A New Bolete

Bolete with heavily reticulated white stalk

Bolete with heavily indented white stalk (not true reticulation)

The first picture is a little fuzzy due to condensation on the lens.  Coming from an air conditioned house into 90+ degree muggy temperatures will do that.  🙂

The lemon yellow pore surface and the creamy white heavily indented stalk stumped me.  I went through all my books and spent a couple of days on the net looking at mushroom photos, and I couldn’t find a match.

The velvety cap is 2-1/2″ wide.

Reddish, velvety cap

Reddish, velvety cap which turned true brown after I brought it inside.

The pore surface is bright lemon yellow.  It has a white reticulated stalk (although I am not certain that those indentations qualify as reticulation.)  I found it under pine trees.  The spore print is olive brown.  The white cap flesh darkened over several hours to tan.  There was no hint of bluing anywhere.  The reddish color disappeared from the cap after a while indoors, becoming a true brown.

And, finally, a drop of ammonia on the cap flashed a vivid blue green.

What I’ve been able to deduce so far is that it is definitely not poisonous because it is a bolete, it does not have red or orange pores, and there is no trace of blue bruising.  The cap flesh has a mild taste, so it is not bitter as some boletes are.  So it is safe to eat.

[NOTE:  Some orange capped Leccinum are poisonous.  (A Leccinum is also a bolete.)  If you cannot confidently identify a Leccinum, then you should also avoid all orange capped boletes.]

bright yellow pore surface

Bright yellow pore surface

It is in the mid nineties this week with little chance of rain, so I may not see any more mushrooms for a while.

We have been having the most beautiful summer sunsets lately.  It’s a real treat for us because we are so surrounded by trees that we seldom see the actual sunset.  But sometimes, as in this case, we get the gorgeous colors reflected in the clouds over us.

 

no blue staining

Not a hint of blue bruising anywhere

buttons

Young button caps

spore print

Olive brown spore print

sunset clouds

Pink sunset clouds

Country Road & Beaver Dam

Down my rural lane

My country road

Late yesterday afternoon Ron and I took a walk to check out the beaver pond about 3/4 mile from our house.

Wild carrots grow all along the road.  They fascinate me.  Such intricate clustered white flowers — each one with one tiny purple flower in the very center.  I used to enjoy dipping the flowers in batter and frying them for an unusual treat.  But since I’m trying to eat wiser, I just admired the flowers this time.

wild carrot flower

Wild carrot flower

But even more interesting than the flowers is the birds-nest form the flowers take on as they go to seed.  At first, it looks just like a cupped birds nest, but they progress into a completely closed cage-like formation.

Funny…. when I was younger I thought studying plants was the most boring thing on earth.  Now I find it endlessly fascinating.

The wild daylilies blooming season is past.  I found one single flower remaining.  The rest of them look like straggly bunches of grass now.  I used to thoroughly enjoy fully exploiting the edible parts… corms, shoots and flowers.  But it has been so hot this year, I haven’t had much desire to go digging in the dusty clay or bushwhacking through tall weeds to get to them.

wild carrot flower birds nest

Wild carrot birdsnest fully closed

I think, too, once you have learned a plant and its uses, that simply taking photographs can be as rewarding as eating them.

When we got to the beaver pond, we were disappointed and saddened.  The water is WAY down.  And it looks like someone sabotaged the dam.  There were large rocks on top of it that someone must have put there.  And the dam had fallen into disrepair.  I am afraid that something happened to the beavers.

beaver dam

Due to the low water level, grasses and weeds are growing, and the dam appears to be abandoned and in disrepair.

We did get a good bit of rain last night, so the water level might be up a little.  I’ll check the dam again soon and see if it has been repaired.

On our way down to the pond, one of the neighbors’ aggressive dogs ran out and accosted us.   I am not usually afraid of dogs, but this time I was really frightened.  One of the owners’ kids came out, gathered up the dogs, and assured me, “They won’t bite you.”  Yeah, right.

They are supposed to be fenced or chained, but no one enforces the laws out here.  On our way back, again the dogs came out at us, but the kids rounded them up again.

daylily flower

The one remaining daylily bloom

I used to enjoy taking long walks, but I am feeling less and less safe.  The only place I really enjoy walking anymore are the trails when we go camping.  It’s so sad, because I do live in a beautiful area with so much to take in on long, leisurely walks.

Whew!  This post is getting long!  I’ll quit talking now and just share some of the photos I took.

[Note 8/8/2010:  The beaver dam is in complete disrepair.  Apparently someone killed the beavers.]

erosion and tree roots

This eroded tree root by the side of the road looks like something out of "The Hobbit"

groundnuts

Groundnuts plant

wild quinine

Wild quinine

wild carrots by beaver pond

Wild carrots by the beaver pond

red clover

Red clover looking a little heat stressed

buttonbush

Not a great picture, but I included it because it is the first time I have seen buttonbush flowers growing here.

Green Onions & Blackberry Cobbler

last years green onions produce new shoots

Dying onions produce tender new plants

Since we’ve started planning camping trips most months of the year, my former passion, gardening, has been sadly neglected.  However, I do still grow several Earthbox containers of flowers and herbs.

Last year I planted green onions intending to let them overwinter and go to seed.  As expected, they did go to seed earlier this year and the plants began dying.   I neglected pulling up the old plants until today.  And I got a nice surprise.

ripe and unripe blackberries

Ready to pick ripe blackberries

Not only did the old plants provide me with seed.  But when I pulled them up, I discovered that each one had also produced a new onion sprout.  That was an unexpected bonanza.  So I replanted half of the bulbs and harvested a nice supply of green onions for the kitchen.

Not bad for dead onions!

Then I wandered over to check out the wild blackberry bushes that grow on the margins of our property.   They are still mostly unripe, but, again, I found enough ripe ones to make a cobbler.

I added orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, sugar and cornstarch to the blackberries, boiled them briefly, then used sweet vanilla drop biscuits for the crust.  It was superb!

blackberry cobbler

Yum!

I love the way the blackberry season is staggered.   I can enjoy their essence of summer flavor fresh from the bush for a while.

I won’t make blackberry jam or jelly this year because my sister gave me all the blackberry and huckleberry jam that I can use for a while.

Using the berries fresh is more fun anyway.  🙂

with ice cream

....with ice cream

Wild Black Cherry Syrup

ripening wild black cherries

Ripening wild black cherries

Late this afternoon I checked out our wild black cherry tree.  It looked like a little over a third of the cherries were ripe.

Usually I hold the branches down and pick the cherries by hand.  But it’s pretty time consuming.  So today I put a tarp under the tree and whacked the branches I could reach with a long stick.

It worked, but a LOT of the cherries rolled off into the grass.  And I also got unripe berries, twigs, leaves, two kinds of spiders, inchworms, and a tiny grasshopper in the mix.

It took a while to clean them.  I may have done just as well to pick them by hand.

wild black cherry syrup

Wild black cherry syrup

We don’t eat a lot of jelly, so I decided to make syrup with them.  It didn’t take too long.  I boiled the cherries about 30 minutes, poured everything into a jelly bag and let it drain another 30 minutes.

Then I mixed the cherry juice 50/50 with sugar and simmered it for another 5 minutes.

I made two jars, plus enough left over for immediate use.

I’ll probably use it in tea, lemonade, over ice cream, and to flavor other desserts.

The rest of the cherries should be ripe soon.  I love having wild food growing free for the taking!

Chanterelles!

golden and smooth chanterelles

First day's find -- two smooth chanterelles and one golden chanterelle

The camping trip to Talladega National Forest rated a 12 out of 10 to me because we found… to my extreme delight….. wild chanterelle mushrooms!!!

On our first day’s hike, I only found three — two smooth chanterelles and one golden chanterelle.  But I was ecstatic.  I have searched for them for years, but before this had only found the small orange cinnabar chanterelles.

The second day, lightning stuck twice for me.  I found FIVE chanterelles…  4 smooth and one golden.

chanterelles 2nd day hiking

Chanterelles found our second day of hiking

On our third day’s hike, we found enough to make a wonderful side dish with dinner.  Again… beyond my wildest expectations!

Finally, the day before we left for home, we went hiking one more time.  This time we were staggered by what we found.   We found chanterelle heaven!

chanterelles - third day of hiking

We found enough for a real side dish our third hiking day

We discovered three huge patches of them.  They were on a very steep, rocky bank and I was afraid we would lose our balance and go crashing to the bottom.  So we gingerly descended the slope, using our hiking poles to keep us from falling.

Then we sat on the ground with our feet wedged against rocks to keep us from sliding… and we picked and picked mushrooms!

We ended up with around 4 pounds!

chanterelle heaven

Hiking day 4 -- Chanterelle heaven!

The Wonder of Morning

misty morning sun in my yard

Misty morning sunshine in my front yard. Click to enlarge.

I am not normally an early morning person.  But this morning I woke up with an overwhelming need to be outdoors.

I was rewarded by seeing patterns of dew on strawberry and blackberry leaves that I had never noticed before.  Glistening drops that bordered the serrated leaf margins.

strawberry leaf margins bejeweled with dew drops

Indian strawberry leaf margins bejeweled with dew drops

blackberry leaves with dew-jeweled leaf margins

Blackberry leaves with dew-jeweled leaf margins

The black cherry tree in the back yard is festooned with thousands of tiny green cherries.

Young muscadine grape vines are spreading rapidly, promising harvests of the sweetest and best wild grapes in nature.

I just discovered something a few days ago.  I thought when wild lettuce bolted that the leaves were all too bitter to use.  But out of curiosity, I picked a few of the leaves from the top crown that forms when the plant begins to bolt.  The tender young leaves up there were sweet and non-bitter — a delight to eat.

So I had to go back to one of my earlier photos of bolting wild lettuce and edit my caption to add that wonderful new (to me) bit of information!

Tender, sweet crown leaves of bolting wild lettuce

Tender, sweet crown leaves of bolting wild lettuce

Wild cherry tree loaded with thousands of tiny green cherries

Wild black cherry tree loaded with thousands of little green cherries. The camera made them look black already, but they are really all still very green.

wild grape vines

Young muscadine grape vines

I picked a bowlful of salad greens to eat with lunch.  Most have already been pictured in earlier posts.  However, the wood sorrel was a lot larger than  in earlier photos — still tender and bursting with lemony-sour juice.

healthy wood sorrel

Healthy clump of wood sorrel

I also noticed several evening primrose plants growing out by the road.

evening primrose

Evening primrose

I always feel like I am in a wonderland when I am outdoors.  But this misty morning was one of the best ever.

More Wild Edibles on Our Property

yellow clover

Yellow clover has killed livestock when molded leaves were mixed with their hay. It produces coumarins when wilted or molding. So I avoid it, although technically it is edible.

young poke weed plant

Young pokeweed plant. Shoots must be cooked in three changes of boiling water before eating. Highly nutritious.

wild lettuce bolting

Wild lettuce bolting. Only the tiny leaves in the center of the top are good at this stage.

baby crabapples

Young, green crabapples

japanese honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle. Heavenly smelling noxious weed. Can make tea from blossoms.

wild strawberries

Another wild strawberries photo. They are so photogenic!

These photos were taken Friday, Saturday and today.

They are not intended to be a tutorial — just to share with others who love finding wild edible plants as much as I do.

greenbrier shoot

Tender, juicy greenbrier shoot

bullbriar shoot

Tender, sweet bullbriar shoot

bull briar leaves

Tender, mild baby bullbriar leaves

lowbush blueberries

Young lowbush blueberries...goodness to come!

baby sassafras tree

Baby sassafras tree

white clover

I no longer harvest white clover due to its potential for developing coumarins when wilted or beginning to spoil.

Wild Edible Foods in My Yard

Wild strawberries in my yard

Delicious, sweet wild strawberries

Our land is completely surrounded by forest.  We keep the area as natural as possible, which leaves a transition area between the forest and the yard where all kinds of wild plants thrive.

Since we were out camping, the yard went a couple of weeks without mowing.   This also allowed all kinds of cool edible plants to do their thing.

Late this afternoon I took the camera out to see what had sprouted up in our yard in our absence.  I was amazed at the variety I found.

best kind of wild lettuce

This is the best variety of wild lettuce. Tender, and not a hint of bitterness.

There were all kinds of greens at their prime.  I also noticed that the blackberry bushes were covered in little green blackberries, and the blueberry bushes had tiny little green blueberries.

There were many wild strawberries fruiting.  The ones that are reddish orange are not quite ripe.  The ones that are a deep red are beyond description.  Sweeter than any domesticated strawberry with a burst of intense, fruity pleasure.

I have noticed something odd about the poke salad.  It used to have a scrumptious flavor that was a cross between asparagus and green beans.  But this year it is very bland.

I noticed that when I was in Florida, too.  I had picked poke shoots to cook for my sister to show her how good wild edibles could be.  They were so bland I threw them out, rather than introduce her to something that wouldn’t impress her.

I know that Steve Brill says poke salad in New York has a very pungent flavor.  So the taste must vary from location to location.  Maybe all the rain we have had has affected the taste.

The blog editor is  not letting me insert photos where I want them, so they will be out of logical sequence.  For some reason, it is inserting the last photos here instead of at the end.  Hope it’s not too distracting.

wild salad greens

Wild salad greens. I threw the plantain leaves out as they were too tough to serve raw.

Another variety of wild lettuce... slightly bitter

Another variety of wild lettuce. This one is slightly bitter, and is best mixed with other greens.

sheep sorrel with wood sorrel in background

Tangy sheep sorrel with lemony wood sorrel in background

unripe blackberries

Little green blackberries, soon to be fat, juicy, purple blackberries!

unripe highbush blueberries

Little green blueberries

passionflower vine

Passionflower vine promises maypops in a few months

poke salad

Poke salad

common plantain

Common plantain. A decent cooked vegetable. Also edible raw when very young, although I don’t care for it raw.

poke salad shoots ready to cook

Poke salad shoots ready to cook

Baby Bunnies

This isn’t travel related, but I did want to share something that happened last evening.

Ron was outside weeding the raised garden beds.  One had a real thick clump of chickweed in it.  When he pulled the clump up, two tiny bunnies hopped out — about 5″ long each.   They were so fast that at first Ron thought they were mice.  One immediately disappeared from sight.  But then Ron called me to come take a look.  He stood still and pointed at the grass behind a planter.  There sat the other little bunny motionless as a tiny carving.  And where Ron had weeded, a nest lined with rabbit fur was exposed.

I was so afraid the mother would abandon the babies since the nest had been disturbed.  I wanted so badly to pick the little thing up.  I thought briefly of trying to bottle feed him and raise him.  But then I decided to just hope the mother would come back and rescue her babies.  So we left the garden.

Maybe the Mom did return and round them up.  I am afraid to check the nest again. I don’t want to know if she didn’t.

P.S.  The nest was abandoned.  I do hope the Mom relocated her babies.

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