Thursday, October 18, 2007

Under Every Tree

The Woods are full of them.

After our wettish summer the mushroom hunters are out in force. You see them everywhere, walking with their heads down and their beady little eyes scanning the ground, blind to everything but the fungi.

Most of them are looking for chanterelles, probably because they don't know any better.

But the farmer has been raking in Zeller's Boletus, an undersung mushroom and close cousin to the boletus edulis, the mushroom of a thousand names, including the cep, the cepe, the steinpilz, the Karl Johan, the varganya, the borovik, the penny bun. If you are a foodie, you probably know it by its plural Italian name: porcini.

Around here it is called the king boletus, and not for nothing, because it is pretty much the king of mushrooms. We don't find many king boletus, even in a year like this, because we are at too low of an elevation, but the humble Zeller's - homely as they come with its purple neck, its spongy underside, its dingy cap - is hiding in plain sight just about everywhere.

The farmer doesn't even bother with the flashy overpraised chanterelles any more, they take up too much space in the basket and they aren't as good, in spite of what some of the mushroom book writers have written about lowly Zeller's - "edible but not incredible", etc.

Ha. Keep your fancy chanterelles.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Lucy and Leo on the porch, back when they were babies. Lucy and Leo were tiny toggamanchas (now they are big) and they were holy terrors. They went everywhere together, living life in duplicate.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Male Trouble

As far as I can tell the human animal does not think it is an animal. But if it would just accept this fact and use some of its common sense to understand the lessons of the animal world then a lot of its troubles could be remedied.

For example, today Wrusty Nails, Peaches' son who is ordinarily about as charming as a buck can be, went crazy. He went absolutely loco. In his state of non compos mentis, he decided that he could fit his entire large body through a 4 by 4 inch hole. That is the size of the openings in the fencing wire in his pen.

I didn't even mention his head, which is about the size of a basketball.

Anyway, Wrusty was completely berserk.


I think you know why.


Wrusty wanted to go over and talk to some pretty goat girls, or even one of the frumpy ones, about his opinions on the carbon footprint and so on, and he wanted to do it really badly, and he wanted to do it right away, and since he can't jump six feet (unlike my daughter Hannah Belle) he decided that he would just go through the fence.

And here is the really crazy part: he did it.

By sheer boneheadedness and determination he pushed his head into the hole in the fence, and then he kept pushing, and then finally like the Popeye of goats, he burst all the way through, snapping the heavy gauge wire like it was a spider web. The farmer came out just as Wrusty was completing the final mile of his arduous journey, and Wrusty was quickly escorted to the horse trailer for the duration of the ensuing fence repairs, while the goat girls who were in heat lined up along the fence calling to him.

"Wrusty, where are you going? What about the carbon footprint?"

And that is the essence of the male trouble we have around here this time of year. The goat girls go into heat, and it lasts maybe a day or two, and during that time the goat girls are willing to discuss the carbon footprint when at all other times of the year they would run screaming - literally screaming - if Wrusty Nails or any of his shaggy odiferous ilk ever came blubbering around.

But the goat boys, the bucks, go into a state of unbelievably monomaniacal insanity that lasts 24 hours a day and 7 days a week until the last of the goat girls has come out the other side of her heat wave. They stand ever vigilant, ready at a moment's notice, thinking of nothing nothing nothing else. They don't care about pain or about hunger or about rain or cold or wind. They are crazy, and they do absolutely crazy things without a second thought. Without a first thought, really.

But on the other side of the coin, the goat girls can only afford to go crazy for a couple of days at most.

Because no society can function when all the girls are crazy. Nothing would get done. No milk, no functioning hierarchy, no one to raise the kids.

So the girls go crazy in installments, and in between times they come to their senses and keep everything running smoothly. Many times I have asked myself, looking at the father of my children, "what was I thinking?" It's okay, though, because it doesn't last.

But the boys go crazy, and they don't come back.

And they must be monitored very carefully, or else they will invade Austria at the drop of a hat.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You May Find Yourself In Another Part of the World

Boo got out yesterday. Nobody knows how, especially not Boo.

The farmer came out and Boo was standing in the garden, looking dazed and confused. The look on her face was pure Talking Heads, circa 1984.

"How Did I Get Here?"

She was so puzzled she hadn't even bothered to destroy any valuable plants, or eat any forbidden fruit. She was standing smack next to the dwarf apple tree, and hadn't eaten so much as a leaf.

Within a few short minutes she was able to identify the farmer as someone she remembered seeing somewhere, possibly in a previous lifetime rather than eight zillion times a day every day of her life, and gratefully trundled over to be taken back to the barn.