Leaf Raking, Cake Baking, Muscle Making

Today was a deliciously productive day — busy enough to finish the necessary tasks, do some extras, and still have time to relax. It began in the backyard, raking leaves with my little son while the baby had his morning nap. Together we tackled the thick layer of ugly, wet brown leaves and filled three huge yard waste bags. Though the leaves don’t bother me much, they become an eyesore when ours is the only property in the neighbourhood that isn’t neatly raked. That was probably a good idea, because an elderly neighbour strolled by and said, “My, I was noticing how many leaves you had to rake.” “Yes, well, it’s partly my fault for letting it go this long,” I answered. He nodded — nodded! and I quickly realized that raking was an astute move to keep relations good on the block.

 

Enjoying a warm fire to take the chill off a cold day

Then I packed up the kids and we headed to play group for some much-needed socialization. Sometimes I’m not sure who needs it most, me or kids! After lunch and naps, I was struck by the urge to make an apple cake — not just any apple cake, but my Aunt Jane’s fabulous apple cake that’s been a family favourite for years. The reason for this was A.’s recent obsession with an old Sharon, Lois, and Bram CD that I got out of the library. On the disc, which has pretty much been on repeat for the past three days, is one song that goes, “If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake, baked a cake, baked a cake…” Even though Sharon, Lois, and Bram aren’t around to bake me that cake, I got it into my head that I really, really wanted a cake, so apple cake it was. (I’ll post the recipe soon because it’s a cake everyone should eat.)

Most productive of all was my decision to go to the gym at 4:30 pm when J. got home from work. As much as I dreaded the intense CrossFit workout awaiting me, there was also much satisfaction at leaving my husband with the two energetic children, an open cookbook, and a stack of ingredients. It’s good for me to relinquish kitchen control once in a while. That sense of satisfaction quickly dissipated when I was introduced to the 100 burpee pull-ups that I had to do. To say the workout was nasty is an understatement; vile, detestable, painful are more accurate adjectives.

Thoughts of apple cake, however, pulled me through; when I walked through the door, I was greeted by the heavenly odour of molasses-glazed roasted pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and sautéed snow peas, and two surprisingly happy children. Now it’s 8 pm. I’ve got that tingly post-workout adrenaline running through my body. Dishes are done. I’m already in my PJs, with a large piece of cake and cup of tea by my side, and there’s a great novel waiting for me when I finish blogging. (I’m currently racing through “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton.)

Life is good.

…and is made even better by this little character, who’ll be a year this month. I can’t resist sharing this adorable picture from last week.
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4 thoughts on “Leaf Raking, Cake Baking, Muscle Making

  1. A perfect day indeed and thank you for sharing your Aunt’s cake recipe – it will be made by us desert-dewlling gingers for sure. LOL at the neighbour commenting on your leaves. Here in Qatar I’ve been very gratefully released from the tyranny of tending to my English country garden! 🙂
    Incredibly cute picture of your little guy. I can’t believe you can do 100 burpees…ouch.

    1. Well, I can barely do 100 burpees, and just because I finished doesn’t mean I wasn’t nearly dead at the end of it! “Tyranny” is not a word I’d automatically associate with an English country garden; in fact, I tend to romanticize them in my mind, but then it’s true that I’m not having to take care of one. My own gardens, which were quite stunning when we bought our house, have fallen into a shocking state of neglect that I’m not sure how to reverse.

    1. Lol, yes. Unbelievably, though, the pull-ups (jumping ones — they were scaled down) made it easier than the 100 straight burpees my darling husband made me do the week before. At least they gave me a slight break!

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