Tag Archives: erie pennsylvania

Spring inky caps

Inky caps are up. One of my favorite mushrooms, Inky’s are one of the first mushrooms up in my area and I look for them when the fiddle heads start to end. They decompose in a few hours so you really will not get to try them unless you forage them. They do have a somewhat poisonous lookalike called the alcohol inky. It reacts with alcohol and you get to vomit for 24 hours. So … don’t mess up. Anyway I like them sautéed in butter with ramps sail and pepper. Then served on bruschetta and with a saintly blue cheese.

Happy hunting

My Son’s Violin

Violin Restoration

My son was given a family violin from 1920. It was in marginal shape and certainly not playable. The top and bottom were separating, the finish was cracking and scarred, the bridge needed replaced… The instructor at the local music school recommend restoring it rather then buying a new one. The violin itself was better quality then I could afford in a new instrument, all it really needed was a good luthier. I was all for it. I love the idea of hearing old instruments play again. He recommended David Lars. I found Mr Lars’s small workshop in the historic section of North East Pa. Mr. Lars was full of energy as he shuffled around the shop kindly showing me the classical tools, stains, glues, and methods he used to bring life back to old instruments, and shave quality into instruments that need a little help. Like so many other artists and craftsmen he was passionate about his trade and willing to share his knowledge freely and with a glad heart. It was fun to spend some time with him and I left his shop feeling happy, and grateful for the new knowledge. So I really thought I would like to share some pictures from his shop. The last 2 pictures are of the restoration done to my son’s violin.


Chestnuts are falling everywhere due to some storms. For the most part I just gather them up and let them ripen on racks but I also like to eat a few early. I was told they can be a little starchy but most of them here seem to be sweet even when really young. You can open them with your shoes even if they not really opening yet. The spins stick in and break off so watch yourself.

If they are small or miss shaped I break the shells opened and give them to the birds. The birds love them!