Birds and Fall Leaves

slate-colored junco
slate-colored junco

There was quite a bit of bird commotion in our garden yesterday–cardinals, sparrows, house finches, and some new visitors–slate-colored juncos–were chattering and swooping from tree branch to tree branch. Not sure what they were celebrating, but it was fun to see! The juncos appear every year at this time, and spend most of their time on the ground looking for seeds.

IMG_6390A cardinal poses.

IMG_6387And a sparrow tugs at a bit of vine.

IMG_6351And the other day, I saw this chickadee swinging on the feeder in the wind.

IMG_6352Seemed to be holding on okay!

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IMG_6414Quite a storm blew through today–high winds and hail. The sky is darkening, and another storm is on its way.

This cold, stormy weather sends me into the kitchen to bake and feel cozy. I found a old recipe for Marmalade Tea Bread, and decided to give it a whirl. I had to go to the store to buy a one pound jar of Dundee Orange Marmalade, and felt very extravagant–it cost $5.00! Here it is with my antique flour sifter.

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It made a beautiful loaf! It glistens rather alarmingly in this photo, but in real life is nice looking.

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Marmalade Tea Bread

3 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1-pound jar orange marmalade
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup salad oil
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for a metal pan, or 325 degrees for Pyrex or ceramic. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Remove 1/4 cup marmalade and set aside. Combine remaining marmalade, egg, orange juice and oil. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in walnuts.

Scrape mixture into prepared pan. Bake until golden–about one hour. Allow to cool. Remove from pan. Place the 1/4 cup reserved marmalade back into its jar and microwave for about 30 second, to thin it. Pour over the bread and spread with a knife.

Note: This is not a particularly sweet bread, since the only sugar is from the marmalade. It’s a sturdy loaf that goes well with a cup of coffee or tea.

Coming back from church this morning, I picked up some leaves and had the idea of using them to make Leaf Paper Chains. I used parchment paper to make the chains, and used the leaves as templates. If you’ve ever made chains of paper dolls as a child, you have already done something similar.

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Fold your paper in an accordion fold, and draw around the leaf.

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Since parchment paper is a bit slippery, I found it helped to use some little binder clips to keep the folds together as I cut out the pattern. Be sure that  both sides of the leaf are on a fold–that’s what holds the chain together.

Namaste. Fran

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