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. 



  1. Oh, the mountain have snow on the peak. Your dog will find lots of interesting things outdoor in this season. Happy weekend to you.

  2. The Autumn colours look magnificent in your neck of the woods, I'm so glad to hear you are safe from the awful fires, a terrifying time for those involved. Wonderful news about your new grandson, you must all be thrilled to have him join the family, a new playmate for his little cousins. Lovely to hear all your news and see your photos. Take care x

  3. Oh Karen, I knew that if one hopes to find a home and a blog full of autumn magic, they are yours. :)
    It's awful to read about the wildfires. I'm happy to hear it's raining now. Dear Karen, the smoke didn't disturb us at all. It was only expected to cause a particularly red sunset but we didn't notice anything unusual. :)
    Best wishes to the youngest member of your big and happy family. :) You all must be thrilled.
    Have a beautiful weekend and a lovely beginning of the new month soon. Stay safe!

  4. It is always a pleasure visiting your enchanting blog...Congratulations on your new baby!Such happiness!My Mom told me sometime ago that being a Grandma is to be a Mother twice,so precious. I love all of your gorgeous treasures and those beautiful landscapes of your cozy corner of world. Your stunning home is a great inspiration!I will try that yummy recipe. I am glad you are safe,take care. Best wishes!

  5. Hello Karen,
    Your view are so beautiful. I am glad you were safe from the fire, I hope the wildfires are all under control and put out now. It was so sad to see so much loss, devastation from the fires. It is good new to hear about your new grandson, congrats to you and the family. I always love seeing your beautiful plants and lovely home. Your decorations are beautiful. Love seeing the sweet furbabies and the Pileated Woodie. Thanks for sharing the recipe, sounds yummy. Take care, stay safe. Have a happy weekend. PS, thanks for visiting my blog.

  6. Gorgeous pictures and post Karen, I am so glad the smoke is gone. Congratulations on the new baby. So glad the rain helped the fires.

    Hugs Diane

  7. Good Morning, Karen. Oh, it's so nice to see all the Fall beauty around your home. I've always thought the Lantana flower was unique and pretty. And that funny Woodpecker in the tree visiting you. The needlework that your Mother stitched is a treasure. And I really like the orange berries in the vase sitting next to it. That's awful that their old house was vandalized and destroyed. The applesauce spice cake sounds delicious, and I sent the recipe to Nel, as just yesterday she was talking about making a spice cake. And the best news of all - how wonderful you have another precious little grandson. So happy for your daughter, Jennie. Welcome to the world, baby Jack. : ) I love what you said about the memories, and it's so true, isn't it? And thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on my post about looking out for each other. I've been thinking the same thing lately. I will have to come back to your sweet post again and see all the Fall charm in your home. I really enjoyed seeing it this morning, Karen. The last of your roses are beautiful, and the color reminds me of Fall. : )


  8. you are indeed very creative, i always look forward to seeing your cozy kitchen and deck. the bed of flowers is SO clever!!

    congrats on the new grandchild, the resemblance with your daughter is undeniable!! everything is so pretty karen, i enjoyed reading about nature, from your vantage point. when you are close to a fire like you were, do you pack up some of your precious things???

    that cake sounds really good, i have most of the ingredients, i may send the hubs for the rest. your roses are still gorgeous!! i enjoyed your closing thoughts!!

    1. Hi Debbie, thank you - always love when you stop by. Wish we could visit in answer your question - we were getting close to doing that and obsessively watching the reports. Thank goodness it didn't come to that! Hope you enjoy the cake - it is really good. I have to keep myself from eating the whole thing by myself, hiding in the closet. Haha! xx K

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  10. How lovely to see and read this post from you.
    Many congratulations on the arrival of your new Grandson.

    Your cake sounds delicious, I could eat some now :)

    Take care of yourselves, my good wishes to you and your lovely family.

    All the best Jan

  11. Karen it is so very good to hear from you and that you all have been safe with the fires. I too have prayed for those who have lost their homes or had to abandoned them, and those in the path of the Hurricanes, like we needed anything more at these times.
    A big Congrats to you all for the new grandbaby, a little miracle, praise be to God! He does look very much like his Momma :) Such a blessing!
    We also are seeing little glimpses of Autumn here and it is starting to feel that way too with the cooler temps! Your home is looking so cozy and I am sure smells delicious with that cake, it sounds delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  12. I'm sorry to hear about the fires and glad that you are safe. The flowers are pretty and I know you are enjoying the fall gardening. Congrats to the new baby Karen. The cake looks so good and perfect for fall. Take care and be safe.

  13. Karen, I answered your comment to me last week on my blog, but then got called away from the computer and just now remembered that I needed to pay you a visit. I apologize. Reading your words and seeing your beautiful mountain through your eyes is always very peaceful to me.Congratulations for your new little grandson. What a cutie and I have always loved Jack for a boys name. Your flowers are still beautiful as fall is moving in and I could see you living close to your parents as your children grew. What a great memory for you but also sadness thinking about what has happened to such a special place. Happy Fall to you and that fire being so close must have been very scary. We are having smoky skies again from all the fires in the wine country now. It is such a sad time with all the loss of lives, property and those beautiful forests. It is hard to believe sometimes..Stay well, my friend..xxoJudy

  14. Oh Karen - he's so beautiful! Congrats on another wonderful grandson! And to your daughter too. To finally have the precious gift of her heart. A sweet little to love forever. 😊 ❤️ I was thinking of you the other day when the wildfire smoke drifted all the way to the northwoods and made our sun look so weird. I'm so glad you folks got rain and I have been praying that for everyone affected and that it stops now! 🙏
    Love seeing your beautiful woods and companions. And your cozy home always. That cake sounds so yummy and so perfect for Fall. 🍎
    And I so love hearing about your memories. You share them so eloquently. Prayers for continued safety and good health. I hope you get out a lot to enjoy this beautiful season. Take care. xoxo

  15. First of all congratulations for a new family member! He's so similar to his mom! <3
    I wish you all health and happiness!

    Oh Autumn has finally came! I love this season so much! I would love to be able to enlonger Autumn a bit! :D All these colors, foggy mornings and this amazing fresh air.
    I think I'm an Autumnal girl, haha! :D

    The wall hanging you've made some time ago is beautiful. I've never tried sewing such a precise project. I am impressed with your skills! Have you used a sewing machine or it is hand-sewn?

  16. congratulations on that little baby look alike to your daughter... what a nice family you have. And I used to take paints outside to sit quietly and enjoy nature too. Still do

  17. Karen, your lovely home and beautiful memories of your childhood and your mum and dad must be balm to the soul in these troubled times. Each and every photo evokes a feeling of love, compassion, much whimsy. I smiled at the thought of you sitting in that ancient tree, with notepad in hand penning your thoughts. I would imagine that old Douglas Fir has told many a story to the wind. How sweet your new little grandson is. How wonderful that your daughter and son-in-law have been blessed with the precious gift of a son. So, so happy for you all. May you enjoy all the glorious hues that Fall gifts you in the next little. May you cosy down in your beautiful home and bake delicious food and knit beautiful pretties. Oh......just a little aside....everytime I visit you and see your amazing stove, I am reminded how I would like one just like yours sitting in my kitchen with a pot of soup percolating away on it. =)

  18. Hello Karen, what a beautiful time of year you are enjoying at the moment! We are in Spring but have already had some very hot days (like yourself, I also wilt in the heat). Those colours in your garden are so nice.
    Congratulations on the birth of a sweet little grandson - what a joy a new baby brings to a family... its contagious isn't it, the new babe, soft skin, powdery smells - so delightful.
    My heart went out to you as you wrote about your parents' cottage. Fortunately, you have many wonderful love-filled memories and happy times spent together.
    The last rose is most beautiful. Warmest good wishes xx

  19. Hi Karen! I’m so happy to know that you’ve been spared by these devastating fires! I’m always happy to walk along with you in your beautiful outdoors.
    Congratulations on the birth of your fifth grandson!! I know that Jenny and her hubby are overjoyed.
    I was so sorry to read about your parents’ cottage. Yes, comforting memories are our best defense.
    Enjoy your new grandson and your Fall! 🍁🥰🍂
    P. S. Thank you for the recipe that I’d love to try.

  20. Hi, Karen! I can't believe how long it has been since I have faithfully blogged. I'm trying to do better. It's good to see you well and happy. I'm in the Midwest now - Iowa. I have two blogs now: and Please come visit! Blessings, Dianne

  21. Congratulations, dear Karen! I always enjoy my visits to your blog, so full of joy and good things. I'm glad the fires passed you by and thanks for the recipe, we love everything apple.

  22. Karen, it is so wonderful to visit my online friends again. Your home is always inviting and I leave content (and now hungry!). I look forward to trying your apple spice cake. Thank you for sharing your photographs and heart with us! I'm your newest follower! (once I find the follow button!!) ♥

  23. You live in such a pretty place among the nature. And kudos to you also for adding to its beauty with flowers and plants. Regards Naomi


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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