Blogger and Boletes

Last weekend we went looking for Boletus edulis in the San Mateos southwest of here.

It was an amazingly bloggish crew– us, MDMNM and Miss A., Mrs. Peculiar who also blogs as The Pumpkin King (Mr. P. is guiding in the Grand Canyon); and non- blogger saluki fan, artist, architect, and polymath Daniela Imre, another Magdalenian. Our core NM blog crew lacked only Labrat and Stingray.

Here we are all taking pix of each other– photos by Daniela.

Mrs P. examines a prospect.

Me cutting a not very good specimen.

Non edulis ‘shrooms.

We saw the odd local very black tassle- eared squirrels,a young melanistic redtail and a ferruginous hawk, and many pronghorn with babies, but only harvested enough for a rissot’. But with the festive case of wine brought by MDMNM, pounds of Trader Joe’s cheese ditto, and Alaska salmon he caught and smoked himself, we had a royal feast and way too much fun. More at Sometimes Far Afield.

Enjoyable/ Interesting Links

Prarie Mary sent me pics of a white eagle picked up in Colorado, and now Carel Brest Van Kempen has has blogged it, along with other white raptors. Some feather whiteness appears to be deleterious– it might not be a good idea to release it again.

The fearless Annie D. somehow found these amazing octopus chandeliers when looking at the Barbie sites (below.)

Russians. Apparently, the contest to name the greatest Russian may come down to either the last Czar– or Stalin.

Derb finds unusual names in New Zealand when a 9 year old kid named “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii” petitioned to have her name changed. They had apparently blocked some frivolous names (like “Sex Fruit”) but allowed “Violence” (!) and “Number 16 Bus shelter”.

Darren has some amazing photos of a leopard killing a croc, with links.

Pluvi is back! With ferrets!

“About Me”

Matt sometimes does searches that wouldn’t occur to me, and last week sent two reviews of Querencia the book from two excellent blogs. First is from Terrie Miller in California, who also sent me the wonderful Bouchon cookbook. She writes in part: “To many of us, the love of wildlife seems directly opposed to the practice of hunting. But I’m starting to believe that hunting is not the problem…that our current mainstream culture is the problem, and that it’s perverted the ancient rite of hunting into another form of consumerism that is repugnant. That’s the topic of another post here someday…but Querencia and Eagle Dreams have played a part in my broadening view of these topics.” I’d quote more but I am blushing as it is.

I will respect the privacy of the blogger “Nagrom” and not reveal his name but he has an excellent blog too, Rum and Donuts. I’m going to quote him at length because we actually know each other, though I didn’t know he had a blog:

“I was raised “interesting”. It did not seem so at the time, but what child ever really understands that their life may not be normal? It is in a nature of their very being to take whats put before them and run with it. What was put before me was a life in the outdoors, surrounded by art and books and guns, without other children, among the company of writers and cowboys, wetbacks and artists. And I thought that was how everyones life was.


“I have, through no organized intention, recently returned to some of the more interesting people of my childhood via literature. Now, I claim no particularly deep knowledge, connection, or friendship, with these men – Simply that I knew them, via my father, and ignored them in the way only children can adults.
Stephen Bodio was that weird guy with the dogs and falcons that my dad used to talk country living, guns and hunting with in the post office, gas station or coffee shop for what seemed like tedious hours to a six year old. I always knew he was a writer, but never really paid much attention until recently. While searching blogger several months ago I came across his excellent blog, Stephen Bodio’s Querencia, much to my surprised delight. It has been a regular read ever since. At my parents home a few weeks ago, I was raiding their bookshelves for a few different volumes – Intending to borrow 10,00 Goddamn Cattle by Katie Lee, and Horseman Pass By by McMurtry, and whatever else I could lay hands on, I saw they had somewhere acquired a second paperback copy of Bodio’s autobiographical work Querencia, so I nabbed that as well.”


“As a writer who firmly believes, yet also struggles with the idea, that the best writing is done scared, done aching and afraid of whats on the paper but knowing it would be unhealthy to quit, I was fascinated and moved by Bodio’s writing. Writing so freshly on the heels of a great loss, and detailing not the loss alone but the life before it, must have been both painful and healing, and it shows in the words, some of which simply bleed. Further, as a native resident of the small mountain community Bodio describes, more than the words of hope and sorrow bleed for me – People, places, events I knew, or have known, since childhood are described in loving detail. Seeing these individuals and things through the fresh eyes of Bodio, writing as the outsider coming in, was immensely pleasurable at the same time as it was often sad. Querencia has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf as a work of great love, and a documentation of a place and time that also exists somewhat in my own history, which is now gone.”

All I can say is that his words moved me too, and thanks. He will be a writer to watch.

By the way, we’ll have to fix away to sell them easily, but I now have the whole stock of the book.

Food Links

Chas sent this rather odd Wired link on eating pigeons. Why odd? I’d say the tone of disbelief and humorous near disgust:

“When you look at a pigeon, you might see a dirty, rat-like bird that fouls anything it touches with feathers or feces, but I see a waste-scavenging, protein-generating biomachine.”

(Big snip)

“But as part of this 65 percent not-kidding thought experiment, let’s assume that there’s nothing horrifically bad about eating pigeon.

“Really, all pigeons need is a re-branding. Just as the spurned Patagonian toothfish became the majestic Chilean sea bass and the silly Chinese gooseberry became the beloved kiwifruit, pigeons can merely reclaim their previous sufficiently arugula-sounding name: squab.”

The idea that nobody eats pigeon is remarkable to say the least.

Reid sent this interesting NYT story about burgers in Paris. It made me feel a bit ambivalent, as many things Parisian do. Some of them sound delicious, but the pretension!

““It has the taste of the forbidden, the illicit — the subversive, even,” said Hélène Samuel, a restaurant consultant here. “Eating with your hands, it’s pure regression. Naturally, everyone wants it.””

Uuuh.. yeah.

““It’s not just a fad,” said Frédérick Grasser-Hermé, who, as consulting chef at the Champs-Élysées boîte Black Calvados, developed a burger made with wagyu beef and seasoned with what she calls a black ketchup of blackberries and black currants. “It’s more than that. The burger has become gastronomic.””

Whatever you say, Frederick.

Around the Web…

Back from a great weekend of wildlife watching, mushroom hunting, and eating and drinking with bloggers- more below (Or rather, above). But first let me catch up with the news, serious, unserious, amusing and distressing…

On our perrenial concern, AR, anti hunters and so on: the LAT does a fawning profile of Wayne Pacelle. Apart from the obvious two thing come to mind. First is his attitude to his girlfriend’s cat. She says: “He just lets her be. So, of course, she just crawls on the counters and he lets her crawl up and sit on his chest. If he needs to work, he’ll ask me to remove her.”” I second Matt in finding that creepy!

Second: doesn’t that whole crowd in the photo look like they are in dire need of cheeseburgers?

Anti- hunting: Vladimir Beregovoy sent a link to New York Post story on a proposed “Animal Rights” curriculum for New Jersey schools.

” “The Zargon Connection” is part of a free “Humane and Responsible Teachers” curriculum designed for grades pre-K-9. Created by the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance (NJARA), the package includes classroom exercises, activities and lesson plans. These documents include NJARA advice like discouraging field trips to zoos and aquariums because they “perpetuate the belief that it’s acceptable to imprison animals.”

“One of NJARA’s issues is the killing of wildlife for management or sport, and the Zargon Connection is the educational tool they want teachers to use – on sixth graders. It is a science fiction story in which Earth is invaded by Zargonians-aliens that hunt and eat human beings for sport.


“Occasionally, in a technique known as baiting, Zargonians will set up a fast food restaurant or pizza parlor and burst in on us while we eat, with their street sweepers blazing.” “

Meanwhile, another uncomprehending anti weighs in in the Seattle P. I. (HT Tom McIntyre.) It is one of the worst rants I have seen yet.

“Speaking of happiness, there are many things that make me happy: visits from out-of-town friends, unsolicited hugs from my daughter, Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding. But one thing stands out from all those warm and fuzzies, and that’s when hunters are attacked by the animals they hunt.


“Call me callous and hard-hearted, but I can’t help but cheer on the animal that defends its life against the human dressed up in clothes that resemble shrubbery armed with the high-powered rifle, night-vision scope, GPS unit, tree-stand, animal scents and alcohol-fueled macho bravado.

“Recent headlines that have given me great pleasure include:

“Hunter injured by rhino,” “Mountain lion pounces on local hunter” and “Swedish hunter attacked by elk.”


“And you know how hunters are. Once they get the big green light to overhunt, they are eager and more than willing to do so. Hey, bring the kids! Junior’s old enough for his first kill.”

Yeah, she knows how hunters are. BTW, she is described as a comedian.

From the same paper, Wendy Parker sent this story on the roller pigeon breeders who killed raptors. There is now an amendment to the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty in the works to make killing a protected bird a felony. I think this is overkill– it has been illegal for years. Rebecca has a better and more thoughtful idea.

“Pigeoners lose hundreds of birds a year to hawks. Some racing pigeons may be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Even the rollers, not worth much more than a couple of bucks a piece, constitute thousands of dollars in birds, feed and labor not to mention love. The pigeoners have no great solutions for how to manage their two greatest foes, Cooper’s hawks and falcons. USFWS will neither allow them to trap the birds for relocation nor do they offer help to figure out how to live with raptors in their backyard. It is a challenging quandary. It is, in fact the sort of problem-solving that would be a worthy challenge to some talented avian trainers. In the smallest component the behavior to decrease is the raptor grabbing the pigeon.”


Veganism is bad for the environment, says Wesley Smith.

(And isn’t it always the veggies and antis who sound intolerant? Ever hear a carnivore say something like the PETA supporter he quotes: ” When actress Jessica Simpson recently wore a T-shirt bearing the words “Real Girls Eat Meat,” the animal-rights zealots pounced. “Jessica Simpson might have a right to wear what she wants,” a PETA spokesperson said, “but she doesn’t have a right to eat what she wants…”)

Enough gloom! Next, food; then, fun & cool stuff…

You Can’t See Me

I’ve been meaning to post this picture of a masterful camouflage job for all you reptile lovers out there. One of my crew members took this shot of a flat-tail horned lizard while we were in the field in the Yuha Desert in Imperial County. The state of California lists these guys as a “Species of Special Concern” and the BLM and Forest Service list this as a “sensitive species”. Not listed as an Endangered Species yet, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering it for listing, I believe.

My photographer said the critter’s camouflage was so good she almost stepped on it. Glad she didn’t.


I found this NYT essay on narcissistic personalities in the news somewhat interesting, but absolutely loved the acompanying graphic.

Following my sister’s usage, lately I’ve been referring to such self-important people as suffering from C.U.D. (Center of the Universe Disorder).

Problems in Pompeii

The Italian government is taking measures to save the ruins at Pompeii from deterioration, and has declared a year-long state of emergency for the ancient Roman city. Approximately 2.6 million tourists visit Pompeii annually, and the pressure of all those feet pounding through the place, vandalism and exposure to the elements has the ruins falling into ruins.

This reminded me of a post I did a couple of years ago on another World Heritage Site that is being “loved to death”, Machu Picchu.