Sunday, November 10, 2002



Today the utter fineness of the weather combined with the utter kindness of the upper non-resident neighbor in giving me cut blanche with regard to thinning the trees on his property, mostly opportunistic oak (the old and beautiful oak near the road is where the monkeys shelter under sometimes at night when it rains), several of which I've had my eye on as ideal for shiitake logs (our shiitake logs are now about 3/4 played out) and the rest for firewood. And since the weather has been warmish so the sap is still running, and today was dry and clear and blue and cool, perfect for the task, I felled one of the shiitake log trees this morning and spent much of the day trimming, bucking and prepping. Since the neighbor's property is a bit overgrown with low bamboo it was a quite a tussle doing all that and then wrestling the tree lengths back onto my property. There's nothing quite like wrestling in a bamboo arena with an oak that wants to remain right where it has fallen with all the will for which oak is renowned, which is why in ancient times folks used it for castle doors and shields and roof beams and church pews, among other adamant objects. When the old folks used to say 'stout as an oak' they were speaking from direct acquaintance with one of the great forces of the known world, an acquaintance I have now directly acquired on many levels, starting with my toes. But once the oaken lengths were stacked up in a sunny spot where I could drill the widely spaced holes and insert the spore plugs, how rich and golden and quiet and agreeable they were, on their way to resurrecting, for years to come, as the most velvet of delicacies in the cuisinal world!

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