Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Winter Interlude

We drove two hours North into the hinterland...or winterland?....during Will's reading break. A winter interlude. A winterlude? A wonderland! Where is Gerard Manley Hopkins? He should be writing this post!

 The snow is four feet deep at grandma and grandpa's, which means that all the world is a giant, white sandbox, with endless possibilities.

My parents are deliberately undermining my ability to entertain my children by providing more fun, magic, and beauty in a week than we can aspire to in half a year. 

The Search for Chaga

While we were there, my mother learned about a fungus that grows on birch trees that will cure all diseases—if you can find it—including cancer. Right. Boots on, everyone!

My mother, an intrepid forager and herbalist, learned about chaga from some Polish friends, and she was determined to find one. Google it, if you like. I've got to admit, that while I brew all kinds of weird things, from kombucha to sparkly beet juice—yum!—I'm not terribly excited about birch fungus tea. If I were, you know, a prisoner in Siberia, Solzhenitsyn style, I might give it a go...But for now I'll take my fungi in pastry, with butter and garlic.

Pretending to walk while standing still—harder than it looks.

the search for chaga

very exciting snow-bank incident

Matthias  managed to fall asleep upright on papa's shoulders. 

my adorable parents
Did we find chaga? No, we didn't. But we bumped into a neighbour who said he used to harvest chaga with a veterinarian friend of his, for his dog who had cancer. How weird is that? I mean, the coincidence. Nothing weird about birch fungus tea....

We cut our losses and after a beautiful afternoon of snow and sunshine, we returned home to my parents' to find a present: a shopping bag containing a large, woody chaga! The thoughtful neighbour had found it and cut it with a bow-saw while we were hiking!

(Edited to add picture from wikipedia. You see it's not terribly disgusting, just a bit dark and woody)

And speaking of all things wise and wonderful....Raphael was baptized on the weekend. He has a sparkly, new, beautiful, spotless little soul. 

And finally, Flying Squirrel was at the top of the list on Blogger's "blogs of note" site yesterday. I don't say this to brag, as the criteria seem a bit random to me, but to point out that this is also the first time I've gotten spam. It leads one to ask, "is Blogger pimping my blog?" 
You'll also notice that I changed my comments settings. Sorry about that. I still love hearing from you.


  1. Hi Mary,

    the photos are beautiful.
    Thankyou for a lovely blog!

  2. Yes, Blog of Note does seem to be very random, but once in a while they pick a good one, and yours is one of those.

    Keep it up!


  3. I, for one, am glad blogger put you on the Blogs of Note list, because it's how I found you. Love your writing! Love your pics, and love your heart for your family and faith. New follower!

  4. hi mary, sorry to hear you were spammed, i came across your blog on blogs of note and it is really lovey. decided to leave a comment as a real person so that you remember that you blog for real people not spammers:-) your pictures are lovely.

  5. Blogs I love it. Thank you for the picture to watch it.

  6. Congratultions on your son'd baptism :-) Raphael didn't just get a spotless soul, he also got his lifelong companion- his Guardian Angel!

  7. i noticed your blog as a "Blog of Note" and was intrigued with its name - Flying Squirrel! I've been savoring your blog posts for a few nights now and am charmed by your accounts of family and your life. At the request of some of my own blog's readers, I turned off word verification a few weeks back - and immediately began receiving several spam messages each day. Finally, I had to turn it back on!

    Fascinating stuff, this chaga! I never heard of it! And lovely photos...

  8. wow...i like a winter...!!!