Monday, October 18, 2010

Apple Cake and a Photoshoot

Vegan apple cake

On Saturday Rob and I drove to Thomasville, Georgia, to order stone so we can make paths around our pond. I always enjoy the drive to Thomasville, but it's especially beautiful at this time of year, when the country roads are fringed with goldenrod and the cotton fields are snowy white. We got Cokes and Chick-o-Sticks to make the ride more fun, and then it was an hour and a half of pecan orchards and old farmhouses and collard patches . . . and, of course, a bunch of ugly, sad modern stuff in between.

Thomasville is a very swanky small town, with a hopping downtown full of antiques stores and gift shops and cool restaurants. After we picked out our pallets of stone, we stopped at A Different Drummer, one of our favorite stores, and since we're supposed to be saving money we spent hundreds of dollars on extremely necessary antique bird decoys (a dove and a crow). The owner of the shop is so awesome and enthusiastic. He knows everything there is to know about sporting collectibles and had a story about every single decoy in the place: "Now this one was carved by Papa Elzey, a one-legged carver out of Crockett, Texas. . . . Y'all need to come to my house now and see my collection of flicker decoys. I'll show you the holy grail of flickers. . . !"

When we got home Rob built stands for the decoys and I planted six Korean mums around the steps in front of the breezeway. I usually try to limit my ornamental plant choices to natives (they feed more insects, which in turn feed more birds), but I have a soft spot for these silly exotic mums. They don't spread or try to take over, and I remember them (nostalgically) from childhood--so cheery and daisy-like. They grew in shaggy, neglected gardens in the old, charming sections of town.

It's dry as a bone here, so I spent a lot of the day hand-watering my little trees in the backyard. Meanwhile, Rob sat by the pond and watched the goldfish, which is one of his favorite pastimes. He puts his hand in the water and all the goldfish, big and small, swim right up to it. "It makes me feel like we're friends," he often says a little sadly. "But I guess we're really not. I'd love to scoop up a fish and play with it, but I won't because the fish would probably just totally freak out. . . ." You can tell he has to work really hard to restrain himself.

I watered, and Rob sat by the pond. We found out a deer had eaten a bunch of the leaves off our sweet potato vines, but this was really more "neat" than bad--because we were planning to harvest the whole patch the next day anyhow.

We got to see a lot of Bernie, the old stray tom that roams our neighborhood and sometimes stops to rest on our steps in the company of his many ex-wives. I love Bernie, even though he doesn't love me. He's a tuxedo cat with a tiny body and an enormous cartoon head. He has little white markings just underneath his mouth, so he looks like he has the cutest little vampire teeth.

We made vegan apple cake that night, which turned out great even though the apples were a tad dicey. Rob was providing me with play-by-play commentary all the while he worked: "Ooh, these apples seem a little soft. . . . No, no, they're perfectly fine! . . . Well, here's a really big bad spot. . . . Well, maybe it's not that big. No, no, it's not. I can just cut that right out. . . . It's fine. These apples are perfectly fine. Nothing wrong with them. Not a problem. . . !" (This is how Rob is--all the time.)

The apple cake recipe is from The Joy of Vegan Baking (a book I highly recommend). The cake is really moist, and it has the best topping, full of brown sugar and walnuts (packed with omega-3's!). It was really fun baking the cake at 10:00 at night with the cats interfering. I was wearing my pink zebra-striped pajamas and fake fur slippers.

On Sunday Kris came over and we took pictures of each other in the yard, which is all golden now with the drought and fall. We were laughing the whole time and making fun of our cheesy poses. "So how nerdy am I looking?" I'd ask. "Just out of curiosity." Kris kept checking her LCD screen and hooting. "Oh, God, I hate this one!" she cried at one point. "I look like I'm one of the Real Housewives of Gadsden County!"

More Korean mums . . . and my watering can

I need to buy another pumpkin before Mom's pumpkin-carving party on Friday!

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