Well it feels as though the unusually warm weather has finally gone – it is freezing today. Bye bye summer. And bye, bye Noddy. Yesterday I gave my friend this Noddy car for her 60th birthday and today I’m feeling an aching nostalgic pain for everything else I seem to be saying bye bye to. I think the beginning of winter often creates a psychological chill inside me. This year feels worse than usual. The joyful abundance of our summer garden is retreating. We’re entering a harsher time and there’s always the strange underlying fear that the good times might not come back. I feel sad tonight. Bye bye Noddy.
I actually felt so sad that I emailed Malcolm Turnbull, the Environment Minister:
Dear Mr Turnbull,
I am the mother of 6 year old twin boys and I am feeling achingly, achingly sad about their future in the face of global warming. Could you reassure me that what you are doing now as Environment Minister is the absolute best you can humanly do for them?
Today did have its highlights – namely our beautiful friends who stayed over, Rick and Frances, who inspire me each time they visit. Frances took me and Oscar mushrooming under the pine trees in Blackheath today and we were thrilled to come home with a box full of saffron milk caps and slippery jacks which she then proceeded to cook up for lunch for us – she fried onion and garlic, add cleaned and sliced mushrooms and cooked with cream and parsley. They were absolutely delicious.
Saffron milk caps
A slippery jack mushroom
I also collected three large bags of pine needles which I’ve combined with extra mushrooms and spread under our pine tree in the backyard – with the dream that we might be lucky enough to grow our own mushrooms next year.
This is what saffron milk caps look like when you find them
Without Frances I would never have had the courage to pick and cook wild mushrooms – I’ve always been really nervous of doing it because of all the stories of people being poisoned. It didn’t, however, take long to recognise which were the edible and which were the poisonous ones. It feels quite incredible to go out to some pines, within walking distance of our house, and come back with enough mushrooms for a few
meals … not to mention the extreme pleasure of searching for and finding the mushrooms in the first place. So much nicer to go to a pine forest than to go to a supermarket. And so much nicer to learn about all this from a trusted friend than to read about it or see it on the television – nothing beats real life and real people.
It’s just like hearing about global warming properly 16 months ago. Nothing really registered with me before that until a friend I really liked and respected started talking to me about it. Now I can’t stop talking about it to everyone else either – just in case someone else will respond like I did.
Ah well, its the end of the mushroom season now, so bye bye mushrooms.
This afternoon I also picked what looks to be the last of my eggplants. Cooked them in this absolutely delicious recipe that another friend, George, gave me:
Bye bye Eggplants
400 g eggplant in small cubes
1 onion finely chopped
200 g celery chopped
6 large green or 10 small black olives chopped
2 tbs sultanas
2 tbs capers
3 tbs pine nuts, toasted (optional)
Italian or standard parsley chopped
1 tin tomatoes (or the equivalent in fresh)
1 sachet tomato paste or 1 cup puree
1 large clove garlic crushed (optional)
1 cup of cooked chickpeas or lentils, for protein, if required
Cook onion, then add eggplant, cook till nearly tender
Add celery, cook till tender
Add olives, capers, sultanas, garlic, tomatoes and paste or puree
Cook for further 10 minutes
Add chickpeas or lentils
Stir in parsley, salt and pepper
Serve with pasta, in lasagne or on crusty white bread such as Turkish or Italian
Despite the general sadness at having to say goodbye to so much, I must say I wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to plastics. But ultimately that would mean saying goodbye to this computer which I hope I never have to do. Interestingly, today’s Washington Post reports that General Electric, the world’s 11th largest company, is set to sell its plastics division to a Saudi Arabian company for more than $11 billion. GE makes premium, high-cost plastics, products as varied as painted cases for MP3 players, motorcycle helmets, Blu-ray DVDs and hot tubs. Low-weight, high-strength GE plastics wrap around the Volt, a fuel-efficient Chevrolet concept car. GE does not produce low-end plastics like grocery bags and foam drinking cups.
Although the division reported $6.65 billion in revenue in 2006, its profit was down 22 percent for the year and 49 percent for the fourth quarter, the worst declines by far for the company last year.
GE said the sharp drop-off came from the rising cost of resources required to produce plastics, such as benzene and natural gas, a commodity Saudi Arabia has in abundance. Despite the ubiquity of plastic, the division accounted for only 4 percent of the global giant’s 2006 revenue.
The sooner we can reduce our dependence on plastics the sooner we can free ourselves from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.