Robert E. Lee Cake

Robert E. Lee Cake

i Oct 27, 2010 No Comments by

Robert E. Lee Cake

By Paulette Van deZande, who has been baking the Wake Audubon treats at our monthly meetings for decades.

My aunt gave me this recipe in 1948 telling me it was the best of several recipes for Robert E Lee cake. This one is so good I have never tried any other.  It is called Robert E Lee cake because it was always said to be the general’s favorite cake.  It is certainly mine as well.

Some years ago my son, Dennik, called me and said he had won a blue ribbon in the LA County Fair for the cake so I entered in it the NC State Fair the same year and I won a blue ribbon also.  Later I won a blue ribbon in the LA County Fair. Then I entered it in the NC egg council contest and I won the top prize of with the cake of $100. It’s good and easy to make.

Robert E. Lee Cake

Cooks note:  needs to be made 2-3 days prior to serving!


9 egg yolks

2 1/8 cups sugar

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed

2 cups flour

9 egg whites, stiffly beaten but not dry

Beat egg yolks very light, and then slowly beat in sugar. Add salt and lemon juice, stir in well. With spoon carefully stir in stiffly beaten egg whites. Carefully fold in sifted flour. Mix thoroughly but lightly.  Pour into 3 ungreased 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


3 lemons

6 oranges

3 cups sugar

1 cup shredded coconut (shredded is good)

Zest and juice all the fruit and mix together the collected zest and juice (if fruit is not juicy more may be added).  Add sugar and coconut, stir well. Let stand until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Put this mixture between layers and on top of the cake. Let stand 2-3 days until juice soaks into cake.  Sprinkle top with dry coconut. Garnish with orange slices and mint leaves, or flower blossoms.

What the heck is Meetup?

i Oct 27, 2010 No Comments by

By Justine Homiak, Wake Audubon Board member

According to, “Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities. [It is] Meetup’s mission to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.” More information can be found at The Meetup component of Wake Audubon is approaching its third year in existence. Meetup is an easy way to see what Wake Audubon Society and its members are up to, and to RSVP for upcoming events. Examples of events listed on the site are the monthly meetings, field trips, bird walks, festivals and volunteer opportunities. There are currently 145 people taking advantage of this user-friendly technology through our site.

Meetup membership is free. Likewise, membership in Wake Audubon is not required to take part in the Meetup component of our organization or to attend events, but we encourage membership at just $20 per year. The Meetup site allows you to view events in a calendar-style format. You can view past and future events, upload and or view photos, get to know fellow nature-lovers, RSVP with the click of the mouse, and more!

The good news is that if you are lucky enough to be reading this blog, then you can join Wake Audubon on! The only thing needed to get started is an internet connection, an e-mail address, and about 15 minutes or so to create a user profile. While it is not required that you use your real name or that you include a photo, we encourage this so that we can recognize you at events.

The best way to become familiar with the site is to play around…this is a browse free zone!  Fear not…you will never be charged for anything on this site.  Whether or not you choose to create a profile (enabling you to RSVP, etc.), Wake Audubon’s meetup site is public, so feel free to take a peek at

Hog Island Magic

i Oct 24, 2010 No Comments by

by Lena Gallitano, North Carolina Audubon Board Member

Hog Island … the very name conjures up images that have little to do with an idyllic, forested island with a beautiful rocky Maine shoreline.  Years ago, Hog Island likely lived up to its name as a local farmer used it, yes, to graze his hogs.  No fences needed.  But today the slang definition of hog “to appropriate selfishly; take more than ones share” better defines this National Audubon treasure as campers and visitors over the years have taken with them more than their share of memories and experiences.  Lifetime friendships and even life partners are a product of Hog Island but equally important is the rejuvenation of our spiritual well-being that comes with time spent on the island.  Whether it’s the flora, fauna, food, programs, people or just the escape from our normal routine, participants often say time spent on Hog Island has been a positive life changing experience.

Educators, teens and adults, over the last 75 years, have experienced this remarkable place.  Wake Audubon sponsored a Wake County teacher in the 1980’s to attend an environmental educator camp so that knowledge could be shared with Wake county students.  In September, I volunteered at Hog Island and was inspired by the people and programs.  Scott Weidensaul, nature writer and author of Living on the Wind and other books; Dr. Steve Kress, Director of Project Puffin who successfully restored Atlantic Puffins in Maine at Eastern Egg Rock;  and, other Project Puffin staff who talked about their seabird restoration work.  The ripples from teachers and campers relating their knowledge and experiences continue to spread far and wide – not just in North Carolina, but across the United States.

And now it’s time to give back so others will be able to share the magic of Hog Island for years to come.  Friends of Hog Island is dusting off the cobwebs and working to reinvigorate the energy of the past to support Hog Island into the future.  Take a moment to explore the website, subscribe to the mailing list, and check out the 2011 calendar for a camp opportunity and perhaps you too will discover the magic of Hog Island.


i Oct 6, 2010 22 Comments by

We are having a Shraiku contest as part of Wake Audubon’s Year of the Loggerhead Shrike. Shraikus, like Haikus, are highly structured poems composed in 3 lines with a total of 17 syllables. Shraikus must have 5 syllables in lines 1 and 3 and 7 syllables in line 2. The theme of a shraiku must be the Loggerhead Shrike – evoking images or feelings associated with this amazing bird.

You may enter as many times as you wish.   There will be prizes for the top three Shraiku writers.

Submit your Shraiku as a comment using the following form:

  • Title (all caps)
  • Line 1: 5 syllables
  • Line 2: 7 syllables
  • Line 3: 5 syllables

***  PLEASE NOTE:  All comment must go through moderation, so it may be a few hours before your poem posts.  ***


i Oct 5, 2010 No Comments by

From Nathan Swick and cross-posted on The Drinking Bird.

Up until the last week or so I’d been feeling that our fall migration was mostly a bust. Between the lingering summer temperatures and the weather systems conspiring to hold birds up in parts farther north, I was worried that the whole of fall migration would blow past us on a day when I was otherwise indisposed, building and moving past me all too fast, more like the frantic sprint of spring than the long easy jog we’re usually familiar with around here. I needn’t have really concerned myself; the nature of fall migration means the birds are more apathetic about moving, more keen to take in the sights, and I would eventually get my fall warblers even if it ended up taking an extra week or two for them to make their way to where I am.

It’s a battle I end up having to fight with myself every fall. Maybe one of these years the compulsive need, the small-scale zugunruhe that more than drives me outdoors, but makes every glance at the treetops mildly anxiety ridden, will subside. But maybe I don’t want it too either. The quarry is warblers, and around here the fall offers more variety and numbers that you can get in spring. From late August to mid-October, nearly anything is possible, but where and when they are is a crapshoot.

I had headed to Ebenezer Point Recreational Area on Jordan Lake hoping that warblers would be on the agenda. This park is well known for its impressive views of the reservoir itself, which is great for scanning the water for waterfowl and gulls in the winter, but the inlets and peninsulas make for excellent land birding in the fall as well. Songbirds are reluctant to cross open water, even if it’s no more than a couple hundred meters across, so birds tend to pile up in the north side of the lake shore until they reach critical mass, and all burst across the water in one loose flock of warblers. It’s the same principle that makes a place like Magee Marsh on the shore of Lake Eire so productive in the spring, but writ tiny. Instead of thousands of birds, it’s dozens, but still enough to make a morning. I was banking on the recent cold bringing northwest winds to put the warblers on the move.