Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chanterelles Gift

I was gifted an ample pile of foraged chanterelle mushrooms from a long time friend, Mai.  What a wonderful culinary opportunity.

 However, knowing the hazards of randomly picked fungi, I did some research before cooking them up.  One good source is from the Mycological Society of San Francisco. 

I learned of the look alike and toxic jack-o-lantern mushroom that is bio-luminescent.  I read that chanterelles have false gills that fork and white flesh instead of the orange flesh and true gills of the jack-o-lantern. I read a story about an ER worker who had a patient they named "Jack" because he came in poisoned from eating the toxic version two years in a row because the poisonous jack-o-lantern has a lovely fruity smell like the chanterelle.  I even found comfort in learning that toxic one is not deadly; it just makes you wish you were dead for a couple of days. 

 Once confident that this gift was in fact chanterelles, I carefully cleaned them.  They smelled wonderfully pungent of the earth and apricots.  Sauteed with garlic in butter they were superior to other fungi. The flesh was firmly creamy while the flavors of fruity umami carried solidly through the butter and garlic.  I look forward to more chanterelles.

I appreciate the gift of a bag of mushrooms.  The sharing of a precious, seasonal bounty, the piqued curiosity about wild mushrooms and the new reason to connect with my immediate nature are the best part of this present.  Thanks, Mai.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Black Powder

Pace of life has been fast and exciting lately.  The observation of Martin Luther King Jr. afforded me a couple of hours to drive to my shooting range.  40 degree weather helped too.

I brought two guns.  The rifle is a percussion cap ,50 caliber Thompson New Englander I received as a gift from my Uncle Al while on a trip with Claire and Harris in Montana.  90 grains of ff black powder sends a lead ball down range with surprising accuracy.

The revolver is an Uberti replica of a 1860 Colt Army that fires .44 caliber balls truly with 30 grains fff black powder times six. Old school now, being Civil War era, however, this was a state of the art weapon used by both the North and the South.  

I enjoy shooting these guns because they demand a slower pace granting me time to think and to focus on accuracy.

While trying to hold steady on the paper in front of me,  I thought about how I would not want to load and fix the regular jams of these guns while someone was shooting at me.  I thought about the technology of these guns causing more American casualties than in all of the United States wars combined.  I thought about the causes of the Civil War.  I thought about MLK day, hatred and assassination.  I thought about more...

Shooting black powder is visceral; you feel the thud and hear the blast as wonderfully sulfurous smoke hangs in the air.  Today I learned that thinking while shooting has much the same effect.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jan. 17th Trip to Itasca and Swim in the Mississippi Headwaters.

Two other dads and I took a group of skiers to Itasca for the weekend to ski. Snow conditions did not allow skiing, so we went on a hike with a football.  The other fathers and I hustled to keep up, as the kids ran, jumped and tackled each other.  I am impressed by their ability to make the best of a ski trip without enough snow to ski.

When we got to our cabin we discovered that the furnace was out; it was ambient temperature or colder inside.  Kids huddled around an electric space heater and  had a blast.

During a similar trip last year the skiers and I waded the Mississippi's icy waters.  This year one of the boys decided that we needed to get submerged.  Five skiers and I went into the shallow water and did a push-up to get under the surface.  This turned into a push up contest.  The winner was able to do about 10 below the water.

Harris makes the swim and walks back to our changing tent and a set of dry clothes.  We kept wool socks on to protect our feet in and out of the water.  This trick made being submerged in the cold water easier than I anticipated.

 It is good to travel with people who are interested in making their own fun.  I am proud to associate with such fine young people.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ski Season

Busy with the ski season again this year.  It's a blast.  The picture below is of a figure 8 course I groomed on an irrigation pond on our campus.  I used my snow blower to augment the sparse snow on the track.  Ended up making this cool pattern.  I invited Claire's team from Math and Science Academy over for an afternoon of fast paced racing in the Infinity Bowl.

Below is our Skidoo Skandic with the Tidd Tech groomer.  I've had it out a few times this year.

After a race Claire and Harris are eating gyros.  Both were the fastest varsity skiers for their teams on this day.  I'm proud of the hard work and fun these two put into skiing.