Snow Camp Sunset

The sunset is enough. The sunset is always enough.

But this evening, accompanying this beautiful and peaceful scene is the distinct and wonderful aroma of freshly cut hay. It is a windows open, glass in hand, front row seat to the tree frog and crickets symphony, kind of evening.

And I am so grateful for every second.

Well done, Thursday. Well done!

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Watching evening sunlight through trees

Evening rays of the setting sun are reaching through the western trees, falling between the leaves, painting brilliant patterns with lingering caresses of light.

Perhaps the sun will miss playing in the deep green of day, and the trees are wishing the sunlight would stay.

An Irish Anniversary Cake

It’s been a while since I actually broke out my cake decorating kit. Sure, we’ve had a series of birthdays, parties, mother’s days, and all kinds of reasons to bake, but I kept putting it off until now. Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. This milestone year seemed like the perfect time to play around in the kitchen.

There is no shortage of traditional recipes in this house handed down through the generations, but I decided to try something new and found this delicious Walnut Cake recipe by lovefoodies.com.

Y’all, this cake was so simple. I actually had concerns, thinking something must have been missing. A few simple ingredients into the mixing bowl and away we go! Simple and smooth!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cake batter so fluffy as this! The photos don’t do it justice, this batter was like air. The recipe specifies the times to whip the ingredients, hand mix the walnuts in at the end and don’t rush it. Good things take time.

Personally I like buttercream icing, and I especially like buttercream icing made with Kerry Gold Irish Butter. Really, this is not a commercial – it just tastes better to me. My husband is of Irish descent, so he really likes Kerry Gold as well, and since it’s technically his anniversary cake too, I used the good butter.

The kitchen smelled so good! Somehow the scent of cake and icing just seems to belong in this house. This is the same house where 25 years ago my mother and aunt made and decorated our wedding cake. I’m not even going to pretend I’m as good as they were, but I like to think they would be pleased with my attempts, or at least get a little giggle out of the effort.

At some point in icing the cake I decided I wanted as much of an Irish them as I could get into a 25th anniversary cake with what I had on hand. It would be blue instead of silver, with ivory, and a deep green. Sure, it could represent any number of places in the world, even this little patch of ground on some days. But for this occasion, it’s all about the colors of Ireland. Ok, the colors of Ireland and LOVE! (Happy Anniversary to my husband).

The blue became a marble-like streak for some roses, and a blend of Kelly Green and cocoa for the leaves. The white cake stand below belonged to my grandmother. Generations of wonderful and talented women have all had a hand in my choices today.

The end result is what I call Connemara Marbled Roses on Black Walnut Cake. Clever, eh?

Here’s to 25 years of marriage, and far beyond. To the moments that lifted us high enough in love and faith and joy to hold on when other moments knocked us breathless and spinning. To the laughter, tears, silences and more laughter. To me knowing he likes black walnuts and Irish butter, and him knowing I like evening cappuccino in a fine china cup. Now, let us eat cake.

Saturday Snapshots

‘Tis a lovely day here in this little corner of North Carolina. If today was a color, it would be green!

Temperatures crossed into the 90 degrees Fahrenheit realm this afternoon, so mowing the yard went quickly and early this morning. Most of the day has been reserved for sipping iced drinks in the swing watching oak trees wave their branches in the gentle, but welcomed breezes. This weekend is graduation weekend for some amazing young people I have the privilege of knowing. I wish them all the best in their next chapters in life, and pray for their health, safety, joy and wisdom often, but especially on days as lovely as today. While I’m thinking about it, let me just add one more wish: may we all, including these new graduates, always find time for beautiful moments under the shade of an old tree.

I spent a good part of the day snapping photos of the hot afternoon scenes. Green is everywhere here, but it is a color willing to share the stage. In fact, it’s sometimes even more gorgeous supporting the pops of pink, purple, yellow, pink and white that grab onto it in the forms of blooming flowers and vines.

If today was a color, it would be green! Enjoy.

Sage Honeysuckle in the treesAzaleas in bloom

Roadside view of Cane Creek Mountains

Some days I don’t drive this part of this old road, but seeing glimpses like this makes me remember what a beautiful place this is. You can’t see the creek in this picture, but it is there, meandering through the landscape from pasture to pasture and field to field.

There are higher hills a few hours to the west, and larger bodies of water nearby as well. The colors change with the rhythms of the season, but for me these hills are timeless, always just beyond the tree-line from my back porch. Quiet, almost hidden, these Cane Creek Mountains are the very picture of perfect spring green on this April afternoon.

~ Enjoy the everyday beauty~

Later…..

Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.

But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.

Hello, Tuesday! It’s good to be here.

Hello New Year, Let’s Have Lunch….

We Made It!   2017 has arrived! What should we do first?  Accept new challenges?  Learn new skills and talents?  Resolve to make great and lasting changes and generally shake up the status quo?    Perhaps, soon, but not today.

For me, the first day of January is set aside for tradition.  For the better part of 25 years that tradition has included attending Mass at the nearest Catholic church.  That’s the new part.  The old part, the really, really old part, is having lunch at home on New Year’s Day.  It’s one of my favorite meals of the entire year with a set menu of black-eyed peas, collard greens, roasted pork of some sort, corn bread with butter, and sweet tea, every year.  Every single year for as long as I can recall, this meal has been prepared by my grandmother, aunts, mother with intentions and prayers for all who join in the meal to enjoy health, love, happiness and prosperity in the coming year.   Another tradition for me is that this simple, hearty meal to begin the new year is ALWAYS served on fine china, and the sweet iced tea in tall crystal.

This year I noticed my 17-year-old son take a snapshot of the table and his plate to send to his girlfriend.  Sure, it could be just an idle text on what’s going on at that moment, but it could also be an intentional sharing of his traditions as well.  My heart hopes that’s the case.

….for this one meal, on this one day, the love spans centuries….

It’s just lunch with the family.  It doesn’t change the responsibilities awaiting when school and businesses reopen; obligations and opportunities await in the coming days; but for the first lunch of the new year we will celebrate in a more special way one of countless beautiful, familiar moments that happen in and amongst our daily lives; for this one meal, on this one day, the love spans centuries.

Perhaps later this week I’ll consider resolutions, but for now I simply want to wish you all a safe and happy new year!  May it be filled with great friendships, deep love, and wonderful adventures and timeless traditions.  Welcome to 2017, my friends.