There is an old saying that goes . . . “March comes in like a lion-and goes out like a lamb.” I can attest, that so far, there is truth in this. The wind gusts yesterday were over fifty and they blew all day long. The river, in the small town, where I work has been blown off its’ course. No longer is what lies beneath it, a secret. Boats, waiting for outings in May, are now stranded on the bare sandy river bottom-or toppled over. Just opening a door was a dangerous task, yesterday, as it was likely to fling open wildly. Driving home, a trampoline flew across the road, in front of me. It all started ,after midnight, on March first.
I came home from work, to a yard littered with branches. They were everywhere. I saw a pillow from a porch rocker tumble by as I walked in. The outside chairs were all topsy turvy, yet somehow, the spirea held onto its’ dainty little flowers, in spite of the mighty gales, sweeping across the territory. The Farm Life community, where I live has earned a reputation for horrendous wind storms, but today we were not alone, as the March wind was blamed for all sorts of catastrophes, hours away, on the evening news.
This morning, before the early service, the sky was a dark purple and the moon rays shone in patches. The effect was powerful and beautiful. The wind still blew, but not with the same force. However, by the time the sun came up, the wind seemed to have recharged and was “taking up where it left off”. This was not the day to clean the yard, though the temperature was mild enough. It seemed to me, that this day was best suited for cooking or reading. . . as many are, for me.
I finally decided on a pot of chicken noodle soup. While it simmered, I ventured out. The wild hyacinths were blooming and appeared to be shivering in the wind. I felt pity for them. The daffodils were in the same predicament. I hadn’t the heart to tell them, it is supposed to frost this week. I got a very few branches up and realised it really was a lost cause today, to do about anything, outside. I came in and started planning a “Sunday Dinner”. It has been a while since I have cooked a Sunday dinner and I happened to have bought a pork roast and turnips on my last trip to the grocery. I also have carrots and potatoes on hand. I thought if I cooked a pot of green beans and made a dessert, it would be a fine meal. With that settled, I thought to do some painting. So I painted a lavender bird-and then some lavender tulips. Just lately, I have grown most fond of the color lavender- in the palest shade imaginable.
The day dawned fair and bright. The strong wind was now a friendly breeze, though “time will tell” if that remains so, today. There is a mystery about wind. How, I wonder , does, it blow steadily in the day, reaping havoc, and then retreat suddenly, in the evening hours- only to rear up again, the next morning? This happens often. I am sure there is a scientific answer, but I am content to think that the wind sleeps . . . and somewhere, birds are lavender.
I did not tarry long at the “early service”. I prefer slow cooked food and that meant I needed to start the noon day meal in the morning. I thought to make a special dessert, as the meal was so easy. I remembered “Mandy”, of “Pansy & Ivy” had made a strawberry pound cake, for Jennys’ birthday . . .and I did have strawberries . . . and Mama loves strawberries . . .and I had gotten the recipe. In this way, I convinced myself to make the cake.
Only when I bake a new dish, do I use a recipe. I commit favorites to heart. Mandy had told me how she made the cake, but after what seemed like thirty steps,I had her send it to me. Mandy likes precise instructions and amounts. I do not think she cares for terms like “pinch” “dash” or “dollop”. Her cake was a smashing success and a lot to live up to. I read the recipe over and over-put in the oven, begged it not to stick and prayed. I do not trust “bundt” pans, in general, but I talked mighty sweet to mine, as I filled it with batter. Then I looked at the clock, as I will not rely on smell, this time. The roast will have to make do with the 350 degrees, the cake demands. . .for “what the cake says, goes!”
I took another chance at yard work, while the oven earned its’ keep. The wind was steady, but had lost some its’ punch. I got a good patch cleared for Mama and Daddy, to walk to the back door. I also gathered a load of trash that came from only God knows where. I have not yet ventured to the orchard and the “Quiet Garden” looks like “The Secret Garden”, BEFORE the beloved “Dickon” came along.
At last it was time to cool the cake and the recipe said fifteen minutes, and so I did. I laughed at myself for feeling “spellbound” over a cake. I think this is what I hold against bundt pans. . .you must get the cake out of it, and hopefully in one piece. I remembered that Mandy was adamant about the cooling process, so I was too. It “paid off” because the cake dropped on the plate without losing a single crumb. It seems, I have made amends with the bundt pan.
Of course, the cake is now named “Mandys” strawberry cake”. It matters little to me, the origin of the cake . . it came from Mandy. I think we all do that. I have laughed at my cousins, Martha and Marsha for they have a pie named after me, and a neighbor Miss Joyce, named a casserole after me. . . and there is “Jo Dees’ barbecue chicken” and” Aunt Agnes’ apple salad”. . . . Woe to the “Southern Living” magazine staff, if they were expecting any credit .
Mama and Daddy came in as I was stirring the gravy. I creamed the turnips, carrots and potatoes all together. All went well and would have been perfect, had I not put ice cream on Mamas” cake. She was too polite to mention it, but I noticed her treading quite carefully as she ate around the ice cream. She finally said that she did not like ice cream. Now I, was surprised that I didn’t know this and also because it never occurred to me that there was such a condition! I like ice cream and can not think of one flavor, I wouldn’t eat at any given moment. I remember one year we had an ice cream cake for Mamas’ birthday! To my knowledge, she never said a word against it. So now I know, that along with macaroni and cheese, crowder peas and split pea soup . . . Mama does not like ice cream.
Dear Diary, I am glad for Sunday, when we gather and bow our heads gratefully , together. I am glad for a kitchen table laden with a meal, to share with loved ones . . .and strawberries put in a cake and . . . I am glad for the time, when the wild hyacinths bloom.