Last weekend I noticed snow had collected in the dried remains of the fruit on this Tulipwood Tree. I was struck by how much they looked like tiny snow cones and attempted to capture their adorableness with my old-but-new-to-me 75-300mm zoom lens.
Liriodendron tulipifera aka Tulip Tree, Tulipwood Tree or Yellow Poplar produces a cone shaped fruit comprised of many samaras – dry, single cell fruit which are dispersed by the wind.
My beloved, albeit painfully needy rescue pup woke me up at 3 o’clock Sunday morning to investigate a mysterious sound, again. I’m an all-or-nothing sleeper so once I’m up–that’s it for me. I try to be sympathetic in these moments. How do I teach her which sounds are inconsequential – the clicking of the ice maker in the kitchen – and which sounds might be raccoons rummaging through the kitchen, or aliens beaming up the whole damn house?
I got dressed, washed my face, and brewed myself a hot mug of spiced apple cider. I wrapped up in a blanket and plopped down on the couch in the dark. My mind wandered to the quart of buttermilk idling in the fridge. “Why yes, Stevie,” I said to the dog now contentedly snoring beside me, “buttermilk pancakes do sound good.”
I googled “buttermilk pancakes” and the first recipe to pop up was Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes. I had all the ingredients on hand so I went with it. NYT Cooking recipes tend to be consistently O.K. with a couple of modifications – in this case I added a tablespoon of vanilla and a 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, incorporated the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls before combining everything together in one large bowl, I let the batter rest at room temperature for nearly an hour, and I opted for avocado oil in a cast iron skillet for perfectly golden pancakes.
While watching the sunrise over frozen hills from my kitchen window, I ate a single perfect pancake, complete with a cartoon quality pat of melting butter and a hefty glug of real maple syrup. I cleaned up while the leftover pancakes cooled, used a cookie cutter to cut them into several small circles, and dusted them with powdered sugar before tossing them into a travel container. I then brewed two thermoses of coffee and patiently waited for K to wake up.
We try to get out for a hike or at least a long walk every weekend.
Sunday was crisp and gray, and I layered up in fluorescent knits against the chill.
I’m a creature of the PNW and the smell of wet, rotting leaves soothes me. If I look at this picture, then close my eyes, I can smell them now.
Once we reached the peak of our outing, we stopped to sit and enjoy some tiny buttermilk pancakes and hot coffee.
I added hot cocoa powder to the coffees; a poor man’s mocha. We quietly ate more pancakes and I audaciously wiped my sticky fingers on the cuff of my pants. Stevie sat inches from my face attempting to showcase her self-mastery and obedience in exchange for a tiny pancake of her very own.
Of course I obliged, I’m not a monster.
I’m an equal opportunity hiking guide – everyone gets a pancake at the summit, no questions asked.
I felt so grounded here by this gushing stream, I took a selfie to commemorate the moment.
Escaping to nature is the best antidote against the “too muchness” of contemporary life.