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Tag: mushrooms

Autumnal stuff

Autumnal stuff

At long last the rain has come, although it does seem like it won’t go away anytime soon. The garden is turning a lush green, the hens a dirty brown and the sky is a heavy grey. We feel though we did make the most of a mostly sunny month with walks in the countryside and trips to the seaside but the olive harvest was started only just before the rain and then abandoned. With luck the one measly bin I filled will at some point have others added to it but neither of us enjoy picking olives and getting wet.

We have been able to do some hobby stuff. Richard disappeared under the trees for a few days to make a (rather belated) wedding present for my niece who got married in the summer. Olive has the most beautiful grain and it’s so nice to use the wood from our own trees.

I also managed to get some sock knitting done with some hand dyed yarn. These are a combination of buckthorn berries, wild madder root and comfrey leaves all taken from the garden.

And then I put the woad to good use (I mentioned my efforts of dyeing with this in last month’s blog) by designing and knitting a little cardi for my nephew’s son – yes! I am a great aunt!

And I’m delighted to say I did use the prickly pears to make jelly; let’s hope all the prickles got taken out…

Finally, we are noticing the mushrooms coming up. Huge boletus line the wood paths along with a new white mushroom we have never seen before. We saw them first in the raised beds, and then were surprised to see them in the forest too. They are all white, with white gills and spores, and we assume they belong to the amanita family (which includes the death cap) but at easily 20cm in width we are completely unable to identify them.

Do tell us if you know what they are!

Invasion of the bee-eating hornets!

Invasion of the bee-eating hornets!

OK, not quite an invasion, but the other day while I was inspecting the hives, I noticed a large wasp and while I was watching, it swooped down and snatched one of my little ladies from outside the hive! I later found out that it was a large European hornet which is carnivorous and eats many insects including bees. I’ve only seen one so far and it is hardly decimating the colony (apparently up to 1000 bees can die per day at some times of the year!) and I’m hoping that it will disappear for winter. I didn’t get a photo of the snatch but here he is waiting for an opportunity and here are some bees returning home. You can see one of them with her little suitcases full of orange pollen. So they are still building up stores.

European hornet and honey bees

In better news when I opened up the hives, the ‘weedy’ bees seem finally to have made a fair amount of honey and the hard-working bees which produced all of this year’s honey crop have almost refilled all their frames! I could therefore take some more honey but as we’ve got enough and I want to make sure they have enough for winter, I’ll let them bee.

With the bees still collecting pollen you might suspect that it is still warm and sunny here (like October last year). Not at all. We’ve had a fair amount of rain and it’s been cold enough at night to have the wood buring stove on. And it has led to a reappearance of mushrooms after the absence of last year.

We have plenty of poisonous Jack O’lanterns around the base of the olive trees but also we’ve managed to pick quite a few field mushrooms. Together with our free range eggs, and home produced bacon (Yes!), we can have winter fry-ups – just the job!

Jack O’lanterns

edible mushrooms and walnuts

One harvest which hasn’t been so good is the walnuts. However, it has to be said, there are more than enough for the two hairy ones, who love them and have no problem cracking the nuts with their teeth.

Now autumn has arrived with a bang a few typical seasonal photos:

return of grass!