~ Susan's coconut cake ~
Are you familiar with Susan Branch? No? Oh, then you need to hurry along and visit with her for a while. A good long while. She makes the most delightful art into lots of useful, beautiful things and her calendars have adorned my walls for many years; she adds a lot of happy to my day!
~ June calendar page ~
Her calendars are filled with tidbits of beautifully decorated pages, full of useful information. I keep them...always, both for the information I write on them but, especially, for their charming loveliness. The coconut cake photo, above, is from Susan's May 16th entry and was made for a friend. The part I like best...she found the cake pans and the vintage mixer in an antique shop! I don't lust after the mixer, I have a similar one but in black and silver, however I am seriously envious of the cake pans. I adore cake pans that are stacked and have never had any.
~ Susan's stacked cake pans ~
Each pan is a trifle smaller, or larger depending upon how you look at it -smile-, and makes a stacked, tiered cake. I love this! For years, I've been known as the "Pie Lady" because I make pies for community events, suppers, church suppers, for visiting folks, etc. Now, I'd like to shake it up a bit and become known as the "Cake Lady". Come to think of it, for years I've also been known as the "Sheep Lady". People in town don't really know my name but they know one of my titles; how funny!
So, does anyone know where similar cake pans may be purchased? Please... I love making cakes but am not crazy about the cakes that are the same size. I know, I know...just plain silly but there you have it.
Susan and I both hold Gladys Taber in high esteem and we both have a tidy little collection of Mrs. Taber's books. Mrs. Taber was born a day after me, fifty-four years earlier, in Colorado and Mrs. Taber and Susan share the same birth day. Mrs. Taber was graduated at both Wellesley, 1920, and Lawrence College, 1921 and later taught English and Writing at, among other places, Randolph Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, VA, just down the road from Thistle Cove Farm! I'm a big fan of library book sales or thrift store book sections and it was one or the other where I first found Stillmeadow just outside Southbury, CN. Do be aware when you visit the Stillmeadow link, it's woefully outdated. I do wonder if they managed to save it from developers? As Joni Mitchell once sang, "they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot...oh, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..." So true and so sad.
Mrs. Taber and a friend, along with all their children, moved from their tiny, for the most part, walk-up NYC apartments, leaving their husbands to work in the city and visit on the weekends. After a while of searching, they found Stillmeadow. Granted, it was in need of a bit of work but the price was lower than market value because the former owner had shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.
Mrs. Taber wrote in one of her books, "The furnace was broken but we didn't know it. It had kind of rusted away, we were told afterward. We also did not know how hard it is to manage a Yule log with a dull axe. In fact there were many things we did not know. Even if we had, I think we would have gone ahead just as recklessly.... our basic equipment... consisted of a staggering fortitude and no common sense. But we didn't know it then."
Gladys and Jill, the name in the book she gave her BFF Eleanor, began renovating the house. What they learned, post haste, was "the fatal truth about every sink, toilet, and tub in the house. "Well, one could not expect a man to drain the pipes before shooting his wife," said Jill. "He didn't think of it." "Don't you just love that Yankee pragmatism?", I ask gleefully!
I cannot begin to think how many times I've turned to Mrs. Taber's books for companionship, friendship, comfort, encouragement and to read extremely well written literature. Well, one would expect no less from an English and Writing major, eh? The location of Stillmeadow Farm was in Still Cove, I believe; I wonder if that was in the back of my mind when we found our farm in the Cove in Tazewell, VA? That's certainly one reason we chose Thistle Cove Farm; we had a boatload of thistles, it was in the Cove and it's a farm. I'm so silly and simple! -smile-
~ my Taber books ~
My little collection of books include: The Stillmeadow Road, Stillmeadow Sampler, Stillmeadow Seasons, Stillmeadow Album, Still Cove Journal, Spring Harvest and Another Path. I also have one of her cookbooks which is a joyful addition.
There is a Friends of Gladys Taber Club but, for some quirky reason, the link won't open for me. Frustrating because I'd dearly love to join that small but faithful group.
At your earliest convenience, please visit Susan Branch and plan on spending some time delightful visiting her site, copying her delicious recipes and just plain enjoying yourself. If you're so inclined, sign up for her newsletter, Willard, here. The following quote is from one of her pages:
"Women sit or move to and fro, some old, some young.
The young are beautiful ~ but the old are more beautiful than the young."
~ Walt Whitman ~
My gifts to you today are lots of happy, Susan Branch -who graciously said yes when asked if I could use her photos, thank you, Susan!-, Gladys Taber, coconut cake, cake pans and beauty. I need a lot of that in my life; it's been difficult, extremely difficult lately, and each day has been an enormous struggle. Aren't we blessed there are people like Susan Branch and Gladys Taber in this ole frosty world? They spread happy in abundance and bless our lives with their gifts. Thank you!
"But in this season, it is well to reassert that the hope
of mankind rests in faith.
~ As a man thinketh, so he is ~
Nothing much happens unless you believe in it.
and believing there is hope for the world
is a way to move toward it."
~ Gladys Taber ~
Blessings ~ happy ~ joy ~ Susan Branch ~ Gladys Taber ~ coconut cake ~ good books ~ a heart that heals ~ a heart that hopes ~