Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Mystery of the Mushroom.

Autumn can be such a joy.  This year is an example.  Days of sunshine with mild temperatures and no wind make outdoor work a pleasure.  We might be tempted to take it for granted were it not for the visitors who frequently comment on the peaceful situation, the space around us, the pace of life.  Of course, it is not quite the same when it is also our workplace!  Nevertheless, we are indeed extremely fortunate to live here, to be able to appreciate all the benefits of our surroundings and to share it all with our guests.

Talking of benefits, the mushroom season has arrived.  They are very unpredictable, popping up where mushrooms have never been seen in years and failing to appear where they can normally be counted on to provide a supply.  It is essential to be able to identify edible species as there are many inedible and even poisonous ones.  Of the 3,500 different species in Britain 7 or 8 are deadly, 25 or 30 are poisonous, of the remainder about 30 are good to eat.  With this in mind it is possible to join a fungi identification walk of which several take place at this time of year.  There are many ways which, added together, enable identification of the fungi.   Having said that I still err on the side of caution and only cut field and horse mushrooms.

The weather was kind for the Southwell Ploughing Match which took place last weekend.  It is one of the social highlights of the farming year and this year was no exception.  The site was excellent, attendance was good and the access and parking was well managed.  There are competitive classes for livestock, produce, crafts and much more; it is an excellent showcase for local and regional businesses.

Birds which have been absent from the garden feeder for several weeks have returned and appear to be stocking up for winter.  A little flock of Long-tailed Tits has paid several visits and the goldfinches are regulars now.  Further away something prompted me to look up and I spotted  four buzzards circling and planing high above the farm; a majestic sight.  How can they see a potential dinner from such a great distance?