Thursday, 10 October 2013

Things I saw in the woods today, part 48

The hound goes all Exorcist on me. How this happened, I do not know.
A chestnut about to pop open and release its cargo onto my head:
The chestnut has landed on my head and broken open (this is one of the sounds of Autumn which I will write about later):
There are mushrooms everywhere. This is one of the smells of Autumn- the musky, earthy scent of mushrooms. A normal-looking specimen:
A not-so-normal-looking mushroom which seems to resemble a mini iceberg. I could not identify it in my book of British and European mushrooms of which there are over 400! Perhaps someone out there can help? There were three altogether growing on a rotting log.

I have counted over thirty different species of mushrooms today. There are many, many more hidden under the dense carpet of fallen Autumn leaves. Look under oak and beech trees which are preferred by all types of mushrooms. Pine trees less so. Every October, when I lived in Bordeaux, I would set out with a long stick and seek out the cepes (boletus) in the woods. Very often it was necessary to dodge a hunter's bullets and the hoarse cry of 'cretin!' would be interspersed with firing bullets! I was regularly mistaken for a pheasant but luckily, remain here to tell this tale. I found the exercise of releasing live farmed pheasants into territory only a few metres from their cages and then only to be fired upon, slightly odd. But then who I am to judge?

All photos copyright S. van Dalen

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