wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Multi-tasking

I knew I had to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen today so I thought I might as well do two jobs at once. I put some bread dough ingredients in the bread machine, and when the mixing and rising was done, I put the dough into two loaf tins to rise again in a slightly warmed oven.

Then I got busy with these chanterelles the Captain and I had picked the day before.

One of them had grown like a bouquet of flowers.

Another was simply a giant single, so big a piece broke off when we handled it.

I washed the mushrooms in a tub of water, using the spray hose at the sink. Most of the needles and bits of dirt came off easily with the sprayer and I put the chanterelles into a bowl.

As I cut them up, I gave them another check to remove any last bits of forest that had come home with them.

Then I dumped the cut up mushrooms into the frying pan and sauteed them (basically cooking them for a few minutes to get most of the excess moisture out). I did many, many bowlfuls of mushrooms, cutting and cleaning while the previous batch simmered.

I put the cooked mushrooms into a stainless steel bowl and left them to cool before putting them into ziplocs to freeze in small batches.  They’re a great addition to curries, gravy, stir fries, and any number of other dishes.

When the bread dough had risen in the pans, I turned on the oven, and by the time all the mushroom work was done, I was rewarded with two freshly baked loaves of bread.

 


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Key Moments

(This is a re-blog from a long time ago.)

“Ready to go?” I piled my mushroom picking gear into my neighbour’s vehicle.

“Ready when you are,” she said. “What a gorgeous day, after so much rain.”

“I brought my cell phone.”

“Me too,” she said. “And I’ll bring the GPS, but I seem to remember we can’t get a signal out there.”

“That’s right. But you never know. Maybe it’s changed.” We agreed it was a good idea to have a cell phone along anyway. If necessary we could walk to a place where the reception was better.

But we would be fine. Two women alone in the woods was no big deal these days. We had bear spray and felt independent and confident that we’d be safe.

The day was perfect. We found enough chanterelles to keep us busy. Muscles that hadn’t been used for some time protested at first, but while picking mushrooms I can ignore their complaints. Plenty of time to moan and groan later.

chanterelle

My neighbour tried her GPS. No luck. Weak signal. Same with the cell phone. That was all right. We had no one we needed to call.

During a break for lunch, we tried to coax a steller’s jay to eat some bread crumbs, but though he was tempted, he remained on his guard.

“Do you think our old bones can manage another lap of the woods?” we asked each other.

“Let’s give it another hour,” I suggested. “If we don’t find much more, we’ll still have had a good day.”

Getting re-organized to go back into the woods took us a bit longer this time; putting our lunch bags away; hauling out the fanny packs and the bear spray; putting away the GPS that did us no good out there; getting fresh bags for picking; locking the vehicle, and getting our packs zipped up.

“All set? Okay. Let’s see what we can find.”

It was slimmer pickings this time, but we were happy with what we found. An hour later, back at the truck, I stood and waited for my neighbour to open it. She slapped her jacket pockets, feeling for her keys. Her face clouded over. She rummaged through her fanny pack, which, oddly, had the zipper open already.

“Oh God!” she said quietly. Slap, slap, slap. She patted down every pocket and then clawed frantically through her fanny pack again. There was a long silence as we stared at each other. “I’ve lost the keys,” she said.

We looked up at the sidehill we had just come down. As if reading my mind she said, “We’d never find them.”

“Do you have a spare key hidden somewhere?” I was thinking, maybe attached to something under the hood, or elsewhere on the vehicle.

“Yes.”

I started to relax.

“At home.”

My shoulders sagged.

“Well,” I said, “we could phone my husband to call your husband to bring the key, and they could drive up here and get us going again. It would only take them about an hour.” I had visions of us walking a long way to get a signal for the phone.

“IF I can remember where the spare key is at home.” She slapped some more pockets and dug around in the pack again. “OH! Here it is! Oh thank God.”

Two big sighs of relief escaped us.

“I learned two things today,” my neighbour said. “I can see I have to find a place for a spare key.”

“And the other thing?”

“I have to fix the zipper on my fanny pack.”


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Mysteries

My friends and I were out mushroom picking, looking for chanterelles in a new area. We found a few and were happily tromping through the woods when we came across other things of interest.  012

I found the remains of what I assume was a small deer. Who knows what it died of? Could have been a cougar, wolf, or bear, but the bones were lying there almost tidily. Maybe it just ate a bad mushroom, got a tummy ache and died on the spot.011

One of our party, found the remains of a much larger deer, and again, we have a mystery.

stuck

How did the antlers get stuck in this stump? Was this buck trying to rub the velvet off his antlers when he got stuck in the stump? Seems to me it would take more force to bury his tines so deeply that he couldn’t get out. Maybe this buck was fighting with another over the girl of his dreams and the dream turned into a nightmare when he got stuck in the tree stump forever. What an awful death he must have had. Good old Mother Nature! (I told you in another post I don’t think much of “Mother Nature.” If ever there was a misnomer!)

Stumped - antlersMy first reaction was to ask my friend if she pulled out the antlers and brought them along for a souvenir. She said, “No, I felt that it wouldn’t be right to disturb the scene. That deer died there….” And of course, then I could see it her way and I felt ashamed to have had such a low and selfish thought. The antlers are still there, as far as I know.

OR – Maybe someone stuck the antlers there....

THEN, the weirdest thing happened. The three of us (we called ourselves “The Three Mushketeers,” just like the ones in my novel “The Wind Weeps,”) each saw a lake way down at the bottom of a drop-off. Nothing weird about that, except there was no lake in this area, that I knew of, and I wasn’t aware of such a cliff in the immediate area. I approached carefully, not wanting to slip over the edge. The other two “mushketeers” also discussed what lake that could possibly be below the cliff.

See the drop-off just beyond the stump in the foreground?013

Turns out it was a pond so still that not the slightest ripple gave it away. We all thought we were looking at faraway sky through the trees and a lake at the bottom. A real optical illusion.

Soon it was time to head for home. If my eyes had telescopic powers, I could have seen my house on the tiny point of land sticking out into the ocean below.017