blueberry muffin cake and welding; a perfect saturday morning

now that the kids have ditched us, i have found myself looking for new things to do.  sure, i spend lots of time in the garden but when my husband is working late-and that happens frequently, i need something to keep me busy.  the perfect solution has been to take classes at watkins college of art, design and film.  they have a fantastic community education program and i have taken several classes there and am signed up to take several more.

in the spring, i looked through the class schedule and saw a workshop on welding.  it was strictly for beginners and it sounded like a lot of fun.  my friend shirley, who is also a master gardener, was quick in agreeing to attend the class with me.  girls and power tools; a perfect match.

we learned how to weld using oxyacetylene, mig and arc methods.  above, the method being used is oxyacetylene which is why they are not wearing the shields on their faces.

 oxyacetylene welding is easy to do and it was a lot of fun.  i could easily see myself doing this again.

 this was my favorite piece of equipment!  it is a throatless shear, which cuts sheet metal-sort of a big paper cutter on steroids.  to make my project, i cut each piece using this simple machine.

 this was the other fun part; curving the metal with rollers.  shirley is putting part of her project through the rollers to curve them.  i also curved a lot of my project with that roller.

and my finished project.  when i told everyone i was making a flower, they looked at me a little funny.  they looked at my skimpy little curvy pieces and told me, “sure you are making a flower, sure you are…”  they were all a little shocked when i finished it and it looked like a flower!  after a couple more coats of clear finish, it will live out in the garden.

and as always, if i go to the garden, i bring cake.  yes, i know this was a college, not a garden.  but shirley and i went to this class with the idea that we could learn a skill that might be useful for gardening.  gardening with sculpture, that is.

this cake is a bit of a mash up.  halfway to vegan, there are no eggs and several ingredients could be replaced to make it vegan if you like-or throw caution to the wind and make it ovo-lacto.

blueberry muffin cake
1 (10″) bundt cake serving 12-16
ener-g egg replacer for 3 eggs (or 3 large eggs)
2/3 cup butter (or coconut oil or any combination of the two)
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup buttermilk (or a nondairy milk such as coconut or soy)
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the pan and set it aside.  if you are using the egg replacer, mix it according to the directions and while it sits, cream the butter with the sugar and salt until it is fluffy.  add the egg replacer and mix it just to combine.  place the flour and baking powder into a sifter or mesh strainer and sift it over the batter in the bowl.  pour in the blueberries and fold the mixture a few times to coat the berries.  add the buttermilk and fold completely until no streaks of flour or butter are visible.  scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the deepest part of the cake, about 1 hour.  allow the cake to cool on a rack for 20 minutes.  turn the cake out onto the rack and allow it to completely cool-if you can…

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