Foraging for flora, finding fauna

If I lived back in the day when mankind had to forage and hunt for every meal…

I wouldn’t have lasted a day.

To be honest, with my luck and knowledge of the wild, I would have probably ended up finding the one and only poisonous mushroom or grazed the single most irritating leaf in the entire wood.

Thankfully, there are others more knowledgeable than I that are just as enthusiastic about making the most of mother nature’s seasonal pantry. Autumn mushrooms beware, I’m coming for you! Forager’s most wanted: the prized porcini!

Borrowed hiking boots that are one size too big

Large woven Red Riding Hood style basket

Dinner knife

Fancy camera ✓✓

And we are off…

King Trumpet mushroom (officially known as Pleurotus eryngii) is an edible mushroom that has a savoury meaty taste when cooked.
Our King Trumpets… big and small.
Shaggy parasols… or Mazza di Tamburo (in Italian)

General rule of thumb, that I’m sure you are all aware of, if you don’t recognise the mushroom… don’t eat it. Although they are small, and look harmless, it’s better to be safe than sorry in this case as symptoms vary from an upset stomach to death depending on the toxins a particular mushroom. For example, the famous Chantrelle mushroom can be easily mistaken for the poisonous Jack O’Lantern mushroom. Eaters beware!

Unknown mushrooms… do not touch!
Also unknown… small, but potentially dangerous?
Couldn’t resist the natural lighting of this shot. Spotlight on one sole mushroom!

Unfortunately, our hunt for porcini mushrooms wasn’t as fruitful as we had hoped. Other funghi lovers beat us to them and left us nothing but the remnants of the stems as a taunting reminder that the early forager gets the prize.

However, we didn’t go home empty-handed. Autumn won’t disappoint any forager as it brings chestnuts galore!

Beware of spikes! These little guys know how to defend themselves. Arm yourself with a stick to poke the chestnuts out.

So all was not lost. We got a basketful of autumn’s finest ingredients after a day of foraging.

DSC_4416DSC_4418Now for the fauna:

Can you spot the woodpecker?
A hop, jump, and a skip away!
Ahh the mighty beetle!
Mum and baby

And my favourite…

Just staring away at us… as if we didn’t belong.

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