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rhiaro

Timezone: Europe/London (28th Sep 15:26)

Currently is at home (for 5 hours, 23 minutes, and 14 seconds)

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Open Data Services (2018-now) Digital Bazaar (2018-now) W3C Technical Architecture Group (Jan 2021-now) NaNoWriMo
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OCCRP (2017-2018) W3C (2016-2018) MIT CSAIL (2015-2016) The Solid Project (2015-2016) University of Edinburgh (2011-2017) SOCIAM (2014-2017) Prewired (cofounder, 2012-2016) SocieTea (el PresidenTea, 2012-2014) BBC (2014) University of Lincoln (2008-2011)

Last ate 5 hours, 8 minutes, and 13 seconds ago (Cinnamon roll, coffee)

Last exercised 5 days, 7 hours, 58 minutes, and 57 seconds ago

Monthly budget 62% used (last spent 0gbp on Pestle puffballs)

Words written this month (1245 of posts and fiction)

Foraging 2021

Food for free.

Contains 608 photos, the last of which were added 8 days, 19 hours, 11 minutes, and 42 seconds ago.

A very successful afternoon of mushroom foraging around Kirkcaldy-adjacent woodlands, and Aberdour. Featuring:

  • Many different russulas, nibbled on site to decide whether to keep them.
  • A variety of boletes in reasonable condition, mostly yellow/orange cracked, and a few brown birch.
  • My first porcini!
  • A bolete with a brown cap and a fat red stem. It could have been a lurid or a scarletina, but we left it. We got one mature one that after triple checking is definitely a scarletina.
  • A good haul of chanterelles.
  • What we thought were puffballs, but turned out to all be earthballs when we got them home. Most common cause of poisonings in the UK, I expect because the rule of thumb is earthballs are dark inside and puffballs are white. But actually some earthballs can be cream and it's easy to think you have a puffball. But the giveaway is the texture - earthballs are much firmer.
  • Lots of blushers spotted (poisonous).
  • A variety of to-be-identified mushrooms, including some funnel caps and milky caps.

Wandering the fields near my sister's place in the Lake District, and picking up mushrooms on the way. Mostly not edible, apart a couple of field mushrooms, but fun to try to ID them all, familiarising myself with the book. Also borrowed a sundew to take home.

Walking in the woods near my Mum's place near Alton, and picking up mushrooms...

Loads of earthballs (not pictured) and lots of amanitas; definite blushers, and pretty sure not death caps, but some other kinds. Very old boletes, scattered russulas, stinkhorns, and some big 'uns in a field that I'm not sure about.

An epic Fife fungal foray. The very local oysters are still flushing, plus some puffballs coming up nearby. A few good scarletina and yellow/red cracked boletes. A milk cap, probably not a good one, but haven't learnt much about those yet.

Went to check on a baby chicken of the woods to see if it had grown, and alas, something had eaten it.. but then.. out of the corner of my eye.. down a muddy slope and through several feet of ferns something was glowing orange.. my conscious brain said "almost certainly some trash" but my subconscious brain knew... I slid down the bank.. and sure enough.. a chicken of the woods as big as my torso. What a feast!

Plus, blackberries on my doorstep.

Hen of the woods in the middle of Kirkcaldy town. And misc.

A jaunt into local oak woods to look for more chicken of the woods after last week's exciting discovery, and was not disappointed. Lots of small ones, mostly the right age. And some very high up a tree! Alas. Lots of beefsteak fungus too, but didn't harvest any because though it's pretty I wasn't impressed with the taste and texture of the last one I tried. Got a ton of hen of the woods though, a new one for me.

I walked all the way into town for one specific thing, which I did not achieve. But in some random grass near the train station I found a bunch of good russulas, and loads of field mushrooms. So, not a completely wasted journey.

Misc from passing through Ravenscraig Park. Bag of hen of the woods from Kirkcaldy town center!

Evening foray to woods near Aberdour. The goal was ceps, but we were a bit late. Found a couple in decent condition (but I'm not totally convinced they're not Bay boletes - the pores are yellow, but the stems are so cep! Good either way.) and some giant ones that were way past it. A couple of new chanterelle spots and enough of those for a couple of meals. Lots of yellow/red cracked boletes, some very pretty brown and orange birch boletes. The chonky scarletinas are from before we'd even made it to the train station in Kirkcaldy (actually missed the intended train to stop and pick these). A selection of yellow and purple russulas in surprisingly good nick.

Also my first amethyst deceiver and porcelain fungus.

A couple of unknown souvenirs to take home and ID.

A visit to the woods on my doorstep. We were hoping for more chicken of the woods, but it seems like it's beefsteak fungus season! This deeply disturbing bracket fungus which bleeds and wobbles like raw meat is found mostly on oak trees, anywhere from by the ground to way up high.

We levelled up on this foray though - mushrooms up to 11 feet high are no longer safe from us due to my unexpected new skill of precariously and hilariously balancing on R's shoulders.

Also a great haul of puffballs. And a few late hen of the woods.

My sister spotted a large and interesting bracket fungus in Ravenscraig Park, and I soon learned this is Dryad's Saddle, aka Pheasantsback. It's edible so long as it's soft. R and I went questing to our nearby woods, and found loads more! Some of it was small, so we left it to grow a bit. But went home with absolutely tons.

The taste is bland but the texture is excellent and it takes up whatever you cook it with, so it's fab for marinading, even just in soy sauce, or putting in a stew. It smells mildly of cucumber. If you leave it out, or even in the fridge for too long after picking, it'll fill up with worms, so it's best to process and cook it as soon as possible.

Back to the woods to see how the dryad's saddle are doing. They grew! We harvested a shit ton. We've taken to referring to the trees which have an abundance as "dryad's fountains".

We also found a cluster of nice oysters on a precarious log, and some jelly ear mushrooms too. Plus, lots that I don't know and are probably not edible.

On a late night wander through Ravenscraig Park, we found chicken of the woods! I spotted it! I knew it was important even though I'd never seen it before. A lower down bigger one was a bit old, but we harvested it. A higher up smaller one that was young so we left it to grow.

We proceeded to a small woodland in the middle of Kirkcaldy, and found some oyster mushrooms! We filled up a box, and well pleased with ourselves, thought that although it was getting late, we should probably do a quick scout of the rest of the surrounding area to see what else was about.

Then we had a mushroom emergency.

Multiple logs, absolutely bursting with beautiful oyster mushrooms, in perfect condition for harvesting.

But we were at capacity! It was getting dark! What to do?!

I phoned for backup.

K gracefully interrupted here evening to come and rescue us with a car and several large boxes. What a night! We picked as many as we could, and were up late cleaning them.

Two days later we returned to pick what we'd left because it was too young, or we just couldn't fit it. And got another massive load.

Processing oysters is a lot of work, and they really really need to be sorted quickly or they fill up with worms like the dryad's saddle. But worse. So we bottled litres and litres of three kinds of mushroom soup, stock, and cooked batches more to turn into pie filling and freeze. Plus, we ate loads of them too.

Back to the Dryad's' Fountain for another go at the ones that have grown. Also found more fountains. Some were pretty high, but with the ingenious invention of a knife tied to a stick with a dogpoo bag, we managed to get some. The ones I couldn't catch (most of them) crashed to the ground in a mushroom apocalypse.

We also packed the dryer with oyster mushrooms.

Back to the oyster woods for another evening of harvesting an unseemly quantity of oyster mushrooms. Stayed up late again processing them. Again.

Back again to the oyster woods. This is getting out of hand. Bottled loads to preserve for stock and cooking with in future. Filled the dryer over again.

Also went to check on the chicken of the woods in Ravenscraig, doesn't seem to be growing.

Some of the oyster mushrooms are just breathtakingly beautiful little things. Makes you just want to pickle 'em. (We did.) Also got more dryad's saddle!

A bus trip for a foray in some woods near Aberdour. The chanterelles are up, but we're a bit early and only got a handful. Also found an aging chicken of the woods! Saw my first stinkhorn, and plenty of others that I don't know (yet).

Back to Aberdour woods for more chanterelles, but they hadn't grown much. We think not enough rain. Also found interesting boletes and other things.

Boletes in the Cairngorms and in Perth. Started learning some specifics - slippery jack, larch bolete, orange/brown birch, scarletina, lurid...

This week's mushroom of the week is russulas! It's a 50-50 chance whether they're tasty or bitter. To find out, nibble the edge and wait a minute or two to see if it goes hot and peppery on your tongue. The good ones don't. Spit it out either way - don't swallow raw wild mushrooms. If you get a good one, it's worse than a 50-50 chance if it's already been eaten to distruction by something else - slugs, deer, flies, everything loves them. But if you get a good one - they're delicious! Full of deep flavours. Fry them up on toast with minimal seasoning. And they come in all kinds of lovely colours. We got a great boxfull from the edge of the oyster woods.

And more oysters, of course.

Got offered some big jars on Freegle, but they were in Dundee. So made a day of it, and went to various new woodlands on the way for foraging.

Got a good haul of chanterelles (from very close to home actually), plus a few boletes, a ton of amethyst deceivers (or are they?? yes they are.. some doubt for a while because the caps were super pale, but they do that as they age and/or dry out - rehydrated them to get the glorious purple back to convince myself), and several new mushrooms to bring home to ID. Also found my first wood blewit, but unfortunately the slugs had found it first and all that was left was the - admittedly very distinctive - stem.

An afternoon in the community orchards at Buckhaven for apples, pears, and plums. Also spied some aging parasol mushrooms. And stopped in the ice cream shop at East Wemyss on the way home.