heart truly breaks when I think 
of the monumental loss. 

One of my favorite trees along the driveway. 
A magnificent Douglas fir. 

It is probably 60 ft. tall.
What sort of secrets does it whisper to the wind? 
I so love trees. 

When I was a girl, there was a very old Beech tree in 
the little wood behind my house. 
It had one very large branch that grew sideways from its trunk; 
large enough for me to sit comfortably with my back to the trunk  
 and my feet outstretched and low enough, with the old stone wall
beneath it, to reach with a bit of dexterity. 

Whenever I could escape from the responsibility of chores
and caring for my four younger sisters, I would gather 
my sketch pad and pencils, pack a little picnic, (with 
an extra peanut butter sandwich for my loyal dog, Mittens), 
and the two of us would head to the tree. 

I loved those quiet hours in the dappled sunshine, 
listening to the birds and the rustling of the leaves 
in the breeze. I don't know whatever happened 
to my beloved sketchbook, but I do remember 
the feeling of being one with nature, 
and the peace that brought to my soul. 

I knew even then, that I would never be happy 
if I could not be close to nature. 

Even when my Ramblin' Man and I were high-school 
sweethearts, our favorite dates were picnics at local and state parks
( he loved my home-baked 
sugar cookies from my Grandmother's recipe book)
where he would pick me wildflowers to bring home as remembrance. 
"Those who want happiness must stoop to find it;
it is a flower that grows in every vale."
- William Blake -

Walking in the fallen leaves with my faithful companions. 

We had the Grandboys and their parents over to pick blackberries
and stay for dinner in the last few weeks. 
We had a bumper crop this year. 

I have the happiest of news! 

We have a new baby Grandson - a boy, 
with fine black hair and big blue eyes 
 just like his Mother, my daughter, Jennie. 
She never thought she would have a child, 
so he is a lovely and blessed gift
for her and husband, Steve. 

Check out the side by side of little Jack next to his Mother 
at the same age. Jack is on the right. 

That makes five little Grandson's under the age of five! 

Five little blessings. 

These are the last of the roses, I think. 
There is nothing as sweetly melancholy than the last September rose. 

The sun has a softness on late September afternoons. 

It's lovely to sit under the canopy and enjoy these gentle, sun-dappled, 
golden days. Soon we will have to pack it all up and store it away
until next year.
My little dog, Kai, loves to photo-bomb :) 

My 'flower bed' with some fall blooms. 


Black-eyed Susan vine. 

A pileated woodpecker paid a visit to the maple tree right 
beside the deck one morning. These are very large
woodpeckers, a little larger than a crow. They have 
a very loud call, which sounds rather like maniacal 

He was very busy, moving quickly up the trunk of the tree. 
Here you can see his outstretched wing. 
They hammer loudly with their impressive bills. 
I would not want to be on the business end of one of these! 

The tree has a heavy crop of winged nuts this year. 
The squirrels love these. 

Slanted beams of sunlight on a late September afternoon. 

This is my favorite time of year. 
The busy chores of gardening are winding down, 
the air is so much cooler, 
and it is finally sweater weather! 

I wilt in the heat :)

I've been gathering on my walks during these mellow fall days. 

The tall ones in the bottle are allium from the garden. 
Dried pods and seed-heads are so sculptural and interesting up close. 

Some things can be gathered only with the heart. 

My Mother stitched the sweet needlework when I was a child. 

My crochet basket is filling up once again, 
now that the days have grown shorter. 

Christmas is right around the corner. 

I sewed some new pillows for my settee'. 

The check pillows were made from homespun. 
The long pillow is feed-sack. 
The crochet pillow was made from a vintage placemat. 
I crocheted the little sachet and filled it with lavender. 
"Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow
through your eyes...The greatest happiness in life
is to be truly and consistently creative."
- Peter Koestenbaum -

I sewed the berry-basket  
wall-hanging years ago for my Mom. 

Now it remains with me. 
When I pulled it out of the drawer, 
it still had the faint scent of her kitchen. 
It's hard to believe my Mom has been gone almost 10 years now. 
My Dad has been gone 9. 

They lived down at the end of the lane in their hand-built 
cottage for 30 years. 
It was so comforting to know they were there, so close by,
as we built our home and raised our four children.
I had many, many cups of tea and sympathy, and the occasional glass of wine
on my dear little visits in her country French kitchen.  
I can't bring myself to walk down there
anymore. Their home was vandalized and destroyed 
after their death. 
It absolutely broke my heart. 
Someone has bought the property and lives in 
the apt. in the barn, but the house has never been restored.

You can't predict or control what happens in life, 
and sometimes only the memories remain.
Memories are like photographs.  
The secret to happiness lies in how you edit them.

I have found a new favorite recipe:


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup golden raisins

Powdered sugar. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

Mix all ingredients except raisins together in large bowl.
Add raisins. 

Bake 30 minutes or until wooden toothpick
 inserted in middle comes out clean. 
Cool on rack. 
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.



" A mind always employed is always happy.
This is the true secret, the grand recipe for felicity."
- Thomas Jefferson - 

"Simply seek happiness and you are not likely to find it. 
Seek to create and love without regard to your happiness
and you are likely to be happy much of the time."
- M. Scott Peck -

"As I grow older I realize that the only pleasure I have
in anything is to share it with someone else."
- Eleanor Roosevelt -

Take care, Dear Friends. 
We are all in this together. 


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