About Aleks Degtyarev

Aleks Degtyarev

Aleks Degtyarev is a Producer and Director at Panman Productions and a Consultant with Penguin in the City, Inc. His dream has always been to be a writer and filmmaker, ultimately a social engineer. After stints as a Social Media Guru, television and Internet broadcasting producer, experimental filmmaker, educator, philanthropist, art dealer, camera operator, editor, cook, first mate, check mate, VJ, blogger, hiker, pyrotechnical consultant, foreign dignitary, Krav Maga expert, and film festival organizer, he realized that times have changed and so has value. He believes that each role feeds the other roles, creating a tapestry of character.

Aleks goes by his road alias Marlo L. Brown. The "L" stands for Lovely if you were to meet him. He is currently on the road looking for the World Dream, trying desperately to attain a world view by visiting as many out of the way places as possible and meeting the people, animals, and plant life that inhabit those places. He travels with his girlfriend and confidant, Lulu in their expedition rigged-out Nissan Xterra that goes by the moniker, Arroya T-Rex. He currently subscribes to the belief that a revamped education system is a good idea to focus all human efforts on, that people should take themselves less seriously, and that humor is perhaps a good cure-all if it could be bottled (which he believes can be).

Latest Posts by Aleks Degtyarev

Velvet Never Dies, Beer That Is…

February 9, 2012 by  


I must explain that in the Czech Republic beer drinking is sort of a way of life. Or is it? In the Czech Republic there is quite a resplendent selection of beer to choose from. If you are like me, then you may prize an inside joke more than the beverage from which it sprang from.

The beer muse is, Velvet produced by the Staropramen Pivoray (Brewing Company). It is “A bottom-fermented beer, 5.3% alcohol, with a remarkable visual appearance and taste, whose development was inspired by a traditional English recipe.”

Truly, the beer does live up to it’s name. And somehow the Original Hooligan Tribe is inspired to infuse the beers plush moniker with a diverse array… Well, anyway it’s all explained in the letter.

What started as nothing more than mention of a Czech lager prominently named, Velvet, leads to a Hooligan skit inspired universe? We are not sure if the beer comes from Czech Republic but is a British beer or if it is a Czech Beer made in Britain. Somehow thee Majesties royal country is involved and we proceed to first, carpet bombing all of the Bond films: The most memorable and somehow more hysterical appropriation being, License to Velvet, funnier even than both Dr. Velvet and Octavelvet. Die Another Velvet or Velvet Another Day are not bad choices but sadly disappointing when put next to Velvet Pussy! GoldVelvet offers its funnier counterpart in Velveteye or Velvetfinger. From Russia with Velvet seems too decadent and deprived. You Only Live Velvet sucks. It just doesn’t cut it, not in any rearrangement including and limited to: You Velvet Live Twice, Velvet Only Live Twice and You Only Velvet twice (perhaps the best arrangement from this bunch). Diamonds Are Velvet is too much of an inquiry rather than a statement.  Without proper punctuation and when reversed, Velvet are Forever, sounds like a new post-rock band, rightly consisting of members from older better bands.

The Man With the Golden Velvet is mysterious and plush, only to be rivaled by, The Velvet with the Golden Gun as well as, The Man with The Velvet Gun, no matter how predictable.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Velvet is a bit implicative, causing a raised brow, but not so much a giggle. This is also attributed to this being not a memorable film in the Bond series. In fact, no suitable alteration of this title injected with velvet, will give the desired effect so, let’s keep moving.

The Spy Who Loved Velvet reminds me too much of Peter Sellers or Austin Powers, which could lead to a slapstick funny. Velvetracker though, is just plain vulture-like, primal and congenial at once!

Velvet Your Eyes Only, okay. A View to a Velvet, The Living Velvet in so far as these are poetic gestures… The Velvet Day Lights, dangerous and dreamy. Velvet Never Dies, too much infomercial-like. Where as, Tomorrow Never Velvet and The World is not Velvet are just too somber thoughts. For if the world was truly velvet we wouldn’t need houses or food or clothing.

Shoe Fits Short Film Official Release

May 2, 2011 by  


This is it… the movie we slaved on for two whole weeks.

Thanks to Panman Productions and FreestyleLife.com everyone can enjoy the antics of the Original Hooligans.

Let’s Talk Supermoons

March 26, 2011 by  


“Thanks to a fluke of orbital mechanics that brings the moon closer to Earth than that it has been in more than 18 years, the biggest full moon of 2011 will occur on Saturday, leading some observers to dub it a “supermoon.”” ~Yahoo News

It didn’t look any closer but it felt right on top of us.

I don’t know where you were on Saturday, March 19th. 2011, but I bet it wasn’t Santos Party House. By the time the moon was out the OH crew was well underway to certain intoxication via less then memorable Chinese and Vietnames Lagers. Rice beers suck, and it was noted by all, however much Lulu wanted to defend her country’s brew.

We had spent most of the day on the shores of the TB-ridden Island of Roosevelt; watching young children coughing and the paraplegic whizzing around on their motorized wheelchairs.  Of note, we found what may or may not have been a community garden where they use the corpses of the deceased for their bone meal (fertilizer). Also, there was a young black kid playing with a young white kid, “something you only see in school books,” chimed Pipe.

Dr. Pipe’s memento


Lucky to have gotten off that Island, and I won’t even mention the food or the architecture, we headed towards downtown. The infamous SALEM were to play the Party House of one, Santos. A show Lulu and myself had been looking forward to for months…

Pipe and Lulu. Pipe wearing Traditional Columbian Mask.

We met up with young, Yakov Grinburgerhill, an O. Hooligan coming up in the ranks of certain, http://www.griph.net/ fame.  Between sets of opening bands he regaled us with stories of job hunts,  man hunts, and the forgotten pleasures of a well tailored suit.

And so we stood, listened, drank, and waited for the revered band to take the stage.  Pipe, jumping for joy, had mistook another opening act for that of SALEM themselves and for no reason at all other than his joy and confusion, received an alarming knee to the groin from a feminine stranger. Pondering his options and combing his beer soaked brain for a resolution, he took to violent whimsy, whereby shoving the strange lady clear across the dance floor…

Young Y.Grinburgerhill true identity to be disguised.

A slight tussle broke loose and as if a bunch of anamatronic bears spurred by a strangers quarter, the OH crew jumped into action.

Besting all that took part on the dancefloor, the Hooligan chapter was forced to flee… that is after cracking skulls and being pointed out by some wimpy white kid to the security staff.

Lulu, in all her super heroine fashion, nimbly  recovered Pipe’s most expensive glasses from the chaos. Bravo!

charming as always.

A “supre’moon” had turned men into animals and maybe even vice versa. One thing is for certain, “a black kid would never have ratted us out, it’s just not in their nature,” said Pipe, as he kissed my prized right hand now ballooning from a possible fracture.

I guess we will have to wait for the next Supre’moon to see our SALEM.


Is the Pilgrims Return Linked to Pipe’s Pilgrimage to Giza?

January 25, 2011 by  


One may never know. Believe Nothing! Today began simply with disgust. My non-fluoride toothpaste was all but gone! It was young Izziz Esquire who had warned me of the dangers of this lethal compound called fluoride. Since I trust no one, and especially not my stinking wasp lawyer. I decided to finally do the fluoride research on my own. But before I did, I went ahead and broke my non-fluoride rule brushing my teeth with fluoride laden Collgate toothpaste (striped as coincidence will have it).

Izziz Esquire most trusted lawyer.

Perhaps I should backtrack a month or so: the Pilgrims make a startling return back to NY in what could be regarded as a warbling loop. This was done to recreate the wobble the earth performs on it’s axis, as stated by scientist Graham Hancock, a commonly ignored feature by Egyptologists when regarding the Great Pyramids at Giza. Ah! What’s this? Also an important fact to this overall mystery.

This morning I was busy researching the facts about Fluoride as I said earlier when I stumbled onto a site called, http://www.trufax.org/. There was an article on this supposedly scientific journal called, A Brief Historical Overview of the Order From Whence This Comes. It dated back to 1994 but with the time space continuum who can be sure these days.

The basic information garnered from this article was that there is an anonymous secret society of scientists who are working both in and outside the orthodox scientific communities. These scientists have been meeting for many ages and “ARE only an ancient Hermetic Gnostic Magickal Order concerned with the intellectual and spiritual evolution of mankind.” Or so they claim.

We Return

What’s even more outlandish (or is it) is that they announce  there are tunnels that connect all the major mountains of the world as well as the great Pyramids at Giza. These wondrous places, some of which the Pilgrims have even visited and will not deny are, “gravitrons of Cosmic Energy.”

All of this would have been curious folly if not for the next several charged/meaningful coincidences.

1. The last few days I have been reading the book Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson. There one finds constant reference to the Dog star Sirius as well as the Sirian Race/extraterrestrials and secret societies. Dr. Wilson as well as A. Crowley both received astral messages from the planet/star Sirius. Was Dr. Wilson, T. Leary, Philip K. Dick, J. Lilly and all others mentioned in text part of this Hermetic Order? The main purpose of these people was to strive for “immortality” or transcendence.

2. In the above mentioned article there was reference to a Discovery Channel show called, Mystery of the Sphinx. On this show this Sirius constellation is described as integral to the ancient society for purposes of resurrection. The idea of resurrection seems inherently linked to both transcendental ideas as well as those of immortality. Hoozah!


Cosmic [T

3. As my day began toothpaste was on my mind. Quite possibly in a very literal sense. Then watching part Five (= 23) of Mystery of the Sphinx I hear this transmission uttered by John Anthony West at :59- 1:11  , “What’s at issue here is the entire history of civilization, it may not have gone in a straight line from stupid cavemen to smart old us with our hydrogen bombs and striped toothpaste.” Did you hear that? He said toothpaste. Coincidence? Yeah just like the the pyramids being built to utmost precision  is a coincidence.

3. What’s more Pipe’s currently planning to visit The Great Pyramids of Giza on Spring Break to uncover the great mystery once and for All!


Pipe’s grueling preparations for operation […

3. Also for a long shot consideration:  is the Sirius Satellite Radio company using fluoride to subvert my mind for canceling my lifetime subscription to their radio? Which in essence could be used to beam down all sorts of non-auditory subliminal propaganda for purposes of greater control.

Sure, I can go about my day ignoring all these things but they just pile up. Seems like the transmission is loud and clear now it’s important to decipher what the hell it all means.

Believe Nothing! Trust no 1.

An Education in Painting at Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, CA

December 12, 2010 by  


I have a very strong urge to paint.  It started in the Henry Miller Library.  I was looking forward to seeing his watercolors but was disappointed by the lack of his artwork displayed.  Most of the pieces on the walls are paintings done by Emil, Miller’s friend and founder of the library.  Emil’s folksy paintings are nice – Miller himself held his friend in high regard as an artist – but what about Henry?  In his book titled, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, Miller writes expressively about his painting process:  he listens to music, he moves with it, his brush moves with the beat, with the melody, changes with the emotions evoked.  He shouts, he sings, he’s very physical when he paints.  Reading about Miller painting was like reading a really good cookbook – you just want to get into it and start creating, and man, I realized how much I missed my painting.  I identify with Miller’s words which brought me back to when I was living in Mastic and painting in a room Marlo and I rented.  It was just one room in which we slept in, ate in, and worked in.  Not much space but it didn’t matter;  I would turn on the music, mostly Latin and Cuban jazz at the time, and danced around my easel, letting the strokes come out on the canvas.  It was a freer style than I used later on when we were living in Great Neck and working on pieces for our Electric Womb show.  For Electric Womb I was very focused,  and mostly sat while painting.  My strokes were deliberate and cerebral rather than physical.  Is one set better or worse?  This is not the right question.  What is important is that upon reading Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, I recalled how much fun I had while painting to music, and I like it.  I like the way I felt. That is how Miller felt about his painting as well.  He enjoyed how he felt while painting and the results were second to that. 

So where are his paintings in the Henry Miller Library?  The library that is named after him?  Yes, he was an author, renown for his writing, but I am moved by his art.  In the bathroom outside there were large, framed photos of Miller painting.  You can see a painting of his in the photo.  There were also various copies of news articles about his many art shows featuring photos of his work posted on the outside panels of the Library.  Well, I was able to to purchase a token, in the form of a note card of the two that are available for sale in the Library.  

When packing for this trip I emitted my oil and acrylic paints and brought along only charcoals as they are easier to tote around and I figured I’d improve my sketching.  Yesterday night while browsing in a bookstore in downtown Glendale, CA, I sat down with a small, red, hardcover printed in 1970.  It contained tips and such on printmaking from the basics like taking a piece of cardboard or a scrap piece of found object, say, a punched paper ticket, applying paint and pressing onto paper.  I was inspired to create prints and explore the affects of printmaking, but I was also inspired by another book – another small hardcover, but in muted earth tones:  Beautiful Places As Seen by Great Painters. This treasure was complete with color plates of wonderful paintings glued individually on the pages, miniature works of art themselves!  Looking at Van Gogh’s paintings always get me going and I really wished to be standing there, at that moment, with two brushes in my right hand, three in my left, one between my teeth, a canvas before me, and my paints by my side.  I must get some paints whether they be oil or acrylic.  Maybe watercolor?  I just want to paint, it doesn’t matter what medium, but let’s get some music on!

Marlo and the very snuggly Library cat

I am a Human Washing Machine or The Art of Laundering on the Road

November 22, 2010 by  


It was our first morning camping on the King Range National Conservation Area, a wildly majestic piece of north Californian coast.  The warm sun was out and the salty wind blustered; perfect elements for doing the dirty laundry that had accumulated over the past couple weeks or so.  Fresh water was easy to be had as the campgrounds are conveniently equipped with water spigots.  Not wanting to waste any precious sunlight time, I quickly set to filling our collapsible bucket*.

The collapsible camp bucket, a must have for any camper or overlander

First went in the water, about half way, then a cap-full of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castille liquid soap.  Last to go in were three pairs of wool socks, several sets of male and female “unmentionables”, one long sleeved camp shirt, and one t- shirt.  The rest would be another load.  Using my “utility stick” that I had whittled smooth from a branch, I stirred the wash, prodded and pushed it while imagining the movements of an electric washing machine.

Laundry soup

I alternated between stirring with my stick and jostling the bucket by its handles, listening for the familiar, chuga chuga sound of washing.

Thankfully my arms are strong enough for such work and my biceps bulged unabashedly.  In the book, Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck, he employs a similar, albeit, less strenuous method:  a covered bucket tied down in his trailer which he filled with water and soap.

Into this bucket he would throw his dirty duds to be left to jumble around while he drove, sometimes for days.

I would have done the same if we had the room for such a setup, but alas…anyway, I don’t like the idea of waterlogged clothes.  So, back to using my woman strength – after whisking and beating the laundry about for a sufficient amount of time, depending on the degree of dirtiness, varying between 5 to 7 minutes, I dumped the gray water out of the bucket being careful not to tumble the wet clothes onto the sand.

I love using peppermint in my laundry stew

Now begins the rinsing.  I like to rinse three times, that means, filling the bucket with fresh water, stirring, then dumping the water out, three times.  Once this is done then the real fun begins.

Wringing wet fabric dry with my bare hands is one of those unpleasant chores that I take much pride in, so in actuality, I extract a good amount of satisfaction with every bit of water I squeeze out, to the last possible drop.  “Satisfaction”, though, should not be confused with enjoyment.  My hands get red and numb from all this drudgery, but it’s worth the sense of accomplishment.

Plus, the more water I wring out the quicker the clothes will dry. Or maybe I’m just a sick, D.I.Y lover.  Being on the road doesn’t mean that we can’t go to a laundromat, it’s quite the opposite.  Even in the smallest of towns, populated by under 100 inhabitants, there will be found, a laundromat.  But, I just see that as cheating – cheating myself of $10 in quarters, and cheating myself from an activity that transports me to the days of yore, when all laundry was washed by hand and hung to dry in the sun and wind.

Nature’s best fabric softener

*The collapsible bucket we are using is made by Field and Stream.  We purchased it at Dick’s Sporting Goods and it has done it’s job sufficiently.  It stands fully erect at about 20″ high and sports a diameter of about 12″.

When collapsed it is about 5″ high.  The cover is zippered and the handles Velcro together to hold everything in. The fabric is water resistant and the waterproof lining is removable by way of more Velcro.

The bottom is constructed of a durable rubber/fabric composite and the entire structure is made more rigid by inserting 3 rubber tipped poles into 3 individual slots running down the sides.  My one complaint is about the removability of the rubber tips on both ends of the 3  poles;  they have all come off inside the tight slots, whereby, becoming obstructions.  Now the poles can never insert fully and stick out at the top.  It’s not a huge deal, but still, annoying.

Renegade Camping

November 15, 2010 by  


To begin, this should not be confused with “squatting”, which is covered in another article.

Reader, I am sure you are wise to the fact that the idea of “renegade camping” is a misnomer, a sort of moronic statement in and of itself. After all, we are speaking of nature, and in America, if you are a citizen of this land, this is your heritage. Let the existence of this article and those like it shed some light on the current condition our “rights” to heritage are in.

i think this may be right allegory.

After traveling through most of the wilderness areas of the United States, as well as Alaska, and parts of Canada and its northern territories, one is faced with adversity when it comes to dealing with the controlling entities that have descended upon nature. In this case, as in most others, I am speaking of the two-leggeds. A problem that is escalating, mutating, and taking on all sorts of wrongs and ills that are hard to combat and elude. Without doubt, we must! By all means, by all costs!

It is bewildering to fathom that everywhere you set foot, somebody many years ago, ages ago even, had set foot there before you. Not only that, but this primitive person with their primitive gear, was able to go beyond mere survival; finding a source of food (foraging, hunting, trapping), water (rain collecting, natural springs, etc.), and even comfort from this very, as of then, undeveloped landscape.

a few years ago…

Unfortunately for those whose minds work like my own, it is a shoddy flight of fancy to convince one self that such times could be had again. It is this type of reverie that is at the root of many adventurous souls. One should prepare for disappointments, frustrations, agitations, and flat out rage. To suppose that this attitude can be combated, one has yet to visit more and more places that fall under the description of wild, fierce, unsettled, even treacherous. Places of such ilk are, however, dwindling or utterly undesirable to visit in the first place. Take for example the current state of Mt. Everest where there is human traffic on the slopes. Take for example the Congo, or Sahara, or Antarctica.

To be honest, I myself, fall into a group of travelers that is not seeking the ultimate in the prism of adventurousness. I just want to go out into “nature”, the mountains, the jungles, the wild beaches. I am not seeking any kinds of extremes in this matter. For me, lands that are under the control of The National Forest and Bureau of Land Management upon first observation, seemed to suffice. These are lands that upon their inception were presented to the public as heritage land. A protected natural resource for the citizens to use for recreation, lumber, farming, hunting, fishing, and the like.

natural circumstances.

Within the last 70 years or so this very land has been abused far beyond what anyone could have predicted. There is only 4% of the Redwoods left and as we drove we saw more than one lumber truck wheeling around the precious lumber, freshly cut. The land is being used for more than that though; huge farm plots are doled out on a 99 year lease program, resort building (with closed gated communities) in what is prime land, excavations for mining and oil/natural gas drilling programs, roads, roads, and more roads, as well as electrical infrastructures including dam building, decimates the land we want to use to camp on and enjoy.

Remember that the law is no longer on your side; scrupulous lawyers, politicians, and corporate big-dogs have had years to exploit loop-holes that let them get away with their  accelerated, ever evolving, plans of rape-pillage-murder conspiracies. If there is a dime and a nickel to be made it’s being made ten-fold. One clear-cut example of this is our current realization that the federal National Forest land in many places on the west coast is being managed by private companies. The private organizations or for-profit enterprise set their own rules and jurisdictions on the land which they enforce with zeal.

As all of these federal and big business interests have nothing to do with you and me as  far as our heritage is concerned, we are left to take matters into our own hands if we want to enjoy the areas that are still left.

By reading this far, I would assume that you have identified yourself with the struggle, that you find yourself amongst this demographic of adventurous free-spirits that don’t want to pay beyond their federal tax dollars to set up a tent on NF or BLM land, that don’t feel like being told where to go and what to do and how to do it.


Welcome, as you have realized and recognized many times before, you are not alone. There are thousands of people traveling the globe by foot, motorbike, boat, car, even the occasional inline-skate, razor scooter, or hover board. Whatever the case may be for you, recognize that these are all self-contained endeavors, the participants of which rely solely on their own merits when entering the prescribed wilderness areas. They are all, like you, prepared to face the elements, the occasional technical failure of their machines and gear, and if fate shall roar, even calamity itself.

by any means necessary!

This is to say that, they have the skills necessary to cary out their missions of self-realization, to deal with abstract situations of all manners if they arise. To be more specific, a traveler of this sort will know how to: build a fire for both varying degrees of warmth and cooking (even if it’s raining or snowing), be able to react with calm and ease to first aid situations, be able to build a shelter if the need arises (but most certainly travel with a tent or like quickly erectable shelter), will be able to procure food and prepare it (including foraging for berries, edible plants, weeds, fungus, hunting, fishing, proper trapping), will have the proper gear and know-how to purify water as well as collect it if no standard water sources are present, will know how to properly deal with his/her own bodily properties (including defecation, grooming, washing-up), be able to orient oneself, as well as other mechanical, biological, and physics related wizardry.

These are just a few key indexes that will allow you to make a judgement on whether you are ready to engage in this renegade style of camping. With that said, renegade camping is not so much a “how” and “what”, as it is a philosophical standpoint, a “why”. You probably deduced that already and since everyone’s reasons are different, I won’t get into it here.

There are no set rules or realms as to where one may or may not camp in the renegade sense of the word.

What it does imply is that you are outside the fee-zones or camping permitted areas, and what you are engaged in constitutes the actions and applications of this art form: self-sufficient-sustainable-camping/hiking. Not to be confused with RVing. To us an RV is a permanent living structure not a collapsable impermanent one.

This is not to say, that one who RV’s can not be a renegade. That too is very much a POV and I would imagine would offer it’s own level of intricacy and clandestine detail.

By saying renegade, we are implying that it is outside the standard and preconceived notion, and hence-forth, within somebodies jurisdiction. It could be Rangers, sherifs, park officials, private security, local militia, bandits, or private tax paying citizens all of whom may not look kindly upon your activities, citing them as: illicit, illegitimate, or even illegal.

one of many uses for such signs.

To this we say, know your rights. If you are breaking the law then do not be ignorant about it. Prepare for the worst case scenario, but don’t sit around dwelling on it. Just know that you are well prepped and ready for anything that may roll your way. 99 times out of 100 nothing will ever transpire when you are ready.

When we were in Pennsylvania we decided to camp on land that was once a mine. This place is called, Centralia and it’s  beyond a ghost town. It is literally whipped off the map. It’s a place that nature has vehemently swallowed back up, never-mind the smoke that bellows from the cracks in the ground from the underground fire that rages on for 60 plus years.

We knew that this was a popular destination for like-minded folk as well as other transient beings. Our penetration into this zone was prepared for night fall. Waiting to meet with our friend and guide, Pipe Adams, proved to be more conspicuous than we assumed, as two squad cars rolled up on us. We moved on and cruised for a bit until we connected with Pipe. Then in one maneuver, our crew dipped into the thrashes of the Centralian wasteland.

Pipe’s purple Ninja motorbike could go no further as the decimated terrain made me  use of all of my 4×4 driving capabilities. We decided that we were far enough from the talons of the law and struck camp.

purple renegade no more.

Later that night an old disheveled Ford F-150 spluttered up with what may have been two locals who announced boldly that they were, “scraping”, and perhaps they were. These sorts of encounters are quite common, and as by me, more preferred than those with Johnny Law.

We advise that if you are going to practice renegade tactics, have a sidekick or two, or more. A party of four is often the right size. It allows for flank maneuvers, diversions, other tactical advantages, as well as a healthy splitting of chores, which leaves more leisure time for everyone.

Perhaps the best advice we can offer is to have a purpose, not an excuse. In the case of Centralia we wanted to treat the place as archeologists would or historians, or even film-makers. We were looking for a story, for inspiration.

Oftentimes it is purpose and common sense that will act as the best cloaks and disguises to ward off any inhospitable forces you may find in your way.

Being in nature already has the connotation that you are interested in natural entities, the flora, fauna, and geological happenings.

With all that said, the implication is that you should be, to some degree, learned about the environment you wish to take up in renegade fashion.

Finally, leave things as you found them. Leave no trace of yourself, no footprint, or incriminating evidence of your presence. This can not be stressed enough as perhaps one of the empirical practices of renegade camping.

Now, if you are hoping for a better understanding of where one may or may not renegade camp, then you may have missed the entire point all together.

And now for sage advice from the official Renegade:

Stay safe, don’t be lazy, and be patient as all these facets will come in handy during your many ongoing expeditions.

Picking Wild Chanterelles in Washington

November 13, 2010 by  


Mushrooms.  I’ve always loved to eat them, but up until the last five years or so, the extent of my edible mushroom knowledge was limited to the white button variety found in the grocery store packed in blue paper cartons and wrapped in cellophane, the brown and “exotic” portobello, and fortunately, due to my Chinese heritage, the shiitake and giant oyster mushroom.

Wild mushrooms did not make it into my culinary medium until the local Costco started carrying a large, plastic container filled with a mixture of dried, wild mushrooms consisting of, oyster, porcini, horn-of-plenty, shiitake and morels.  I was thinking I was pretty gourmet then!  Little did I think, though, about the origin of these tasty delights, being that they came dried and in a container off a shelf.

Sure, I’d seen mushrooms growing in the woods and forests, even on the lawn of my own home, but I never thought about eating them!  My mind didn’t recognize these dirt covered fungus growths to be possibly edible, or even make the slightest connection to the delectable mushrooms in the store.

Thankfully, I’ve wised up some, and today I can attest that I have picked mushrooms in the wild, eaten them, and lived to toast their delectable nature.  How this came about is a matter of accelerated learning:  in Washington we were lucky to stay with a friend with knowledge about wild mushroom picking.

Coincidentally, at the time of our stay, it was also good pickings for Chanterelles in the wet forests near his home!  This was a wonderful opportunity for schooling, since previously in our travels through forests, whenever happening upon mushrooms, we could guess that they were edible, but guessing and eating is never recommended.  In Alaska, Marlo, Iziz, and I stayed with friends, also wild mushroom enthusiasts, whose home was packed to the brim with dried morels they had picked and other heavenly types they had marinated and jarred themselves.

Unfortunately, the timing of our visit came after the fact, and we didn’t get a chance to pick with our switched-on  Alaskan hosts.  With this loss fresh in our hearts, we jumped at the chance to forage with our Washington host.  Good pickings were had and here are some photographs to illustrate:

Marlo had sauteed these gems in butter, along with some potatoes, to make for a scrumptious meal.  I would have photos to illustrate this fact as well, if only we hadn’t been so intoxicated by the flavors and aroma!

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