The great caterpillar mystery continues...
Simon & Garfunkel make new friends
We went for a little walk yesterday morning in light drizzle with Simon & Garfunkel…and five hours later we were homeward bound in the sunshine with a very large bag of mushrooms and two exhausted animais.
It was the first proper walk I’d done since the mystery bite a week ago…and it seems I wasn’t the only victim last weekend…
Our nearest neighbours, Franz and Erni, have lived in the valley for 30 years. They’re Bavarian, in their late 60s or 70s, and were away in Germany for the last couple of months getting Erni a full set of new teeth (quite a grill, I must say).
We haven’t had the chance to get to know them properly as we were nervous about COVID-19 and so socially distanced ourselves when we first arrived, and then they had family visiting.
They got back about a week ago and so we dropped by with some lime marmalade and the offer of a cafézinho (little coffee) at our house soon.
It’s a little tricky as Erni only speaks German and Franz has some Portuguese but no English.
But Ana and I managed to follow the story…and it was quite dramatic.
So, Franz was up on the hill cutting up some fallen pines for firewood when he started to feel sick – really weak – and thought there was something wrong with his heart.
He got home and his leg swelled up – it was some kind of a bite.
That was Sunday. On Monday he was so exhausted he had to sleep all day, on Tuesday he still couldn’t get up, on Wednesday he was dizzy and a bit confused.
When we saw him on Friday he was OK, but still had a huge, swollen, red, throbbing leg.
We compared legs and they were almost identical. I’d felt tired and cold-y too.
So either that caterpillar covered quite a bit of ground overnight between our vegetable patch and the top of the hill…or…there’s more than one of them.
That evil-looking scolopendra I posted is still the number one suspect, but none of us know for sure…
And so back to the mesa de roleta russa de cogumelos (the mushroom Russian roulette table)…
Actually, we’re relatively confident.
We’re using the Picture Mushroom app, a couple of Portuguese mushroom Facebook groups, the Svampboken, and calls to Ana’s mum Gertrud to decide if we’re good to sauté.
In fact, we had a little help along the way when we met another German neighbour Traudi who lives in the valley and she immediately identified the first few we’d picked as being good to eat.
But then we started finding all sorts of different kinds…it’s been raining but it’s warm and a little humid and the things are shooting up like heroin addicts (HT Ana).
So there was a brown Sunday brunch of boletus and goat cheese on Alentejo bread and the boeuf bourguignon that’s bubbling away on the pot is packed with the field mushrooms. Yum.
Oh, and today is Simon’s birthday, so he’ll be sharing some boeuf with us!