Tuffy P did some Christmas baking today, with the help of our nanogenarian neighbour, the amazing Alma.
My friend Arno came by today with a basket of beautiful habaneros from his garden. I’ll be slicing these in half and drying them in the handy dehydrator I also use for drying wild mushrooms. Then I’ll grind them up in a coffee grinder. Arno brought over a big enough batch to supply our household and his with all the super-hot goodness we’ll need for the winter. I’m interested to see if habaneros grown here have the same level of heat as the ones grown in the tropics. Not long ago I dried a batch of scotch bonnets from the grocery store that were very hot indeed.
I think Arno likes hot food more than anyone else I know. We periodically meet up someplace or another for lunch, and Arno has been known to pull a jar of ground habaneros from his pocket to spice things up a little!
I arrived home from work today to find a package had arrived in today’s mail from Edmonton, a day early. You see I won a little raffle. I sponsored my friend Karen on the Run for the Cure, and she decided to hold a draw for her sponsors for a pair of fantastic home-made mittens – and I won!
It gets even better. The box contained other goodies as well…
I reached in and came up with a bag of cookies…..and then an M&Ms toy fan, with M&Ms inside….and that’s not all. I dug really deep and found a Bar of Lindt dark chocolate infused with red chili! Wow, what a treat! Thanks so much Karen.
Off to the Marc Chagall exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario today. The show closes on the 15th, so I’m meeting up with my old friend Tim today to catch the show and catch up. Tim and I know one another going back to both high school and university. That’s back when dinosaurs roamed the earth for those who were wondering. More later….
I took Friday off work and headed up to the secret enchanted mushroom forests to do some foraging. I didn’t have high expectations because the rain we received mid-week wasn’t nearly enough to encourage a good flush of tasty edibles. However, wandering around a forest always makes for a good day, with or without lots of mushrooms to pick.
I went to my most reliable chanterelle spot first and found nothing at all. It was a mushroom-free zone of the worst order. I wandered down the trail thinking I should give the whole area at least a quick look before abandoning ship. I almost stepped on the chanterelles in the picture below, as they were on the edge of the trail I was walking.
Look how well hidden they are in the leaves on the floor of the forest. Encouraged by this find, I examined this chunk of forest carefully. I found just 8 chanterelles in total. I also found two bug-eaten examples of hypomyces lactifluorum. Aha, I thought. The lobsters have started. I high-tailed it over to a nearby forest that always has loads of lobsters, but nada. So I drove to another productive lobster spot, a boggy hemlock forest. Again nada. At this spot, I was reminded that there are many inconsiderate idiots roaming this planet. See the photo below:
Who did they think was going to clean up after them?
Off I went to yet another forest. This is one I’ve only recently learned about. However, today there were no mushrooms around. It was a beautiful forest to walk through though.
Later on Friday, our pals Candy and Stagg came over, and also Behzad, another friend we’ve known for many years. We enjoyed some bbq and a couple excellent games of scrabble. It was great to see Candy and Stagg, who have been on an incredible roadtrip and recently arrived in Toronto.
OK, not from Istanbul…but we did get a telephone call from Louisiana tonight from our pals Anthony and Candy, calling from a campground somewhere outside of New Orleans. How great to hear from them. We’ve been following the progress of their amazing road-trip on Candy’s blog. It seems like only yesterday we were on a road-trip with them. We had met up at the International Accordion Festival in San Antonio Texas and drove across Louisiana to New Orleans, having a great time along the way.
We were at the Ron Bloore memorial event Sunday night at the Royal Ontario Museum. Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson spoke, along with a few others, including Ron’s long-time studio assistant and friend Hank Roest. A number of Bloore’s paintings were hung, reminding me what a marvellous painter he was, throughout his career.
I found my self transported back to York University in the 80s, when Bloore raised the bar for me, and pushed me to find my own path as a painter. I remembered our many sketching trips later on. We would walk the forest paths, most of us looking for a vista to draw or paint. Bloore would sit under a tree and start a fantastic pencil drawing of the forest floor at his feet. We always brought a picnic lunch, and usually Ron would bring along a bottle of Retsina. I loved those days.
I recalled the many lunches, when several of us would meet up at the Bloore studio, then head out for a lunch peppered with lively discussion. It seems like yesterday, Bloore looking up over his lunch plate, saying he liked painting because you could look at a painting, see it all at once and know within a fraction of a second if you wanted to invest more time in it. This he compared to film, which required a different kind of leap of faith – the willingness to invest the time, sight unseen.
Ron Bloore was a great painter, a Canadian cultural treasure and a dear friend.