Archive for December, 2014

Here’s How Naturalist’s Table Did in 2014

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Special Gift for Friends and Neighbors

Norwegian Christmas Bread, ready to be gift wrapped.

Norwegian Christmas Bread, ready to be gift wrapped.

It’s always nice to have something homemade to give to neighbors and friends at Christmas and for us that special gift is Norwegian Christmas Bread.  The recipe came to us by means of a friendship in Maine.  We used to stop and have tea with a seventy-ish Norwegian widower on our walk around Ocean Point and once at Christmas he was reminiscing about a special bread his wife used to make.   When I asked to see the recipe, he took out a typewritten page covered in notes he had written in his several failed attempts to make the bread.  He gave me a copy, and the next time we saw him I gave him a loaf.  It’s a dense yeast bread, sweet with candied fruit and currents and fragrant with cardamom. The top is glazed with egg white, giving it a shiny, festive look. The look of joy on his face when he tasted it still raises my spirits every time I think of it.  I was able to relive that joy with a gift of a loaf each year thereafter until he died at age 100.


Ready for their second rise.

Ready for their second rise.

We make about 40 loaves each year, 10 at a time.  In order to make that much at once we use our antique bread pail (the old Universal #8) and my husband has to turn the crank to knead it, as it’s too hard on my shoulders.  The fun is delivering it around the neighborhood.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you, my virtual friends.

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Connecticut Audubon’s Birdcraft Museum is 100!

Here I am in front of the cake (it's fake, cleverly frosted with plumbers's compound)

Here I am in front of the cake (it’s fake, cleverly frosted with plumber’s compound)

In 1914 Mable Osgood Wright (a pioneer in the Conservation Movement) and Annie B. Jennings (Standard Oil heiress) founded the Birdcraft Museum where I have served on the board for many years.  It became the headquarters for the Connecticut Audubon Society, which Mrs. Wright founded in 1898.  Birdcraft is the oldest private bird sanctuary in the country.  It’s a tiny (6 acre) “pocket” sanctuary but because of its unique location between the railroad, I-95 and a whole lot of pavement, we have seen over 120 species here and banded over 18,000 birds since the bird banding program began in 1979. We have many other educational activities, partnering with the public schools in their science curriculum.

Last Saturday we held our annual Holiday Tea, a free event to thank the town and our volunteers for their participation over the year.  Because it was Birdcraft’s 100th anniversary year, we had a cake and I greeted visitors at the door dressed in period clothes.  I have now worn this outfit (which I found at the Brimfield Antiques Flea Market) three times for 100th anniversary parties.  It’s down to $10.00 a wearing.

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