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.

Midieval Fantasy, Pirates, a Druid and Pagan Folk Music

Once upon a time …well yesterday actually. In a land somewhere …  as in Germany.

Celebrating 21 years of going way way back in time, the MPS14 or ‘Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum‘  or in English ‘Mediaeval Fantasy Spectacular’  put on the annual traveling show with this and that for everyone and this is what I saw …

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Ye Banished Privateers, and pirates too … the lot o’ them

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Skater Privateer

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the eyes have it

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family fun

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friends and family and large dog

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spices and herbs or herbs and spices

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scottish warrior from behind

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scottish warrior from the front

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drinking horn and knife on belt

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shopping old timey style

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dress fit for m’lady

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m’lady with headdress

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please don’t touch! much thanks! In Germanic

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knives for sale

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man in kilt

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faerly  floating above it all

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bottle of themed drink

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seated with large sword

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enjoying a brew

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or two’s company

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drawn together by interest

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fantastic fantasy

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dreaded and jeweled

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checking out the wares as well as the wearers

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reindeer furs for sale

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Celtic Druid

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Saor Patrol piper Charlie Allan

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good music and dancing

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On guitar, Steve Legget of Saor Patrol

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Mark Monaghan of Saor Patrol beats the drum

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wee lad on air percussion rocking out to Saor Patrol

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appreciative audience

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dancing foot… really

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jester waiting for an audience

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staffs and other stuff for sale in many festival booths

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other stuff for sale

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black dog and man in black

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craftsman making his wares

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Steve “Sic” Evans van der Harten (left) and Jennifer “Jenny” Evans van der Harten (right) Omnia warming up to share their neoceltic pagan folk tunes with their fans

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Daphyd “Crow” Sens of Omnia scans the crowd while holding his slideridoo, a modern sliding didgeridoo

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Omnia in concert

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Ominous clouds opened up on the audience during the Omnia concert and the hardcore danced on in the hail

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knight with shiny shoulder

Yes, this event was certainly a spectacle to behold.

2013©myronunrau

Charming Stuff from Days Gone By or “Scheiss Chanderli!”

It’s a Sunday morning. Well, outside anyways. Inside I’m still in bed, my head full of dreamy bits, my body asleep and relaxed. It’s not early, it’s not late. A relatively quiet time. Even asleep I can sense the quieter Sunday morning solitude  and I enjoy the abbreviated traffic noises from the main road that cuts through this village through the open window of my bedroom.

On weekdays the traffic noises begin to build around 04:30 and I’m certain most of that early morning rush is bakers on their way to their trades but on Saturdays and Sundays it is relatively calm out there.

What the hell am I writing about? I’ll tell you. It’s the Kandertalbahn.  Go look it up on Facebook if you want. They have a page. It is an old steam driven railway line that runs the same stretch back and forth every Sunday for tourists, the curious and hobbyists from the first day of May all the way through the 20th day of October.

2013©myronunrau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes it’s quaint, it’ pretty, it’s historic, it’s old, it’s in working condition, it brings in money and tourists, but it also is loud and irritating to many who live along its iron line.

Between Wagons

Between Wagons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Sure, it’s lovely to see something from days gone by, watch something like that chugging  back and forth, forwards and backwards along track through a picturesque, lush and fertile bucolic valley landscape of farm fields, small quaint villages that lie 2 or so kilometers apart from the next and green capped forested hills. What’s not to like about that?

©2011myronunrau

Bucolic southern German landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
No argument there, but sorry no, I’ve not ridden it yet; not when I lived here as a teen nor since I’ve been back. In fact I was planning to do that this summer but that urge shrivels on my ‘things to do’ list every time that shrieking noise makes me cringe, six times every Sunday. And the worst of it is that sometimes I wish that I could somehow prevent that blasted whistle from issuing it’s evil sound. No surprise though that if I lived further away from the tracks I wouldn’t really give a rats ass what kind of noise that train made but what I’m afraid of is that if I were to visit somewhere else and heard such a whistle, I might believe it to be sunday.

©2013myronunrau

Light Detai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What gets me and what I can’t get my head around is that this is Germany after all, a peace and quiet loving folk. They are known to enforce the Sabbath strickly where naught is done around the house if it makes any kind o f ‘working’ noise on the Lords day; one does that on Saturday. It’s not like N. America, not at all. But that damned infernal noise is apparently ok. Go figure.

2013©myronunrau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just heard the last shrill whistle blast of the day, for this whistle stop.

Now I get to listen to the receding if still muffled and audible whistle blasts as the  loathsome Chanderli chuggs its metal way back to Kandern to await for its next weekends annoying assault on many ears. Frustratingly I just now realize that I still have two months of Sundays to get through. Grrrr …

 

2012©myronunrau, iphoneographythis©

Abstracted Me

… and sunshine was rare too

Waiting to float 2012©myronunrau iphoneographythis©

Run Aground

Aground in a dry water channel in the city of Freiburg, Germany. Toy ship waiting to be floated again. Many pedestrian streets in the downtown core are designed with slim, shallow water channels on one side or the other of the narrow streets. Chaining a toy ship in front of a store is a cleve way to play visually and to attract fun attention.

 

Cheesey Kind of Love or the Love of Cheeses

Do you like cheese? (If you are lactose intolerant, tune out now. This is not for you. Sorry)

I know, it is a broad question. In general though … do you have a particular “go to” favorite or are your tastes far ranging when it comes to the multitudinous delectable selections that are available on store shelves? Fairer consideration also, whether or not your local stores offer much in terms of real selections, rather than the tired same old where the only difference appear to be brand and packaging. Coming from the north American experience I can relate to the tired same old choices where most of the cheese peddled by your local super market is either Cheddar or Mozzarella with the occasional venture off that beaten path in their deli sections. And in cases like that I prefer to find a decent neighborhood deli run by Italians who know a thing or two about cheeses and are not afraid to let your nose find them; must say that it took me a while to get used to that particular smell of a few particular delis in my area.

From softly bluish far away Fetas,  beautiful bulbs of fresh buffalo milk bocconcini resting in liquids to all things Swiss, Dutch, French, Italian, English and Scandinavian with the invariably non imported “styled” selections that are produced on continent, ones head can spin and taste-buds excited by it all. The nose either offended or homing in on a particular scent, and then the argument between nose, brain and taste, when some slice, glob or dab of obviously foul smelling delights and dazzles the knowing mouth with flavors so different than the in your face vile aroma inhaled. Mix more than a handful of these odours in a cheese shop or cheese section of your local deli and wow … it can be enough to drive the weak and timid right back onto the sidewalk.

For some odd reason I enjoy a cheeses that smell like a teenagers sneaker. Not that I have an odd odour fetish, no. Nor would I suffer a shoe stink like that anywhere near me, but when it comes to cheeses and their various flavors and textures, I am a forgiving type and perhaps a bit adventurous also. How else to increase the knowledge, expand ones palette and embrace all that is cheese without a bit of daring do? Having said that I do not pretend or allude to being a cheese freak or someone with a text book knowledge of all there is to know. No. I just like cheese.

Google searech screen shot

Simple, complex, mild or stinky. Cheese is a food of wonder and at times I wonder why oh why it stinks to high heaven and what could possibly attract me to put something foul smelling into my own mouth. Compare this conundrum with say … that most foul smelling of fruits called the Durian (the edible fruit of a tree, Durio zibethinus,  of the bombax family, of southeastern Asia, having a hard, prickly rind, a highly flavored, pulpy flesh, and an unpleasant odor) and to its ardent worshippers of its flavor and my reaction is radically skeptic (I have seen pictures, read reports, and have tasted an artisan ice creme creation from the source fruit; yet have never actually dipped my spoon into the sofly golden mass and tasted for myself and in case you were wondering, no. I´ve not been to places where this fruit grows. I know via the grapevine that it is not allowed aboard aircraft; for good reasons).

For those same self good reasons, I am of the steadfast mind that airline passengers should not under any circumstances be allowed to bring their favorite stinky cheese on board and consume same. This dearly held conviction suddenly annexed after innocently observing an kindly older woman unzip a small plastic bag of some kind of cheese on her lap; the force of its odor so powerful in that confined a space, that it made my eyes water and I nearly gagged before she even got the piece of rudeness to her mouth, her expression pure bliss as she shared it with her husband.

Oxygen Mask Use On-board Aircraft

Their enjoyment of the moment in hot terrible contrast to what I and undoubtedly others inside that metal tube were suddenly assaulted with. Had I not been constrained by my seat-belt and hemmed in on both sides by travel companions, I might have considered kicking out a window in sheer panic, induced by that vile pungent stench emanating from that little plastic bag on that woman’s lap. Perhaps her seating companions had already passed out. Thankfully the bag was soon zipped up again, but the damage had been done and drama created. No, the oxygen masks remained out of site above, the rancid stench not enough to automatically deploy them from the overhead to offer welcome relief, bummer. I prayed then, that she and her mate would consume the entire contents of that bag and save the rest of us from further horrors. At that exact point, I would gladly have stuffed french roasted coffee beans up my nose.

The above is a very real and dramatic recounting of what the extremes of cheesiness can be. The other extreme is hardly worth mentioning. It is a white, soft, flavor-less spreadable kind of cheese … did I mention flavor less? Thought so. It probably doesn´t even deserve the name it is given.

I realize there are many other exciting and perhaps even dangerous cheeses and other equally boring examples of what has been done with milk product from various beasts but like I said, I am not expert in this field of flavor, just an intensely interested taster.

Last night for instance was a delight. I was invited to a Raclette dinner with friends (a Swiss dish, made by heating a piece of cheese, as over a hearth, and scraping off the melted part onto a plate: served with boiled potatoes). The dish is named for the cheese used in making same said dish and comes from either France or Switzerland. The heart bit is a Raclette grill set sitting center piece on the dinning table, plugged in and hot, ready to accept the little square or triangle shaped pans laden with pieces of the favored brand of cheese, festooned and garnished with other bits of foods such as onion slices, pickled onions, pickles or conrnichons, delicate slices of ham, sliced mushrooms, peppers or whatever tickles ones fancy. Also a popular spicing agent is ground black pepper mixed with ground nutmeg. And last night I discovered something I never would have combined with this cheese … banana. Or curry powder. But it was on the table and I did try it. It didn´t taste bad.

This dish is a wonderful table experience, each guest building and putting together their own creations and once melted together in their little pans safely tucked into their part of the grill, the pans are gently and eagerly emptied of their bubbling content over hot sliced small potatoes and then eaten with relish (no, I don´t think one actually adds relish). Conversation ebbs an flows, now and then every accompanying garnishment of the meal is passed round the table and everyone helps themselves to their hearts content. Too much of this good thing could disturb ones heart content and so it is best enjoyed in balance. A winters dish of my liking.

Not least but last in this cheesy rambling I would be remiss to forget the simple cheese sandwich. My favorite is a good hearty rye bread, decent butter and two pieces of whatever cheese I chose to use for the purpose. Open faced or closed style, this robust staple rocks. Every time.

I like cheeses and hope to add more discoveries to my palette of tastes that delight and satisfy. Note, an intense and full flavored Swiss Tilsiter in sandwiches in a satchel will turn heads from a few feet away. I turned heads last week.