Archive | August, 2012

Forest refreshment

30 Aug

I explored a few acres of forest tonight which has been drawing my attention recently as it is on my daily drive and is a bit difficult to get to but the journey is only  challenging for a minute. Once in the forest I was a bit surprised to see very little understory plants or moss or mushrooms, but then one of my favorite forest refreshments appeared in a few spots where some small chunks of cut tree limbs have been covered by moss for I suspect many decades and the cloverlike, Oxalis acetosella, Wood sorrel was growing from the richness of the decomposing  wood beneath.

Wood sorrel taste lemony, a nice nibble and thirst quencher and the heart-shaped leaflets are interesting looking, the white flowers with reddish veins appear in May so they are long gone now. I kind of forgot about this little plant as this is the first time I noticed and had a taste this year. Most folks who get a chance to try Wood sorrel are pleasantly surprised with its fresh taste which to my liking is the best of the many varieties of sorrel available in the wild or even garden sorrel really. It is recommended in many books on wild edible plants that Wood sorrel  should be eaten in moderation due to it containing Oxalic acid as does cranberries as well. Most continents of the world have a variety or 2 of Oxalis plants which have been enjoyed by the folks of those lands from day one I suspect.  Some folks even  on this very day made Wood sorrel into a pleasant ice tea. cheers for now

huckleberry grinn

26 Aug

No mushrooms in the mountains today on the forest floor. So moving from the vegetable to the fresh fruit section.

I noticed these huckleberry plants while gathering ripe low bush blueberries a month ago, so I stopped in for a look in this Jack pine area on the way home and the huckleberries are ready. I also chose to bring a few leaves to help in identification as the backside of the leaves are supposed to glitter when exposed to sunlight due to small yellow colored oil glands, I notice the sparkle though I’ll need a lens to see the yellow glands. I may also try a huckleberry leaf tea as well.

There appears to be 2 different types of huckleberries in the above and below photos, or they both may be Gaylussacia baccata, both fruits contain the crunchy small seeds which  informs the berry picker he is gathering something other than blueberries.

I have tons of low bush blueberry experience in both eating and picking beginning way back as a pre-schooler in the early 1960s. Huckleberries are new to me though, yet I can tell by tasting these berries this morning we are in for some frosty good huckleberry popsicles this afternoon. ciao

Banana Boletus

25 Aug

The plan was to find the above poplar trunk and cut a section to take home to see if I could possibly grow a few of these in my yard which I suspect are Hypsizygus tessulatus. These mushrooms are quite  popular as an edible mushroom in Japan known as Buna Shimeji.  Although I took the above photo only a week ago and the area to re-step was only an acre or so large I was unable to find this log and my other idea was to possibly find a few more lobster mushrooms, but there were only a few overmature ones left there.

The forest mushrooms changed quite dramatically in a short spell, by now I should be use to this, though again I was pleasantly surprised as there were numerous very beautiful but poisonous destroying Angels in the woods and even more numerous Banana boletus (Leccinum subglabripes) in photo above.

I took this photo for a few reasons (1) I didn’t place this banana boletes mushroom in the tree (2) You can notice a destroying Angel on the ground to the left if you click to enlarge the photo. (3) Many mushrooms close by had been eaten by the forest creatures as many caps were gone with just the remaining stems still there, so I’m curious to who placed this mushroom in the tree, a squirrel, chipmunk, tossed by a deer, coyote, fun to speculate.

Here are the Banana boletus caps with their spongy pores removed and just a final clean up and into the dehydrator they will go, everyone loves dried banana boletus chips. This morning I’m of to find some Catathelasma ventricosum, but we will see what is in store.  ciao

Burly mountain memoirs

21 Aug

Some Burly Caledonia Mountain, Albert Co, NB Balsam fir trees.

A few mountain mushrooms.

Lobster mushroom

Chanterelle

Garlic Marasmius, these little mushrooms do smell quite garlicy and many of them appear to be growing on the end of just one decomposing Balsam fir needle. This is my first collection of this very common tiny mushroom in this area.

I never seen or talked to anyone out in this neck of the woods, though I get the message it is best to watch my Ps and Qs up here.

I’ve consumed enough for today, time to head home with a half tank left and 20 miles to go. Ciao for now

The lobster mushrooms are surfacing

14 Aug

We received some rain this weekend which seemed to stir up our friends from the deep.

As you can see the lobster mushroom tends to stay mostly undercover though their bright color will easily draw your attention.

Of all the wild mushroom I gather the lobster mushroom is hardest to clean but they make up for this with their meaty size with many of these ones gathered today weighing around 8 ozs.

The first 6 photos are of mushrooms found within a 10 feet space and are the mushrooms in the first basket photo in front of the hollow stump.

This clump of lobsters convinced me to look around a few more trees and yes there were more close by.

Looking back it seems we will have a few lbs to eat fresh and enough for a load in the dehydrator for further down the road. ciao

A ramblin bramblin man

11 Aug

I was up looking at a forest property that was for sale 50 miles north of my place and was stunned to find some nicely ripe blackberries. In my area I am use to seeing blackberry canes between 4 and 10 feet though usually the canes bear numerous large thorns so a sweater or protective coat is worn while picking wild blackberries, but today I’m a pickin and a grinnin in my tee-shirt as these blackberry canes are practically thornless and my usually blackberry companions the yellow jacket hornet are strangely absent from this area. Click on to see these blackberry photos up close.

These blackberries are not only easy to pick but are the sweetest I’ve found in many decades of gathering this wild fruit, so I will be definitely placing some of these berries in the ground closer to home. I gathered up approximately 5 gallons of berries in 2 hours though I didn’t have my berry picking gear. I did have a 2 litre ice cream container and my mushroom collecting basket which worked out fine. A couple other plants of interest in the photo are fireweed and pin cherry trees.

Nature always amazes me, I recently checked the unripe blackberries in my area which has a growing season 30 plus day more than the area I visited today and I was going to start gathering in my area in 2 weeks, todays gathered berries were actually at the end of their growth as bear have been in feeding for many days so these blackberry plants may produce ripen fruit the last week in July if grown in my yard.

At this time I own no forest property but would like to protect at least one of these recently cut areas even the wood harvesters aren’t interested in at this point and just let the natural development of plants and trees play out on their own. I didn’t get much of a chance to check out the full 100 acre property which has a swamp fen and possibly many plants I’m very interested in, though I would probably intervene with a few of my favorites if they naturally fit in and can compete on their own and let nature do the rest, if I do decide to be involved in this spot. This place was harvested for its wood 10 years ago and wasn’t replanted, so no chemical spraying on the land which is right up my alley. ciao

Orpine Live-forever

10 Aug

Here are a couple of photos of a plant I frequently use in spring and summer salads, Orpine (Sedum telephium). This plant is full of life and the smallest piece placed in soil will often grow into a health plant. This plant by our patio grew from a few bare stems I placed there after removing the leaves for a salad a few years ago. I usually gather my leaves for eating in dark forest where the plants do not flower and the season starts around May and good leaves can still be collected in some area into September. These plants mostly have a nice fresh taste, but some soils produce bitter leaves as I found out when I brought some plants that tasted great where they grew on the river floodplain but once moved to my parents place in the early 1980s and placed  under their lilac hedge they in future years were not tasty at all, even in the early spring . The area I live in now produces tasty leaves before flowering, so I’ve been placing pieces in the most shady areas in our yard. I will take a few more photos in September and give some more info on this plant including some on its edible tubers and also info on its close relative Roseroot. If you can’t wait till then check out————–www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL2lxc-Vdm8 ——for White Wolf’s cool video and info on Orpine. ciao

Back in the thicket of things

6 Aug

I was thinking a pin cherry popsicle would taste pretty fine today, but it has been so dry in my area I suspect the birds could uses these pin cherries more than us. You’ll need to click on to notice the pin cherries in the Pin cherry trees in above photo. The wild raspberries were very ripe though with many falling to the ground and no evidence of bear visiting this area and when I was done gathering there, 99% of the ripe berries were still available for whoever pass by so once again some very pleasing raspberry juice and popsicle it is for this afternoon’s treat.

Here are photos of a couple of viburnum shrubs –highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) in the photo above and some unripe wild raisins (Viburnum cassinoides) below. I’ll probably freeze some of these fruits in the fall as they are common around here.

Surrounded by thicket was a small area of less than 10 trees of young spruce, balsam fir and poplar with a few of the most common forest fruit in my area on the ground. Here below are some bunchberries ( Cornus canadensis). You may choose to click on to notice these fruit close up.

The surprise of the day was finding a choice wild edible mushroom in this dry weather and also being in this thicket location where summer edible wild mushrooms are not foraged for, so without further adieu here is a nice little 4 oz Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum). I noticed the orange color from 50 feet away and definitely thought Lobster mushroom though the location spoke of maybe some rolled up orange trail marking material.

This photo is interesting as you can still notice the original Russula mushroom gill ridges beneath the parasitic Lobster mushroom which when fully mature covers the white mushroom within it.

These mushroom don’t only looks a bit like cooked lobster, the scent of seafood is also present, the texture though has a pleasant crunch. I like to use lobster mushrooms pan-fried as the main ingredient in a toasted sandwich and also in soups, or dried and powdered to add a seafood flavor to a variety of other dishes.  ciao

The hopniss places

1 Aug

The blossoms are still not fully expanded but you get the picture and naturally this is the last day of  daylily flowers in our yard, starting July 1st and ending August 1st, so here are some hopniss blossoms which I introduced to the garden from the St John River which have danced over the daylily stalks  and some blue sky for your enjoyment to ring in the new month.

Some more blossoms and some communities which take their names from this plant Apios americana,—– Shubenacadie and the Shubenacadie river, NS Canada (Mi’kmaq)—–Sag Harbor and Sagaponack NY, USA   (Algonquin)—– Penecook River NH, USA.   I would be surprised if there are not many other areas throughout central and eastern N.A. having places named for this plant which provided a very edible tuber for folks for over 10,000 years in Canada and thousands more years as you head south. I recall finding this plant for the first time along a river in my home county where it wasn’t known to grow and being amazed at the sight of these large richly  colored and finely shaped blossoms. I definitely sat in their company for a while that day.

Click on to get a closer look at the softer colors on the top side of the blossoms.  As you can see they mingled quite naturally here to, only a handful of folks have seen or heard of this plant in this city, but I suspect we may get a street named after them before I leave these parts. ciao