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Guardian spirits

In the morning I was drinking black coffee and thinking about what to do with the sheep guts. The quickest alternative would be to dump them into a compost. Or to give them all to the dog and see what she will eat (magpies would sure take care of the rest). Or bury them into the ground, but the soil might be already partly frozen and hard to dig. Well, I decided to haul the guts into the forest and leave them there. As a symbolical offering for the guardian spirits of the forest. Not that I would believe in the spirits in the strong sense of the word "to believe", but just for the atmosphere. To remind myself that my life depends completely on what nature provides, and that I can't just take what I need, I have to give something back as well.

For a moment I was thinking to myself if I should actually give some of the best parts of meat as an offering - if I'm just dumping the parts I don't want to use, then does that count as a real offering? But, as I was hauling the guts with a wheelbarrow, uphill on a small snowy path I soon realized that I'm actually doing a lot of work, and that is part of the offering. Couple of times I had to stop to catch my breath. And I thought that the next time I do this I'd better put the guts in a big bag and carry them, so I could reach some special shrine-like places in the forest. But this time I had to pick a place where I could go with the wheelbarrow. And, actually, it might well be that ravens and foxes like the guts best, so my offering would make sense from their point of view. (Yet I decided that I have to take a small piece of the best quality meat to a special place, and to bring some booze with me, to offer luxuries for the spirits. Because this is fun - rationally speaking it might not make any sense to offer meat for the guardian spirits. Bit like decorating a christmas tree has no rational effect on anything, but people just do it for the atmosphere.)

I found a good place and emptied the wheelbarrow there. After that went to check if there are any mushrooms to be found. Yellowfoot (Craterellus tubaeformis) grow in the late autumn, and when the temperature falls below freezing the mushrooms are naturally preserved. Under the cover of fir trees there wasn't any snow on the ground, and soon I found a spot with a handful of frozen mushroom. I took my scarf and used it as a pouch to carry the mushroom. I went farther to check more places, with no luck. Just when I was about to head back to the place where I left the wheelbarrow I found another spot with mushroom. Well, they would make a tasty addition for today's meal! Again, I thanked the forest in my mind.

On my way back to home I stopped for a moment to enjoy the sunlight. Roadsize birch saplings were covered with frost, and the sunlight made the frost to shine like little diamonds. I was glad that I didn't choose to dump the guts into my compost - as this walk in the woods made me feel peaceful and happy.

in the forest
in the forest
naturally frozen Yellowfoot-mushroom
naturally frozen Yellowfoot-mushroom
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That was awesome.

How are these compared to the chantarelle? They look quite similar. At least my favourite use for chantarelle is to heat them, mix them with sour cream and garlic. Along with any meat, potato and sauce - it simply melts on the tongue.

Yellowfoot is in many ways like the chatarelle. It is less juicy, which makes it easy to dry. Usually I dry them for winterfood, but somehow this autumn I found so few that I ate them all fresh (or naturally frozen). Fresh yellowfoot is good for pan frying - my favorite is to mix them with chopped onion and a little of black pepper.


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