Heaven awaits…

Plant #12

Everyday is exciting when tomatoes are in my garden. From the moment they enter the soil, until the tragic last day of the season when the final vine is pulled from the ground, life is good. The staking. The tying. Such fun.

I stare at my tomato plants all throughout the day. I worry about them while at work – discussing them incessantly with my co-workers trying to get tips. (Strangely, they seem to share in my obsession…) I lay on the straw mulch beneath them searching for an undiscovered blight or blemish. Sometimes a flashlight is used. On Sundays they are fertilized after  sundown. Suckers removed daily. Weeds obliterated.

The tomatoes are photographed, with each picture dated to chart their progress. The plants are numbered. Number four is presently the weakest and I plan on doing something about that, but can’t figure out what.

I will share their beauty with all who care to look. And everyone should care to look. They are spectacular!

Love me, love my tomatoes.

“Good things come to those who wait.” 

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“Dream Cake” – The Perfect Basic All-Butter Cake

The tenderness and moistness of this cake make it beyond compare – like a cloud. It has been a family favorite for decades and has served as a basic recipe for coconut cakes, lemon-orange cakes, cupcakes, birthday cakes…even wedding cakes!

It is typically baked in a sheet pan,  but  also works perfectly when layered with lots of delicious icing. Be sure, though, to handle super-gently if placing on a stand and frosting, since the very delicate texture has a tendency to crumble.

If you are a fan of a Southern favorite – black walnuts – nothing provides a better, buttery batter for traditional black walnut cake than this recipe. Especially when topped with  fluffy, boiled coconut frosting. Too good!!!

 All-Butter Cake

Prepare a 13 x 9″ oblong baking pan or 2 9″ layer cake pans by greasing and lightly flouring.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together:
2/3 cups butter
1 1/2 cups sugar

Beat in:
3 large eggs

In separate bowl, throughly sift together:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. taking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (1/2 tsp. if using unsalted butter)

Stir above mixture into creamed butter, shortening, & eggs alternately along with:
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla

(If a “white cake” is preferred, use four large egg whites, saving yolks for another recipe! While the taste will not be quite as rich, it is still delicious.)

Beat together until light, fluffy and silky. Pour into pans, spreading evenly and bake approx 35 minutes, or until cake passes the “toothpick test”.  It will be golden on top. Allow to cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before removing due to the fragile consistency.

This recipe is sure to become a family classic to all that give it a try. It’s versatility is unsurpassed!

“Life is far too short to eat
cake from a box.”

"Dream Cake"

What a Difference a Month (and a little Miracle-Gro) Makes!

Up-Close and Blooming!

Tomatoes at 1-Month

The temperature is hovering around 100 degrees today. My tomato plants are holding  steadfast with their heavy layer of straw mulch, generous watering, and thorough daily dustings.  Miracle-Gro is administered weekly. All suckers removed on sight.

At one month, nine of the twelve plants have marble-sized tomatoes – all ample bloom. So far, no signs of disease or dying.

It will be interesting to hear what the report will be one month from now. Will it be delicious tomato sandwiches, or pulling up the vines?

“Ah, sweet mystery of life…”

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