cinnamon, orange + cranberry scones


Not a week goes by that I don’t take a picture of my truck, or the lake outside my office. I hope to one day put this pastiche of seasons together, to observe the changes that occur so quickly around me that it’s almost as if the present is already the past, and the past never was. Like some advertisement for blasé home furnishings or sneakers redressed in space-age textiles, the future is now.

Time slips past at an alarming rate, and yet I wonder why it should still alarm me, given that it is consistently – like clockwork (ahem) – fleeting. How can I slow down? How can I make the remaining weeks of my 26th year matter? Where can I find importance before I turn 30, 40, 60? How do I return to that bored-yet-enchanted feeling I found myself suffering from every summer while on break from school? Is it enough to find small things to appreciate during the day, such as an uncommon plant I am smitten with, or a particularly lovely sunset, or my cat’s needy meow as she rubs against my leg and then flops over onto her side? Nothing ever feels like enough, because time keeps flowing on, and I just want to be able to slow down and savor it.

How many before me have written these same words, and lamented these same regrets. I wonder if they have found a way to trick their minds out of worrying about worthless drivel. Perhaps they have taken a page from my favorite must-watch teen drama The Vampire Diaries and have simply turned off their humanity switch, thus cheating themselves of a life worth living.

This impetuous preamble is actually one way I’m trying to deal with time’s steady malicious pulse. Given my tendency towards wordiness, I’ve decided I would like to commit myself to writing on occasion. Writing while facing a screen works, but it seems a bit removed. Writing with a pen makes me feel anxious, given that I am left-handed and cannot go a single line without smudging my words or inking my palm. But recently, I found myself a typewriter that (once fixed) will become my go-to writing device. It was ensconced in a halo of spiderwebs, keeping the company of two other typewriters and several broken light bulbs, in the attic of my work office. When the humble typewriter was replaced, I can only assume the then-foresters must have reasoned that an apocalyptic day would surely come, at which point they could pull their dusty machines out of storage, and proclaim “A-ha! Didn’t I tell you those newfangled computer thingys were just a fad!?” They would have loved that.

Unfortunately for them, there has been no such apocalypse. And unfortunately for me, I slid down most of the attic steps avec typewriter, nearly causing apocalyptic pain in my spine as it crashed against each step. The universe really wanted to keep those typewriters in the attic, “just in case.”


When I’m feeling introspective, chances are I’m also looking to surround myself with comforting things, such as my darling cat, the awesome pair of corduroy Silvers that I picked up at Marden’s yesterday for 9.99(!!!), or familiar recipes that always set me right.

I also tend to leaf through my piles of possessions.

It’s difficult to walk the fine line between needless hoarding and self-preservation, wouldn’t you agree? It’s my Mum’s and Dad’s birthdays this week, and I’m feeling extra sentimental. I’ll see them soon, but wish I could be there in person this week to wish them well.


My dad looks super sassy in this picture, and I love it. Bonus: cat fur photo backdrop.

This is one of those familiar recipes that I tend towards when looking for comfort food, and it’s actually one of the only things I’ve crafted since my days as a supposedly precocious, yet food-loathing child. I suppose that means I’ve been baking variations of this recipe for at least 15 years. I’ve just been working really hard to perfect it for you guys.


There are several schools of thought when it comes to scones, but this is how I like mine: moist, full of flavor, and nearly poofy. I don’t much care for dense, dry scones, so if that is what you’re looking to make, you’d do best with another recipe. Sorries.


Cinnamon, Orange + Cranberry Scones

{Recipe adapted from some 90s kids cookbook put out by the American Heart Association}
Makes 8


1 3/4 c flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
3 pinches allspice
Heaping 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c (1/2 stick) of butter
Zest of 1 orange or tangerine, plus 2 tsp juice
1/2 c buttermilk (or 1/2 c milk + 1 tsp vinegar)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c. dried cranberries, soaked 10 minutes in hot water, then drained
2 tbsp flour, for dusting
2 tsp sugar


Heat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. In a saucepan, melt butter, and add in orange or tangerine zest and juice. Add butter mixture, as well as buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and cranberries, to flour mixture. Mix until combined. With well-floured hands, gather dough and knead into a rounded shape on a baking stone or sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Re-flour hands if needed. Press out dough until it is roughly 3/4″ in height, keeping the circular shape.

Run a pizza cutter across the dough to create 8 scone triangles. Sprinkle 2 tsp sugar across the top of the scones. Bake at 425F for 15-18 minutes, until evenly light golden on top. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, then use the pizza cutter again (or a knife) to cut the scones apart. Serve warm.



sweet potato bundt cake, or why logging is a good thing

There is this one sweet potato that I have lugged back and forth from my home to weekday cabin, to my home, to my cabin, to my home, to my cabin, and back to my home. Last week, my track record with said sweet potato being somewhat poor, I gave up, and left it at home. It was still kickin’ when I checked it out yesterday morning, and so off it went into to the glorified (yet lengthily-named) bundt cake that you see here.

sweet potato bundt

If I have sweet treats during the week, they are ones that I make over the weekend, to portion out betwixt myself and my boyfriend. I don’t yet have any baking supplies at my enchanted forestland abode, as I’ve affectionately taken to calling it. But what I lack in material goods I more than make up for in fresh air, ability to break showshoes (two separate pairs, down!), and wildlife sightings.

After a 7″ snowfall this week, I followed a fisher‘s tracks down a mile or two of untraveled road, only to find the fisher itself gnawing on something nasty along the edge of the woods. Hearing my vehicle, he glided away in a whimsical sliding shimmy.

Aside from checking off animals on my life list, I do quite a bit of real ‘work,’ I promise you. I also promised to tell you more about what that work is, and judging from recent comments, ideas on what it is that foresters do vary a great deal.

When people hear that I am in forestry, they often think that I do one of three things: 1) I sit in a fire tower and watch for fires, 2) I am a logger and I cut down trees, or 3) I am a park ranger and I lead nature walks, check on campers, etc. Not to get too specific, but a) I have been in several fire towers, and they are all suffering from disabuse as I don’t think anyone has regularly sat in them on fire patrol for decades, b) if I were a logger, I would call myself a Logger, and c) if I were a park ranger, I would call myself a Park Ranger.

woodswoods woodswoods

I was sincerely hoping that some of you would assume these tasks to be part of my daily routine, so that I could help to debunk this myth. Forestry is, I believe, a forgotten and much-maligned profession by the public, which is something that I strive to change as I move forward with my career.

So what is it that I do? I manage areas of forestland. I forest the forest, if you will. I walk these lands, focusing primarily on the trees, and check to see how they are growing, if they are healthy, and think about ways I can increase their productivity. How can we increase the growth of these trees? is something I get to ask myself every day. This is where loggers come into play. While I myself am not a logger, I work with loggers on a regular basis to manage the landscape around me. I prepare prescriptions, just like a doctor would, to treat areas of forestland that are sick, or that are in need of assistance, or that are mature and ready for ‘treatment,’ if you will.

I am incredibly lucky because in my corner of the globe, whenever we cut trees, other trees quickly grow back to take their place. This is not the case in many parts of the world. Those places require extra thought and assistance, and trees often have to be planted. But where I live, planting is not a necessity.

My sole hope is to convince those of you with environmental inclinations that logging is not evil. It has become very hip, very conscientious, to be an ‘environmentalist,’ whatever your definition of that may be. All the companies you make regular payments to have probably pleaded you to go paperless, in order to save the trees. What they really mean is to save them the money of sending you a paper copy.

deeryard deeryard deeryard

These pictures are from the first harvest that I have been looking after over the past six weeks. The harvest is in a managed deer yard, meaning that there are special stipulations in place with the state to make the harvest more conducive to increased deer populations – which are relatively low in our area.

As a forester, I consider myself to be at the forefront of environmentalism. If there were no foresters in the world, it might be a good idea to save those trees. But we are here to make sure that trees don’t just disappear from our landscape when they are cut down. We are here to make sure that there are strong and healthy trees long into the future. And we are here to say, please keep using paper, especially if it is made in your country, in your region, perhaps even in your state. In this digital age, paper demand has weaned significantly. And the forest industry has suffered. I am okay with this – – I think we need to find ways of adapting, we need to find new technologies and new uses for our products.

You use paper every day. You are surrounded by wood and wooden products. Perhaps you already embrace the idea of sustainable timber harvesting. I really hope that you do, to see the benefits that it brings to humanity, to the economy, and to the forest. But if you don’t, if you have qualms of any kind, I would love to hear about them, and I would love to assuage them if possible… with science.

And if I can’t assuage you with science, let me do so… with cake!

sweet potato bundt

Sweet Potato + Orange Pineapple Bundt Cake with Hazelnuts and Pecans

{original recipe, inspiration from here}


5 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for bundt pan
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 jumbo eggs (3 small)
1 sweet potato, diced and cooked well
1 tbsp (homemade) almond extract, or 1 tsp store-bought
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2/3 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. orange pineapple juice
1/4 c. hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 c. pecans, chopped

1/3 c. powdered sugar
A few dashes of orange pineapple juice


Generously butter a 10-cup or 12-cup bundt pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 330 F.

Beat butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), or by hand. Add eggs, sweet potato, and almond extract, and beat until well-mixed. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and beat; then add buttermilk and orange pineapple juice, and mix well.

Pour 1/3rd of the mixture into the prepared bundt pan. Evenly sprinkle nuts into the pan. Pour in the remaining batter. Bake for 55-70 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. De-tin the cake.

Make a glaze out of the powdered sugar and a small amount of orange pineapple juice. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Serve!

sweet potato bundt

when life gives you nothing, have a creamy orange pineapple & peach popsicle

I don’t often go into real detail about my goings-on here. Rather, I may choose to discuss the merits of long-distance hikes, or reminisce for times of travel, or write in epic prose about my feelings on certain chocolates, or diffuse any hidden feelings with cute pictures of my cat.

Hey, here’s a cute picture of my cat that I thought you might like.

The only indication of my true situation is when I leave  giveaway comments on other blogs, something along the lines of “This looks so frackin’ yummy! I should make it, since I probably won’t be busy again until 2019! Haha, suckerssss!!!” or “If only I could get a job, I could stop staring at my Google Reader waiting for your next post to come out! But LOLZ I’d choose you over employment any day! F’real!”

In summary, I can’t seem to get a job. I’ve been turned down so many times and in so many ways in the past many months that I’ve come to expect nothing but this constant sense of failure. And it’s been a nonstop pity party. Believe me. The worst part of the whole shebang is hearing, on repeat, on repeat, on repeat, the only thing other people seem to be able to say to me: “Something will turn up.”

But the pity party stops now. Now that I have purged my soul a wee bit for everyone to see. And starting tomorrow, I’m going to begin the pursuit of a dream… maybe. I have a lot of ideas for directions to take this dream in, with one in particular that is likely just a teensy weensy hell of a long ways out of my reach. But I was always good at Sit-‘n’-Reach during elementary school gym class, and I bet that if I’m willing to take a leap of faith, and reach waaaaaaaaay past my comfort zone, I just might be able to land on my feet. Maybe?

I will see. And you will see too, once I find out a bit more and make some mondo decisions. For now, how about some additional imagery of where my life is at right now, this time of the scenery near my house? I ventured out on a bike ride today, taught myself to do a wheelie (finally!), found some overly-delicious raspberries, and nearly got caught in a fearsome downpour.


And now that those clouds of doom are looming large on your monitor, how about a bright and cheery popsicle to bring things right… as rain?

I’ve been making popsicles consistently over the past few weeks, and have been loving a creamier-style ice pop than you saw with my Rhubarb and White Pine Paletas. I’ve found that a nice and easy combination to use is a can of frozen juice concentrate – in this case, Orange Pineapple – some sugar and water, and a few tubs of flavored yogurt.

This time around, I used Chobani Peach; last time, I used Chobani Passion Fruit, which was equally delicious. Chobani has so many fantastic flavors that I plan to keep making variations on a theme until the weather gets cool – – Blood Orange? Honey? Pomegranate? Black Cherry? Mango? Yes please!

Creamy Orange Pineapple & Peach Popsicles {original recipe}

Makes 15-16 3 oz popsicles


1 can Orange Pineapple juice concentrate
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. sugar
2 6 oz (170 g) Chobani Peach yogurt tubs (or substitute your favorite flavor)


In a saucepan, heat juice concentrate, water, and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add in yogurt, incorporating until mixed. I used an immersion blender to puree the chunks of fruit that came in the yogurt tubs.

Once the mixture is smooth, pour into popsicle molds or 3 oz juice cups. If using juice cups, set on a tray, and cover tightly with plastic wrap (tape down the edges). Cut small marks for popsicle sticks (I used twigs), and insert. Alternatively, sticks can be inserted after one to two hours of freezing, if plastic wrap is not taut enough.

Freeze for at least 6-8 hours, preferably overnight. Enjoy!

PS – this is my 100th post! Finally.