RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Spring

Petit Fours for Easter

Petit Fours

Spring is in the air and this is the time of year when all things that have been dormant come back to life in full color.  What beautiful colors we see in the flowers, the blossomed trees and shrubbery.  Where ever you look there is such splendor.

Easter is the most sacred holiday of Christians; in fact it is what I consider the holiest day in our faith.  Easter is truly a day of new beginnings.  It is a day to celebrate life, but not just life, but everlasting life.  With my commitment in my faith, it gives me hope, through Jesus; we get to live, live for eternity. It was at this time that Jesus died on the cross; the blood He shed has cleaned me of my sins, the same for all Christians and those that accept Him into their lives as Lord and Savior.  He was buried and rose again three days later, thereby giving everlasting life for all of us who believe in Him.

I went out and picked some of my flowers growing in my gardens to put in several rooms in my home.  It brings such joy to me to see and smell them.  I try to keep cut flowers in my home throughout the season.  They not only add color, but it brings cheers to the room that they grace.   I had a few flowers left over that I used for the pictures of the Petit Fours.

I have wanted to make Petit Fours for some time now and finally decided to just do it.  I have made them before; but I want to make them without pre-made sugar flowers.  Why did I put it off, I am not talented with the pastry bag.  I have artistic abilities but cannot use a pastry bag.  I am a perfectionist and it is hard for me to make something when the flowers that grace them are not as pretty as the real thing, what a sore site when I am trying to put borders on something.   I have looked into it and there will be classes in decorating with the pastry bag this fall and I will be the first one on the list, it is about time that I took the time to learn how to hold and use a pastry bag.

For these petit fours I used a ‘Sara Lee’ all butter pound cake (the only time I use a pre-made cake.)  For those that do not know where to get them they are in the frozen section at the market.  I let it thaw just a little while on the counter before I slice it into 1 inch wide slices that I then cut my 1” squares and circles.  I do not bother to cut the top and sides off.  When I made the slices I laid them flat and used my inch cutters to cut them out around the top, sides and bottom.  It was a lot less work, one of the reasons I did not make my own pound cake.

Once I have all my petit cakes cut, I make sure there are no crumbs left on them and I then put them into the freezer on a jelly roll pan, it is easier to work with them frozen and when you pour the glaze on it seems to set up quicker.

Petit Four Icing/Glaze:

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups of confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the clear if you can find it, if not I used the regular this time it does keep it from being a white glaze…
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Food coloring, (optional)  I used Ateco Spectrum Food Gel Paste

To Prepare Icing:

Combine all icing ingredients in the top of a double boiler.  Heat all the ingredients over boiling water until the glaze is noticeable lukewarm, whisking constantly.  Once it is heated I take the pan off the water and set aside and quickly get the cake out of the freezer and place the cakes directly on my cooling rack with a jelly roll pan underneath to catch the dripping of the excess glaze from the little cakes as I glaze them.

I use a small ladle filled with glaze and I hover over each petit fours and as I start to pour glaze onto the cake and I use a circular motion while hovering over the little cake until it is covered.   Once I have them all glazed once I do it again.  Then I take the glaze that has settled into the jelly roll pan (make sure there are no cake crumbs in the glaze) and if it is still warm (if not I put it over the hot water for a just a bit and it heats up real fast, whisk it while it heats) I do the same thing for the third time.  It gives them a nice luster look.

I let them dry for several hours before adding the flowers and trims, but this time I put them in a box with lid to finish them tomorrow.  Do not refrigerate, it will make the glaze sticky and I have been told grainy too.

I had left over buttercream frosting in the freezer that I thawed out and then beat it good, I divided it into four different bowls and then I tinted it with pink, purple, blue, and yellow and put each color into its own pastry bag.   I have made the petit fours before several times and always used the already made sugar flowers however this time I did not buy any pre-made flowers to force myself into using the pastry bag.  I did simple little flower on each of the petit fours.

They have nice color, but I cannot wait for the decorating classes so I can be confident in what I am doing.  There has to be an easier way for someone too who has medical problems that cause the hands to shake and jerk, hopefully.

These were a lot better than they looked.  It was a wonderful Easter, filled with food that was exceptional delicious with lots of leftovers.  Happy Easter to all….

What Is In a Name

This is the first of several shorts that I have written about a very special fawn.  I will be posting the series of shorts about this fawn over the next few day’s ~ week’s ….

In the spring of 2009 a wonderful little fawn came into our lives. Watching this little one come and go several times a day, we got to know the fawn well.  I have written each spring about this little one that is now reaching the age of two in a few short weeks.    What a family they make, their comings and goings are one of the things that bring much joy into my life.  From the very beginning I knew this little one was unique and oh so special….

© 2009 ….RaeDi

Early one morn this spring while the grass was still wet with dew a doe came into the front lawn.  With her, she brought her little fawn not more than a few days old.   The newborn little one was perfect.  She stood out from all the other fawns we see each year.  This fawn had a personality that did not quit.  She was in such high spirits; she had come into this world ecstatic with life.   She could not stand still.  She shuffled and skipped even as she stood next to her mother.  Her personality was dissimilar to most newly born fawns.   She more resembled a playful goat or fowl.  She danced, pranced and frolicked without pause.   I watched her in awe.

Her rufus color stood out against her white spots.  Watching her amused me exceedingly.  I always stop what I am doing to watch this delicate but lively little one.  Never had I seen such an animated little fawn before.  My spirits are stimulated just watching the animation of all her actions.     One second she would be down on her front knees with her tail wagging as fast as her backside.  Then before you knew it she was up and frolicking about like a little fowl.  She would kick up her heels and charge like a little goat.  Next, she would run as fast as she could, doing figure eights around the apple trees, she went nonstop until she needed breath.  Once revived, she was off again.  Her energy seemed to be endless. It made me wonder about her survival, with all that liveliness would she put herself in danger.  Her mother was very patient with her and just watched.  I thought she was going to be a handful.

Her little nose actually pointed up and her persona reminded you of a little ballerina dancing the full stage, all she needed was a pink tutu.  She could have been Bambi’s sister.  I called her “Gaiety,” from the first time I saw her.   Her joviality has never let me down; each time she visits, she exhibits no less gaiety than on any of her previous visits.   I am very entertained each time I get to see her.  The name fits her; I am always on the lookout for Momma and Gaiety to visit me again.  They usually come through no less than a couple of times a day.  One of their favorite places is among the apple trees.  The apples are a special treat for them and they are kept busy eating the lower branch leaves and the apples that fall from the trees.  They too enjoy the plums.  I more than enjoy the time I get to watch them each visit.

What is in a name, her name fit her to a tee, until yesterday.  When they came yesterday just before dusk at early eve, I noticed that Gaiety had little bumps growing where ‘his’ antlers would be.  Do I now call him Glad to be Gus, Frolicking Fred, Ecstatic Eddie, High Spirited Henry, Rapturous Ralph or maybe Jubilant Jack?   I have settled on Glad to be Gus.  He has grown exceedingly this summer. His stance is defiantly a buck now; he has one very good male specimen for a father by the looks of this young buck.  He is thick-necked and very large for his age.  It is hard to believe that the little one with the personality plus was not a doe, I would never have guessed!…

A Sneak Peek at Spring

  

Male Rufus Hummingbird

Yesterday, I stepped out onto the deck to call for Ninnie and to my surprise I had a guest; the first Rufus Hummingbird of the season has arrived.  The Anna’s that winter over were none too happy about the new caller.   I have to admit the Rufus are my favorite of the hummingbirds that visit us here at Hummingbird Hollow.  They are so bright; the rufus coloring against the white with the red to orange, gold and copper colors that they flash all are so striking and vivid.  (This picture of the Male Rufus Hummingbird is from last season, the one that showed up yesterday was camera shy!)

Male Anna Hummingbird

They too have lots of character.  They are bossy little things.  Maybe that is why when they are around the other hummingbirds are always so stirred up.  But, even the littlest of all the Calliope’s do not let them chase them off.  They all impress me so with the resilience they have and their stamina for being pocketsize they are so full of pure grit.  They all hold their grounds in such a persuasive way and they have such a large ‘vocabulious’ (my word if you could hear what I hear at times!) way.  They are as aggressive with their vocabulary as they are intractable and obstinate with one another.   Nothing they can do will drive away any of the little winged ones from the other, they all stay their ground.  Nothing monotonous about the way we live our lives here at Hummingbird Hollow.  Makes for very interesting bird watching I never tire of observing all their behaviors.

It is time to get out a couple more feeders.  Our nectar use will be going up daily now.  Once one arrives, the rest are not far behind.  I need to make sure my extra battery pack is ready.  It always lefts my state of mind along with it aiding my inner health when I see the sun and peaks of nature coming into color.

I too noticed the mini daffodils that I planted under the Japanese Magnolia are in bloom.  I will have to take some pictures.  Spring has sprung and I have an added skip to my step.  Seeing the sun shine through the gray skies sure helps, but seeing the first hummer arriving the same day as the little mini daffs are in bloom sure does left my spirits.  I sure hope we have a better summer this year.  We only had a few days of summer last, and between the summer of 2009 till now it has been a long haul.

Days such as today are reasons why I hesitate to move permanently to the south.  I love four seasons.  I know I need a dryer four seasons; I am still looking and will continue to find that right place of mind.  It is all a real adventure and when it is right I will know.  I want to know when one season ends and the new one is upon me.  I love snow, and the first blossoms of spring, and when fall puts on a show of colors and a summer that is full of sunshine.  Each and all have so much to offer.  I cannot see myself living where you do not see the display of each season.

The last of my Hellebore ~ Christmas Cactus Bloom

One of these days I need to take a walk through the woods.  We had some really high winds the last couple of days, enough so that I have lost my power off and on, I will need to take a walk along the beach to see what was stirred up and churned out for me to lay claim to.   You never know what you will find beach combing.  It is one of my much loved past times.  There should be lots of sea glass and old pottery bits to add to my collections.

Isn’t spring amazing? ….

 Mini Daffodils in bloom under the Japanese Magnolia, spring is on the way!

Even the Vinca Vine is starting to show face.  The blossom hasn’t yet open all the way, it too, is taking a sneak peek of what spring may bring us in a few short weeks!  I can hope!

A Hallowed Day in My Peat Bog Hollow

 

© 2009 ….RaeDi

I went for a walk this morning. The weather was perfect for it, been a long winter. Winters are very hard on this soul. This will be the last one spent here in the Pacific Northwest. It is God’s country, but the cold damp winters are hard on my health. I hope and pray each spring that I get back my losses. I have noticed the past two winters; I have not gained all that was lost so this was the decision maker. My winters will be spent in a dry Southern region. Not for sure where, but what an adventure it will be to find my special spot. 

I love adventure. I always have, I am one not to sit still for long. Each and all of my memories are very cherished and to this point in my life not forgotten. The good, bad and indifferent, the reason, I feel I have learned from each one of them and each one good, bad or indifferent are what makes me ~ me. I am whom I am because of all that which makes up my past. I hope that the good things represent more of who I am and what defines me, and I believe they outbalance the other two. The last I think are what has made me stronger, I am what most would call a survivor of the many obstacles that have been in my life. Some I created or put there, I am relieved to say that the better parts of those were come upon. Nevertheless, I survived. Who knows what is around the corner, but it may just be something that blesses me more than anything I could possibly dream of?

Yes, I need to get back on track….It is a beautiful day. In the 70’s, sunny and the sky, the most beautiful color of blue, what a contrast to the dreary gray we see here from usually September until June, it sure makes one stop and take in the beauty and give thanks to our Maker. When I started out, I was not for sure in which direction I would go. Our mudroom has two doors. One leads to our woods the other to the beach. I decided to take the one headed for the woods. Not sure in which direction I would take, just start walking, listening and watching for anything that would take my attention. This is a norm for me, even if I did plan what and where I was going usually something draws my attention, and I’m off in that direction. 

I call these times when I am out and about with myself, my spiritual time. I let my soul look, feel, smell, and during the right time of season taste all the Lord has given us. I often wonder if others see their world as I see mine. I count all the notes, I hear our feathers friends singing the songs of praise straight from Heaven. Even the plumage these creatures wear is God’s gift to us; you see every color that He created. I think what a gifted God we have, talented in all fields. Can you imagine being able to create these colors with such perfection? From the little Hummingbirds to the Eagles seen often gliding in circles overhead, size does not matter they are each such a beauty and grace in flight. Their notes filling the air, I call it tranquility. It so soothes my spirit.

 I take a few breaks to listen and look. On one such, break a doe and twin fawns appeared ahead. She knows I am here, she also knows not to fear me. The little fellas white spots are still very bright; they cannot be more than a few days old. It so amazes me when I see these little ones how they balance on those wee little ankles.   I give her time and she moves on. I am in awe as I continue my walk, the colors of spring greens so bright, as bright as the sky is blue. 

I have picked a glorious day for a walk. I packed a small picnic to take with me, at this time I am so   thankful I took the time. I will indeed be out in my woods for a good spell.   The fresh air feels so good, I note that I am taking in deep breaths and realizing the refreshing sensation, I feel throughout my body.   It gives this soul pause to think about all that is, and it transcends me once again to be one with spirit. It surpasses anything I can put to words at this point. I just know that my spirit comes alive, and I see things through my Maker eyes. 

I do not bring my camera on these walks. I put my all into seeing and feeling, smelling all that surrounds me. I wish I could share or put to words how amazing this altered states feels, it exceeds all I can describe, it surpasses anything else that I have experienced in my walk on this my life’s journey the Lord has given me. To feel one with nature, a oneness with our Lord, to walk as a spirit, that is what I feel I experience each time I let myself just go deep into without thought really. Just letting my spirit be, consenting a totality, and making available the enter spirit to be the one to think, see and listen, setting no limits or bounds. 

Then I often times wonder if other souls realize what a gift He has given us, when we allow Him just to be, to put everything else to the side, and just be, let Him lead and show us all that is, all that surrounds us. This journey is so exhilarating.   Nothing can you compare it too. I go where not I lead, I am allowed to see and feel things that, for the most part, I feel are sanctioned by our Lord, in letting go, I received so much more than I could even think to ask for. 

I find myself in the lower bog.   I have been told this peat bog is millions of years old. Finn Creek comes through. This is one of our hollows; the Lord has been so good to me. The sun filters through and makes sun streaks everywhere I look, it is so spiritual. I feel the light of our Lord everywhere, reflecting and throwing beams in all directions. I find myself on my cedar tree. This is a special spot for me, since the first time I set eyes on this hollow. My cedar tree has grown into a bent hammock over the creek. Just wide, enough for me to get a relaxing lay on her.   I lay there and I hover, I feel as though I am floating, drifting off to where the Lord wants to take me to show and teach me things that I know of not. I am positioned here on my cedar hammock with the creek surrounding me, I listen to her babble underneath me and on both sides, and it is so soothing. I see every once in a while a small fish come through.   I hear the special notes above me, I look up and see a pair of Bald Eagles circling and with a juvenile,   it is being taught the lessons of life. The thin chittering notes; seem quite weak for such a magnificent bird. I have no idea how long I watched them. 

It amazes me the repertoire of each birds call or songs: from feeding and alarm calls, announcing their presence, or calling their mates to name just a few. The doves are cooing the sound so peaceful, I guess that is why we have the dove and the olive branch. I am honored and privileged that the Western Tanager makes a call. The male with his brilliant red-head, bright yellow body, with the black of its back, wings and tail that is so striking against the bright colors, their mates the females in the what seems to be muted colors of yellow-green in comparison to the males brilliant, intense colors. His colors are used to draw attention away from the nests, her colors, so she blends in.   Their song is strong and carries far, very similar to the Robin. They are so shy; it is a wonderful offering from our Lord to allow me to watch them for an extended period of time.   A Sapsucker has landed on my cedar hammock on the rise, I know he knows I am here, but he has decided to sit a spell and sun himself. I wait in quiet and just watch and take in all his colors from his red-head to his claws.  

I realize I have been gone for a long time, and I am hungry and so thankful for the food I brought. It is a very simple meal of cheese, bread, grapes and a small thermos of hot tea. It was very tasty and satisfying I decided to leave some of each as a gift to my friends who have visited me this consecrated day the Lord has given me. This is a day the Lord has blessed me with, very hallowed grounds in my peat bog hollow, one, I will not forget. I feel as good now as I have felt in a while, and I know my spirit has been recharged.   I will now head home ~ back to reality, until next time….

 

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