Outdoor Lore and the Lure of a Good Cup of Coffee

Autumn … let that sink in for brief moment.

Dense fog and moisture in the air, dewy wetness on all things still green and those turning color too.Rusting leafy foliage falling away baring their now stark treed host. Dried corn plants shuffling their crinkly leaves await the harvesters blade and the pale early morning sky fuzzy misted over as the sun begins to burn through with a cool and bright effort. And pumpkins dotting this or that field or ornamenting this or that farmer stand or door steps.

Yup, it’s fallish out there folks.

And I’ve got a hankerin’ to be out there, to spend time in the thinning woods. Where green turns to rust and mushrooms show themselves off against the leaf littered forest floor, some pretty, some ugly and all of them fascinating.

Yesterday I gave in to that hankering and hunkered down the evening before to prepare my daypack for a short day trip into the local deciduous woods. The air felt fresher, the temperatures chillier and my step quicker so as to generate a bit more body temperature even though my wool mix hoodie kept me snug and warm.

It being a Saturday morning, the forest lanes and roadways (this is Germany and the woods are crisscrossed with ‘Waldwege’) were empty. I had the place mostly to myself. And as I often do, I wondered where the wild boars were. But most of all I was anticipating my first cup of outside coffee.

Clear Lake OR Camping 2012 ciaodarlingciao.wordpress.com

goodness (ciaodarlingciao.wordpress.com)

If you’ve ever made a delicious cup of hot coffee outside you may know the pleasure I speak of. No, not a cup of instant crap but the real ma-coy, boiling water poured into a coffee filter over a large cup. The result a brew so good that it nearly blends into the surrounding beauty. Ah ok, so the heady scent of a freshly brewed cup of java out there is kinda out of place as it were but it does the body good. If you prefer a good hot cup of tea would also do the trick I suppose but coffee is my choice for moments like that.

I spent some time looking around and gathering a bit of firewood, smallish bits and processed them into suitable sizes to accommodate my Bush Box multi fuel pocket stoves’ small size and then set to building the fire that would boil the water that would release the intense flavored coffee into my cup and then my mouth. It took a little while but the time spent doing the work was well worth the efforts.

Bush Box

By the time my cup was filled, the sun had begun to shine on the spot I’d selected for the coffee ritual.

I sat back and just liked being there.

Feast Days and the Holidays, no not the Vacation kind

Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, you  know, celebratory days like those. Observed or not by those who do or don’t are still times during the year when you hang out with friends & family. Those are also the typical feast days when tri-annual big dish productions are assembled and served up on stylish purpose set tables. The enjoyment is immense, even the little green veggie balls from Brussels (I love’m).

Image iStockphoto

Typical holiday turkey treatment - iStophoto image

Sometimes it is a total blast, other times not so much, depending on how the familial relationships are holding up or not at the time of whatever particular feast day is being feted; also dependent on how loose ones tongue gets.

I’m divorced. I’m in a wonderful but long distance relationship and cooking a big bird for myself would be silly and  just does not have the same ‘feel’ you get when you’re putting your entire kitchen and all of your cooking tricks to mouth-watering good use. It’s more of an envious feeling, not a lonely feeling, no. It’s not even a hungry feeling. And perhaps it just rises to the surface when I find that I still crave the taste of carved bird.

Not me - image curtesy of http://www.menshealth.co.uk

It is almost embarrassing to admit but I’ve nearly forgotten what a big brown juicy turkey actually tastes like. Really. It has been nearly a decade now and I still have a tough ‘food‘ time around the feast day celebrations because I don’t have someone close by whom I can cook for. It’s been that long since I’ve built my special turkey stuffing and then lovingly pushed the trussed bird into the hot oven, that long since I’ve whipped up tasty potatoes dishes and experimented with various vegetable dishes and gravies to die for.

Point is, these meals are simply more enjoyable when shared with others. Being single is a drawback that way; after years of traditional feast days, belt loosening meals and all that make the days table time memorable.

wild turkeys

three wild birds - image curtesy of http://www.outdoorlife.com

I’m not complaining nor crying in my soup. I just want me some succulent and crispy skinned turkey, mashed potatoes, delectable gravy, home made cranberry sauce, creamy brussel sprouts, honey thyme carrots, a wonderful salad and perhaps some desert.

Oh wait, this weekend it’s slabs of ham, legs of lamb or rabbit bits …

bon appetite