Mushroom Hunt Pictures – Larch Cones

Larches do not throw off just the cones, but whole twigs. So during a dry spell, the forest floor under larches is just like a huge tinderbox just waiting to burst into flames. That may be one reason why larches also have very thick bark that is capable of resisting flames for quite a long time, similarly to the bark of for example sequoias or cork oaks.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Jack’s Walk

A mayapple masquerading as the sun. ©voyager, all rights reserved

I’m confused. I posted a Jack’s Walk yesterday (July 8/20) that has disappeared. I’m sure it was published, and I’m pretty sure that Jazzlet made a comment, but it’s all gone, and I can’t find it anywhere. It was about Bubba getting older, and this photo topped it. Did anyone see it, or was I just dreaming? It shows up in my stats for yesterday, but when I try to open it, all I get is error 404 – not found. It isn’t in drafts or under my published articles, and I don’t have my rough copy any longer. It’s all very strange, and I have no idea how to get it back.

No matter, really. It was just me trying to say hello and explain that Jack and I are having fewer adventures because it’s been bloody hot, and Jack’s activity tolerance is low. What I wanted to say but didn’t is that I’ve been reluctant to write this column because it seems silly when I look at the state of the world. I should be writing about racism, police violence, the rise of fascism, the pandemic or a host of other important issues, but anything I say would only be opinion. There are many talented writers here at Freethought Blogs who understand the issues so much better than me and write brilliantly about them. I feel honoured to be among them but suffer from a bit of imposter syndrome.

When I joined Caine’s team in 2016, my goals were simple – help a friend and share my love of nature and dogs. After Caine died, it also became essential to me to hold together the community she created and to keep her legacy alive. That is still my focus, and I’ve been thinking that perhaps a bit of happy patter might be welcome for a few readers who want a quick respite from the weight of the world. So, silly or not, Jack and I will continue to share our small adventures and hope that they don’t disappear again.

Bubba says hi and wants me to tell you that “it’s the heat, not my age that has me slowed down.” I hope he’s right because he’s my bubbly, bubbly Bubbs.

Mushroom Hunt Pictures – The Finale

Yes, this series is starting at its end, in my kitchen.

Today I took a day off of knifemaking. And by that I mean completely day off, I tried to not even think about knives (at which I failed). I went on a long walk to the forest to look if there are some mushrooms to collect. And there were, enough for me and my father to have a big lunch and a whole bunch that was cooked and put into the freezer for future use.

I did take my camera with me, but we already had a series of mushroom species. And anyway, what I collected was about 90%  blushers and other species were sparse or not there at all yet – the true season comes in August/September.

Blushers are one of those mushrooms that have their own very specific taste – a bit like meat. So the recipe that I have used was very simple – I chopped them up, salted them, added a bit of cumin, basil, oregano, and a tiny amount of ground pepper bolete. Then I softened some onion on lard, added the mushrooms and I stewed them for at least thirty minutes with frequent stirring until most of the water was gone.

So if you cannot expect pictures of mushrooms, what can you expect? Well, I made random pictures of flowers and roadside stuff that I will post one-two a day until I am done. Unfortunately, there were not that many interesting insects around either, but that might be because I was looking for mushrooms, not for bugs. Do not expect some great art, but some of those pictures would look quite good as a screen background, in my opinion.

Not an Ugly Duckling in Sight

The cygnets of Edinborough are growing quickly and Anne, Cranky Cat Lady’s daughter, Emily Davis, has sent us an update.

The cygnets are looking more swan-shaped, look at their long necks!

June 20/20, ©Emily Davis, all rights reserved

June 21/20, ©Emily Davis, all rights reserved

June 21/20, ©Emily Davis, all rights reserved

June 21/20, ©Emily Davis, all rights reserved

I Wish I Were This Strong

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

She was carrying the dead beetle for several meters already when I caught up with her, and she still had several meters to go. And it was by no means easy to get a sharp picture, but she took a breather for a moment here.

If you have ever wondered where end all those insects and little critters that you step on in your garden – now you have an answer.

Jack’s Walk

Wait, you’re leaving without touching me! ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack is fed up with Covid, and he doesn’t even have to wear a mask. Of course, I don’t wear a mask on trail walks either, but I’m just fine with the social distancing. That’s the part that Jack doesn’t like. He’s so used to people stopping to pet him that his feelings get hurt when they don’t. Today, we encountered an older couple out for a walk, and they stepped off the trail to go around us. We exchanged pleasantries but stayed in our personal bubbles a few metres apart. Jack was making happy noises and giving adorable face, but they weren’t interested in getting any closer to him, and when they walked away, I could see poor Jack trying to work out what went wrong. I explained about germs and transmission of disease, but Jack said he heard on the news that dogs don’t get or carry Covid 19. I told him that it might be too early to know that for sure, especially since I heard that cats can contract it. He mumbled some reply about cats being inferior to dogs and walked away. Poor Bubba is suffering from a lack of human contact, and there isn’t much I can do to make it better. He gets lots of love and attention at home, but what he wants is the adoration of the public sphere. He wants people to Oooh and Aaah and to rub his face while he curls around them. He’s 12, now, and I hope he gets it back in his lifetime.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

I apologize for being a bit absent lately. The past few weeks have been… challenging. My scoliosis is getting worse and I’ve developed pain along the bottom ridge of my right ribcage that has been stubbornly refusing to get better. Just before the pandemic, I had a spinal x-ray taken that diagnosed my spine as a collapsing S-curve and what’s happening is that I’ve twisted so that my bottom right ribs are rubbing on the upper edge of my pelvis. Normally, I see my pain specialist every 3 – 4 weeks for injections along both sides of my entire spine, but I haven’t been since early February because of the pandemic, and, well, I waited a bit too long. Finally, late last week, I donned my mask and went to see my Dr. in the big city down the road and today I’m feeling a bit more human.

Jack and I even managed to get out to our wee little forest for a walk, today. We went slowly and watched the fairies flit for a while and then we paid a short visit to Gnorman, who was out plowing with a team of voles. The trio joined us for a cold drink of water before getting back to their work. It was a most pleasant day filled with the cheerful, company of friends, glorious sunshine and the quiet beauty of our native woodlands. It even came with a pretty reminder to stay safe and wash our hands… lots.

©voyager, all rights reserved

Blackheaded Cardinal Beetle

This little buddy has climbed out of a hollow brick yesterday when I was processing dog-daisies into chemical weapons against wooly aphids infesting my bonsai trees (long story).

It was kind enough to remain in place for quite some time, allowing me to take pictures from all possible angles.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.