UP BEAR CREEK
Gary Lincoff Brings Us a Shroom Book for Amateur Mycophiles and Hungry Fans
by Art Goodtimes
Aug 15, 2010 | 1576 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COMPLETE MUSHROOM HUNTER … Nothing’s ever really complete, but Gary Lincoff’s new mushroom book is pretty darn close. After years of having to thumb through thick field guides with too many pictures, too small print, hundreds of specie names, and lengthy identification keys as obtuse as they were intimidating, finally the amateur fungophile gets a nice, concise amanuensis to mushrooming. Anyone on a first time foray ought to take this book along ... Here are the common edibles, with multiple pictures; their look-a-likes; a nice narrative, usually with some intriguing personal story; a checklist of distinguishing characteristics; references; recipes. There are sections for the poisonous and the entheogenic, the medicinal and remediation fungi. Plus, all the encapsulating wisdom gleaned over the course of 30+ years of mushroom identification, lectures and forays – Gary packs it all into one book, and it’s a gem. The kind of book you want to buy your mushroom-hating in-laws, just because. Maybe so they can see that shrooming isn’t only for culinary kooks, the nomenclaturalists, Latinate pedants, splitters, psilly poseurs and those addicted to the outré. It’s also a very enjoyable activity for just plain common folks. And yes, just plain common names will do just fine … With a few easy Lincoffian species under your foray belt – you too could become a reliable hunter/gatherer in your own local woods and parks. That’s the beauty of The Complete Mushroom Hunter: An Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms (Quarry Books, Beverly, Mass., 2010). It’s a super scientific picture-book how-to, with intelligence, wit and even philosophy woven in. At Between the Covers. Highly Recommended.

PAUL HOMER … I know it got overshadowed by Phish, but Dr. David Homer’s attorney dad gave a lovely reading of his memoirs at the Wilkinson Library this past Tuesday evening … Isn’t Scott Doser amazing – all the terrific programs he makes available free at our award-winning library in Telluride?

BEAVER FIRE THANKS … I called out the BLM and Sheriff Bill Masters two months ago, but there were a host of others deserving of gratitude for making the Beaver Fire a textbook case of interagency cooperation and community spirit (as my friend John Mansfield reminded me) – after all, it was the Forest Service’s fire pretty quickly after the great initial response by Bill Masters’ crews, BLM and our local Volunteer Fire Departments (particularly Norwood VFD, as well as Placerville and Telluride VFDs) … The community (school, churches, individuals) pitched in with meals that first night of the fire and found a place to put up a fire encampment, and the Feds (and State Forest Service) involved gave a great briefing Saturday night of the fire in Norwood at the Community Center to let folks know what was happening and to take input … All around, a very successful response to a local disaster. It makes me proud to live in a community like Norwood that can pull together so well in an emergency.

POET LAUREATE … David Mason, a fine poet and professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, was given the state’s highest ranking poetry nod by Gov. Ritter, after he procrastinated and left the honorary literary office unappointed for most of his administration … This follows on the heels of Mary Crow of Colorado State University in Fort Collins holding down the title for two terms (the second term by default). Both Front Range academic poets. Good solid poets … Personally, I was hoping they’d step out of the stereotypes and name Aaron Abeyta of the San Luis Valley as poet laureate. I even lobbied for that before Ritter got elected. But us West Slope liberals didn’t have much cachet with the Denver high-rise crowd … Aaron’s not only a fine award-winning poet, but his ancestry in Antonito would have been a lovely cultural validation of the state’s deeply-rooted Hispanic heritage … I guess that’s what I like least about being in politics – it’s watching opportunities being missed.

THE SUNSHINE EXPRESS … Norwood has had some interesting newspapers over the years. My favorite was Rural Rube, that published for some six months or so back at the turn of the previous century ... The Sunshine Express is the latest newcomer on the Wrights Mesa print block, having appeared with its inaugural issue this month. Touting “good news” and its intent on “uplifting the Western Slope,” it will be interesting to see what turns its subsequent issues take. Good luck to anyone buying ink by the barrel these days (or paper by the ream).

THE TALKING GOURD

San Pedro

His offspring don’t like freezing
Or prolonged thirst but they love
New Mexican sun & Colorado water.

Still it takes a steward sage dakini
To read a garden’s palm & know
What local conditions might override.

To touch the grooves of his star green skin
& experience the thorny zen slaps of the Tao
Alive as field testing or affordances.

Nature letting us in on the opportunity
To co-create a cactus in our own image:
Fat & flexed or hexed & pencil-thin.

To ingest & learn the spirit of plant mind
Nurturing the bodies of the succulents
That are our own sweet barbs & spines.
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