*** well, it's 7am, and we slept at the Roost last night (we rarely do this, but Juwels wanted to go to a 6:30am yoga class, and I wasn't about to leave the Winnie at that hour, so we just slept here in the studio, so she could sneak off in the morning and leave me snoring). In any event, as soon as the diesel trucks started into the industrial complex here, and the noise of the train became more prominent, I was up - and now I'm all yours - so here we go. A long overdue blog .. enjoy !!!
Morning ; )
At about 2am, we entered the forest with our futon, metal frame and all, sticking out of the open truck bed and haphazardly tied down. We didn't have definitive plans for the Blue Moon, (this is where there's two full moons in a single month .. won't happen again till 2015) and Juwels had hurriedly packed snacks and fruit - pine nuts, cantaloupe, a thermos of reishi mushroom tea, and various other mason jar juices and tasty leftovers.
I could barely see straight after my long day of pouring candles at the Roost as well as my expired bed time. But with Juwels at the wheel, dodging tree stumps and giant rocks which could crack the Trucka's transmission in two, the censors in my brain seemed to fire, "Woah, look out .. no, that way ... ah - look - jack rabbit !!!"
Outside the truck, the tall grass was already cloaked in a heavy dampness that wouldn't burn off until breakfast, and my sweat pants and bare feet were wet and itchy. Juwels, being the princess w/ her pea, wanted to find the perfect spot .. too slanted, not facing the moon, and on and on ; ) (there'a also a Goldie Locks reference in there I'm sure ; ) She's a sucker for the perfect experience, but being the one carrying the awkward matress over my head like a hotdog on the run .. I was more motivated to settle.
The Blue Moon was beautiful and cast shadows of the trees. I ended up dropping the bed in a nice semi-clear place and wedging tree bark under the back legs, so the bed would be level and facing the man on the moon. He was actually hard to spot that night, I think giving us our privacy and shifting his gaze to the east.
After Juwels was done with her meticulous tuck & fold with the bed, she headed back to the truck to grab the camera. I sat down on the edge of the bed and began wiping the rich, silty mud and itchy grass flecks from my feet and ankles. "Oh, no, wait," Juwels called out. "I want to get a picture of the bed real quick." (btw, there's no such thing as real quick when it comes to Juwels and her camera; ) I stepped my now clean and dry feet out of frame and waited in the darkness.
Mind you it was my idea to haul the bed out into the forest in the first place. It was sort of a counter proposal to Juwels first idea of taking a full moon hike up Mt. Humphries (11,000 feet which everyone I ever talk to about it speaks of things such as tunnel vision, nausea, piercing cold winds, etc .. during the day ; ) First I proposed a nice gingerly walk down a path in the red rocks of Sedona where we'd eventually windup in hammocks, but as the time flew by at the Roost while we were blending our new beeswax (which, btw, is the best smelling, knee buckling batch we've -ever- had) I thought that negotiating the futon down the narrow stair flight to the parking lot would be plenty of adventure for the balance of the night.
In the darkness that followed each flash from the camera, I realized just how alone we were, maybe 5 miles into the forest and down an obscure side path from there. Deciding to embrace the moment and entertain my young wife, I looked into the depth of the trees and came on to an idea. Juwels finished shooting and headed over to the bed, "okay, now you can get in ; )" she said. I took her hand and said, "but first, we need to go do something." She gave me a sideways glance. "In fact, we couldn't take ourselves seriously if we didn't ..."
(We finally had the foresight to bring the tripod and test the camera on timer mode .. we have no pictures together because we're always alone .. together : )
"Let's go run naked through the forest," I revealed. "Really?!" she said. (It's not entirely my style .. more hers .. and she knew I was tired.) "Yes, of course .. we don't have to go far, just .." I had pulled my shirt off by that time, and it was then when I heard the regrettable ZZZzzzZZZzzZZZZZzzz in my ear. I'm seriously some sort of delicacy for mosquitos .. my blood is like redRum to the little vampires. And I think I might be allergic to them, swelling like crazy and itching for days. "Okay," Juwels smiled. "But I better go get the bug spray." I started shifting my body around and doing some impromptu karate chops as she walked back to the truck for the spray. I looked back into the trees, and the waist-tall grass that was still burning on my ankles and thought better of the idea. Buy the time Juwels was back, I was tucking myself into bed.
(Yes, I look a little tired - could be the 4 hours of sleep or the bullets that were whizzing around the forest at 3am ; )
"No nakedness?" Juwles said. I popped my head out from under the covers and said, "Get in here .. the little blood suckers are out." She just laughed - that's the real kicker, they almost never bite her. She likes to say it's because my blood is rich with gluten and sugar (things she religiously abstains from) But she'll get hers, by golly, one day we'll walk into a swarm of them that like her blood type, and she'll know, as I know, what it feels like to be hunted ..
The moon was brilliant and although the weather man said it was to be cloudy all night there was nothing but this diaphanous patchy haze of clouds passing between the blue moon and our eyes. It only added to the effect of the night and gave the whole scene a psychedelic feel that actually could have made me a little nervous over what was in that thermos .. if it had come from anyone other than Juwels, I would have been fearing white rabbits and broom-nosed K9's. This would NOT be a good thing for my naturally phantasmagorical brain. I need no inducements to leave the box ..
And it was about this time that we heard the first gun shots. pop ... pop-pop ... pop-pop-pop-pop .. Mind you it's close to 3am at this point. Otherwise, it was beautiful, still (less the mosquitos who didn't seem at all deterred by our natural bug spray) and I tried not to picture the characters behind those guns. How could they see anything? What were they shooting at? The vision of a beat up old pickup truck with primer paint and rust spots drove through the forest of my mind - gun barrels hanging out the windows and firing at random .. or .. perhaps, at the white rabbit.
In any event, I did not at that second feel totally at home under my fluffy down comforter with my beautiful silk-slipped wife. Note to self: buy a gun. For this type of occasion, yes, a gun could be a very fine thing to have. "I love the way the clouds look in the moonlight," Juwels said, ignoring the hit squad across the woods. And I forgot about it myself .. we were really far off the path, and besides an inquisitive dear or fox .. I don't think we'd be seeing any mammals before sunrise.
While the guys unloaded what sounded like a machine gun (pretty sure they're fully legal here in Arizona) I risked a few mosquito bites on my bare back, and then Juwels and I pulled the covers up over our heads, nuzzled, and went to sleep.
The morning was perfect, peaceful, and the sun popped out just long enough to burn up the dew on our comforter and brows, and then a nice blanket of clouds rolled through and sent us back to sleep. (Side note - the sunrise was all kinds of amazing. I poked at Juwels and pointed to the sky. She oOhed. Awed. Groaned, and quickly fell back to sleep. She would later regret not braving the cold to get the camera and snap a pick, but just imagine tangerine heaven on ice, it was delicious.)
I woke up before Juwels (always do) and wandered around trying to find the right tree to pee on. Across the meadow, I saw what I thought was a yeti, but quickly realized it was a hunter with a bow and arrow .. gotta respect that over the AK 47's and land mines that the other's use. .. I went to the trucka and fished out the camera. I love taking pictures of Juwels while she sleeps .. she never lets me post them though.
This little snuggler was harvesting pine nuts : )
Open meadows and deer trails flowed back into the acreage, and sweet wafts of vanilla drifted from sappy pine trunks.
And then .. breakfast !! I wasn't sure if we'd find the right moist spots for gourmet edible mushrooms, but there was a buffet of tasty fungus reaching up from beneath the pine needles to greet us ; ) The pair up top are Bolete mushies .. delicious but hard to find young enough as to not be tunneled with wormy squirmers .. (I call'em heebly geeblies .. Juwels calls them maggots .. she calls every kind of worm a maggot, even bowl weevils .. drives me crazy).
This one's called a Gem-studded Puff Ball mushroom ; ) Pretty rare and super tasty !!!
See the little crystalized spikes on that baby : )
The insides of the good ones are a nice dense white, but when they mature a little too long, they turn this army green/ brown color .. not edible this way, and even farther down the line, they turn to dust inside (spores) .. they're fun to kick or throw against a tree and turn into dusty mushroom clouds .. plus, it helps spread the spores for next year ; )
And this was the biggest surprise of all - never seen these in our neighboring forest - Lobster mushrooms !! I've never even been that big of a fan of mushrooms to begin with, just acquired a taste for them recently .. the hunter in me I guess ; ) But these .. these lobsters .. I think they engage the MSG sensors in your brain because you seriously feel like you're eating junk food. It's the textured of water chestnuts, but the taste of roasted chestnuts and potatoes and chicken and lobster .. and this burnt orange corral of the forest is ripe for the pickens !! We found 20 pounds in an hour the other day at another spot .. they sell for $5 for a half an ounce dehydrated at the local heath food store - love these mountain towns and their frontier living ; )
Lobsters have a tendency to get pretty dirty on top, and seasoned pickers say to bring a good brush along to dust them off before they go bouncing around in your bag or basket. I improvised this piny sweep ; ) Worked great !!
Off to the Winnie to cook some mixed shroom omelets ; )
Thanks for reading !! We have a shining post to do about the county fair - lots of pictures and a few fun stories to share ; ) See you there !!
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