MUSHROOMS

In the UK there is roughly 15,000 varieties of this interesting fungi, from the larger edible species such as the Puffball and the Horse Mushroom to the lethal Death Cap. Autumn is the best time to go on the hunt for most of the different mushroom species, damp misty mornings are the best time to search. Every year i mean to go looking for mushrooms to photograph, as they come in so many sizes, shapes and colours, but as usually happens life gets in the way. This year was no different from any other but i did actually manage to get a few pictures of  some whilst walking the dogs, only taken on my iPhone but i think they came out well.

 

 

These guys i found poking through the grass on the sea defence at Wallasea Island, the biggest being nearly 6 inches across. As you can see something has been having a wee nibble on one of them.

On another walk along the same river but upstream a little at Fambridge i stumbled across these beauties. The mushroom on the right doesn,t do justice to how delicate the frills were on this species as well as how yellow the centre was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst having a couple hours of early morning pike fishing i was doing my usual and having a little nosey along the bank and found these guys so had to get their pictures as well.

 

Another stroll with my poochies on a local field and more ‘shrooms’ were found. these ones, although pretty in their own right, didn,t look like touching them would be the smartest thing to do. They were kind of slimy looking and definitely  looked unappetising, if i was on the hunt for snack that is.

 

I don’t know the names of any of these mushrooms but i will endeavour to learn more about them at some point. I even fancy having a go at foraging for some of the more appealing varieties so that i can cook and try them, although i am a little nervous about doing this, but i will get a guide to help me pick the right ones. I reckon thats something to mark on the ‘Things To Do’ list for next Autumn.

WINTER FRUITS

The year has just crept into its winter stage now with most of the leaves having fallen from the trees revealing the twisted, knotty branches which once held them firm against the strong winds we have been having this year. The lush green hew of our summer  countryside has given way to the rich reds, yellows and golden browns of Autumn which themselves have now moved aside for the drab greys and dark browns of the winters pallet. The sky outside my office is a solid mid grey colour interspersed with the odd darker grey cloud, and has been for the past couple of days. Last week saw a few days of brilliant sunshine with clear blue skies which hinted at being pleasant and warm but hid the truth of mid single figure temperatures and biting cold winds. Winter is not just coming, its already here….

WILD ROSE HIPS

A lot of people at this time of year suffer from the ‘Winter Blues’, a so called condition brought on by  short days and longs nights as well as the constant lack of any warm colours when you look outside the window. Not me though, i love the winter season and all that she will throw at me over the coming months. Admittedly by the end of winter even i look forward to the new beginnings that Spring brings. But during the cold, damp ‘miserable’ days of winter there is still some colour to be found before the heavy frosts set in, you just have to get out there and look for it.

WILD ROSE HIPS

The fruits of the wild rose bush, known as rose hips, provide numerous bright globes of colour against the thorny stems and branches of the leafless bush. As kids we used to break open these ‘fruits’ and use them as a torture method for whoever was closest to hand, as the furry looking seeds inside were natures very own ‘itching powder, resulting in prolonged scratching and writhing around on the floor once stuffed down the back of a mates t-shirt. Funny to watch when done to someone else, but not so funny if done to yourself. They also made your hands red and sticky as you rolled the pods in your fingers to break them open.

HAWTHORN BERRIES

You also have the the dark burgundy berries of the hawthorn bush which hang down on a branch similar to a bunch of grapes on a vine. These are a favourite of wild birds and are quite often the cause of the nasty red poo stain on your car when you park near one of these bushes. These little berries have a firm outer skin with a soft inner flesh which surround a small but hard ‘stone’ inside. Squish one between your fingers and you,ll end up with a red mark for the rest of the day. Blackbirds and thrushes swarm the hawthorn bushes for these delicate little berries in the winter, i believe they may be a main staple for them to help them through the winter period.

SLOE BERRIES

Another of my favourites is the fruits of the Blackthorn, Sloe Berries. These thumbnail size berries are a beautiful dark blue colour on the outside and once broken open are a rich purple inside. These are another favourite of the wild birds at the start of the winter before the frosts take them. They are also picked by hand and used to make Sloe Gin and vodka, a favourite of my parents. Try not to squash any on your clothes as they stain pretty good.