Keep It Dry

For those of you have asked, Weston is fine. He recovered quickly from the hornet incident, and is now full speed ahead. Here he is with Skyla, working on our annual task of bringing firewood into the shed. I continue to be amazed at how capable the kids are these days–I bet they moved two cords on their own. Which goes a long way toward relief for their old man’s back.

The weather’s been so nice I was tempted to keep it outside drying as long as possible, but I took the little bit of precip we had last Friday as warning: Time to get it inside. So, even though it’s still slightly green (due to our late start on firewood collection last spring), I’d rather it not be soaked and rain wet. Hopefully, by the time we need to burn the newest stuff, it will have dried at least a little more. Here’s to a warm October!


Event Schedule Corrections

Just a quick note to let you know I have a couple of changes: The San Francisco event, which is co-sponsored by Green Apple Books and Sports Basement, will be at the Sports Basement Presidio location. It’s still at 4:00pm on Saturday, November 10th.

The Park City, UT, event now has a time as well. I will be at Dolly’s Bookstore at 6:3opm, Friday, November 16th.

I think that about covers it. The West Coast schedule should be set now. I’m looking forward to meeting you out there. Thanks!

Washington Post Review

I found out yesterday the Washington Post was going to review Closer To The Ground on Wednesday. This would be the first national media coverage, and the first review by a real book critic. I was sweating bullets. When I heard it was up online early, I was almost too afraid to look.

Luckily, the reviewer was very kind and now I can pry the bottle of industrial-strength antacids out of my sweaty hands and put it away. What a relief. Many thanks to Karla, Stephanie and especially Ms. Krug at The Post. Anyway, here’s the review:

Go Figure

Last year, we ended our chanterelle picking season on a low note. Five-year old Weston stumbled onto a hornet nest and after several hundreds yards of sprinting, much screaming and a lot of adrenaline, he was covered in 37 stings. In the course of getting him to safety and knocking all the hornets out of his clothes and hat, Stacy and I had a few stings as well. Remarkably, Weston recovered quickly and we were all good.

Fast forward to this weekend. After a bit of rain on Friday, we set out for our first chanterelle harvest of 2012. Weston was a bit nervous, but I reassured him it was a rare occurrence and that we’d be safe. There were a decent number of mushrooms up, and we picked a small bag’s worth. And then Weston came shrieking down the trail, stung again. Thankfully, only once, but he had worked so hard to overcome his fears…I couldn’t believe it. What are the chances? Why him? And how will I ever convince him it’s okay in the future? The Great OutdoorsDad strikes again.

Anyway, we’re all fine. I was going to put up a shot of our harvest, but in the chaos of The Sting, Episode 2, I never took a photo. So this is one of my favorite illustrations that Nikki McClure did for the “Autumn” section of the book. It might be a while before we’re back in the woods now, so we better enjoy the chanterelles we have.


One unforeseen benefit of being too busy for yard maintenance this summer is the explosion of blackberries around the house. Normally, I spend a pretty good amount of time trying to beat back the jungle that’s intent on engulfing our property. It’s just part of living in a small clearing in the woods, I suppose. But this year, with the farm, book work and salmon all taking up time, something had to give. And the creeping barbwire known as Himalaya blackberry is taking over.

Nice thing is, we haven’t had to drive to any of our usual picking spots to stock up. Skyla and Weston just walk out the back door and start snacking. Sure, these Himalayas aren’t as good as the rarer cutleaf blackberry, which has a more complex flavor and stands up better to freezing and baking, but we aren’t complaining. Proximity counts.

One of our recent favorite desserts is fresh blackberry malteds. We put vanilla ice cream in a blender with milk, malt powder (increasingly hard to find, but it’s made by Carnation and still available in some grocery stores) and a couple cups of berries. Give it a whirl and it turns into a treat we can’t get enough of. (Note: if the seeds bother you, just blend and strain the berries first, but the kids say they like the “crunchies” so we just leave ’em in.) Eventually, I’m going to have to whack the vines back into submission, but now I have an excuse to put it off even longer.