I walk every day with our pups, Poppy and Lily.
(This is Poppy awaiting her morning walk, always with paws crossed, right over left.)
They adore their morning romp and could not abide giving me a day off.
Most days I don’t regret it.
We’ve seen some wonderful animals together.
A couple weeks ago, the dogs alerted me to a newborn fawn, curled into a little ball beneath a bush, whose Momma must have hidden her there, while she went foraging.
Later, we witnessed a momma duck lead her brood of little ducklings across a road to swim in the pond.
Then, several days ago, we had some endearing minutes with two frisky fawns who were so curious, had I been alone, I think they would have eaten out of my hand. Momma, who had a cumbersome radio collar around her neck, must have finally given them the signal to run for it, when suddenly, their baby-sized white tails went up as they joined her in a lope into the underbrush.
These are joyful occasions we’ve witnessed in the wilds of Connecticut.
Yesterday, I decided to bake a peach cake using incredible fruit from our local Saturday morning farmer’s market. The peaches were so juicy, I was afraid the cake might be a soggy mess. I put the batter into a muffin pan instead, thinking I could bake it more evenly within the small portions of a muffin cup.
The recipe said it was best enjoyed warm out of the oven.
Well, that sounded like an invitation to me…
The muffins were delicious…. so delicious I ate one, then the top off another.
Oh Lordy! Sometimes my mind tells me if one portion is good, than two will be twice as good…..
I leashed up the pups, and we took to the streets to walk off my sweet indiscretions.
It was dusk, and the heat of the day was on the wane, with me and the pups having a nice calorie-burning constitutional.
Ten feet ahead, up pops a masked bandit from the water drain along the road.
He was oblivious to us, probably mapping out his nocturnal raid of garbage cans and compost piles.
Once the dogs awoke from their state of shock, they were like two crazed, foaming at the mouth beasts….. and my right hand was in a noose-like vice within the leashes.
During this tussle, the raccoon quickly disappeared into the street grate, leaving the dogs and I in a fierce tug-of-war.
My hand, fingers still attached, swelled up like a soft pillow as I stumbled home muttering un-niceties at the dogs for acting like wild beasts.
In the morning, my friend Mary whipped up a miraculous tonic. She poured boiling water into a bowl with epsom salts, allowed it to cool just a bit, then made me plunge my hand into the very hot elixir for five minutes.
After the initial shock of the water temperature, it felt wonderful.
I could feel the salts drawing out the toxins.
A full body plunge is on the docket to solve other problems….
For those of you hoping I will divulge the source for the peach cake/muffins, have no fear –
Simple Summer Peach Cake
3 ripe peaches
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
Cut the peaches into bite sized pieces. Toss the peaches with nutmeg and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and remaining sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the egg, buttermilk and extracts, and stir to combine.
Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix until smooth (some lumps may remain). Pour into the prepared pan.
Press the peaches into the top of the cake. They can be nicely arranged, but I like to cram as many peaches as possible into the cake. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.