Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Own Creation - Banana Walnut Upside Down Cake

I made this cake a couple of weeks ago, for the first time. I wanted a cake with a broiled topping, without the fuss. The results were very good, my husband loved it and none went to waste. I think that it would go well with an apple-cinnamon cake batter as well, just substitute chopped apples for the bananas, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 cup butter
Mix first three ingredients and spread into the bottom of a 10" parchment-lined cake pan. (The first time I made this, I didn't line the pan and some of the nuts stayed in the pan. I used a silicon baking pan also, but not necessary.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas ( about 3 large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream together sugar and butter until light, add eggs and beat 1 min.
Add mashed bananas and vanilla and mix well.
Sift dry ingredients together and add to batter, combining well.
Spread over nut mixture (batter is quite thick) and bake in pre-heated 375 F. oven for 40-45 min.
Loosen from edge of pan and turn out onto cake plate immediately.
Remove parchment and cool for a few minutes.
Cut into squares and serve warm, with ice cream if desired.

The Mallorytown Glassworks 1825-1839/40?

The Mallorytown Glassworks was a small factory, established by United Empire Loyalists and their descendants.
The Mallorys of Mallorytown

In 1790, Nathaniel Mallory left Vermont and settled with his family along the St. Lawrence River at Mallorytown Landing. Shortly afterwards they moved inland to the area of the village that bears his name. Nathaniel and his wife had 13 children, the youngest Catherine being the only one who was born in Canada.

At the end of the American Revolution, Nathaniel's son Daniel had already come to Yonge Township along with his brother Lemuel and cousins Jeremiah and Elisha, settling in the Broken Front and First Concession.

The Mallory sons were an enterprising group with David running a store and a brick yard where more than one million bricks were made and Andrew operating a glass factory. A plaque erected east of the village by the Ontario Archaeological & Historic Board reads in part - "A short distance from this site stood the first glass-works known to have been established in Upper Canada., in operation from 1839 to 1849. Its owner during these years was Andrew W. Mallory, a descendant of the family that founded this community. The articles produced included bottles, flasks, glasses and other household wares." Other Mallorys were farmers, operated a lumber yard, had mills and in later years the cheese factory which produced a cheese that won a major prize at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Some of the family fished commercially, including eel fishing for the New York City market.

Daughters and granddaughters of Nathaniel married into local families leaving Mallory descendants with names such as Guild, Seaman, Ducolon, Truedell, Armstrong, Kelly, Judd, Shipman, Trickey, Andress and Eyres. Many people will remember Dr. Mallory, who practiced in Brockville for many years. There are still a number Mallorys living in the area as well as many descendants with these and other surnames.

The Mallory family donated land for part of the National Park System. There are a couple of books in the Brockville Library telling the story of branches of the family. Many records are in the Archives and in land books that tell more about this large and interesting family.

They manufactured free-blown glass vessels and containers with the use of only basic tools. The materials were what was locally available, white Potsdam sandstone, which was abundant. Because of the chemical make-up of the sandstone, the glass was an aquamarine colour. The glassware is very rare and valuable today, and most pieces are found only in museums.
The pieces above are from the Royal Ontario Museum
This piece is from the Glenbow Museum in Alberta.
Here are two pieces from the Canadian Civilization Museum

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Collectors Have Always Been Green

Collecting is an environmentally-friendly hobby, we're all about reusing, and recycling. A collector will look for a vintage or antique item or something that can be used in it's place before buying a new product. There are a lot of advantages to recycling and reusing, and collectors have known about them for years.

One advantage is that the quality is in most cases far superior to the modern product, the boards used to make a piece of furniture were wider from old trees. More time was taken to make it, often handcrafted, and there was a sense of pride in workmanship. The quality of the materials used in antique furniture is far superior, made of real wood, not sawdust glued together with a veneer laminate to look like wood. This reduces the toxins released into the air from the adhesives and plastics.

This goes for textiles as well, a hand-sewn item will often last longer than a brand new one. The clothing of the past was made well, and made to last, so that it can be passed down to younger siblings when too small. The fabric was made of natural materials; cotton, wool, silk, linen and hemp. The apparel made today can be ruined by one single loose thread being pulled, most manufacturers use a chain stitch IMO for this reason. If the article gets too close to a flame, it will melt, so it is treated with fire retardant during manufacturing, more toxic chemicals.

Some of the older glass was also hand-made; hand-cut, hand-painted, hand-blown. The glass industry has perfected the process so that there are no imperfections, but it is those imperfections that collectors look for, it tells how and when it was produced and makes the item more unique and desirable.

Another advantage is monetary, it is less expensive to buy an antique piece of furniture than a new one of comparable value. I can't see anyone collecting mass-produced pieces in the future, they don't last, manufacturers call this "planned obsolescence". If the products don't last, the manufacturer can sell more products. This goes for almost every product that is sold today. The resale value for these products are very minimal. The resale value for antiques and collectibles is always on the increase, an item will almost always appreciate in value.

Besides the reasons that I have mentioned above, the result of collecting is a reduction of toxins into the air from the manufacturing process, the reduction in energy resources and the reduction in natural resources to make the product. At the same time, we teach our children by example about being frugal with money, about not being wasteful, get them interested in history and preservation and an appreciation for fine workmanship.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gardening - Spring Cleaning

Well, it's been a long, cold winter and I'm anxious to get out and do some yard work again today. I'm still sore from the yard work I've done already in the past two days. The weeds seem to grow under the snow, as soon as the s now is gone, chickweed is everywhere.
My gooseberries look like they made it through the long, cold winter with no damage, they should produce some fruit this summer. The Butterfly bushes need to be cut back today, and I think I'll give the Trumpet vines a good pruning too. If I had it to do over again, I would have planted the trumpet vines in containers, there are shoots coming up all over the yard.