The Saga of the Easter Dog…

image  Because my birthday is close to Easter, when I was a little girl, my mother was going to make me a birthday cake; she bought a 2 piece metal cake pan molded like a sheep. imageI was a scared-y cat with a weak stomach, so I wasn’t sure if I could actually eat a sheep shaped cake. My older sister was a born prophet- she said ‘that cake’s gonna look like a dog’.  Baking commenced, the batter began to rise with the sheep’s ears getting singed in the cake tins. I was in a state! When the cakes came out of the oven, my sister said again …’that cake’s gonna look like a dog’… Mother told us to stop worrying- by the time the white icing was swirled on the sheep cake, and shredded dyed green coconut grass was put around the cake it would look just like an Easter Lamb. I looked at the burnt ears and watched as she trimmed its ears- I cringed looking at it! I thought it hurt the sheep~ surely that sheep could feel it’s ears being trimmed. It didn’t help that my sister, the miniature prophetess kept sayin’ the cake looked like a dog! The sheep cake fell over more than once… and just when Mother got the white icing ready to swirl on… the head fell off of the sheep/dog cake! Cryin’ commenced, wailin’really… ‘Y’all get outside and play while I work on this cake!’ We went outside ~ my sister, the pint sized prophet with the shiny brown hair that curled in all the right places, was running and playing while I, the cowlicked black haired, green eyed scaredy cat was sniffing and trying to get hold of myself. Mother finally let us come back inside… and guess what? the sheep cake did not look like a dog! It looked like a big ol’ white fluffy Easter Egg with green coconut and jelly beans surrounding it! How was I ever going to eat a headless sheep disguised as a Prehistoric Chicken Egg! And where were the candles going to be? Dried out, days later -the cake was dumped in trash….the cake pan went in the cabinets and was never used again. Decades later, all grown up~ I was collecting, of all things ~ sheep! I asked Mother if she still had the Sheep Mold…and I am not lyin’, Mother had given that sheep mold to a lady whose husband’s nickname was Jellybean! They had a yard sale at Jellybean’s house, the cake pan sold ~ who knows where it went? Mother felt bad about it…she found another one for me. I never made a sheep shaped cake! The trauma of the ‘sheep/dog/egg’ put a stop to that~ it was put on display with the other sheep at Christmas and Easter …until this year. Ok, y’all know where this is goin’ don’t you? With fear and trepidation, the project was undertaken to see if a sheep cake could actually be baked… imageFour days…I worked on this cake! A dense cake must be the answer~ a brownie mix was stirred up; sure enough the ears  began to burn, I pulled cake out of the oven, carefully scooped some mix from the stomach of the sheep to the ears. Oh gag and oh lord, finally that cake was baked…slightly burned ears but hey, that could be trimmed off…umhmm. I chilled the cakes. I made a thick chocolate filling. I decided no fluffy white icing for sheep wool. I would not use store bought ‘eyes’ either, who wants a sheep with a ‘surprised look’, right? The day before Easter, I melted semi-sweet chocolate. I grated milk chocolate to look like ‘wool’. After I poured the chocolate and set it up as a trial run, I thought ~ this thing looks just like a dog ! Well let me tell you right now sister, I was not going to dye any coconut to surround it! I had already tried and failed to make sugared violets! Oops I’m tellin’ on myself! I was nauseated from eating nearly a whole bag of jelly beans to calm my nerves! My sister~ who rarely uses her gift of prophecy now -told me it would be ‘cute’~ she seems to have switched to the gift of selective lying. I knew different but I kept going … a crack formed on the back of the neck! Oh no, please don’t let that dog head fall off! In the refrigerator the cake went…good, the cake firmed up! more chocolate was poured, more chillin’ ~ I was sort of horrified that there was now a good $20 worth of chocolate in a cake that wouldn’t be fit to eat! Out of the mold, the cake looked just like a Dog! the shaved chocolate was sprinkled around…I was sure it would fall over if anybody looked at it crooked! I surrounded it with Cadbury Chocolate mini-eggs…took a ‘beauty shot’ or 20 maybe…over and over the thought…this thing looks like a dog! She was right! I texted her a photo and told her it looked like a dog and further that cake was so hard it would take a chainsaw to cut it! We got so tickled!  For some reason in the midst of laughing I decided to just accept the idea of an Easter Dog! The moral of this story is –

Bakers,do not try this at home, just bake a batch of brownies. Wait for those prophecies, sometimes it takes years before they’re fulfilled. Embrace the goof-ups in life. They can turn into the funniest moments of your life!

Turns out when we got up the nerve to cut the Easter Dog ~ guess what? the tail section isn’t that bad…let’s just hope that dog head is dried out before we get to it…wait a minute, who’s rev-vin’ up a chainsaw in the kitchen?

Live, love and laugh y’all…life’s short! Camellia

Easter Eggs

The sweet sleepy expressions on these Easter Eggs inspire me to think of the potential of a single egg and imagethe special traditions which include eggs- particularly at Easter. Since the early 1600’s eggs were mentioned in connection with the Paschal Vigil which is called Holy Saturday, a religious ceremony commemorating the time when Christ lay in the tomb. The hard shell of the egg represented the stone of the tomb and the inward parts the symbol of rebirth, when a bird hatches from the hard eggshell with new life. The empty egg shell therefore represented the Resurrection; the empty eggshell is a reminder to Christians that Christ rose from the grave and that those who believe can experience life eternal. Easter Eggs or Paschal Eggs as they are often referred to in some cultures were given with a greeting ‘Christ has Risen’, the eggs were joyful gifts of these enduring beliefs in the Christian faith. And while they were not written about until the 1600’s historians believe that the custom of giving Easter Eggs dates back to Christians living in Mesopotamia, who stained the eggs red to symbolize the shed blood of Christ. Some cultures, particularly in Eastern Europe decorated eggs in elaborate ways, each color being symbolic of their faith. White for purity, Red for the Blood of Christ, Green for eternal life and Yellow or gold symbolic of Christ the King. (these colors vary in significance). Out of these traditions came the Easter Egg Roll or Easter Egg Hunts when the eggs were used to celebrate Christ’s Triumphant exit from the tomb. I love history and hope I have gotten this right, it was an interesting study for sure. I was never very good at dyeing Easter Eggs so this mix of naturally occurring colored eggs, the brown and white eggs are common and I bought the pale blue and aqua eggs from a friend who raises Aracana chickens whose eggs range from pale blue to deep olive green. All together they are so pretty! I really couldn’t decide which pictures to share so here are a few more…

 

Have a wonderful day and a very joyfilled Easter!

Love y’all, Camellia

The First Day of Spring…

Outside my window the first day of Spring dawned chilly and bright…

The dogwood is getting dressed for Easter, she’s wearing pale green with white eyelet. Out another window, the azaleas have decided to wear pink lace, the bridal wreath spirea has decided to wear white dotted swiss and me? Well I haven’t decided between red or pink…that pink sure is pretty…

Love y’all, Camellia

Life’s unexpected gifts

This orchid is one of those unexpected gifts. I love orchids and consider them valuable and economical house plants. If you buy one when it is in ‘bud’ the foliage is pretty and the flowers may last a good six weeks as they unfold. Their needs are few considering how much pleasure they bring. 2016-03-10 15.45.24But the one thing I have never been able to do is get an orchid to re-bloom, oh I know some who get theirs to re-bloom and to be honest I’ve just told myself ‘you can’t do that’, ‘don’t fight it, just accept it’. ‘Go ahead and buy orchids, enjoy them, enjoy the foliage for a while and discard’. And that’s what I always did, until I needed a filler in my little tabletop greenhouse. So in this spent orchid went.2015-06-17 20.15.34Do you see it there? It had been there a year, a whole year, when this photograph was taken late last summer! And there it stayed, basically a place keeper in the little greenhouse. Well, in January of this year, I was sitting on the sofa beside this table and for some reason I peered inside and it looked like something was going on…what was that?

Can you see it? (Ignore the plastic redbird, that was meant to be edited out!) But look at the stem! Do you see it, the slight swelling on the stem?2016-01-18 15.32.55Okay, I took the weird orchid out, put it in a container and began to water it ~ thinking this could not be, this should not be happening, I have never, ever had an orchid re-bloom! I believed that the stem would wither and probably go the way of all orchids in my care. But not so, by February….2016-03-03 09.32.33I was totally enchanted, the dance of life- the unexpected gifts! The opening photograph of this orchid is proof that occasionally life will surprise you, prove you wrong, delight you in ways you never expected. Have I mentioned I love Spring? When daffodil bulbs push up so bravely, when buds on camellias swell without a quiver against the cold winter air, when peonies emerge in tightly wound burgundy shoots and soft delicate lamb’s ears and the pale iris leaves come around ever so softly, I am reminded of the old gardeners who shared bulbs, cuttings, perennials that needed thinning out ~ most of those gardeners have long since died ~ but because of them, every single Spring, I believe in the Resurrection all over again! Those things which we think have died and we no longer see are under cover, putting down roots, gathering strength, doing work we know nothing about. Oh we may know the botany of it, but we don’t know the delightful mystery. As we begin this Easter Season may we allow Spring to be our beautiful reminder of Life’s Sweetest Gift, the Resurrection of our Savior.

Love y’all, Camellia