Bertha’s Lemon Pound Cake

Sweet, Moist, Lemony

Bertha was my husband’s mother. Like me, she moved to Greenville with her husband. She was originally from up north, possibly New York City. She was half Cherokee and half descended from African slaves in America, but she never spoke much about her life before coming to Greenville and raising her eight children. According to her husband she was a kitchen mechanic. He would sometimes sell her pies in the neighborhood. According to my husband, she didn’t use measuring cups or spoons to make any of the many treats he so fondly remembers. But his favorite was her pound cake. I got the recipe for Bertha’s Lemon Pound Cake from my niece, and have made it many times now. In spite of it being winter, we are getting about a dozen eggs a day. One way to use up eggs is to make this cake that calls for no less than seven. So last week I made a pound cake.

Bertha’s Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), room temp.
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 7 eggs, room temp.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. lemon extract
  • 1 cup milk, room temp.

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Early Birds


The early bird…

With a day still to go, according to the electronic countdown on my incubator, there are seven chicks and counting making a racket in the incubator.

Early this morning, there were two, and those two are beginning to look cute and fluffy.We called them early birds. Now, in the early afternoon, I see that they are a few hours ahead of the game, and stronger and more aggressive than the others already.

I always thought that the expression, the early bird catches the worm, meant that if you were prepared and got up early in the morning, you would be rewarded. But now I’m wondering if it first came from the idea that the early bird, the one that breaks free first, would surely get the first worm from its mother…

Feedback is welcome. 🙂




I am down to the last three days of incubation of nineteen eggs. I have found that I have had to constantly adjust the thermostat on the incubator in order to hover around the ideal temperature. The humidity has been even more unstable. I’ve done my best to keep it around ideal by pouring small amounts of distilled water through the vent hole, without opening the incubator.

Yesterday was the big day when I opened the incubator for the first time since I candled the eggs about two weeks ago. It was time to take the eggs out of the automatic egg turner. I had marked the eggs that I thought might not be good after inspecting them. One of those marked eggs was moving around on the plate I set it on, so I’m glad that I didn’t dispose of the ones that I thought looked too porous. I lined the screen at the bottom of the incubator with cheese cloth and laid the eggs back inside. Since then I’ve seen a few more of the eggs move around a bit. Continue reading

Candling Inconclusive

This lonely rooster was attacked by the adult hens as soon as his mother abandoned him.  He wound up in the crock pot.

This lonely rooster, our only hatch from a broody hen back in 2014, was attacked by the adult hens as soon as his mother abandoned him.

I decided to try an incubator this year, having given up hope on my hens’ maternal instincts. A week into the process I was having doubts, like a first time mother, and decided to give my egg candler (a flashlight,) a try. After candling my eggs, I can only say that it was awkward, and I feel like I should have left well enough alone.

I have gone from having twenty one eggs in the incubator to having 19. One of the two I removed turned out to be unfertilized as I suspected. The other one, which I removed because I thought it looked very porous, turned out to have what was probably a viable chick growing inside.

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Incubator Ignorance


This temp. reading is lower than on the eggs below. The humidity is a little too high right now…

My incubator has counted down from 21 to 16 days until hatch day with perfect regularity. But when it comes to temperature and humidity its behavior is more erratic. I have turned the factory set 100º all the way down to 97º in order for the thermometer that is on top of the eggs to hover around the correct temperature of 99.5º to 100º. I might have cooked my eggs in the first couple of days. I’m really not sure, but I’m operating on the premises that I did not.
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Getting to Know my Incubator


This morning at around 6:30, I took the leap and plugged in my incubator, without any eggs in it. I poured warm distilled water into the grooves in the bottom of it and put the lid on, and the humidity immediately shot up to 75% and the window got all steamy. The booklet says ideal humidity tops out at about 60%, and warns that excess humidity  will damage the circuitry and void the warranty. So, I dumped all the water, and decided to test the humidity without any water in it all. Continue reading