On Twitter | March and April 2012

Spelt Banana Nut Bread

Spelt Banana Bread / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

This is an adaption of a recipe my mother still makes – but I used Spelt flour, because I wanted to try it, and because it’s much better for you than modern white flour – and I use more nuts, and add dark chocolate chips – both of which are good for you in small doses! This is a nice dense bread – and a little piece will fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth – and it’s fairly healthy! The Spelt flour has a nice nutty honey flavor – which works well with the bananas and nuts and chocolate. And if you use Sucanet instead of sugar, then the only “not-so-good-for-you” ingredient is the third of a cup of butter, and divided over a dozen portions, even that’s not too bad!

Spelt Banana Nut Bread

Mix together thoroughly…
2/3 cup sugar or Sucanat
1/3 cup butter
2 organic free-range brown eggs
a splash of whole milk

Mix in…
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in…
3 ripe bananas
2 cups Spelt flour

Blend in…
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Let stand for 20 minutes before baking at 350°F in a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with more of the dark chocolate chips right before baking, if you want it to look ever prettier and taste ever better! Bake for about 30 minutes in a small cake pan, or 50-60 minutes in a loaf pan.

Maroon and Orange Iris

Maroon and Orange Iris / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsYes, it’s another post about an iris. And yes, it’s another post with yet another purple-y and orange iris. But this one is different… this one is more maroon! And I think it may be the prettiest one yet.

So why am I still discovering new irises in the yard, after living here for almost two years?

Here’s my theory! Bulbs use all their stored up energy to bloom, and once the bloom fades, then they start to store up energy for the next spring. So if you chop back the leaves of a bulb too soon, it won’t have time to store up enough energy for the next year, and may never bloom again. This house sat empty for three or four months, before I moved here in the summer of 2010 – so my gut feeling is that these irises last bloomed that spring, when there was no one here to water them, and then the heat of early summer caused them to die back too soon. So they were too exhausted to bloom in the spring of 2011. But this spring? They’ve had over a year of regular watering, and they’re in good fertile ground, so they decided to go for it this year!

And here’s a little photography note for my non-photographer friends, who want to take better photos of the flowers in their own gardens… If you look at the images of Ugly Iris I blogged two weeks ago, and compare them to these images, you can see the difference a little sun makes. The Ugly Iris images were shot at the very end of the day at about 6:00PM, with some golden light coming from the west, as the sun set. Not a whole lot of sun – but some gorgeous golden glow from that side of the sky. And these images today were shot earlier – about 4:30PM – but it was cloudy and not quite raining, but it’s been kind of misting all day, on and off. I love the golden glow of the Ugly Iris images, but I also love the really saturated colors you can get on a cloudy day! Point is, you don’t have to shoot flowers when the sun is high in the sky – in fact, you will likely get more interesting images if you shoot when the light is more interesting!

So are there any other secret flowers about to bloom in my yard? I don’t know, but I hope so!

Maroon and Orange Iris / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The Ugly Iris

My mother instantly loved it. My grandmother instantly dubbed it “The Ugly Iris.” And when I saw it all I could think about was grabbing my camera and documenting it, because I have never seen an iris like this before.

Instead of the violet or royal shades of purple I’m used to seeing, it’s a dusky dark purple, and depending on the light can look almost like a dark dusky pink. And instead of the bright yellow accent parts, the part of the flower called the beard is bright orange, and the lower petals, known as falls, start out purple, then go to ivory, then a light orange, and then purple again. It’s so different than any other iris I’ve ever seen! And it’s the only one, and it didn’t bloom last year – it was a total surprise when it came up in my front yard – since all the other irises are either the traditional violet shade of purple, or a bright yellow.

I googled and it appears it’s a Tall Bearded Iris, known as Raspberry Fudge. Interesting. But I can see the raspberry moniker – since the color seems to shift between dark dusky pink and purple, depending on the light.

Raspberry Fudge Tall Bearded Iris / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Raspberry Fudge Iris / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Tall Bearded Iris / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsPurple and Orange Iris / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

So what do you think? Is it truly The Ugly Iris? Or is it beautiful? Or something in between? At first, I thought it was interesting, but I wasn’t sure if I would have actually chosen it. But the more I look at it, the more I like it. It’s growing on me. And as you can see by the images, there are two more buds on that stem, so I’ll get two more chances to figure it out!