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Chaga in a winter hinterland

1 Jan

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Way back in the last days of 2015 I decided to go and harvest my winter chaga before the snow became to deep on a cool -12 C afternoon. It has been cold enough lately so all the main medicinal properties should be locked in tight in this chaga mushroom. With only 5 inches of snow on the ground this was quite easy walking through thick mostly conifers only 100 meters off a path to this paper birch tree which I found in the summer, at that time this tree was able to produce leaves in some of the top branches so the medicinal flow through the tree trunk is still fresh.

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Summer view (July 24/2015) of same chaga mushroom.

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A photo capturing some of the snowiness of the day.

 

Something new as I made a phone video which I thought I could upload directly here at wordpress but that turned into quite an adventure ending with me joining Yahoo-Flickr to stage any clips I’d like to embed here on this blog. I learnt a few little things along the way, like how to hold the phone on my next attempt, anyway a glitch or 2 in uploading but not to bad for a first try. ciao

Look up Chaga

15 Sep

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Looking ahead this may be the Chaga mushroom I collect in 2015 if things go well, the tree is still sturdy and producing plenty of leaves.

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Now for today my Chaga supply is low and the Chaga mushroom on the right side of this tree looks big enough to supply me with tea for a year or so.

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Chaga close up.

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Here is part of what I’m talking about when I say — look up Chaga. You want to select a birch tree which is still healthy and able to produce leaves so here we are beneath the Chaga horn looking up the birch trunk in search for branches with leaves which are nicely in place on this tree.

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One of the easiest way to remove your Chaga from the birch tree is with a hatch, I have an oldie here from the 1950s.

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The best time to slice your freshly gathered Chaga is shortly after you bring it home, a heavy duty knife will glide through the Chaga much easier at this point then in a few days.

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Some of the pieces in this one are quite marbled.

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Here is a Chaga mushroom video I recommend for you by Arthur Haines, check it out. ciao  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liMo7Q_U-YA

A walk down Chaga lane

15 Apr

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Actually this is one of my favorite locations for gathering chaga over the last few years and I usually travel between 500 and 1,000 feet distance parallel to this road which normally in the early evening has a car  drive by every 5 minutes or so. This is a chaga hot spot as I have collected some huge chaga on yellow birch just 1/4 mile away from where I’m walking tonight though this area here is primarily white birch.

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Most of the chaga here tonight are early in their development and I will not gather any of these though I will possible harvest some in the next 2 to 3 years.

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All of these birch trees are still able to produce leaves but probably within the next 5 years the chaga mycelium within the tree will have completed its cycle. A few years before a chaga begins to appear on a tree the mycelium has already sealed the tree’s fate so harvesting chaga while the tree is still mostly alive makes no difference to the tree’s lifespan and the best qualities in Chaga are most available while the tree is still sharing its nutrients. Older Chaga from already dead birch trees are not suitable for making tea, a good example of this is the large Chaga shaped like an angel in my (Chaga page) it was nice to look at but not a useful medicinal mushroom and I hope no one is gathering to use or selling old chaga collected of dead birch trees to anyone.

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Here is a tree I harvested 4 lbs from 2 years ago, it is still producing twigs with new buds and the chaga is also growing back as you can only see a little of the light brown area at the bottom of the Chaga where it was chopped.

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This photo is a couple new Chaga emeraging from this same tree.

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Here is the top section of this same tree with a couple of nice Chaga horns just under the top branches. A large birch like this one may produce many lbs of Chaga.

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Now I’m on my way back to my car travelling on the opposite side of the road a few hundred feet in the woods and I finally found my first one over on this side after check this area a few times over the last 3 years,  it is quite a nice one as well, as it will be easy to harvest being at ground level and should increase in size in a year or 2. The Chaga future is looking good as long as a clear-cut doesn’t roll down the lane. ciao

Chaga helps handle things

14 Oct

There are probably many very useful adaptogens available in nature to help folks regulate their metabolism no matter where you live in this world.  Chaga has been exceptionally beneficial in my particular case so naturally I will mention this fungus as the opportunities arising.  Since I supply a few folks I usually gather 3 to 5 chaga per year depending on the size of them which ranges between 1 to 10 lbs and I enjoy collecting them in different areas I happen to be travelling in, which these photos today are from Colchester County NS as I was returning from a (NS Mycological society) mushroom walk held at Victoria Park, Truro NS. This area was an excellent spot for an afternoon walk and plenty of interesting folks & a great variety of fall mushrooms as well.

I was rather fortunate as the area I decided to stop at on my return trip was a hillside of primarily birches with both yellow and white birch there. I walked around for 5 minutes then started see a few trees with some small chaga on them and then this chaga with a handle on it, which made for easy harvesting and carrying and I though of  chaga’s ability to help folks handle the different body stressers due to the adaptogenic properties present. If you have a few hours some day to check out some of the info on the net for the medicinal properties of chaga mushroom and if you live in an area where birch trees grow you are very likely to be able to gather your own supply of the fascinating mushroom for a great medicinal tea. cheers

Chaga and shelving tooth

22 Mar

Last evening I was out foraging for some wild Enoki mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes) when I noticed this very large group of Shelving tooth (climacodon septentrionale) as I approached a hundred feet closer I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice Chaga mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus) on the next tree beside it as my Chaga supply is getting a little low. You may need to click on the photo to see the Chaga.

This Shelving tooth was in exceptional shape as it would have come to fruit last Sept or Oct, so it hung in valiantly throughout the winter.

Here is the under side of the shelving tooth, some folks also call this mushroom Northern tooth, notice the teeth instead of gills or pores.

Here is the Chaga mushroom up close.

Here is the Chaga trimmed up and ready to be chopped and taken home for slicing and drying.

My boot is a size 12 so this Chaga is around 10 inches by  six inches across, probably weighs 3 lbs before drying. If you have health issues take my advise, do some internet research on Chaga, I’m not selling it here, lots of folks are doing so on Ebay check it out. Look for a supplier who only harvest Chaga from living birches which produce leaves during the growing season.

Today we had record temperatures over 77 degrees with the day starting off around 40 degrees, a bit warm for maple sugar weather for the folks a mile down the road from the chaga and the boot, though many were out enjoying a taste at the sugar camp. cheers for now

Chaga mushroom appears good to me

16 Jan

Chaga mushroom tea (Inonotus obliquus) is a welcomed visitor on the ever shifting river me, as it trickles and meanders through the various passages attracted to the most acidic particles on the shores and in the murkier pools diligently driven into various always present new forms. I’ve never found info on the complete life cycle of chaga, it can’t be grown commercially, the fertile assumed spore producing stage is a mystery. The mycelium appears in a variety of different tree trunks and the (sterile conk) known as  the chaga mushroom normally is seen on wounds on the trunk, the best medicinal properties are alleged to come from chagas growing on birch trees, I gather them from only (paper and yellow birches) which are still alive enough to produce leaves during the growing season and usually collect my chaga for the year during the coldest days of winter.

The mycelium which produce chaga will at the same time be shortening the life cycle of the tree it inhabits, so in the illusion — one things disease is another things cure.  I’ve been drinking chaga tea for a few years now and have to spread the word on this, though please harvest this respectfully.  I usually drink 4 or 5 cups per week and harvest approximately 10 lbs per year, this is plenty for myself and a few others I share with. I usually during the summer months while gathering other gifts choose a tree or 2 to revisit later on. In the colder northern areas this is one of the few items we can gather at this time of the year, as shown in one of the pictures in the (chaga page),  we have a little bit of snow mostly in Jan and Feb plus today we had a wind chill factor of -28 degrees, I’m not going to go into all the details on the medicinal properties here, I will list below words to search under if you are interested in learning more. Oh I believe the FDA has it listed as safe as a food or food coloring though I didn’t look this up recently, so check for yourself. It has been used as a table tea in areas of Siberia for century’s. It taste pretty good though I usually mix in a few other herbs and fruits, once prepared you can drink it hot or cold. I also boil rice in the tea occasionally. There are numerous whys to prepare the tea, I’ve tried many but today go with the easiest methods which produce great results, so keep it simple. (Click on enlarge the pics in the chaga page next to the image page above right for some close-ups on some of the different shapes of chage) They can range from 1/4 to 10 lbs. If you have any questions, enter a comment, I may have some info specific to your interest.

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