NOTE: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN SEVERAL WEEKS AGO. THE HURRICANE SEEMS A DISTANT MEMORY NOW (WE'RE GEARING UP FOR WINTER-- YESTERDAY I BOUGHT A ROOF SNOW RAKE!)
Many have said "you guys were lucky, your power was only off for a few days" Considering that some folks here in CT still don't have it back (five days running) we do indeed feel "lucky."
Sitting in the dark with some candles and a flashlight or two, I thought "this should be a positive experience, like you are at your cabin in the Sierras and have the kerosene lamps going and the wood stove fired up; but no, its not like that at all. There's no romance. You really want "normalcy" to return. I tried reading for a while but couldn't concentrate so I stuck my iPod buds in the ears and ran the composer gamut, coming to a sudden halt at Sibelius, Symphony No. 4.
"Perfect" I thought--so dark and cold. I thought it might be interesting to follow the score, which I had handy, even though the low light made it hard to read; but the basic outlines of the notes was enough--it's long familiar music to me, but I hadn't listened to it in a while.
Back in Sibelius day--the 4th symphony dates from 1910 or so--electricity was not a given, especially in rural areas. Sibelius liked to compose at night (often with the cognac bottle handy) and I've often wondered if his output increased after electricity came to Ainola, when he could have better lighting for his nocturnal labor. But the Fourth is dark music and seems to paint a bleak but subtle music. It is bare bones stuff, shorn of ornament, frill and decoration. Its nick name was the barkbrod" symphony, which refereed to the Scandinavian tradition of mixing ground up birch bark with flour during times of hardship and famine.
The hurricane left a tremendous amount of moisture from the heavy rains and the woods and fields around here have been bursting with fungi.. I found a tremendous "Hen of the Woods" on my neighbor's lawn (tasty but needs long stewing) and a bunch of boletes, porcini like (not really edulis but close).
Identifying Boletus species can be challenging some times. But eating one you are not sure of is not as risky as you might think. There are no "deadly" toxins in the Boletus family, although there are a few that can give you a nasty gastrointestinal experience. If there are red pores (under the cap) and it stains blue wen cut, you are skating on thin ice.The "bad" ones taste bitter and the edible ones taste good, although many are mediocre.
So the rule is, about Boletes, if it tastes good, eat it! The same cannot be said for other mushrooms, especially the deadly Amanitas which, apparently taste pretty good