Sunday, 20 September 2015

I saw Polyporus badius up the Welcombe

I love all sorts of fungi. Yesterday in Blue Cap Covert (the woods behind the benches in the top Rowley Field) I came across these growing on dead Ash. They belong to the polypore family, a large group that includes the bracket fungi. They have pores rather than the gills associated with the edible field mushrooms. Sometimes the pores are so fine that they appear to the naked eye as smooth. A few of the polypores are edible (Chicken of the Woods for example) but most aren't. They tend to be woody especially when old. The Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) which I've posted about before is also edible but only when young.

As to yesterday's find - Polyporus badius - despite the pleasant mushroomy smell, it's not edible but is an attractive fungus and we're all the better off for it being there.

I wonder how these Cyclamen got into the woods?

Monday, 14 September 2015

A bag full of fungi

Ann and I went on an impromptu fungi foray this afternoon and came up trumps. Giant puffballs, Horse Mushrooms, Field Mushrooms, Fairy Ring Champignon and Jelly Ear. We munched some as we went along, had a great time and I hope that stir-fry went well. Ann though did ditch the Jelly Ear as she wasn't too sure about that.

We also saw some Wax Caps (the first of the season) and some Bovista plumbea (a small puff ball).

Monday, 7 September 2015

Fungi, Speckled Woods, blackberry wine and wooden horse carving...

The Fairy Ring Champignon is springing up all over the place forming clusters and fairy rings in the fields. I picked a bagful yesterday and most of these are now in the dehydrator. Most of the horse mushrooms I picked are with them, sliced and slowly drying. The remainder are in my tum. Garlic, black mustard seeds, wild fungi and chickpeas. The juice was mopped up with bread made yesterday from wholemeal flour we bought the weekend before during the open day at Hampton Lucy Mill.

To the right are this morning's fungi haul. Note the maggoty ends of the stems. Picked young, the maggots won't have had time to eat their way further up so the end can be cut off for a maggot-free feast. 

This particular species is abundant at the
moment. Distinctive characteristics:

  • bulbous cap when young
  • gills white at first then deep pink to brown when aged
  • a slight yellowing of the cap margin
  • a ring that becomes detached as the cap opens and flattens
  • mushroomy smell
  • firm flesh

The Speckled Wood butterfly, along with various Whites is the butterfly you'll most likely see up the hills. 
The one here settled on blackberries in the morning sun. 

We've made blackberry wine this year and will probably get some elderberry going too. The blackberry makes a lovely wine but won't be ready for 2 years. Elderberry is good too. It's rich in tannin but takes even longer to mature to a silky smooth finish and for those harsh tannins to tone down a bit.

Some may have seen me whittling away on my walks around the fields. K is mad on horses so I whittled her the one she's holding below. The design is based on the Swedish Dala Horse and was hand carved from an old piece of mahogany window frame I found in my woodpile. It has a wax finish to bring out the grain.