Winter reading materials for around the fireplace and other adventures
By Meg Olson
A Field Companion for Wandering
Written and Compiled by Conner Bouchard-Roberts
“Read this book however you like, it is yours,” starts you on your journey with “A Field Companion for Wandering,” a pocket-sized ode to adventuring and discovering from Winter texts, a small independent publisher in Port Townsend, Washington.
Conner Bouchard-Roberts is a master anthologist as well as an author and poet and the founder of Winter texts. From packing your bags to coming home, he has skillfully combined his own stories and poems with bits of advice, thoughts on paths and destinations, and a carefully curated collection of some of the best written about exploring. He describes it as “a book for being lost on real and imagined borders.”
It can be read from cover to cover in a tent in the snow, or dipped into for a quick read at a bus stop.
This is a new edition of the book, with the previous edition being handed out to people Bouchard-Roberts met while hitchhiking from Bangkok to Penang. He still distributes Winter texts books by hand, and we are always glad to see his little white van pull up outside the store.
Two for mushrooms
Fruits of the Forest
There are a lot of books about mushrooms, but Daniel Winkler’s new book fills a hole. It’s focused on edible mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest, giving local foragers of any experience level the tools to safely identify, responsibly harvest, store and cook the tasty fungal treats that flourish in our fields and forests.
The first section of the book familiarizes readers on how to use their senses to examine a mushroom, looking at its shape and spore-bearing tissue, feeling its surface, smelling and even tasting (but not swallowing!). It familiarizes new mushroom hunters with where and how to forage, or not to, as well as picking, cleaning and preserving tips. A list of 14 easy-to-identify mushrooms that make a good starting point for novices is included, as well as frequent reiterations of the golden rule: “Never eat a mushroom you cannot identify with absolute certainty.”
The meat of the guide is the mushrooms themselves, with identification information for 170 edible mushrooms, including identification information, potential lookalikes, photographs, and icons to alert to questionable edibility or the potential need for special preparation. Each group (such as the morels, or the boletes) has information about processing and cooking that type of mushroom.
At the end of the book is a goldmine of recipes, including bolete butter, mushroom jerky and a sturdy collection of unusual soups, main dishes and even desserts.
Winkler also includes information about resources to broaden your knowledge, including mycological societies, other field guides, his own Mushroaming website and priceless online tools and apps.
Nothing will grow your skills as a mushroom forager better than keeping good notes, and this logbook from Mountaineers Books is just the ticket to keep all your foraging notes in one place and make sure you keep track of all the relevant info.
Two for fall foliage
Fall Color Hikes Washington
Fall is my favorite time of year to hike. Seize a cool, bright day and enjoy uncrowded trails and searingly beautiful colors as the trees and shrubs blaze their way toward winter. Some of the higher trails may be in wintry conditions by November but the guide has plenty of lower elevation hikes to squeeze every last drop out of fall hiking.
Opening with a map to localize the 45 hikes it describes, this new guide pulls together information about access, elevation and distance, dog and kid friendliness, amenities passes and what Green Trails map you’ll need. Along with the trail description, you also get information about what kind of foliage distinguishes the hike. There is also a basic trail map with each hike.
Erin Vivid Riley
This tiny informative guide to fall foliage starts with a history of foliage fancy, discusses why leaves change color in the fall, the ecological role of falling leaves and how climate change is impacting our deciduous trees. Information is included about where to find the best fall foliage across North America and around the world, as well as information about common deciduous trees that change color in the fall as they prepare to shed their leaves for winter. As a bonus, there is a leaf peeping meditation to help you be present and connected to the forest in fall. x
Meg Olson is the co-owner of the Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville, which has a bit of everything but specializes in the natural and human history of the Pacific Northwest. She likes to explore, in person or on pages.