Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mushrooms, potatoes and woodsmoke

Yep, autumn is here!
The weather changed quite dramatically about 2 weeks ago. Not that it turned bad, but it turned from summer to autumn almost overnight and quite literally so. A few days of rain, heavy early morning fogs and dropping temperatures meant that the mushrooms popped out of the ground like... well... mushrooms.

As I said before I have become occupied with this year's charcoalkiln and potatoharvest. This year I took my turn in watching and guarding it, learning more in depth about the process of making coal. I will not be able to attend the dismantling of the kiln, so I figured I might as well show you what I've been up to instead of waiting untill the process is completed.
During those watches I was also able to swing a smith's hammer from time to time, but due to limitations in equipment and raw materials I did
not get much else done but a simple wallhanger for coats. The steel striker I had forged turned out to be the wrong material for that purpose, so useless in that manor.
I took 3 watches; wednesday, thursday and sunday afternoon and -evening, with a overnight stay from saturday to sundaymorning; the by now traditional family sleepover. The watches on wednesday and thursday were very relaxed ones. The kiln behaved itself with only 1 burst of flames during these watches, so plenty of time to just sit, relax, enjoy the weather and the forest and just being out there. The shelter we have been building since last year has been completed a while ago and now it was used properly. My family joined me on thursday for an outdoordiner, prepared over an open fire.

On saturday I was "off duty", so the Mrs. my youngest daughter and I took a walk through the woods, heading for the viewpoint we more often visit. Our Dutch summerguests had left a message in the guestbook there, but we were not allowed to read it then, only on our next visit there. It is not a long walk, but the late afternoon early autumn sun poured its golden light over the forest, giving everything a deep, warm glow which gave the already visible autumncolours a very intense appearance. There were mushrooms everywhere and we hated the fact that we do not have any knowledge on the matter. What a rich harvest that would have yielded, since many of the species are indeed edible. Ahhh, the feast that would have been, savouring those mushrooms together with some moosemeat and some red wine.... But alas.... we'll have to make due with some pictures instead...

the biggest mushroom I ever saw!
On our way towards the viewpoint I saw something very peculiar; a treestump that resembled a deer. The backdrop made the image complete;

I never get tired of this view.....

I just hope I did not ruin my wife's view... ;)

Back at the kilnsite it was time to start making dinner. Equally traditional as the sleepover is the making of a beanstew and I have to say it turned out to be the best stew I ever did make! If only I can remember how exactly I did it!
While I was busy doing so, my wife got her first lessons in mushroom-ology. We so really want to learn this, but running into the woods with a book in our hands and taking our chances..... Those fungi are not to be messed with! 

By now the area was covered in tents. All in all there were some 15 kids + accompanying adults and the place really looked like a camping. I thought it was "slightly" overcrowded and above all noisy. Kids running around, high on a sugarrush, screaming and tossing fireworks around is not my idea of fun. Despite that it did turn out to be a good evening with some drinks, some small talk and a lot of laughs.
And I had the best bed in the house: I was to share the night with my youngest daughter in the coaler's cabin and she thought that was awesome!! By the time she went to bed, the majority of the kids had burned up their carbs, so they quieted down a little, making it possible for her to fall asleep.... which did not take that long. The rest of the kids were then treated to a ghoststory in the shelter, which in itself was not all that spooky. That is until the storyteller, in an unguarded moment, took a piece of firewood and in the middle of a sentence banged hard on the metal chimney in the shelter, scaring the living bejesus out of every one! Our youngest did not even catch that. She slept like a baby and seeing her lying there, lit the the flicker of the flames in the fireplace.... Well, that gave me a special feeling.... I could not help but smile and feel proud of her.

The day after was pretty uneventful. We made breakfast, broke camp and headed home around 11. We unpacked the car, I grabbed some food and headed back. We had to close up the kiln, so it would stop burning. 

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