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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Rituals...



This month, the sun will pass across the Earth’s equator on March 20 at 6:45 EDT and in the Northern Hemisphere, the moment will be known as the Vernal Equinox. Literally translated, equinox means equal night but most people mark it as the beginning of spring and a time when the days will start becoming longer. More sunshine; hallelujah!

I start planning what to buy for my flower and herb gardens long before the first daffodils are peeking through the snow. Invariably, I will have whole clusters of the little yellow beauties pop up, only to be covered by a couple of inches of snow but I don't mind. They are the first glimpse of what is in store for the coming months and I couldn't be happier.

This year, lavender and rosemary are at the top of my list along with some basil for the pesto we enjoy all summer and there’s nothing like fresh mint. If you’ve never grown mint before, be forewarned, you need to contain it or it will take over your garden.

As much as I enjoy my gardens, it’s also time to go through the closets and cull clothes, books and whatever else I thought I couldn’t live without last year but haven’t used since I made that decision. Most of the time, my house-cleaning efforts are laughable. I have been known to name the dust bunnies but for some reason spring brings forth a bout of cleaning that has my husband scratching his head and planning a fishing trip.

I enjoy my little rituals; my familiar touchstones that give me a sense of accomplishment and a new beginning. The old ones celebrated the Vernal Equinox with rituals that some call magic and some just describe as the old ways. Before they welcomed the new they banished the old with a ritual that said good-bye to winter and welcomed the spring with wine and honey cake and a blessing for the work to be done and the strength to do it.

Maybe I’ll start a new ritual and end my cleaning and planting with a little reading vacation. A good book, a glass of wine and a little honey cake sounds like a fabulous reward for all of the work I have planned.
What about you? Do you have any seasonal rituals that usher in the coming season? I’ll leave you today with a delicious recipe for little honey cakes that are made in muffin tins. Just in case you feel like celebrating.

Honey Cakes

½ cup honey (fresh local honey is best)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar packed
½ cup butter (real butter is best)
1 egg
2 cups flour (I prefer the unbleached)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Approximately 2 Tablespoons milk

Sift flour, cinnamon, and soda together in small bowl. In large bowl cream butter and sugar. Separate egg. Add yolk to butter and sugar mix and set white aside for later. Add honey gradually to butter mix. Stirring until blended. Fold in flour mix slowly. Add milk as needed so that the batter is stirable but thick. Whisk the remaining egg white to a stiff froth and fold gently into the batter. Fill muffin tins ½ full. Sprinkle a little sugar on the tops. Natural brown sugar works wonderful. Bake at 425 for 15 -20 minutes.

***I used a dark muffin tin in an electric oven and the result was not wonderful. If you use dark pans I recommend knocking the temperature down to at least 400 and check them after 10 minutes.

Have a glorious spring, whatever you have planned!

Happy Reading…
Paris Brandon

15 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

Ah those spring rituals. You've reminded me of my own. The honey cake recipe sounds yummy. :)

Paris said...

Hi Rose,
I do love this recipe and so does hubby. The honey makes them extra scrumptious:)

Melissa Keir said...

What a great plan. I leave the spring cleaning up to hubby. He's OCD and likes things to be a certain way. We always have a bag in the closet for things to get rid of. One rule in our house is that if you bring a new thing in, you have to get rid of something else. It does keep things down to a manageable level. I'm so ready to see the daffodils and tulips. :)

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks for the recipe, Paris. Lovely picture of daffodils. I clean out my closet and drawers every spring too. It gives me a good feeling when my stuff is neat and organized. My husband, though, is a pack rat.

Polly McCrillis said...

Yum, the honeycake sounds delicious! The first thing I do when spring decides to take up residence is open windows. Every window in the house. Let out the closeted winter scents, let in the scent of grass growing and hay fields sown and mowed and the bird calls. Chirps and trill chorus. But the absolute best thing about spring is the return of the hummingbirds. There is nothing I look forward to more in April than those entertaining little creatures. Wonderful post, Paris!

Judy Baker said...

I didn't think I had spring rituals until you had me thinking. I too, start thinking about my garden and on the sunny cold day, do a walk through, trying to decide on flowers. I love my lavender bushes and hope they made it through the winter. Looking for to those sunny spring days.

Tina Donahue said...

Wonderful recipe, Paris - you're making me hungry. :)

Spring is my fave time of year. It's been cold for Palm Springs - upper 40s. Brrrrr. Can't wait till it's nice again.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Paris! We experienced a six inch wintry mix last night. So no gardening yet for me. I did buy a pot of lavender at the store, but it doesn't really have that great scent. However, my orchid is blooming--again. I think it is my Southern exposure window. I love the recipe!

Paris said...

Melissa,

I'm ready for the flowers, too!

Paris said...

Cara,

You're welcome! We're just the opposite at my house. I save everything and my husband is very organized:)

Paris said...

Polly,

Oh yes, as soon as it's warm enough I plan on opening every window in the place! I'm so ready to to air the place out. We have a couple of hummingbirds that have come right up to my face. I love the little darlings!

Paris said...

Judy,
I need to put more lavender in my garden. I never have enough and the birds love it:)

Paris said...

Tina,
I could have been happy if the winter had remained in the forties but in the mid-west that's considered warm! Hope you get some warm breezes, soon!

Paris said...

Tina,
I could have been happy if the winter had remained in the forties but in the mid-west that's considered warm! Hope you get some warm breezes, soon!

Paris said...

Vicki,
So glad you liked the recipe. I can't wait to make them again. I usually wait until I have guests because I end up eating too many if I don't!

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