, , , ,

As does most of the rest of our country, as does most of the rest of the world, we find ourselves confined for the most part to our homes and our yards. If we follow the guidelines we have been given, we can go out for groceries, medicine, gas, and a walk in a local park or our own neighborhood.

It is during this period of “Stay Home, Save Lives” that I am so grateful for the opportunity to go out into the natural world. It is during this moment that I am so grateful to be able to connect with family members on various social media platforms. Nature and family…my two favorite things. And that got me to thinking…

We went to our hometown conservation area the other day to look for spring. Spring is truly breaking out, so we walked and walked. I was on my way through the woods looking for wildflowers, when I turned around to see if Jim was behind me. He was, but I could not see him for a minute or so. And then, suddenly, I knew he was coming…it was his red St Louis Cardinals hat that gave him away (Oh, how I miss baseball!). And that gave me an idea for interacting with my youngest grandchildren. I sent them two pictures, and asked them to find Grandpa. It is so fun to find a way to be close to them, and give them the opportunity to respond in some sort of shared activity.

DSCN2535 (2)

Where’s Opa? Look for the red hat!

DSCN2541 (2)

Where’s Grandpa?

Since we are told we can safely go to parks and nature areas, Jim and I do so at least once or twice a week. Other days we walk in our neighborhood, or just visit our own yard. It is so nice to see spring unfolding, and new life returning. I hope you enjoy these pictures of what we have found…not too far from home.

I love encountering wildlife! These Canada Geese are a resident pair at Bray Conservaton Area. They return each and every year to build a nest and raise their goslings to the age when they are ready to strike out on their own. The little orange skipper was a special treat!

Walking in the neighborhood and in the conservation area, we find many wildflowers beginning to appear among the dry leaves of autumn and winter.

But what I love the most on these early spring walkabouts are the lichen and the mosses.

Coming home from one of our walks to a lawn full of violets just makes for a big smile and a better day…

DSCN2567 (2)

…and then I always feel like cooking, or baking, making some kind of treat to end a great day, no matter what the news is reporting.

Using What I Have

I go shopping once a week during the seniors hour early in the morning. Tomorrow is shopping day, so we are low on a few things…like milk. My daughter-in-law mentioned that she had made a cake with out milk or eggs called Vanilla Depression Cake. That seemed like something I could pull off, and as I looked for the ingredients I would need I found some cocoa way in the back of the cupboard. Chocolate Depression Cake, why yes, thank you very much!

During the Depression years, homemakers tried to make tasty treats for their families even when the cupboard was almost empty. Depression Cake was first developed during this very hard time for our nation. It had to put smiles on otherwise worried and distracted faces, because it is really delicious. I like to think of Depression Cake as proof that you really do not need a lot to show your love, you only need the desire to show that love to those around you…and a bit of creativity.

DSCN2587 (2)

Chocolate Depression Cake

A great way to make a great treat with no eggs and no flour.

Credit: Adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More


  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • confectioners sugar for dusting the baked cake


  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
  2. In another bowl, combine vanilla, vinegar, oil and water.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until completely combined and no lumps remain.
  4. Bake in a greased 8×8 pan at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Allow cake to cool completely and dust with confectioner’s sugar.


Remember, we are all in this together…God bless and keep each of us!