Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful for mushrooming, Part IV

One of the mushrooms that we didn't pick, seen below, sort of shimmered with a most pale yellow-green sheen. Lamont told me that look signaled poisonous. The photo doesn't really show the color properly, but you can see the sheen.
When I saw this next remnant of a huge tree, I stopped and stood there for a few moments before I even put my camera up to my eye. I felt as if I stood before the altar in an awe-inspiring cathedral. I took several photos and liked what I saw in my little view screen. What do you think/feel? I'm very curious about your reaction to these photos.
Again, from a different angle which gives you a look at the upward-pointing shard of wood at the very top.
You can see in this photo that the wood has fallen away, leaving a formation similar to steps, albeit moss-covered, but leading upward nevertheless.
I asked Lamont which why were we going, and he pointed down and to the left. When I looked I saw a huge fallen tree and heard a creek, both between me and where he meant for us to go. "What makes you think I can go that way?" I asked. "There's a great big ol' tree in the way." "There's a way, Mom. We'll make it work," he replied. And he did. On the far left of the photo, see where the trunk changes color? And on the ground beneath that spot, another place that is more brown than green? Lamont stepped first on the lower spot, then on the spot on the trunk, showing me where to put my feet, then waited on top of the tree to provide support for my ultimately successful efforts.
I even paused atop the trunk, with Lamont steadying me, to shoot this photo of the running water.
More little beauties we didn't pick.
These two, from above ...
...and beside.
Here's the last chanterelles that I found on Nov. 11, with the Gerber knife Leland loaned me alongside.
As we neared the car--yes, Lamont said that's what we were doing but you couldn't prove it by me because I thought we were way higher up than the car--Lamont searched the high bank to our left.
Remember back when I started the mushrooming series, I mentioned that success was 90% preparation and 10% perspiration? Well, take a good look at Leland's hair and you'll have an idea of just how hot we'd all become. With my two raincoats keeping in my body heat as I endeavored to be a successful mushroom hunter, walking, clambering, climbing, kneeling, the only wet I felt didn't come from the occasional mist or sprinkle of rain--my back was damp and sweaty. And Leland had long hung his wonderful brown Indiana Jones sort of hat on his backpack. As for the wet spots on the back of his thighs, and it appears also on Lamont's, likely it came from walking through wet thigh-high foliage.
After getting one chanterelle, Leland spied more, at the edge of the drop-off to our right.
He carefully harvested it.
Back at the car, with the bounty on display. The guys have already shed their backpacks, Lamont his gaiters, too.
Me and the mushrooms. I couldn't feel those damp gray pants at all, what with the other pair underneath, so I didn't change clothes. I just got in the front seat for the ride home.
On the way back, we ate our picnic riding along, enjoying memories of the guys' Daddy and his Toll House cookies and Chex party mix. All of his friends knew LeRoy loved to make those two things and then share them with whomever happened to be around. The guys were too young when he died to have many memories like that, so it was special to talk about them as we ate. Later on we stopped for gasoline, and I got a bottle of water and a bottle of orange juice. After a visit to the facilities, I knew I'd be OK to drink both of them, which I promptly did. As we rode we also talked about how to divide the 10-12 pounds of mushrooms. Since Lamont's been taking all of his others to 3 Doors Down, I figured we'd do the same with these. He suggested that I keep some and try cooking them, so I did. Leland decided to keep some to cook at home, too. In no time it seemed, we had parked near the restaurant and then picked up our baskets for the short walk to the door. After the guys spread the chanterelles out for all to see, I shot this photo. Dave, the chef owner of 3 Doors Down, stood nearby, clearly happy with our haul.
All in all, I believe Lamont's comments earlier in the day, about our mushrooming adventure, summed it up pretty well. He said, "What's more surreal--an African American man has been elected President of the United States, I'm taking my mother in my own car that I have insurance for mushrooming hunting in Oregon?" He laughed as he reflected on those thoughts. I said, "And your brother,too, only one week from the election." "Yeh," he replied, "they're both surreal," and gave me a big grin.

Like Bob Hope always sang, guys, "Thanks for the memories." You did you Mama a huge favor, taking her to the woods.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thankful for Thanksgiving at the guys--mushrooming to return soon

Thanksgiving Dinner
Close-up of the turkey and carrots
Close-up of the rolls
Close-up of the butter
Close-up of the mashed potatoes
Close-up of the apple pie
Close-up of the pumpkin pie
Close-up of the cranberry sauce
Now that I've got you wondering, I'll explain. This series of photos does not show our Thanksgiving at the guys--I took them standing on the sidewalk at the corner of SW 11th and SW Alder, outside Knit Purl. I just called the store and found out that the food is felted, which I suspected it might be. Then the nice lady told me that it's not knitted, then felted, it's just felted, which she explained as working with the yarn with hot water--one of the ladies who teaches classes in the store made all of it.

Here's our real Thanksgiving lunch, courtesy of Lamont who used the meat from smoked turkey legs, the stock from the carcass, and pearl onions, butternut squash, parsnips, celery, and chanterelles (not the ones we found, though), plus a wonderfully flaky crust, to make these three turkey pot pies. He had smoked the turkey on Tuesday, after taking it off the bone; he shaved the breast meat into the perfect size for sandwiches.

I took this photo through the partially open oven door which made that shadow across the back two.
Lamont reached into the oven to get the pot pies out and put them onto the counter.
Here's a close-up of two of them.
Mama and I had the dessert assignment. After work on Wednesday, I went to Zupan’s at NW 23rd and Burnside where I had gone last year for a cute little cheesecake. I found another cheesecake, not a Dave-at-3-Doors-Down-looking-cheesecake, but an acceptable substitute. Then I got to sample a Jaciva cherry pie and knew I had to get one of them. The sample-lady informed me that Jaciva also makes apple pies, so I got one of them, too. I know, I know. That's a lot of dessert, but I wanted to do something special, out of the ordinary, and this is what I decided to do. Little did I know that dad and brother of the guys' other roomie, Brodie, were bringing pies, too! Theirs came from Whole Foods, a pumpkin and a pecan. I couldn't resist taking a pie-line-up photo!
Mama and Lamont, with her plate of turkey pot pie.
My pot pie.
Leland and Kailey with their pot pie.
Brodie's brother Chad and Brodie.
My cherry pie and my pecan pie. To tell you the truth, that's the best pecan pie that I've eaten in years, and I know where to go buy one for us--Mama and I love pecan pie!
Duncan walked all over the living room and kitchen, circling and sniffing, over and over until he finally wore himself out and flopped down on the floor. We'd brought his quilt, so he curled up underneath it while we finished eating and visiting.
Brodie, his dad Gary, his brother Chad, in front of the guys' fireplace, just before Gary and Chad left for home.
About half an hour later, Mama, Duncan and I left for home, too, courtesy of Leland who had driven over to pick us up and then took us back to the apartment. Kailey went along to keep us all company. Our Thanksgiving was memorable.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful for mushrooming, Part III

To get this photo, I held one of the largest mushrooms we found in my left hand and the camera in my right.
Lamont got close to the ground among the ferns and evergreens.
Sweet smile to me, his mom.
If you look closely, you can see Lamont on the left and Leland on the right, diligently searching and harvesting chanterelles among the ferns.
Lamont's find.
Leland's find.
Wow--what a mushroom!
See its size in relation to Leland!
And here it is in my basket.
At times like this, the woods seemed like a maze, but I had not a single worry, trusting my sons as I did to get me, themselves and the mushrooms back to the car.
Look at this terrain behind the guys and their baskets. Fallen trees of all sizes cover the ground.
Lamont heads up and over a fallen tree.
The guys stopped for a moment to stand beside this huge stump! In the background, see the trees lying across the clearing? In a few moments after I took this photo, I decided to take a seat and rest there while the guys went across a little creek and into a darker part of the woods. They said they'd come back in a little while and get me.
Lamont took a few steps and found a mushroom.
Here he is with it. You can see my downed-tree-resting-spot even better in this photo.
I placed my basket on the tree trunk beside me and got this photo.
Lamont came back and got me. When I looked back at one point at what he'd helped me climb and clamber over, I couldn't believe it. I don't think this photo does it justice, but it's all I could get. Little space existed between trunks and limbs, all with moss everywhere. I said, "Hey, guys, I feel like I've landed in Ewok land." They agreed, and Leland said, "That's Endor, Mom." "Right, I remember now. Endor," I said.
Lamont has both of our baskets--I'd need both hands free to help myself over the terrain. And when I saw this part of it, I thought, "Ah, less obstacles!"
Here's a lavender-purple mushroom that we left right where it grew.
And a brown one, too.
And these little ones, growing so sure of themselves.
How about this little crowd of mushrooms?
A drop of gold, found by Leland. He waited for me to get there so that I could take photos.
Harvesting it from the earth, carefully.
Not long afterward, Leland disappeared behind some low branches, only to find a great chanterelle. "You ought to see this one," he cried. "It's huge!" "Hold it up above the limbs," I said. And he did.
Here it is from the stem side.
Lamont took this photo for me, to show you those trees in the background. I managed with his help to get up and on and over them. Only casualty--my pants leg came out of my boots, but I didn't even notice that until I saw the photo.

Sorry, y'all, but I took so many pictures that I can't finish yet! Mama said, "Don't put so many pictures on there." I replied, "Mama, this is for me, too, because some day when I can't remember some of this, all I'll have to do it look at the blog." "Oh," she said, and she then remembered what she'd understood after reading through the printed sheets from Lucy's visit. I'm mailing them to my Aunt Baker in Puckett, Mississippi, who doesn't have a computer. Mama had looked up from the kitchen table and announced, "I know what your blog is. It's a journal." She's so right. And I thank you for indulging me!