Mushroom Foraging

Today, Barbara and I went for a mushroom and lichen hunt at and around the meadow with a woman name Kay, a local very, very knowledgeable amateur naturalist.  We found a LOT of mushrooms.  Apparently, the conditions were somewhere between very good and ideal for such a hunt.  Check out a small portion of our find:

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Kay was amazing.  We walked for maybe two hours, and we found 24 kinds of mushrooms, plus nearly a dozen types of lichen, and some slimes.  I’d say that about 1/2 were, in principle, safe for eating.  A few of them she said were hallucinogenic in certain quantities, but deadly in others.  Some of them could be used to make natural dyes.  For someone like me, who always thought of mushrooms as basically the shape that has given its name to a nuclear cloud, it was illuminating to see the gorgeous variety of shapes and sizes and colors that they come in.

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My favorite lichen were Cladonia cristatella, or British Soldiers.  You have to look closely; they are the ones with the red tips on the top of the wooden fence rail.  I e-mailed my brother who lives in Ireland to find out what the common name for Cladonia is there, since I didn’t think that the whole “red coat” reference would go over particularly well that close to England.  Turns out that they call them, yes, British Soldiers.

Barbara made a pic of a bunch of the mushroom laid out on a piece of linen.  I’m sure it’ll be awesome.