Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wild Mushrooms

This autumn, the strangest things have been popping out of the lawn. Something I'd never seen before.

I thought this was a cool mushroom and NO, I did NOT eat it...

...but instead spore-printed it to try to identify it.

I am thinking it is a Slippery Jill (Suillus salmonicolor, also known as Suillus subluteus) from the Bolete family. My books say it's edible but I bet it tastes pretty yucky. It was slimy and left a stain on my fingers. No way was I going to try that! Sometime "edible" doesn't necessarily mean "tasty."

Then I came across a regular fall lawn mushroom: the Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus). You are supposed to pick them as fresh as possible when they look like this...

...and not like this, on day two...

...and especially not like this on day three when it's all black and inky. I don't eat these mushrooms and don't recommend them either. They are edible and yes, I tried them once but wasn't mad for them.

Okay now, this IS edible and was given to me by a friend. When he can find them, he picks at least one large Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa) every year. This weighed 10 pounds when picked and I got half of it.

It kind of looks like it's made up of feathers, sort of like a hen.

To eat it, you pull it apart, like a caulifower or broccoli and clean each part to make sure there's no dirt in each segment...

...and then put them in the dehydrator to use in soup for another day...

...or fry them up in butter for immediate consumption. Very delicious!

NB. Never, ever eat a mushroom you "think" you've identified as edible! You must be 100% sure. Always best to go mushrooming with an expert. If you don't know anyone like that, just enjoy looking at them!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kitten Alert!

Guess what showed up at Richard's on Saturday afternoon? A little black kitten...

...and a little tabby were both curled up in the garden.

It was about to rain so Richard and I scooped them up, put them in the wood shed and fed them. They were really hungry!

We found them a box and tucked them inside.

Oh boy are they cuties. If anyone would like a cat, please e-mail me at: We deliver (within reason)!

In the meantime, Richard is doing his best to socialize them. They're really very friendly and sweet.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Garden

It's almost October and my garden still hasn't been nipped by frost. There was a light frost on the grass when I woke up on Saturday morning but my garden seems untouched. Oddly enough, my Oregon lupins have decided to bloom a second time. Always nice to see 'em.

The nasturtiums have gone crazy that a shoot has grown up inside the little cabin and come through one of the boards to bloom.

My mom planted these golden raspberries many moons ago.

The great thing about them is that they deliver fruit spring and fall.

The poor eggplants didn't have enough heat this summer. This one needs another full month of heat. Guess I'll be eating a miniature eggplant soon.

The tomatoes also suffered from lack of heat. These are volunteers, seeds from the compost pile that grew in the same spot as the planted jalapenos (look at the bottom of the photo).

The peppers have gone mad and are producing full-sized, grocery store-like peppers!

The poor cucumber plants are dying. But look at this determined plant. It's leaves are dying, it's still producing fruit and it's still flowering. Wish we had another month...

My salad for supper last night. I even found a fresh sprig of dill popping up. It's going to frost any day now so every trip to the garden is a treat.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

From The Farmer's Almanac

"When beechnuts are plentiful, expect a mild winter."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Native Plant Walk

On Saturday, my friend Peggi and I will be participating in a Native Plant Workshop. Peggi will give a talk on native plant identification and I'll be demonstrating how to make soup with morel mushrooms. There will also be a fellow discussing First Nations' use of native plants and herbs as medicine.

In addition to that, there'll also be a field tour, which will be taken at a Girl Guide camp nearby. So we figured we'd better check it out before the actual walk took place.

There were all sorts of neat things in the woods...this mushroom...

...which, by the way, I WON'T be using in my soup!

There were tons of high bush cranberries, which even the birds won't eat. Who actually eats these I wonder? Yuck!

Peggi pointed out this interesting plant called Vervain.

Many dragonflies were buzzing about that day.

The great thing about this location is that it has a good path through the woods which ends at the edge of a lake. Here is Peggi digging up some water plant's roots.

One of the nicest things about the walk in the woods was Peggi's homemade peach pie at the end of the day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumnal Birthdays

Red, orange and yellow roses against milk chocolate buttercream. I thought it a good way to send good wishes my friends who all share September birthdays.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yum, Yum, Yum

On our way back from Selkirk Shores State Park we spotted a huge, outdoor chicken barbecue so we had to stop.

Richard discussed their technique for cooking. Use only Kingsford briquettes and use a rub and not a marinade for the chicken.

We split a chicken dinner...

..which was incredibly tasty and moist. The sides were what they called "salted potatoes" (yum) and the baked beans were yummy too.

The Game Room behind me didn't feature any venison or moose meat but more like Nintendo-type games.

All of this took place in front of Colossal Ice Cream in Pulaski, New York.

Since it was in the mid-70s (about 22C) outside, we decided we should finish off our meal with a cone.

Richard had chocolate...

...I had Panda Paws.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Diversion...

On our way home from Ithaca, NY, we turned off Interstate 81 at Pulaski to visit Selkirk Shores State Park. We had a short hike through the woods...

...and then continued along the shores of Lake Ontario to a pier where folks were fishing for salmon. (Apparently they stock the Salmon River there with a million salmon!!)

A couple of horseback riders took their horses for a wade in the water.

I spotted a Monarch butterfly sunning itself on the sandy shore.

I couldn't quite give him a hug but I gave him a little lift instead.


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