Category Archives: Nature Log

Bar Harbor Nature Log Otter Creek

Polar deer, or, seeing white.

I had heard rumors of the primarily white deer near the genetic research laboratory a few miles away. Dyer calls him a piebald. Every morning on my way to work I would scan the woods. And there it was. I reached into the back seat for the camera bag, but, oh- it was in the trunk. Getting out of car, quietly, stealthily, almost noiselessly was enough to send the deer leaping away. It became a game. If I had the camera by my side, no sign of the deer. No camera, and there he was, grazing calmly, gazing at my car cruising by.

This past weekend the oyster mushrooms have burst out of seams and cracks in aging Aspen. We gathered 18 pounds, and have been eating, freezing and giving. Sunday we were gathering in the woods near our house. I was taking pictures of the oyster mushrooms, and there beyond the tree was the white deer. And there, with my finger on the shutter release, was the deer. He is real.

Nature log

Mushrooms and mist. I have checked everyday on my way home from work. Friday, June 12 they appeared. Oyster mushrooms, gleaming bright beacons through the green of young aspen. Last year it was June 10. We use a hand made apple picker my dad gave me many years ago. Maybe not the most effective tool, but loaded with many years of happy food gathering.

Acadia National Park Nature Log Otter Creek

Catch that sap

Tap time. A warm afternoon and we set a few taps. The syrup began to drip as soon as we drilled in, it is ready!

Nature Log Otter Creek Sea Salt

Sea Salt turns to Zea Salt

This may be the last salt batch of the year. Days are warmer and the wood stove may soon be getting cold. We only make Zea Salt when we are running the wood stove to heat the house. It is pretty simple, we gather the water, filter it, and evaporate it in a heavy gauge stainless steel evaporating pan. As crystals form on the surface, much the way ice forms on a pond, we gently ladle it off into flat pans for a final drying. It does need a fair amount of attention, but the white flaky crystals sparkle and the flavor is, well, salty, but with a crisp and mineral rich flavor.