Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Easter Jackalope Strikes Again!


 I knew it was time to get out the flocked jackalope and take some pictures---she's been antsy, just sitting up there on top of my fridge along with the flocked squirrel and the cat salt-n-pepper shakers. Actually, Ms Jackalope had quite an adventure the other day when Mr Scampers (my kitten) climbed up on a chair and snagged her from her perch. Thankfully she survived in one piece and is here to bring you a kitschy "Happy Easter" greeting :)


Hmmm, I think she looks a bit surprised here, like we came upon her nest at the edge of the woods (these are Northwest jackalopes, after all) and she isn't sure what to do. Will she charge and gore us with her little horns?

Nope, she lets us take the eggs for a photo session, on the condition we return them to the nest :)

Jackalope tales aside, I took some time today to color eggs, something I haven't done in a few years. I was rooting around in my spice cabinet and found an ancient food coloring kit. Some hot water, a dash of white vinegar and some drops of food coloring led to these variously-hued eggs. The ones in the moss basket were achieved with a left-over day old cup of coffee into which I put a few drops of red, then yellow, food coloring and a bit of vinegar. The bi-colored ones are rolled in baking micro-glitter:


This decoration came about because I started to try to do an ombre design on the eggs, then got lazy. Hey, I'll just put glitter on it! Always a good solution.


Easter is at once exciting and low-key for me. I celebrate it as the wonderous renewal of the green growing things that it is. And speaking of green growing spring things, I attended a wild foods workshop in Portland this weekend given by Dr John Kallas, pre-eminant foraging scholar and teacher. Because of him, I will be having a bacon and dandelion quiche tonight with a big-leaf maple blossom salad on the side. But more on that next time. In the meantime, we return the eggs to Ms Jackalopes' nest:





And hope for some jackalope hatchlings :)





Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mushrooms, Moss and Skulls, Oh My!


I got an invitation to go hunting for morels last weekend, and ever the acceptor of invitations to go to the forest, I went along although I have never hunted morels before. The biggest finds of the day turned out to be the deer (or possibly elk, in the case of the larger one) skulls you see above. We came upon the almost entire skeletons of these animals, which were either cougar kills, or, in the opinion of one of the people I was with, possible victims of the terrible freeze we had during the winter.  Another person in our party found a bobcat skull a few miles away. We also found evidence of several grouse kills:





As for morels, well, we didn't find a single one, although we found plenty of what are called "false morels":




Slimy and brain-like they did not suggest edibility and apparently, they aren't---the literature I have read terms them as poisonous.

Walking along a trail a little later, we found these gorgeous fungi:






The offical mushroomer of our party felt that these are Amanita pantherina, related to those classic red fly agaric Amanitas that evoke the fairytale forest.

Not far away from those mushrooms was this amazing bunch of moss and lichen:




I felt lucky to be out and about on a fine and wild spring day!

(ye old disclaimer: I am not a mycologist. I present my pictures for our mutual enjoyment but not for identification purposes. If you are hunting mushrooms, bring an experienced person with you!)


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cat versus Potato



As promised, here is my latest video of Mr Scampers, this time wrestling a potato. Cats are funny :)

 


Have you heard of the Internet Cat Video Film Festival? This is an awesome outdoor event
that takes place in Minneapolis, MN at the Walker Art Center's Open Field. This description,
directly from the Walker website, describes what the event is all about:
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While normally viewed alone on a computer screen, our unofficial cat-lady-in-residence invites you to come gather together on the field and LOL in the presence of others as your favorite silly cat videos are projected larger-than-life one after the other.  Experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together. Participate in this experiment that tests the social boundaries of the online community with a live, off-line event as we attempt to gather in physical space and real time to enjoy one of the internet’s most popular phenomena.

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Walker Art Center has sent out a "cat call" for nominations for the festival. You can find the nomination form here.
Mr. Scampers would be delighted if you enjoyed his video and nominated him for the film festival.
You can also nominate any internet cat videos you have enjoyed, including your own. Let's hear it for cats on the big screen!

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