Other items of interest

Tree Squares

When you grow up the daughter and the granddaughter of carpenters, you appreciate trees and the lumber they provide.  Fond memories of tagging along to Kleiner’s Lumberyard while Dad handpicked boards to be planed accompanied by harsh noise without benefit of ear protection in those days long before OSHA required safety and the sweet smell of sawdust or sweltering summer days spent planting trees at The 40 – trees that have grown from seedlings as small as my hand to stately pines.

As BeckyB of Winchester’s Square Challenge moves into week three of TreeSquare, I wondered what photos I might have of these natural wonders, these organic composites of cellulose fibers which have graced our planet for more than 375 million years.  It turns out – not too many but enough to cover a year of seasons.

Tree locations ( although some no more):

  • Spring blossoms – St. Paul, April 2021
  • Summer loss – Rochester, July 2013
  • Autumn brilliance – Moldova, October 2018
  • Winter calm – Inseli, November 2012

Baking

Altar Bread

There are those special foods that simply speak to tradition, to holiday, to holyday. 

four round loaves of bread resting on baking parchment

There is absolutely no reason that Mom’s mouth-watering Pecan Crisps could not be baked year round but we only have them at Christmas and only Mom takes on that loved-filled task to bake a double batch to be stored in the yellow cookie jar.  The same is true when making Altar Bread using a recipe from Father Fred Devett, TOR (Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular.)  Years ago, while in library school, baking altar bread was a biweekly task for Sunday Mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center shared between my friend Hedy and me.  While my grad school days are a reminiscent blur of classes, daily flavors of Babcock ice cream, and sunny afternoons on Memorial Union Terrace sitting on the iconic Sunburst chairs, this recipe holds a deep celebration of Spring.

Again, a simple recipe that could certainly be made anytime but now I only bake it for Maudy / Holy Thursday.  Not quite truly unleavened as required for Pesach / Passover, while this recipe does not include yeast thus eliminating the time required for it to rise but it does include baking powder to give a little volume and lighten the texture.  The blend of unbleached and whole wheat flour, baking powder, just a pinch of salt, milk, and honey combine for a sweet, dense communion bite. 

Happy Spring!