Nearby excursions on foot, plenty of berry picking and work around the cottage were Kitty and Paul Antonik Wakfer's main physical activities during the rest of our months at the cottage in Harcourt Park Ontario in 2006. (We did do some energetic dancing around the cottage interior now and then, but not up to the standards of what is possible and we do regularly when we're in Arizona.) But the events were interesting enough - or ones that we wanted to retain for our own remembrance - that Kitty recorded many of them with her camera.
On our return along the main road in Harcourt Park from one of our outings in late August, Paul spied a very large mushroom a few feet from the unpaved surface. It was in a low grass area away from the many trees but most likely had not been noticed by other people because those in Harcourt Park rarely walk. Although Paul had done a fair amount of mushrooming with his first wife in the mid 70's, he wasn't sure which of the many suillus or boletus groups this one was. Our 50 year old mushroom guide couldn't help us decide definitively either, nor websites Kitty consulted online.
Despite the fact that the mushroom had many appearances of a suillus or a boletus (both edible), the fact that no worms had bothered to invade the stalk in the several days it had taken to get this size was not a good sign. Since we could not definitely identify it, we just admired its size and did not make it part of a meal, as we've done with many other mushrooms we've picked.
In September, edible mushrooms were abundant after the frequent plentiful summer rains. There were lots of other interesting looking ones, but we stick to eating only those Paul has had good experience with in the past.
Kitty took some time to try to identify those not familiar to Paul, but which were especially plentiful or just looked interesting.
Puffballs - an edible mushroom Paul is quite familiar with - were found on this rotting tree in our yard, along with some other types of unknown variety. We also found many more puffballs on our walks - there was a real bumper crop.
One of the ways we enjoy the edible mushrooms and other edible fungi we find in our yard and other areas of Harcourt Park is in soup.
We found a small wood burning stove in good condition at the Harcourt dump sometime in July and managed, with some help, to get it into our car. It wasn't easy, but with levers and an inclined plane, Paul with some aid from Kitty, got the heavy thing out and settled in back of the cottage.
In late August, Kitty decided it was time to start cleaning off the surface rust and apply stove black paint. Paul got the door working well again - the worn gasket will be replaced too.
Autumn in Harcourt Park - and all of rural Ontario where there are deciduous trees - is just lovely with the rich display of colors. And the lake free of wakes from speeding boats provides a mirror image and thus a double view of the trees, many with soon-to-fall leaves. Walks on the dirt roads are pleasant this time of year when most of the cottagers are back in the city taking the noise with them and leaving the air free of dust from heavy traffic on the roads.
A treat that Paul enjoyed in years past in Harcourt Park in the autumn was beech nuts. On a return drive from Wilberforce one day, we stopped and took a walk in an area of Harcourt Park Kitty had not seen. We found a large beech tree that had recently begun to drop its nuts with spiney covered shells containing somewhat pyramidal-shaped objects which contain the nut meat. Getting these shiny pyramids open takes some practice and that may very well be the reason that, although the meat tastes very pleasant, we've never seen beech nuts for sale in a store. (For anyone interested in more about gathering beechnuts.)