Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mystery tunnels, and scratches and underwear.

Went for another long walk in the hills today with the dog...I love it up there...of course I eventually ended up bushwacking off the trail, there are vines that look like rose bushes, but they climb up trees and I cannot see the leaves...I felt the thorns though, and have the scars to show for it.

At one stage I was pushing through fifty feet of shoulder high rosemary bushes, in flower...it was almost too much, and I must smell amazing. It will hurt next time I am in Canada buying a five dollar bottle of rosemary...the smell was absolutely overwhelmingly wonderful. One of the things I trip over every now and then in the mountains are doorways set into the hills...I was walking, off the trail, up a dried river bed, having to bend double while I climbed for the entire distance when I came across this at the top of the hill......

I, with great excitement, want to believe that these tunnels that we see everywhere are old escape routes through the mountains, or out of the castle, or for guerrilla Catalans fighting the bad old, well, nearly everyone...there has certainly been enough fighting here for long enough that some of these tunnels certainly might have been used for hiding troops and ammunition...more likely though they were originally built by the farmers and peasants for storage of wine, or ice or tools, or well, I cannot think what, they are a long way up the mountain. The man is prosaically certain they are for storage. I am not so sure. These babies are armoured...look at this door. Metal with rivets all over it and a handle that I cannot figure out how it works.

I also got a bunch of pine nuts. The trees here are primarily pines and when the time comes the cones fall, and you can tear them apart and get the nuts out....The pine cones start to look like little more than a shell to carry the seeds, which is in fact their job, but never quite so apparent. Those two dark impressions are the packaging that the nuts rest in.

I got all of these from one cone, they are still in little hard nut casings that have to be hammered off afterwards, but the nuts inside are quite scrumptious. The kids love bashing away at them with the hammer and then eating the lovely little nuggets, it keeps them happy and busy for a long long time...

I scrambled up cliffs and over boulders in river beds, and through brambles and vines. I went through one section of different trees. Their branches had all died at the bottom, and they were twiggy and brittle. They were also low and I had to force my way through bent double, the dog bounding gleefully ahead of me, better shaped for this part of the forest. A word of advice, when doing that sort of climbing, wear a really loooonnngggggggggg shirt. I had twigs in my underwear by the end, and I had to drop my drawers and clear everything out twice, and there were still twigs falling out the bottom of my pant legs a mile further on. Not totally comfortable.

I also talked to Nomad on the phone, after her visit there were a few things left behind. One of the endearing things about her is that every single time she comes to visit she leaves something behind. I like to believe that it is because subconsciously she doesn't want to be completely gone. Works for me. Anyway, we mailed back some children's socks, a toy, a book, and a pair of Nomad's underwear that turned up in the wash. When I talked to her on the phone, seems that I have sent her a clean but used pair of someone else's underwear. I have NO idea whose....fairly hilarious. A gift. Used underwear.

Ah well.

I am going to be studying Catalan for an hour again today with my buddy, wish me luck. I am going to get her to check what I have done with the pronouns and ask her a few questions about some aspects of the language that I am currently confused about.


Terrie Thompson said...

O.K. I'm not going to touch the issues you seem to be having with underware. Yours or others:) But those doors. They are awesome. And I would tend to want to imagine some secret doorway or passage used by nights and kings and such. Buuttt if they fill about wine like I do about my rum then I can see locking it up behind armoured doors. And I am quite fond of my gardening tools.
By for now

Jocelyn said...

Those doors, indeed. I love the mystique of them. They snag the imagination.

And I just had one of my "I'm a dimwit" moments (like when I realized sunflower seeds come from sunflowers): pine nuts come from pine trees.

*slaps head and stomps off*

Beth said...

hey, my philosophy is, if it don't smell-it's clean enough to wear! ;)

I can't get past the "shoulder high rosemary bushes"...I am SO jealous! Rosemary is my very favorite herb and I have a little pot of it growing on my window sill...wish it was shoulder high. the smell....mmmmmmmm....i'd be sniffing you all day! ;)

the door! How interesting is that?! Did you try to open it? what am I saying, OF COURSE you tried to open it! I like to think there is a treasure hidden in there somewhere. and I must be really dumb cuz I did not know that "pine nuts" came from "pine trees"...what a mush head. a special kind of pine tree or can I tear open the pine cones under my pine trees and get nuts? mush head.

oreneta said...

Terrie: I love those doors every time I come across one...I have to ask one of the local history buffs, or even one of my students. i am afraid I will be disappointed by the answer though.

Jocelyn: I love your phrase, "they snag the imagination" I had to laugh right out loud about the pine nuts.

Beth: That door was locked, I couldn't get in, another door I did try, and it went on quite a way with a broken floor...very confusing. I'll go back with the flash one day and take a pic...

Pine nuts. There are pinyon pines in N. Am., but I suspect they are a lot further south. Theoretically I suppose you could eat any pine trees nut, but some are probably smaller, and possibly too strongly turpentine-y in flavour.