Saturday, August 12, 2017

Do you know this flowering shrub? It grows wild in one spot near the pond, or at least it is wild now, although someone may have planted it long ago. It has the most heavenly fragrance. I believe it is called 'summersweet', but I am not certain.

 Someone left this lovely painted stone on one of the trail markers. We were so happy to see it.

 My front door.  Welcome! ♥

New England spider cake (recipe below).

This morning, a baby cardinal came to our garden and inspected the feeder.

It was a mostly quiet week which was just lovely. We've had a lot of out-of-town company this summer, with more on the way, so it was nice to have time to potter around the garden and walk in the woods and read and just be.

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Gloucester, I found the slim paperback book pictured above. It is a historical novella called Moss on Stone about Susannah Norwood Torrey who lived on Cape Ann in Rockport during the 19th century. The novella incorporates excerpts from a diary Susannah kept early in her marriage and reads like a memoir. I feel I owe a debt to the author Sandra Williams for introducing me to Susannah. In 'Susa' I have found someone very kindred to myself. The book is a lovely, lovely volume with beautiful illustrations by the author's artist husband, and though it is not an exciting book or a particularly compelling tale, it captures the spirit of a person and place that have captivated me. You can read more about Moss on Stone here.

In the book, Susannah and her husband make a New England spider cake for supper one evening. I had never heard of spider cake. I found a recipe for it here and made it for breakfast yesterday. It is made with cornmeal but does not have the same texture as cornbread. It reminds me of Clafoutis. It was quite good with maple syrup, but I think it would be excellent with fruit preserves, as well.

 New England Spider Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine 4 teaspoons of white vinegar in two cups of milk and set aside to sour (it helps to warm the milk slightly first).
In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of yellow cornmeal, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Whisk two eggs into the soured milk. Mix into dry ingredients and set batter aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 12 inch cast-iron skillet (I used a regular oven proof skillet). Pour in the batter. Pour 1 cup of heavy cream into the center of the batter. Slide skillet into oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is set and golden. Slice into wedges and serve warm with maple syrup or fruit preserves. 


  1. Such loveliness here, it is a real balm to the heart. The spider cake looks interesting! And the book is alluring, I shall look it up. Hugs, my dear.

  2. That cake looks interesting! Your pictures really are such a delight. You capture is all so wonderfully--those birds, the goldenrod, the changing leaf, that dear little chipmunk. The seasons are changing, aren't they? It is wonderful when you find a kindred spirit in a book.

  3. Your water photos always appeal to me the most, for some reason. :) The cake sounds tasty - a nice treat, but smaller than a whole cake.

  4. loved the flowers you see when you are out and about. The painted stone is so appropriate for this weekend. (spider cake link doesn't work for me). The cake sounds interesting and I'll be googling it later. I wish I had chipmunks to photo, Frodo would hunt them if they came close to us though....

    1. The link is to a recipe on the NY Times site, but I've copied it out in the post if you want to try the "cake"--but, to me, this is less of a dessert and more of a breakfast food.

  5. gorgeous photos! thank you for the book recommendation - it's now on my wishlist - it looks and sounds lovely - a kindred soul, indeed x

  6. oh, what beautiful photos! your kitty reminds me of our dear Snowbell who left us too soon, earlier this summer.

    reading Plant Dreaming Deep this week and i feel a similar sense of kindred spiritedness with May least her thoughts on solitude and creativity and the way a home can be as a living entity. :) xoxo

    1. Hello, dear Mel! I'm so sorry about your Snowbell (what a pretty name!). The loss of a beloved pet is never easy. We've had many cats over the years (six, I think). Our current darling is one of the best we've ever had. His name is Indiana Jones (Indie for short). Thank you for mentioning May Sarton's _Plant Dreaming Deep_. It sounds like a good read--I've requested it from the library and hope it comes soon. ♥

  7. Thank you all for taking the time to comment and for leaving such kind, encouraging messages. It means a great deal to me. ♥