Tag Archives: Fungi

Summer Makes Way For Autumn

Looks Like Cocoa Sprinkled Meringue, Rocking Dog

Looks Like Cocoa Sprinkled Meringue

Summer seems to be making way for autumn. With the mix of rain and warmth there is a plethora of fungi in the hood. I would dearly love to do some foraging with old Bear Grylls, wouldn’t we all! Knowing what mushrooms are safe to eat, and ones that shouldn’t under any circumstances  be tossed in a pan would be supremely useful. I did make a tart last week which incorporated fresh shop bought mushrooms, porcini and smoked bacon. A tart doesn’t need to be sloppily eggy!

Mushrooms abound in the field, on fallen trees and on leaf covered tracks. Yesterday morning I took Real Live Rocking Dog on our favourite daily trek and got quite a fright. I spied what I thought was a small skull perched on a dry stone wall. On closer inspection and after a poke of confirmation with my “Wicked” brolly, it turned out to be a very ugly fungi. Phew!

A little later along the walk I narrowly missed a squirrel jumping into my hair. I really must book a hair appointment! Nearing home a pair of deer on hearing my footsteps sprung across the path and in the brook a heron patiently waited for a passing fish. Most walks really aren’t this eventful.

At home we are fortunate to have a Horse Chestnut tree in the garden. I love the tree, the sticky buds, the candle like blossoms and now the conker harvest. Unfortunately the squirrels love the conker harvest too and there are sparse pickings for the lovely little boy next door. Sorry Noah.

This is the time of year I like to create a nature table. It reminds me of the one we used to have year round at school. Beech masts, Old Man’s Beard, rose hips, conkers, sweet chestnuts, haws, acorns and oak apples would invariably put in an appearance as autumn beckoned.

In Zara one or two garments sport embroidered harvests. I loved the appliqué but sadly not the style of the clothes. Boo hoo!

I smelt our neighbours’ wood smoke last night and I couldn’t resist lighting the wood burning stove, the first of the season. Real Live Rocking Dog was adoring the cosiness. He purred contentedly like a cat!

Happy Autumn!

Ugly Fungi!, Rocking Dog

Ugly Fungi!

Fantastical Fungi, Rocking Dog

Fantastical Fungi

Fungi In A Tart, Rocking Dog

Fungi In A Tart

Sweet Chestnut Bounty, Rocking Dog

Sweet Chestnut Bounty

Favourite Daily Trek, Rocking Dog

Favourite Daily Trek

Seed Heads, Rocking Dog

Seed Heads

Autumn's Harvest, Rocking Dog

Autumn’s Harvest

Zara's Harvest, Rocking Dog

Zara’s Harvest

Log Pile At The Kennel, Rocking Dog

Log Pile At The Kennel

Sorry I’ve Been So Silent, Love Rocking Dog.

Sorry I’ve been SO silent! I’ve been a bit under the weather. I wanted to test drive the Accident and Emergency Department at the local new super hospital myself! Back home, I have been snuggly and relatively painlessly holed up, and somewhat ashamedly have let little penetrate my peacedom.

Today I tentatively stepped outside for the first time in nearly a week, and was amazed how Autumn has swept in so confidently with her capacious metallic coppery cloak. My usual riverside walk was so different to the ramble I took there last week. My earthy path was swathed with a rich carpet of rusts, coppers and bronzes. The Frome was afloat with a veritable Armada of curled mystical leafy sailing craft, whilst in the stream a log was docked together with its delicate fungi passengers. It all felt quite surreal.

Autumn had touched the leaves of the Sycamore with her magical welding tool. The metallic weld had dripped sporadically and artistically on to the citric yellow base layer. Nature’s painterly beauty, competition indeed for Jackson Pollock!

Everything was really so deliciously quiet, sun-beamed and glorious.

Nearly at my door, there was raucous cawing. A Murder of Crows (how I love that word for a grouping of crows!) were in my neighbours orchard. Such fights for the plentiful crop of ripe rosy fruit. “Listen here you Murder, there really are plenty for everyone!” “Mind, can you leave me a few apples, i’d love some to make mincemeat….. when i’m feeling a little more energetic!”

Leafy Islands In The Stream, Rocking Dog

Leafy Islands In The Stream

Hanging On, Rocking Dog

Hanging On

Autumn's Metallic Weld, Rocking Dog

Autumn’s Metallic Weld

Leafy Trail, Rocking Dog

Leafy Trail

Firewood, Rocking Dog

Firewood

The Apples Are Ripe!, Rocking Dog

The Apples Are Ripe!


 

Spring Along The Frome Valley Walkway

Fleeting Blueness, Rocking Dog

Fleeting Blueness

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Extract from Spring. Gerard Manley Hopkins

We are truly fortunate to live literally on the Frome Valley Walkway. The walkway stretches for 29km and runs from the centre of Bristol through to the base of the Cotswold Hills.

I love walking various stretches of it everyday with Real Live Rocking Dog. Each season brings with it an amazing variety of flora and fauna. Spring has come bursting in with a carpet of pungent wild garlic and Bluebells. Ferns are slowly unfurling with the warmth of dappled sunlight, and vibrant Kingcups enjoy their drying bogland. Inevitably the change in season will bring with it Himalayan Balsam and Wild Foxgloves and Cow Parsley.

I came upon a truly spectacular fungi yesterday. It was quietly growing on a fallen tree, with some of it’s rust coloured discs the size of dinner plates. It was so perfect.

Wildlife includes frequent sightings of the surreally lapis blue Kingfisher, Squirrels, Damsel flies, Moorhens and Coots. Less frequently we have been delighted to spot Herons, Deer, Freshwater crayfish and recently a weasel.

Most mysteriously for the last three years there has been a large white rabbit in a field close to the walkway. It all feels a bit Alice in Wonderland … but I celebrate the fact that he (she) continues to survive despite a serious lack of camouflage!

Walk This Way, Rocking Dog

Walk This Way

Blubell'd Glade, Rocking Dog

Blubell’d Glade

Wild Garlic, Rocking Dog

Wild Garlic

Magnificent Fungi, Rocking Dog

Magnificent Fungi

Dunking Ducks, Rocking Dog

Dunking Ducks

Wild Cherry, Rocking Dog

Wild Cherry

January Nature Table

Winter Flora And Wool, Rocking Dog

Winter Flora And Wool

Walking in winter, cheek chiseling cold, brain numbing, teeth chattering and invigorating! Even in winter there are lovely things to see growing and evolving. My January nature table enjoys pickings of predominantly green hues. As the winter extends into spring, green will turn to the yellows of Forsythia, Wild Primroses and Daffodils.

There is a bounty of food for the birds, juicy globes of ivy berries and rose hips. Meanwhile, delicate Churlish Green catkins remind us that spring is tantalisingly close. Moss and ferns, verdantly green, bask in their shady dells and the leaves of autumn provide a carpet of rusts and browns.

Hellebore, (the Lenten or Christmas Rose) is a welcome floral display in these short January days. Originating in Europe and Asia, throughout history they have been used for medicinal purposes even though they are highly toxic. The plant is thought to have been used by Hippocrates as a purgative. Meanwhile the dramatic Black Hellebore has been used in ancient times to treat paralysis, gout and insanity. Alexander The Great is thought to have died as a result of taking medicine containing Hellebore.

You know how much I love a good story… so… Hellebore Niger is often called the Christmas Rose, due to an old legend that the plant sprouted in the snow from the tears of young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem. Aaaaahh!

Lastly I love the amazing fungi which I photographed in the winter sunshine, it really did seem that it was positively sunbathing.

Bird Food, Rocking Dog

Bird Food

Fabulous Ferns, Rocking Dog

Fabulous Ferns

Exotic Hellebore, Rocking Dog

Exotic Hellebore

Sunbathing Fungi, Rocking Dog

Sunbathing Fungi