Regular readers may wonder whatever happened to Pinguini. I do too. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve heard that crow with the distinctive croak, including one week of nearly constant rain. It being Vienna and fall, there is also plenty of wind. Where the crows have been hanging out and sheltering from the elements, I don’t know. Yesterday afternoon, there was a raucous gathering in the trees outside. There appeared to be a fight between a few black crows. Something was up. At first, KA and I wondered if the rooks had returned and the crows weren’t happy about it. No, these were all hooded and carrion crows. The altercation and excitement lasted five to ten minutes, then they all flew away. Is that Pinguini alone there in the tree?
Today was another good birdwatching day. On my way back from the greengrocer’s, I took a different route to stay on the sunny side of the street. To my amazement, I ended up face to face with a Eurasian jay. Perched on a fence, it didn’t seem fazed by my presence. Garrulus glandarius are normally very shy of people and more common in rural settings, but this one was apparently used to pedestrians. It flew across the street onto a bush and was promptly joined by another jay. I have never been that close to a jay before and was surprised at how large they are. Bigger than their American blue jay cousins, they are nearly the size of magpies or rooks.
Darker than blue jay blue is my navy jacket. The first sleeve is starting to take shape. The pattern calls for a perpendicular join. Isn’t that a great name? It could be a dance (do the perpendicular join), a surgical technique, a military maneuver, a woodworking trick, a geometrical theorem. The combination of a five syllable word with a one syllable word gives it a jazzy rhythm. Which leads me to jazzberry. I couldn’t resist starting on a new project with some of the alpaca yarn I received as a gift. I have been thinking how there are many terms for colors that are a mix of red and violet: mauve, magenta, maroon, burgundy, eggplant. Searching for a word to describe the color of this yarn, I came across the color “Jazzberry Jam,” which is apparently a Crayola crayon color.
I have no idea if jazzberry has another meaning (leave a comment if you know of one), but now I have a name for my next cardigan. I don’t care if I can eat a jazzberry or not – these days I’m perfectly content to nibble on dried apple rings and roasted chestnuts, two autumn culinary delights. KA is my personal in-house chestnut roaster. We’ve had two different batches of Italian chestnuts and now these beauties: a French variety, Bouche de Bétizac.
When I was working on my master’s degree in France, I spent time in the Ardèche, the department that produces half of all chestnuts grown in France. Benedictine monks planted the first chestnut trees there in the ninth century. It’s the French equivalent of the Garfagnana region in Tuscany, which is known for its chestnut flour. Chestnuts are one of my favorite foods. Eating them, I feel a link back to my Tuscan ancestors. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t had access to the nutritious fruit of the Castanea sativa tree.
May you discover a new color and enjoy a favorite autumn food!