Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today's picture/Hush Little Baby daylily


We planted three Hush Little Baby daylilies last September in anticipation of the babies to come, and they've just blossomed. We will keep one, and give the others to our children. Such a beautiful name for such a beautiful flower.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wellesley Fudge Cake circa 1898

I got this recipe off a Baker's chocolate bar probably 35 years ago. I haven't made it for ages, but did so for Margaret's 32nd birthday (yesterday) cake. It is really rich and delicious!

Wellesley Fudge Cake  circa 1898

4 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet) 4 squares = 4 ounces
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Heat chocolate with hot water over very low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth.
Add 1/2 cup sugar. Cook and stir another 2 minutes.
Cool to lukewarm and add vanilla.

Sift flour, soda, and salt.

Cream butter (I used KitchenAid mixer)
Gradually beat in the sugar until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately.
Blend in chocolate mixture.

Pour into 2 greased 9-inch layer pans. I used 9x13 inch pan.
Bake in preheated 350º oven for 30-35 minutes, or until cake tests done.
Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan (only if you are using the 9-inch pans - otherwise just leave in the 9x13)

When cool, frost with:
Classic Fudge Frosting

Melt 4 squares chocolate (again, I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet because it is what I had in the house) with 2 Tablespoons butter over very low heat.
Combine 4 cups unsifted confectioners sugar, a dash of salt, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Add cooled chocolate mixture. Blend well.
Spread over cake.




Hazel Nina had a lick of frosting - her first family birthday party since she was born


And she wouldn't have minded a little more as she stares at someone's plate

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Daylily Time

Everywhere I look there are daylilies. We planted them with no rhyme or reason so all the colors are jumbled together in a most wonderful way. Absolutely the most beautiful time of year in the flower gardens.













Thursday, July 17, 2014

The loss of Elaine Stritch

I’ve had the beginnings of a blog post in my drafts for over a year. It is about the 1970s English comedy series, Two’s Company. I’ll get around to writing about it sometime, but now it will be after one of the stars, Elaine Stritch is dead. She died today at 89 years old. She is renowned for her roles in the theatre, and perhaps for an American television series 30 Rock. But for me Elaine Stritch will now and always live in my heart as Dorothy McNab, American writer of spy stories and employer of an English butler, Robert, played by the equally wonderful Donald Sinden. 


I first saw a couple episodes on dvd years ago, and loved it so much I bought the full set. I have yet to finish the series because I parcel the episodes out, as you might good chocolates, so that they last longer. 

If you’d like to sample the show, there is a video hereThat same site had this to say about the series.
Dorothy McNab, a prickly American authoress needs domestic help for her new Chelsea townhouse. When Robert, an irrepressibly posh British butler applies, he takes an instant dislike to her.
A true Gentleman's Gentleman, Robert is stubborn and constantly frustrated by his employer's lack of decorum and sophistication. But in Dorothy he has met both his match and his adversary; equally stubborn and with a coarseness to match his impeccable manners, her indifference to all that is important to Robert is a constant source of friction between them.
Our Review: This culture clash comedy, owing to its inherent themes, may have dated a little since its mid-/late-1970s production but its humour has not suffered accordingly. Riotously funny throughout, the contrast between loud, new-money American authoress Dorothy McNab and her terribly posh, stiff-upper-lip butler Robert Hiller could not be greater.
Whilst the premise does sound somewhat predictable, there is plenty of mileage in the execution. The consistent quality of the four series (both in the scripts and the excellent performances) keep the show fresh, and a great-fun, joy-to-watch programme all these decades on.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Year of Afternoon Gardens - July


Mallow is the star of the patio garden this day! The first orange day lily opened just in time for the photo. There are lots of day lily buds all over, and I hope some will be open for August's afternoon garden. It is very hot (for us) today - high eighties, but there is a strong breeze which helps. Some people close all the windows to keep the cool air in on hot summer days, but not me. Every window in the house is open, and I have fans going in every room.

As I look at my blog archive I see I wrote only three times last month. I expect you know the reasons. Here is a picture of Estée and Campbell Walker today. He'll be two months old on Sunday.


And Margaret and Hazel Nina yesterday at the beach. She'll be seven months old on Saturday.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Today's poem by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

I found this article here, and all the words in my post come from there. I've known the poem a long time, and I love it. 


Song for a Fifth Child was only one part of the life journey of Ruth Hulburt Hamilton.


Ruth was the mother of four children aged 11,9,7 and 5 when her fifth child, Jane, was born. “The children were all older when Jane was born and they would rush home to see her and hold her. Since there were five years between my next youngest and Jane, I had a bit more quiet time with her.” Ruth recalls.

Ruth’s daughter, Jeremy, remembers well how her mother rocked her and sang with them as children. Some of their favorite songs were “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” and “Dark Brown is the River.”

Ruth was born in Kirksville, Missouri in 1921 and she lived most of her life in Oak Park, Illinois. She married when she was 23 and became a mother for the first time at 25. Her poem, Song for a Fifth Child, was published in Ladies Home Journal in 1958 and has found a treasured place in the hearts of mothers for generations.


It honors the everyday efforts of motherhood. It honors the sacred in the mundane and the tensions that pull at us all as mothers. Bills, errands and housework will always be there and yet we must rock while we can.

Ruth’s poem has often been misquoted. It is published here in its entirety with permission from the author. Enjoy.


Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton (1921- )

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.


Thank you Ruth Hulburt Hamilton for affirming our priorities as mothers and reminding all of us to put our babies first and let the rest go.