This Year’s Cake?

Why it’s the Jelly Doughnut cake of course!

I didn’t feel like doing a dacquoise cake for all sorts of reasons; there’s too much sugar due to the meringue, it wouldn’t cut correctly for a birthday cake, and would turn into a mess as soon as the jams interacted with the hardened meringue (baked off in the oven as the ‘layers’ for the cake), plus – a dacquoise is a level 9 on the pastry complexity scale.

Genoise cakes are more like a 7, and with this recipe the added bonus of Baking Powder made it doable at five am when I’ve only had one cup of coffee. Granted I prepped (mise en place) all the ingredients the night before; from roasting almonds and pecans, grinding them up, getting out a dozen eggs to sit overnight (must be room temp) to the mandatory bowls and other ingredients measured out and ready to go. It works like this around here when AM temps are cool (60’s) and amp up by 9am, so any oven silliness had to be done before 8 AM so as not to create more heat in the house. It’ll be around the high 90’s today.

Vetch, Yarrow, & Gummy Weed in flower

I had been soaking the Aronia berries in vodka for some time so I poured some of the liquid into a small sauce pan, added a wee bit of raw sugar and produced simple syrup that tastes exactly like Cassis; one of those liqueurs regularly used in the high falutin pastry world. Once the layers are skinned off with a very shape knife, leaving them level, the next step is to brush on the Aronia simple syrup.

My home made apricot jam was already firm having used tapioca to get it there, and the wild plum jam needed a little pectin, sugar, lemon juice and a dash of corn starch. Five minutes of heat then into the refer where it cooled to a perfect Jelly doughnut consistency.

I had a little dry mix left over that I didn’t include in the cake mix, so in went a dash of brown sugar, a cup or so of toasted course ground nuts, pinch of salt, left over butter, and that got browned on stove top. This is the stuff I’ll cover the cake with once the layers are assembled – I could not bring myself to ruin a perfectly good Jelly Doughnut cake with powdered sugar (death) glaze. Then I threw raspberries all over it. he he

After picking ten pounds of raspberries already, it seemed OK to fill the hole with ’em

So it’s July and that means critters, everywhere inside the house, outside the house, in the outbuildings and all over the property.  That’s the part I love about living here – the nonstop interaction with life (and sometimes sadly death) that makes living this kind of life so fantastic.

During a typical July week I wake up to a stunned mouse sitting on my bedroom floor, the ‘toy’ of Yoshi’s last night excursion. No problem! I go get the leather gloves pick the mouse up and place it outside, now I have to go look for the AWOL chicken that’s been out of the orchard pen for two days and in the process come face to face with a Mulie Doe in the orchard garden. She can’t figure out why I’m not chasing her but instead head to the coop and she stands there stupefied as Red (my rooster) and I exchange morning pleasantries, next it’s over to the greenhouse where I catch a native butterfly and let it go.

On the way back to the house I spot an infant praying mantis, so that tells me the weather’s getting hot enough for them to emerge. Will goes to work in the root cellar to finish the nuances of getting the solar batteries & panel to run the well pump and in the darkness sees four big brown eyes staring at him (Mice). I bury two small deceased rabbits I found on my morning chicken feeding rituals. The last touches on the cement & mortar base step gets completed before the swarms of wasps tell me it’s time to quit.

By six we decide to have dinner and watch a movie so we do, but I’m the kind of person that gets up to grab more Pellegrino from the basement and in doing so step over what I thought was Dora’s toy. Upon closer inspection I think ‘that’s no toy’ maybe a pocket gopher, nope a bird she brought in and it looks dead but on my way back up the stairs – it’s gone. I go back into the basement and there’s the sparrow on the pantry shelves, so back up the stairs for the leather gloves, back down, catch the sparrow who is completely unhurt and let him go. Dora was  bummed but so what. We finish watching the movie in time to go find the errant chicken before the sun goes down and after half an hour wading through the buckwheat cover crop patch, we can’t find her. Will suggests we go look in the coop in case she flew back in (he’s logical) and when we open the door there she is and boy is her head a mess.

It’s 9 o’ clock at night and I have an emergency cage for this kind of situation so we grab her and back to the house we go. The three of us are in the front bathroom, bright light on, chicken medical kit and I spend the next half an hour irrigating her wounds with warm water, next hydrogen peroxide, then a sterilize gob of Green Goo and that wraps up the night for us. She goes in her recovery cage in the shop to rest and recover.

I’m feeling pretty grateful this time of year that I didn’t plant a huge annual garden. This is enough. Besides, they’re planting themselves.


Three shopping bags of chard and counting…

Many of the shrubs we put in four years ago are producing fruit; honey berry, goji berry, raspberry (we put those in with a bucket loader), currants, gooseberries, strawberries…

I have to catch a plane tonight so this had to be a quick update. Behind the scenes we’ve had much more going on…the syrup tree field is a complete success,  Ma Barker and chicks have been moved, our Hyperesthesia cat Dora suffered an acute poisoning event back in late May, and of course I continue to observe human behavior in our stellar age of equally acute FF use and sociopathological use of communication technology.

We are working with our local vet, a Qi Gung doctor, and a Nationally known Holistic vet to get to the bottom of Dora’s health and I’ll be talking about those modalities, not ‘just’ for our pets, but for ourselves as well.

As for that last one – the sociopathology of a society now hooked on abstract layers of technological complexity – there’s a story there about over regulation (complete lack of trust) and the dissolution of appropriate boundaries on a psychological level that has breached and infiltrated every household in this country.

Gadgets are FUN!   They make life easy!  They’re so convenient!

And the more a person uses them, the less that person has control over their own mind and destiny.

Which is why I posted this on FB yesterday…and why we’re moving towards the life of quiet boundaries (unless they’re breached).