Week 23, part 2 (9–11 June 2023)
We're finally back home! The last few weeks have been long and busy, first with friends over (week 1, week 2), then in Berlin, then Sicily (week 1, week 2) and on our trip back through Sardinia. We're slowly getting back to our old rhythm, cooking, climbing, gardening. I thought I would have slept for a week straight after having put my bag down, but no: things are happening!
This is part two of Weeknote #14, covering only a few days at the end of week 23. Part one covered Sardinia and it's over here.
Coming back, we found the garden—that we left full of fresh, colorful springtime flowers and leaves—lush and humid, almost tropical. It's been consistently raining in the evening for the past couple of weeks, but still hot during the day, so everything grew, and grew fast. It's uncommon to have so much rain in the spring, but it's also very welcome after the record-breaking drought of this winter.
Veg: the zucchini that we planted not only flowered while we were gone, but our three first zucchini were ripe and waiting for us, delicious. We had the very last snow peas that F kept for us, and we haven't missed fava beans and green peas. The tomato, aubergine, pepper plants are doing great so far and probably quadrupled in size over the last three weeks.
Fruit: cherry season came and went, there were practically no cherries (they rotted on trees) but I'm loving the remaining sour cherries. I ate juneberries for the first time. Apricot and peach season is starting but we'll get these from the market mostly. Also people are hopeful about plums this year: trees are full of unripe fruit, bending their branches.
Finally in the leaves and flowers department amaranth is growing wild everywhere and we've learned to use it like spinach (it even tastes like it, I'd say it tastes even more like spinach than spinach). There are a lot of flowers in the garden still, different ones (roses and eschscholzia are mostly out, replaced by cornflowers and many more that I need to learn to recognize and name). We weeded a bit of the garden where there was a bit of mint, so we replanted it in planter boxes on the terrasse—there might be enough for a mojito or a julep in the summer (or other mint drinks send recs).
There seems to be less birds than in the spring (migrated north already?) and there's a lot of insects, I've become a mosquito buffet for the past couple of days and will probably go get some repellent spray.
On Saturday E went mushrooming and brought back the biggest cep mushroom I've seen in my life. F was all giddy and we lightly fried it right away with parsley and garlic. A single mushroom was enough for an entrée for three.
So on Sunday morning, we went mushrooming (for the first time!1)
C took us to spots she knew, a short walk from the house, and we found SO MANY! Probably beginners luck (or just perfect timing, right after sustained precipitations) but we came home with a basket filled with half chanterelles and half ceps (the cep is the prized mushroom around here).
- where to go around here
- the required gear: a basket, an opinel2, a stick to make it easier to walk around and for checking under dried leaves, long sleeves and pants against the mosquitoes
- to recognize ceps and chanterelles, we've eaten both plenty of times but it doesn't look quite the same in the woods
- that the best spots are usually in clearings in chestnut groves, where there's humidity but also a bit of sun
- that pine usually doesn't have chanterelles or ceps underneath, high acidity in the soil (that's also why pine forests are often just pine). But they have other mushroom (level 2 mushrooming)
- how to cut mushroom, near the root but leave the bottom part in (so they reproduce somehow? I don't know how mushrooms work)
- in doubt, leave the mushroom
Can't wait to go back!
Finally back to our movie setup!
- Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023), by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. Nice entertaining movie, fun to watch after we played a couple of campaigns back in Berlin. I wish the movie had a bit of a tabletop game vibe instead of a regular fantasy vibe—the game is also a lot about its own mechanics and not purely about the story.
I started listening to a new audiobook while cooking/gardening, Paper Names by Susie Luo. I also have a couple of books in progress from before our trip that I'd like to pick back up. And we're planning a trip to the library soon for a refill.