Sacramento, California: We did not make very much northward progress today. That’s okay. We had a very busy morning in Merced. I couldn’t wait to try the French Apple Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Around My French Table, which was featured this week on David Lebovitz’s blog. I had all the ingredients in the Magna Peregrinus – save the springform pan. While we were at the mall with Aleria yesterday, I picked up a very nice Calphalon pan for only $21 at Kohl’s. (Never been to a Kohl’s before – nice prices – and I now have a springform pan in the RV!)

The recipe (flour, baking soda, salt, apples, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, 3 Tablespoons of booze) came together in fifteen minutes. Oh, I forgot to mention… the recipe called for dark rum and I didn’t have dark rum, but I had Jack Daniels. Worked well. Everything in the cake was organic, except the Jack Daniels, which I am fairly certain, from our two tours of the facility, is highly purified. I placed the cake in the oven and went for a run. Not a long run – 2.5 miles – around the air base.

Great thing about running around an airbase? They are most always flat.

Wait, didn’t I say that a few days ago about RV Parks?

I returned to this lovely creation.

And I enjoyed a warm slice for my breakfast which totally cancelled-out my run. Well, at least I ran. 

Apple cake baked with Jack Daniels for breakfast is health food. Right?

We stayed in our campsite at the Castle Air Base until late morning, as DT had a conference call. Something about the 2012 Olympic Track & Field Trials. Then we hit the bumpy highway to Sacramento where we are camped at the Cal Expo RV Park ($35 full hook-up site). We set up camp and immediately drove the Honda out to Lincoln to visit with Brother Steve and Gina.

We arrived to the farm just as Gina was feeding our largest nephew, Doc, his supper. Doc was not too excited to see us as we were interrupting his meal.

 I lured Doc away from his feed bag with an apple.

Thanks, Aunt Terry, for the apple… but I am going back to my Equine Senior Diet and hay now.

Brother Steve took Dave down to the orchard and they harvested 10 pounds of key limes for us to take back to Oregon. That’s a lotta margaritas, people.

Gina has an impressive garden. Not only do they eat like royalty, Gina provides several local restaurants with gourmet greens and produce from her fenced-in cornucopia.

Note to readers: It’s the middle of November.

We enjoyed a lovely sunset, overlooking Gina & Steve’s one-acre pond. So beautiful. So relaxing.

So much work.

If you know what this is, I am guessing you live in Oklahoma or Texas. This very interesting fruit is an Osage orange. The trees were planted all over the plains as a wind deterrent by the WPA in the 1940’s and as natural fencing for animals as the branches have sharp thorns. Not edible (by humans), the fruit of this spiny tree is a very interesting home decor. Steve & Gina have piles of the Osage fruit falling from a huge tree bordering their property. Gina sent me home with three (plus the key limes, tomatoes, mixed greens, broccoli and persimmons)! The fruit is just a bit larger than a grapefruit and they are quite fragrant. Oddly beautiful. (FYI: My Driver says “Osage” is a frequent answer in the New York Times crossword.)

In her spare time, Gina is a fabulous cook. For dinner tonight she prepared cod and shrimp in a red miso glaze over wild rice and broccoli from her garden.

Gina prepared a separate (shrimp-free) meal for me. So sweet.

A lovely evening.

Until my next update, I remain, your “down on the farm” correspondent.

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