Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

I really enjoyed the long weekend. I got in a lot of my favorite things: gardening, Fen and time with friends. Saturday we did a fair bit of work around the yard. On Sunday, we went out to the Fen. It was hazy, but otherwise beautiful. The oak leaves are just expanding and still a fairly yellowish green. I wanted to take a picture of a columbine. Walt posted a picture of a garden columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) on his blog recently and I wanted to post our wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) as a comparison.

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

The six-spotted tiger beetles are having a very good year this year. They are everywhere (no complaints here).

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata)

Each spring, we see Sulphur-winged Arphia grasshoppers on our hill prairies. These belong to the band-winged grasshoppers, a group that is more common out west. Members of this family typically have brightly-colored wings that flash when they fly up. True to it's name, the Sulphur-winged Arphia flashes vivid yellow when it flies. I have never been able to get a good photo. On Sunday, one posed for me.

Sulphur-winged Arphia (Arphia sulphurea)

On Monday, Elgin hosted the annual Fox-Trot Race. Part of the race is along the banks of the Fox Rive. Leon ran again this year, and I had my traditional brunch.

Go Leon!

I made fontina-bacon foccaccia, sour cream coffee cake, and jam cake. The jam cake is a new recipe acquired from Ur-Spo. I used home made Blackberry jam in mine. I have a lot of jam at the moment , this is a great way to use it up.

Ur-Spo's Blackberry Jan Cake

Serving suggestion from Ur-Spo: "Frost with jam, whiped cream, or fluffy frosting. Or have it withoug any topping like my men."

I prefer mine lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

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At 22:23, Blogger Ur-spo said...

It is pleasant to see pictures of Leon amongst all the bug.
your jam cake looks much better than how mine turned out. I hope you were pleased with the cake - It is one of my favorites.

At 02:18, Blogger SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Just love the tiger beetle and the cake DOug. Good for Leon, he has more energy that I do. :)

At 05:43, Blogger cedrorum said...

Sounds like a great weekend. I really like those six-spotted tiger beetles. Was the Was the jam cake as good as spo said it was? We made it to the beach for the first time this year monday. I got my yearly stomach burn from forgetting to reapply sun screen after it was all rubbed off from body boarding. Ouch.

At 08:12, Blogger Celeste said...

Interesting, I never really thought about Leon lightly dusted with powdered sugar! ;)

At 12:39, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Spo- I'm sure that the jam makes a lot of difference to how the cake appears. I was very pleased with the cake. I will make it again, and got asked for the recipe by two people.

Joan- Thanks. How many blogs will let you comment on a tiger beetle and a cake in the same post?

cedrorum- The jam cake was excellent. I was wondering if it might turn out unpleasantly sticky because of the jam, but that was not a problem. I look forward to trying it again with different flavors of jam.

Celeste- It's Gossamer Tapestry's mission to expand horizons.

At 15:30, Anonymous Mark H said...

DOUG! THANKS for the refrence to SPO's CAKE! I have SAVED and printed the recipe and INTEND to make this on return from trip. JUST LIKE YOU, we are always looking for a cool way to use the jam we too have in the pantry. Yum....er, DAMN! NOW I'm hungry for something sweet!

At 00:45, Blogger wcs said...

Thanks for the columbine photo. I can really see the resemblance to the ones in my garden.

Now, I'm going to have to go get spo's recipe for the cake. I intended to when he posted it, but forgot the very next day.

I'm going right now. Really, right now.

At 20:21, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

OK....this must be tiger beetle season. Where can I find 'em? This is my year, lol...

At 07:08, Blogger Homer said...

I'll have a slice of that cake with some whipped cream topping.

At 10:45, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Mark- I'm sure it will come out great with your homemade jam.

walt- I hope it turns out well for you. Given what I've seen of your cooking on your blog, I have no doubt that this will be the case. It's pretty easy.

Dave- The bronzed tiger beetles are really abundant at Montrose Point at the moment. The six -spotted tiger beetles (the green ones) are abundant in woodlands. Find a downed log in reasonably rich woodland, and you are likely to find one or more running along the length of the log.

Homer- I think this cake would be excellent with whipped cream.


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