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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Wilber's 'squirrel shawarma', worms, beer, Keebec, Eel Pie Hotel,

email blather Nov. 24/12

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the thumbs up from Christy.  There were many there at the Milton night I didn’t have the chance to talk to, but if nothing else it was good to see so many familiar faces. Like so many poets who have just gotten fed-up with other poets and people in the arts community I too have my nemesis and can’t bring myself to be in the same room with Wilber at any public event.   It is bad enough I have to put up with him in private.  However, I am sorry it prevented me from connecting more with the friends who showed up there that night.

Wilber and I got home safe-and-sound yesterday just as it was getting dark.  In a surprisingly spry leap Wilber hopped out of the Van and immediately grabbed a squirrel that was running up to me looking for seeds due to the fact I had been away and the feeder was empty.  Wilber wrung its neck and proceeded to gut and skin it, mumbling something about how the whole time he was in Toronto he hadn’t managed to find one eatery that served “Squirrel Shawarma.”  Who knew there even was such a thing????  In no time he had an outside fire going and proceeded to cook it spread eagle on some contraption he made out of a coat hanger.  And the amazing thing is in a wrap with lots of garlic sauce, and the fall herbs and mushrooms Wilber found in the woods, it wasn’t half bad.  Wilber claims the key to squirrel is the garnish.  And like most things… it is hard to argue with Wilber. And why would you bother????

Old Comrade, thank you so much for all your hospitality and for facilitating my being able to be part of this big city event.  Ask Chase to forgive me for Wilber taking his bed… I hope the old shit didn’t smell it up to much.  If Chase needs to stay off of it for a while I guess that would certainly be a comment on Wilber.

“Eel Pie Island Dharma is a magnificent hippie haiku reflection of times-gone-by.  From the Canadian master of the haibun form; poems like starry eyes, twinkle out from the text, a haijin’s worn face.”   Jim Larwill

“Eel Pie Island????  Oh that old derelict hippie hotel.  I crashed there once.  So Canadian Chris was that furry grave digging little twerp sleeping in the closet at the top of the stairs?  What a flaked-out looser he was.”  Wilber Walnut

Sorry…. Wilber had said you looked familiar and when I was working on my quote for your book he saw the cover and it sparked his memory.

Need to go get more twigs for the fire….. thanks again…. And sorry again for Wilber drinking most of our beer…..

RK  aka  Jim


Greetings Jim & Wilber,
Good to hear you 2 reprobates made it home safe & sound! I almost emailed to make sure, but thought that would be a bit too close to parenting (altho Wilber sure could have used some decent parenting early on - about a century too late now). Good to know you guys eventually found yer way back to the shack across the Keebec border OK.

Glad the new book is growing on you ... thanks for your kind words, & as for Wilber's comments on Eel Pie and me being a furry grave digging "looser", well, I f***ed all the skoolgirls while he snored holes in his rotten sleeping bag in the corner of my closet. Man, he was so ancient even back then a few chillums of Nepalese Temple Ball knocked him on his butt. Liquor, maybe, but the old fart sure couldn't hold his soft drugs ...  

(Phone call interrupted these important correspondences - it was Dan at Malone wondering if we survived our trip to TO. I lied thru my remaining teeth & told him the gig was a super success.)

Anyway, hope the squirrel vindaloo doesn't come back to haunt the 2 of you in the middle of the nite. 

peace & poetry power!
Chris ... and Chase (who's going to get wormed tonite after havng Wilber sleep on his couch  for 2 nites) ... wffffffffffffff (a pitiful plea for no worming, pls - it's Wilber who should be wormed!)

p.s. until an appropriate pic of Wilber appears somewhere on the web that I can cut & paste, I'll just have to use a generic pic of a hillbilly - apologies to Wilb ... 

                 X X X X X X X X X X 


Squirrel: It’s what’s for dinner in Romney, W.Va.

Erin Julius - Calvin Riggleman stirs a batch of squirrel gravy during this year’s Squirrel Fest in Romney, W.Va.
ROMNEY, W.Va. — The news that another critter has been added to this year’s Squirrel Fest buffet fails to impress at least one arriving guest.
“I don’t want no ’coon,” he says, even as he meets the man who supplied it and is told how it will be prepared.
Not to worry. Tangy rabbit nachos, a vegetarian lasagna, potato soup, a salsa-inspired raccoon dip and fried raccoon did not divert attention from the headliner at the 13th event of its kind held the Sunday before Thanksgiving: a giant vat of squirrel gravy, lightly caramel-colored and smooth on the surface, with shreds and chunks of long-cooked meat waiting to be ladled up and onto biscuits and baked potatoes.
In this 250-year-old seat of Hampshire County with a population of 2,000, where vegetable farmers turn in their hoes for hunting gear as the weather turns cold, small-game season is a big deal. Squirrel hunting in particular.

Residential squirrels help themselves to bird feeders or scamper into attics. But hungry rural squirrels can wreak havoc on a farm. Squirrel Fest host Calvin Riggleman, son of Gary Riggleman (the raccoon meat raconteur) says the bushy-tailed Sciurus carolinensis digs up newly planted seeds and munches away at apples ripe for the picking at his 85-acre farm. A boom in the squirrel populations of some Northeast states this year led to sizable crop losses on orchards in Vermont and New York, according to recent Associated Press reports.

While pest experts use chemicals to control squirrels, the farmers here have a sustainable solution.
“I’m not sure why there’s a season for squirrel,” says Cal’s mother, Linda Riggleman, who has been making squirrel gravy for years. “We never have run out.” The gravy’s a standby; last year, Riggleman made squirrel potpie for the fest and did, in fact, run out.

American squirrel cuisine has something of an official birthplace in Virginia’s Brunswick County, where in 1828 four of the critters, onions and stale bread went into a pot and became the dish known as Brunswick stew. The Irish Times reported in January 1997 that the “American habit of eating squirrel has arrived in Britain,” chronicling a sampling of roasted squirrel and casseroles with herbs and chanterelles served at an estate owned by the Duke of Buccleuch. The U.K.-based Wild Meat supplies grey squirrel meat (an invasive species) to British grocers and sells online.

Cal Riggleman returned from two deployments with the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006 to start his own farm and family in Romney, next to the 80 acres of orchards farmed by his grandparents.
Now 31, he was just out of high school when he started Squirrel Fest with a few friends at his parents’ house. It grew; when the number of attendees hit 250, Riggleman moved the operation to a commercial kitchen and warehouse he bought with a business partner two years ago. (His Bigg Riggs Farm sauces and jams are manufactured there.)
The free event coincides with the start of deer-hunting season — something folks here tend to appreciate.

“Makes me want to hit something on the way home!” Kevin Moore, a friend of Riggleman’s, said as he cleaned his Squirrel Fest plate.

1 comment:

Ed Baker said...



near me

Calvin can cook 'em good: