Posted by: kathandroger | May 27, 2018

Watch the Watch.

Nature seems to provide larger specimens in France. Certainly in the vegetable garden where we can grow some enormous tomatoes and aubergines. But other flora and flora also stand out. The local Hornet, which is very common in early summer, is much larger than the wasps we see commonly in the UK.IMG_3975
They are not aggressive beasts, and I quite like to see them buzzing around, but Kath did not enjoy her encounter a few weeks ago. She was shooing the frelon about in the bedroom but lost sight of the little buzzer. It had taken refuge in her blouse. Now when little animals are being chased, and the odour of aggression is in the air, and one is in a confined space, the panic reaction takes place and a sting is the only response. A sudden shriek from the spouse meant that the insect had been located, and the response was electric and violent. Amidst various cussings, outer garments were torn off and an unusual dance of sheer panic performed. It ended with a naked torso shaking with pain from the sting in the middle of the back. Being a sensible soul, she soon calmed down and the pain only lasted a few days, but the mark could be seen for a fortnight. Be kind to hornets.

I quite like eating the local mushrooms, but am not an expert and have a some fear of poisoning myself. We came across some nice looking specimens last week in the ditch by our little lane. I picked the youngest and ate them for lunch. The wife did not join me. They were OK but not delicious as I expected them to be, and I noticed yesterday that the ones I had left had become huge.IMG_3978
This must have been a Horse Mushroom rather than the Field Mushroom that I was expecting, so I had better go back to the books to brush up a bit on my mycology. I did have a good sniff first, which is a good test for toxicity, and only read today that the horse mushroom is like the poisonous Yellow Stainer, which as the name implies, turns yellow when damaged. The story of the local mayor and his chum who died from eating local mushrooms is always remembered.

We have had some severe storms over the past couple of days. Bloody typical, as Manu, our local farmer friend had just baled my winter hay for the sheep. We could in theory have picked up the bales from the field before the storm, but it was Saturday and we had to prepare for our new guests arrival. I hope we have a good drying day and that it is not all spoiled or we shall have some thin sheep next spring.
But the weather had produced lots of lovely wild flowers this year. As well as the profusion of orchids, the poppies are magnificent.IMG_1590
This field is a couple of kilometres away and looks wonderful in the sunshine.
The local fields have been cut for hay and silage, and the wheat and barley is turning colour and will be harvested in the next few weeks. To me that means that summer is really here, but my favourite time is now, when all is fresh and at its peak. I used to feel like that, but can’t remember when!


  1. The mushroom doesn’t look like an agaricus to me. It looks like a clitocybe. But hard to tell from the photo. Time of year should limit the possibilities a bit. Speaking as someone who hangs out with serious mushroom foragers in their 80s I think your approach to identifying and eating wild mushrooms is a touch cavalier. Sniffing isn’t an indication at all of toxicity, but it might help identification, along with a suite of other characteristics.

  2. Thanks Susan, you are right that my wild eating is cavalier! But I reckon that if it looks like a mushroom, smells like amushroom, and cooks like amushroom, the it is probably a mushroom! We have lots of little brown birds around the house. I think they are sparrows, but they could be canaries covered in gravy. There again I don’t eat sparrows, but may eat canaries in gravy!

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