Happy Holidays and many Happy Returns in the New Year! Here is the Christmas card I sent out this year, although time took it’s toll, and I got about half-way through the list. So goes the season!
Our family has a tradition, every two or three years, to make old-world fruitcake. The recipe was handed down by my Italian grandmother, who got it from her German neighbor. We make it around Thanksgiving so we can “anoint” it, wrapping it in bourbon or rum-soaked cheesecloth, and putting up in a plastic bag in the cellar-way so it can soak up the anointment. It will last for several months, possibly years, you just need to re-anoint it every so often. Grandma mailed it to Dad in the service during the Korean conflict, and he hid it under his bunk, unwrapping it and stealing a slice every time he wanted to remember the comforts of home.
We gathered in my kitchen this year the eve of Thanksgiving. It takes every bread pan we can muster for this large batch. We use dried, not candied fruit. The walnuts have to be broken, not chopped, according to Grandma Bowman. She was with us until age 96, and somehow I feel her watching and laughing at us as we keep her traditions.
All hand on deck for chopping, braking and cracking of eggs.
A very tricky and tedious lining of the pans keeps Carol and the father-to-be busy in preparation
And now comes the mixing of all ingredients. Grandma would recruit my dad and a friend to stir the rather dry concoction, one to hold the pan, one to stir. Over the years we have lost a few wooden spoons that broke under the strain! She would add what seemed about a half a cup of orange juice. While her back was turned, dad and friend would dump enough of the beer they were drinking to make it actually stir-able. This has been carried on by the next generations, in memory of Dad….
Baked at a low temperature for 2-3 hours, then anointed a couple of times before Christmas. MMM………shared memories and old-world goodness for the holidaysHere is the recipe, in case you want to start your own tradition.
1.5 lbs real butter
3 lbs. dark brown sugar
6 lbs. various dried fruit, cut up
2 lbs. walnuts, broken
10 cups sifted flour
2.5 teas. baking powder
1.5 teas. baking soda
3 teas. allspice
3 teas. cinnamon
2 teas. mace
1.5 teas. nutmeg
2.5 teas. almond ext., optional
Fruit juice enough to make a stiff mixture
Bake at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours, check with toothpick.
Wrap cooled cakes (usually the next morning) in cheesecloth soaked in brandy or bourbon or spiced rum. Check after a couple of weeks to see if cloth needs to be re-soaked.
Warmest wishes in the New Year! Julie
I am very excited as I have had 2 entries accepted this year! They will be on display starting Sept. 5 through Oct. 4th, artist reception Friday, Sept. 5th, 5-7pm.
It has been a CRAZY summer real estate-wise, and not much time for painting…….I did get this plein air pastel out during apple blossom time at The Old Red Schoolhouse, a B & B on Mick Rd. near Upper Herring Lake.
Hope I see you Friday!
P.S. Carol was afraid to look at her email to see if she had been rejected………and of course she wasn’t, silly goose! So both Bowman Girls will be on display in the annual Juried Art Show!
Here is her painting – come see us!
Carol has been very busy of late painting for the Beulah Art Show!
Inspired by seasonal flowers and scenes around her, she has worked feverishly!
So come see her at her usual spot by the pavilion, 10-4:30.
See you there!
After a very dreary winter, a sunny, 45 degree day enticed me outdoors for my walk. I noted for the first time this year the grass was actually turning green! As I rounded the curve, a sharp, cutting wind snapped me out of my spring fever dream-state. “When will this exceedingly long winter ever end!!!!
Mother Nature answers my anguished state….“I promise, spring is coming!”
“It doesn’t seem so!” I answer as I zip up my coat, and don my gloves again. She replies...” I did go a little overboard this year, maybe, but you know your winters repeat a twenty or so year cycle, and that cycle has come around again. I must keep up appearances! I am raising the levels of the lakes, returning gradually to a more average level. Spring is coming!”
As I get to the bottom of the hill, I see a splash of sunshine down in the ditch, and daffodils nod their heads in approval…“spring is coming!”
I cross the road by the Elberta marina and start to curve around to the delta swamp area surrounding the Betsie River. If you look closely, you can see the swans in the background.
“Yes, here is a sign or two to calm your worries. Spring is coming, I promise”
I am starting to be convinced that spring may actually be coming, although the harsh winds keep reminding me it isn’t here yet. “Thank goodness there is no more snow!”
“Some folks actually were begging for snow early in the winter. The skiers and snowmobilers. I may have gone overboard, it was a little hard to slow down after I got good and into my snow-making mode!”
As I end my walk, I pass a homeowner tilling his garden spot. “I really am not a ‘doubting Thomas’, just a little taken back after the winter we have had!”
” In a modern world of instant gratification, sometimes it is good for you to have more patience, my child. My weather cannot be controlled, nor even predicted very accurately, as I am still in charge. I keep my promises, and you will be getting warmer soon, have a little faith!”
Hope you enjoyed the walk! Julie
Nature pulled her joke yet again this month this very morning with 30 degrees and snow flurries! Yesterday it was 47, and most of the snow had left. I did yard work most of the afternoon, and redirected the spring meltdown muddy mess away from the house. It was just two weeks ago that my view was this:
I brought that rose home as the smell is fabulous, but too cold to set outside, so it is in my bay window biding it’s time and waiting for warmer weather. My chickens have been very happy to actually be able to scratch bare ground in my veggie patch.
Gone are the warm, sunny days spent painting plein air…..here is Carol and her painting from this view.
We painted about 20 paintings while in Cedar Key, met lots of new friends, and sold several pieces at our show there. It was especially hard to come back to the unusally long winter in Michigan! Here are our last paintings from our warm respite.
We are very ready for Spring to seriously arrive, and lock the doors on 2013-2014 Winter! Here is a parting shot with the promise of summer to come – Julie