Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mom's Wicked Rum Cake

Ingredients - Cake:
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding & pie filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Ingredients - Glaze:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • Flour and grease a 10" tube pan
  • Mix cake mix, pudding mix, water, rum, oil, and eggs until smooth
  • Pour into pan and bake 1 hour
  • Cool 25 minutes in pan
  • Melt butter in small saucepan
  • Stir in water and sugar
  • Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat
  • Add rum
  • Use immediately
  • Invert cake onto large plate
  • Poke holes throughout cake using a long wooden skewer or long , thin chopstick
  • Ladle hot rum glaze over top and sides slowly
  • Brush glaze on sides with pastry brush
  • Sprinkle cake with chopped nots
  • Cover in foil, seal well, and let sit for 1-2 days. It gets better with time!
  • Be sure to make the glaze up just before applying to cake
  • Glaze will foam up a bit when you add the rum, so be careful
  • The resulting cake is NOT non-alcoholic!
  • This is really my mother's recipe - she may have gotten somewhere else and tweaked it a bit (more rum!) but it's now our family tradition to make a bunch for friends.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Musical Presence

Feel free to listen or purchase my music, solo acoustic or with The Whompers. You can hear clips below and purchase the songs. You can hear full songs on my iLike/Facebook pages. You can also check out my various online music pages listed below (some of these are a bit redundant). If you find yourself in Saranac Lake, I'm playing at the First United Methodist Church every Sunday morning at 8:30 AM (Praise Service) and every Wednesday night at 5 PM (Free Coffee House w/Soup).
iLike Michael R. Martin

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The beauty of wood heat

There is a skill in selecting just the right piece of dry wood for splitting.
And there is a skill in splitting that piece of wood down into kindling, popping the pieces apart with a well-placed tap.
There is a joy in the ring of dry kindling as it pops free of the log and clatters to the floor.
And there is a joy in creating a fire from nothing.
There is a satisfaction in the heat of the stove as the fire builds.

But the real beauty of a woodstove fire is the way it heats the whole house, until the entire structure is one giant source of radiant heat,
and you bask wrapped in 74 degrees while snow and ice sorround your humble abode.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thought on thermometers

Never have more than one thermometer.
The number of outside temperature readings is directly proportional to the number of thermometers one has.
Which is to say, if you have three thermometers,
you get three different answers.

First Real Snow

First real snow,
big, fat and heavy.
Chickadees, they sing their happy tune.
White coated trees,
holding up their load,
wonder if a snowman follows soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Indian Summer, Barkeater Style

A rare warm fall day.
The sound of leaves falling through trees like a gentle rain.
Ladybugs abound, seeking a safe haven to congregate for winter.
And the air is filled with those small waxy flies that always seem to sense those last warm days of the year.

Monday, October 15, 2007


The fog lifts
and I feel … what?

Friday, October 12, 2007

10/12/07 • 11:36 am

There is a sharpness to the damp breeze
as it rustles through the painted leaves.
Shades of brown,
they cover the ground,
just as the season decrees.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mouse Trap

It is Fall in the Adirondacks.
The mice are looking to settle in.
I set & reset the mouse trap,
watch late night movies,
and wait for the next muffled snap.

The house is too old
to plug all the holes
and keep the mice out.
So I set & reset the traps,
and settle into this grim vigil.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Awaken to Fall

I walked out this morning, and,
New Englander that I am,
was taken by the unmistakable odor of Autumn.

Looking around,
the pines are preparing to throw their old needles,
the cattails are fluffing up with seed,
and the maples are showing their first blush of color.

A change of seasons is upon us.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


God respects me when I work, but loves me I sing.

Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941)
Indian Poet,Playwright, Essayist,
won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913
Click on image for more of his quotes

Friday, September 07, 2007

More White Mountain Memories

Empty Train to Nowhere

There's an empty train to nowhere
and I hear that whistle blow
Where it's bound I have no knowledge
but I'll ride where're it goes.

I've been so long at this station
waiting for that train to come
If I hop aboard that freighter
who's to miss me when I'm gone?

I've been west to California
Rode the south to Georgia line
I've been north across the border
still you're always on my mind.

Hear that whistle blow at midnight,
hear that whistle blow at dawn.
If you listen for that whistle,
hear it next and know I'm gone.

Words and Music copyright @ Michael R. Martin 2007
Pine Street Park • Saranac Lake NY • June/July 2007
Meadowlark • Washington ME • August 2007

That ship has sailed

There was a ship called Might-Have-Been
filled with hopes and dreams
Where once we might have sailed as twins
I fear that ship has sailed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Somewhere along the Northway: 43°33'00"N 73°44'04"W

Crickets chirp,
Undaunted by the sound of passing traffic.
I stop to rest, exhausted,
19 hours into a long day,
Lulled into slumber by their cheery call
And the white noise of the highway.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Traveling 'long the Androscoggin

Traveling 'long the Androscog
A thin late summer morning fog
Warm & lazy, kind of hazy
Queen Anne's lace & cranberry bog

Ravens croaking on the shore
They might be calling nevermore
One lone maple blushing red
Hints of Autumn up ahead

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Circle of Friends (Meadowlark XI)

If I could package up this place
Take it with me everywhere
No shadows cross this happy face
We'd have life's love to share.

If I could package up these friends
Take them with me everywhere
No shadows cross this happy face
We'd have life's love to share.

If I could package this harmony
To take with you everywhere
No shadows cross your happy face
We'd have life's love to share.

If I could package this one last waltz
Take it with me everywhere
No shadows cross your happy face
We'd have life's love to share.

If I could give just this one song
Take it with me everywhere
No shadows cross this happy face
We'd have life's love to share.

words & music copyright @ Michael R. Martin 2007
Meadowlark • Washington ME • August 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Live from Meadowlark

It is the friends you make in life that makes life great*.

(*among other things - hey, I am a scientist. We survive on qualifiers)

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Old dog.
Young dog.
Old dog lies with one front paw tucked under,
head up, eyes blinking slowly.
Watching, sleeping.
Young dog lies feet splayed,
attentively gnawing on rawhide chew.
Old dog rises, turns, then lies again,
head down, breathing slowly,
staring eyes that slowly close.
Young dog keeps on chewing.

I feel more like the old dog,
pensively resting, watching,

And the young dog hops up and tosses the rawhide,
then chases it down,
while the old dog barely raises an eyebrow.


A hummingbird came by my house today. She hovered along the windows that line the eastern & southern walls of my living room, looking through each one in turn. Then flitted away.
But she returned again, to peer once more. What the hell does she want from me?!
It's just a crazed bird, attracted by some glittering color within, not the carrier of some passed soul here to deride me. Right?

Autumn in the Air

Cool as midnight silk,
Chilled shade,
is Adirondack Air.
Warmth of August sun
on surface made,
comfort fair.
Breathe sweet
the sunlit dew,
as crickets sing
their summer tune.
Mist in valleys
rise on cue,
Autumn fortold
within the view.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Adirondack return

A cold rain falls
On verdant trees;
Chill, damp,
woodsmoke-draped breeze;
Arctic mountain air.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gilmanton - August 2007

Gilmanton .
Mourning dove.
Clear notes of distant trush.
Sunbeams flood wooded mist,
Sweetfern against stonewall.
Salmander moss carpets oak canopy
Where 35 years of mowing has yet to yield lawn.
Once home,
now Gilmanton in the morning.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Something to smile about . . . .

Emily sings her A•B•Cs (while baby Mathew makes noise in the background)

She is Sweet Sixteen Now!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What have we done?

We have, together & individually, eliminated the fun in our lives. When WAS the last time we simply enjoyed the moment, together, as a family, as husband & wife, for any meaningful period of time.

Work, money - is it really that important. Many families survive simple (poor) lives, but few survive without encompassing the joy of life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Words to Ponder

The most important thing about a man is what he believes in the depth of his being. This is the thing that makes him what he is, the thing that organizes him and feeds him; the thing that keeps him going in the face of untoward circumstances; the thing that gives him resistance and drive.
- Hugh Stevenson Tigner

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dinner fortune worth sharing

My fortune cookie tonight:
"It's better to be approximately right than precisely wrong."

Maybe so.

Michael Crichton on Scientists

Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Michael Crichton, Caltech Michelin Lecture, January 17, 2003
US author & screenwriter (1942 - ) • Source: The Quotations Page

Quotation #34900 from Michael Moncur's (Cynical) Quotations

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day

It is the loss,
and the memories …

those who came before us:
our grandmothers
and now our mother …

they have passed the torch.

No longer the children,
we are the top rung …

And they watch over us
through our eyes
and through our hearts.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Home is a Place Missed …

It is really true: No matter how nice or fancy the place away may be, nothing is as comfortable & welcome as home - EVEN taking into account all the regular home baggage, such as the endless stream of dirty dishes.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Too Alive?

Too alive?
Can one be too alive,
so buzzing with life force that numbing the spark is a neccesary survival strategy?

How does one harvest that much energy,
with no audience,
rooted too firmly in place?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dark Forces

People, some people, have a dark core from which emanates their creative juices, a curse to be sure, but the part of them that makes them who they are. To love is to praise the highs and comfort the lows, to caress that pushing away, and steer clear of the minefields left in its wake.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good men gone

Good men have died, leaving us to go on in the ripples of their passing.

I fear that I shall leave no wake in passing, but slip silent beneath the waters of life.

How often do others think to remember Fred or Rob or Mike?

What can we do to honor their lives, their memories? What lessons in which to partake?

• Remember those who have gone.
• Treasure those who have not.

These are the important pieces of your life beyond your skin that connect directly to your soul.
These are the extensions of life worth living.

"No time, but there is no time," you cry.

So it may seem, but there will be time enough when time passes to haunt you until the end of your days.

Spring is here!

Chickadees cheerfully exchanging their gleeful call of "Spring's here!"
as wet snow slumps from moss-covered rock.

Ice fountains drape the trailside ledged, gripping stone as if to hang on 'til June. And, perhaps in some dark wood, they shall.

The air is alive with the rush of wind in pines, filling the wood with the rush of a distant sea and the creak of a tall ship under sail.

Somewhere, unseen, water moves, drips, and rings like chimes in a deep groto.

In prelude to mud season, warm air moves over snow-laden topography - the unique mountain spring weather of teeshirts and winter boots, four-wheel drive and open windows.

With cold nights and warm days, maple trees stand waiting for the first taps of the season. Snowshoes and high taps this year, buckets placed bottom to snow lest they be too high to tip at season's end.

And soon shall be star-filled nights at the boiler, with woodcocks whistling in the darkened skies.

Spring is here. And THIS is spring in the Adirondacks.


I fear I may one day soon be forced to say goodbye to these beloved Adirondacks. I wish I could say I leave it in good hands, but I wonder . . .

What HAS happened to the "Adi-round-dacker," the pure-blood sons & daughters of those who made this place their working home? Displaced by the landed gentry; rejected by those they once served as too stupid to do what is right. I hold no romantic ideal that they were true stewards of this land. But who are the stewards now?

As mud season oozes onto the land & waters of this mountain plateau, whose footprints shall reveal the true path? And whose shall be just fleeting prints of exploitation?

Many claim these mountains & waters as the home of their heart. What is the value in that, being kept as a recreational toy to be taken out when time allows and remembered only as fond memories of a place visited?

This is the state of our natural world. An ecotourism play park.

(he says as he sits parked in his SUV at South Creek - but at least I, unlike many, generally require this vehicle as a means of my livlihood)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Marriage & Life

and life within a marriage,
beats at you until you feel you can not stand it any longer.
Is it the true test of faith
that you remain when you could leave?
What is in the hearts of those who remain together for life?
And those who remain long after life is death?

Dark thoughts for a bright, warm morning.


Who am I?
How do the pieces of a life fit together to form the heart of one man?
What of the unique vision of my eyes? Deeper, clearer - not the
surface you see. Turned now by human values to profit, to visible purpose & value.

Is it music, my soul?
Is it to define thw grace of God?

Is it a vision I could ever share?

So few have known me, understood me. Not the one whose heart & soul was bound to mine under the ritual of matrimony. But there are the few to whom, like the tide & moon, I am inextricably linked across mpossible distance, perhaps never to part.

An Adirondack Dawn

Pale crescet moon
in a misty midnight-black adirondack sky,
too dark for mountain silhouettes,
punctuated by the occassional flashing red light
like angry eyes loking down on the predawn morn.

Just me, the moon, and the trees
await the sliver hint of day break,
perhaps an hour hence.
The mountains fading in my rearview mirror as the sky finally breaks.
Downstate flatlands may be where my fortunes lie
but it is among those hills where my heart comes alive.
Comes alive yet longs to walk with you
on the shores of the big water.

Ocean-black clouds stretch aceoss a steel blue-grey sky;
sooner thqn expected,
as I descend into Keene Valley.
The Adirondack Mountains shall have their farewell after all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Atlas Shrugged on Science

"Science? Aren't you confusing the standards involved?. It is only in the realm of pure science that truth is an absolute criterion. When we deal with applied science, with technology, we deal with people. And when we deal with people, considerations other than truth enter the question."

from "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand

Sunday, February 25, 2007

For Lent

Love more.
Love first.
Love last.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Life Lesson

Beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.

Luke 12:15

Mutual Affection

One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Soviet writer, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NYSAHA Tier III Northern Zone State Sectionals Champions - Saranac Lake Red Storm Bantams

The Saranac Lake Red Storm Bantams hockey team took first place in the New York State Amateur Hockey Association Tier III Northern Zone State Sectionals. They advance to the State Finals to be held in Fulton NY March 2 - 4, 2007.

See all the hockey pictures on my SmugMug website.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

No Fooling

I can't even kid myself anymore:
I look like I've aged 5 years in 6 months time.
If the rate is accelerating,
that dreaded exponential curve,
I'll be what, 80 for my 50th?

I heard it from a wise curmudgeon today,
the old doctor on Scrubs, actually,
that anything worth having is hard work.

Is the hard work worth it,
to survive more years of the same old grind?
Can't buy back the time.
Ah, but the memories.
Laughter, love, music.
It's like an old song I once wrote:
"I'll keep living, loving, & laughing.
Maybe some day I'll learn."

I don't laugh so much anymore. I miss the laughter & relish it when it rolls over a gathering like an unexpected summer storm - loud, and leaving cooler, lighter air in its wake.

And love? Well, that is a tale for another day. I'm happy now just thinking about laughter. I could make you laugh, I can make you laugh. But now is the time to snuggle back & simply reflect on laughter gone by.